Correction of Military Records
The BCMR - Board for Correction of Military Records
The Board of Corrections of Military Records (BCMR) is set up to correct errors in your military records or upgrade a discharge that was issued over 15 years ago based on the standards of clemency.
The Army and Air Force BCMRs, and the Board for Correction of Naval Records, are authorized to change your military personnel records in many ways. The only thing these Boards are prohibited from doing is to overturn a court-martial conviction. The BCMR can:
- review and change the decision of a DRB regarding a discharge;
- review and change discharges, including Bad Conduct Discharges or Dishonorable Discharges and/or Dismissals, resulting from General Courts-martial;
- change discharges to/from medical/disability retirement, enabling a VA pension;
- change re-enlistment (RE) codes;
- eliminate disciplinary actions (fines, reductions in rank, etc.);
- remove bad performance evaluations, counseling entries, etc.;
- re-instate service member; and
- make other changes to personnel records.
Again, the BCMR cannot overturn, pardon, or otherwise eliminate a court-martial conviction. However, Mr. Culp can help you get the board to consider changing the reason for discharge and enable you to receive VA benefits, for example.
The BCMR also has a time restriction regarding applications. You must apply to the BCMR within three years of the date of your discharge, a negative DRB decision, or discovery of the error or injustice in your records. Your application may still be accepted and reviewed after the three-year limit if you can show "good cause" regarding why you missed the deadline and that it is in the "interests of justice" for the BCMR to accept and review your application. If you have missed the deadline, an experienced, military attorney can help you overcome this restriction to have the board hear your case. Also, if a DRB is unwilling to review your case regarding a discharge due to its time restriction, Mr. Culp can apply for relief to the BCMR.
BCMR hearings are only held in Washington D.C., and personal appearances are rarely granted.
The authority and powers granted to the BCMR by Congress are vast and exist to correct the injustices that often occur in the military context. Though the BCMR cannot disturb findings of courts-martial, the BCMR can upgrade punitive discharges as a matter of clemency.
If you are contemplating filing a petition to the BCMR you may do it on your own, but you should also give serious consideration to hiring an attorney to help you prepare your argument. In most instances, you will get only one chance to have your case heard before the BCMR.
Mr. Culp is experienced in drafting and submitting matters to the BCMR of all branches of the military. If you feel that you or a loved one has an issue that can be corrected by the BCMR, do not hesitate to contact Mr. Culp for an initial free consultation.