What are the Boards for Correction of Military Records?
Each service has a Board for Correction of Military (or Naval) Records. These are civilian boards, operating under the authority of the service secretary. They are empowered to correct nearly any error in a current or former service member's record, including being passed over for promotion, appealing and adverse OER/NCOER, appealing a letter of reprimand, Article 15/NJP, etc. The Board for Correction of Military Records can also order a stand-by promotion board for service members denied promotion.
It does not matter whether the person making the request is still on active duty, or in the National Guard, reserves, etc. Any person who has served in the military can have their records corrected.
The Board for Correction of Military Records can also upgrade discharges requested after the 15 year period for the Discharge Review Boards, and acts as the appellate authority for the Discharge Review Board. Boards for Correction of Military Records can upgrade discharges resulting from a court-martial, although such review is limited to matters of clemency.
Boards for Correction of Military (or Naval) Records have much broader power than Discharge Review Boards or even Federal Courts. Any adverse military record can be corrected, provided that the record is determined to be "erroneous" or "unjust."
How long do I have to apply for a correction of my military (or Naval) record?
Generally speaking, the application must be brought within three years of after the error is discovered. However, the board may excuse this filing period for "good cause." Generally, the boards for correction of military (or Naval) records are fairly liberal in allowing people to file after the three year deadline.
How do I apply for a correction of my military record?
The first step is to get copies of all of your military records. To get a copy of your military records, complete the SF-180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, (Fillable SF 180). You can go to this link, type in the information while the form is on screen in your browser, and then print out a neatly typed form to be mailed! YOU WILL NEED TO HAVE ADOBE ACROBAT READER installed on your computer.http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.
Once you have acquired a copy of your military records, you will need to fill out a DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military Record (DD149), and submit it to the proper service. We recommend consulting with an attorney who is experienced in correction of military (or Naval) records prior to completing the form and submitting it.
How does the process work?
Along with the Application for Correction of Military Record, DD Form 149, you are allowed to submit a written "brief" to the Board for Correction of Military (or Naval) Records, explaining who you believe a records correction is warranted. Mr. Cassara will usually file a written submission, along with any supporting documents that justify the upgrade of your discharge.
Generally speaking, requests for a correction of military (or Naval) records is submitted in writing. The Board for Correction of Military (or Naval) occasionally, but rarely, grants a personal appearance.
Mr. Cassara has represented service members before all of the Boards for Correction of Military (and Naval) Records, and can advise you of the differences between them.
Can I appeal the decision of the Board for Correction of Military (or Naval) Records?
Appeals from the Board for Correction of Military (or Naval) Records are generally filed in federal court. It is important to know that a petition must be filed in federal court within six years of when the service member was released from active duty. This time period applies even if you have not yet received the decision of the Board for Correction of Military (or Naval) Records.
In addition, you can ask the Board for Correction of Military (or Naval) Records to reconsider its decision within one year of when you receive that decision. Such requests for reconsideration will only be considered based on "newly discovered evidence."