Our Firm routinely assists individuals in the military with Military Discharge Review Boards. After each major armed conflict, the need for military personnel is reduced, and in turn, the U.S. military moves to reduce its forces. Many times, the military tightens its standards to a greater degree, resulting in a purge of servicemembers for discipline-related offenses, either through courts-martial or the administrative separation process (you may not know that during World War II, the military held two million courts-martial). For the purposes of this article, we will discuss the effect of separations through the administrative separation processes, which is the quickest, and easiest, way the military can discharge a servicemember for misconduct. When a servicemember is separated through the administrative separation process for any branch, the soldier can be summarily separated with a General discharge if the soldier has less than six years of total military service and the command does not recommend an Other Than Honorable (OTH) characterization of service. Unfortunately, a servicemember who is summarily separated with a General discharge has little due process rights—and the scar of a General discharge can have detrimental effect on the servicemember’s VA and retirement benefits, future reenlistments and civilian employment.
Each military branch has its own military discharge review board to review the facts and circumstances of a servicemember’s discharge, and each board has the authority to upgrade the servicemember’s discharge if the characterization is inequitable or the servicemember has been wronged in the separation process (for example, if the separation is unfairly harsh or goes against military regulation or policy). Moreover, as the law changes, some servicemembers could have been discharged with a characterization of service in the past that, if the servicemember were discharged today, may have been higher as their actions today would not be considered misconduct. For example, servicemembers discharged with an unfavorable characterization of service prior to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell are eligible to apply for a discharge upgrade and have a good chance at prevailing before the discharge review boards.
In order to apply for a discharge upgrade, the servicemember must assemble an application packet that properly identifies the grounds for a discharge upgrade, and provides proper support in favor of their argument. The attorneys at Hackworth Law, P.A. are experienced in military administrative law and can help you argue your case before any of the military discharge review boards. If you are a servicemember with a discharge of less than an Honorable characterization of service, please feel free to contact the law firm of Hackworth Law, P.A. We are just minutes away from MacDill Air Force Base and serve a robust veterans community in the Tampa Bay area. We also serve all military branches including the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Cost Guard. We can assist you with your discharge upgrade, military divorce, court-martial or other military issue worldwide. If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss applying for a discharge upgrade before any of the military discharge review boards, contact the law firm of Hackworth Law, P.A. today at (813) 280-2911, or send us a message through our contact portal at www.bhtampa.com.
Army Discharge Review Board:
Air Force Discharge Review Board: http://www.afpc.af.mil/afveteraninformation/airforcedischargereviewboard/index.asp
Navy/Marines Corps Discharge Review Board: