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Discharge Upgrade Information

If you have come to this page for advice on a military discharge upgrade, please contact us with the information below. Without this basic information we can't begin to give you an idea of your case.

As a way to help reduce the costs to you, we have developed a self-help pamphlet which you can follow to submit your own petition, or as the basic building block for us in helping you prepare a petition. The pamphlet is available by using the payment option below. We then offer a reduced fee for a full consultation to review and advise on your completed pamphlet, before submission. If we review your package and we can help improve the package, we can discuss additional fees for representation before the Discharge Review Board.

Note. Except for the Air Force, changes to re-enlistment codes go through a board for correction of military records.

Note. DRB petitions must be submitted within 15 years from the date of discharge on the DD214. There are no waivers of this deadline.

Note. BCMR petitions must be submitted within three years from the date of discharge on the DD214. There are some discretionary waivers of this deadline, but only "for good cause." In an extraordinary and very meritorious situation the BCMR might consider a discharge upgrade that is submitted after the 15 years deadline.

Note. The DRB's will not usually hold a personal appearance hearing on a first application. Typically they will do a records review first. The exceptions to the policy appear to be: you are close to the 15 year deadline, so this will likely be your last opportunity to petition; or you have a stand-out case which really gets their interest.

Note. There are a number of factors that seem to improve the chances for success. Here is a non-exclusive list of what we find to have been most helpful.

a. Community service. If you have a long and good history of community service since leaving the military, you have a positive factor toward upgrade. (I include law enforcement or fire department service in this category.)

b. Pristine life. No traffic tickets or law enforcement related incidents, excellent work history, evidence of maturity. Included here are such factors as attending AA or NA if the reason for discharge was substance abuse related.

IT IS A MYTH - a lie, there are NO automatic upgrades after six months. Regrettably I still hear of people being told this, oftentimes by people who should know better.

Please contact us with the information below. Without this basic information we can't begin to give you an idea of your case.

1. Full name:

2. Telephone contact information:

3. Mailing address:

4. Date of discharge, shown on DD 214? If you do not have your DD 214, you can obtain it FREE. There are some on-line sites that charge for this information, you can get your military record at no cost - click this link to the National Archives

5. Date of Discharge. This is very important because of the 15 year time limit.

6. Service from which discharged?

7. What is in Blocks 23 through 28 on your DD 214?

8. Do you have your service record/jacket and your medical record? If not, have you submitted an SF 180?

To get a copy of your military record from the National Archives click this link to the National Archives where your records are probably located. Note, some U.S.M.C. records are kept at Quantico, VA.

9. Do you have a copy of your discharge paperwork or court-martial record of trial?

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Philip D. Cave

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Alexandria, VA 22314
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Phone: 703-348-7120
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Fax: 703-997-6076

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