Your Right to Apply for Correction of Records
Any person with military records, or his or her heirs or legal representative, may apply to the appropriate service's Board for the Correction of Military Records. The Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard have separate boards. The Navy operates the board for both Navy personnel and members of the United States Marine Corps.
Title 10, United States Code, Section 1552, is the law governing correction of military records. This statute authorizes the Secretary of the service concerned to correct any military record when "necessary to correct an error or injustice." The purpose of this statute was to relieve the Congress from consideration of private bills to correct errors or injustices in military records. The statute provides for the service secretaries to act through a board of appointed civilians in considering applications for correction of military records. AFI 36-2603, Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records, implements the statute within the Air Force. Army Regulation 15-185 implements the statute within the Army. The Code of Federal Regulations; Title 33, Part 52;2. implements the statute within the Coast Guard. The Navy and Marine Corps implements the statute through The Navy, Code of Federal Regulations; Title 32, Part 723.
When to Apply to for a Correction of your Records
You should exhaust other administrative remedies before appealing to your service's board. For example, you should first submit a performance report appeal to the appropriate appeal agency before appealing to your service's military records correction board.. An appeal requesting upgrade of discharge should normally be submitted to the service's Discharge Review Board under Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 1332.28, Discharge Review Board (DRB) Procedures and Standards. The board will return your application if you have not first sought relief through the appropriate administrative process. You should submit your request within 3 years after you discover, or reasonably could have discovered, the error or injustice. The boards review the merits of untimely applications. If found to be meritorious, the timeliness is waived in the interest of justice. You should not assume, however, that a waiver will be granted.
How To Apply
Application is a simple process. You should use a DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military Record. Section 1552. You should complete the form very carefully by typing or printing the requested information. Attach copies of statements or records that are relevant to your case. Make sure you sign item 16 of the form. Mail the completed form to the appropriate address on the back side of the form.
Supporting Your Request
The Board will correct your military records only if you can prove that you are the victim of error or injustice. You do this by providing evidence, such as signed statements from you and other witnesses or copies of records that support your case. It is not enough to provide the names of witnesses. The Board will not contact your witnesses to obtain statements. You should contact your witnesses to get their signed statements with your request.
Your own statement is important. Begin in item 9 of the DD Form 149 and continue in item 17, if necessary. You may also put your statement on plain paper and attach it to the form. Limit your statement to not more than 25 pages. Explain what happened and why it is an error or injustice in simple, direct terms.
Normally, the best evidence is statements from persons who have direct knowledge or involvement. For example, statements from persons in your rating chain if you are contesting a performance report. Or a statement from the person who counseled you if you are alleging miscounseling.