George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

M-VETS Succeeds and Secures Honorable Discharge for USMC Combat Veteran

Liz Faris

(Pictured: Former Student Advisor Liz Faris)

The Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (M-VETS) successfully argued a claim before the Naval Discharge Review Board (NDRB) seeking an Honorable conditions discharge for a United States Marine Corps (USMC) combat veteran. M-VETS filed the application with a supporting brief and exhibits on behalf of the veteran in 2022 and recently secured an Honorable conditions discharge. The successful application will allow the veteran to access long-overdue medical treatment and Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) disability benefits.

The veteran served on active duty in the USMC from 2004 through 2007 as a Rifleman (0311). During his service, the veteran deployed twice to Iraq; the first deployment occurred in 2005, and the second was to Fallujah from 2006 to 2007, where the veteran earned a Combat Action Ribbon.  The veteran suffered from injuries due to combat, which led to self-medication to soothe the symptoms of Post-traumatic stress and Traumatic Brain injury. As a result, the veteran was discharged under Other than Honorable conditions despite both conditions being diagnosed during service. This discharge characterization prevented the veteran from accessing medical treatment and DVA disability benefits.

M-VETS Director Timothy M. MacArthur stated: “I’m glad the veteran reached out to M-VETS, and we were able to assist with this issue. Since 2007, the veteran has not been eligible for disability benefits due to the discharge characterization and has carried the stigma of a discharge with less-than-honorable conditions. The stigma has been removed, and the veteran can use those hard-earned benefits due to the honorable conditions discharge.”

“I am so happy!” said the veteran. “Thank you for everything.”

MacArthur continued: “Our client served honorably in the USMC, and to correct this injustice was a fantastic result.” MacArthur emphasized the contribution of the student advisors who worked on this matter, Ms. Liz Faris and Mr. Douglas Boyle. “Throughout M-VETS’s representation, student advisors Liz Faris and Doug Boyle assisted with the client’s matter. They truly believed in this veteran’s cause, and I appreciate the time and effort they put into this case,” MacArthur said. “Both student advisors did an incredible job, and their hard work paid off.”

Faris stated: “It was a great experience working with this client, and I learned a lot while working on his case. He fought and sacrificed for this country during his time in the USMC and deserved a discharge designation that reflected his service. I’m so glad that the NDRB agreed and that he can now access the resources he deserves!”

M-VETS assists veterans, Servicemembers, and their dependents in a variety of civil matters, including uncontested divorces, landlord/tenant matters, consumer protection, and contract disputes, as well as in military/DVA administrative matters, including MEB/PEBs, Discharge Upgrades, Boards for Correction of Military Records, and DVA disability compensation appeals.