By Spring 2017 M-VETS Student Advisor Anne Kidd
On December 30, 2016, the Department of Defense (“DoD”) announced renewed efforts to reach out to veterans regarding their discharge and military records. This effort follows recent changes in DoD policies on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”), sexual orientation, sexual assault, and gender identification.
Requests for Discharge Upgrades or Correction of Records. If you are a veteran and you believe that there is an error or injustice in your discharge or military records, DoD encourages you to request relief from your service’s Board for Correction of Military/Naval Records (“BCM/NR”) or Discharge Review Board (“DRB”).
Veterans seeking discharge upgrades:
- Where the discharge was less than 15 years ago (2001 and after): Complete DD Form 293 and send it to your service’s DRB (the address is identified on the DD Form 293). DD Form 293 can be found at: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/forms/eforms/dd0293.pdf
- Where the discharge was more than 15 years ago (before 2001): Complete DD Form 149 and send it to your service’s BCM/NR (the address is identified on the DD Form 149). DD Form 149 can be found at:
Veterans seeking corrections of records other than discharges:
- For all records corrections: Complete DD Form 149 and send it to your service’s BCM/NR (the address is identified on the DD Form 149). DD Form 149 can be found at:
Key Information to Include in Requests:
- Explain why the discharge or record was unjust or erroneous
- E.g., How was the injustice/error connected to (or how did it result from) unjust policies
- E.g., How a physical or mental health condition (e.g., PTSD) was related to military service
- Provide support for key facts
- E.g., Relevant medical diagnosis and related medical records
- Copies of applicable service records (helpful, but not required)
- For veterans who served after 1997: Personnel records should be accessible via the Defense Personnel Records Information Retrieval System (“DPRIS”), at: https://www.dpris.dod.mil/
- For veterans who served prior to 1997: Personnel records can be requested from the National Personnel Records Center (“NPRC”) using the eVetRecs website, at: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/
- Description of post-service activity and any appropriate letters or other supporting documentation, where requests are related to or supported by post-service conduct/contributions to society
- BCM/NRs are authorized to grant relief on the basis of clemency
It is important to remember that the more information and explanation that a veteran can provide, the easier it will be for the applicable DRB or BCM/NR to understand the circumstances of the discharge or record and to process/respond to the request.
Feedback. DoD also seeks feedback on experiences from veterans and interested organizations as well as recommendation for improving policies and processes. There are two ways to submit feedback:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail: Office of Legal Policy, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness), 4000 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-4000
More Information. For additional information or assistance, you can also reach out to service-specific bodies:
U.S. Department of Defense, Press Release No. NR-459-16, “DoD Announces New Outreach Efforts to Veterans Regarding Discharges and Military Records,” (Dec. 30, 2016), https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/1039945/dod-announces-new-outreach-efforts-to-veterans-regarding-discharges-and-militar.