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Old 01-17-2017, 01:21 PM
 
Location: Texas Hill Country
663 posts, read 350,073 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terryj View Post
You can try to get your BCD changed, however, if your BDC was due to a felony conviction under a Special or General Court Martial then you chances of getting this discharge changed is pretty slim.
As a former member of the Army's Board for the Correction of Military Records, I'd say the chances of getting a discharged changed after a court-martial are slim and none. It would require the military appeals system to overturn said conviction first, as the board has zero authority to change the outcome of a court-martial.
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Old 01-17-2017, 09:04 PM
 
8,768 posts, read 10,522,005 times
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I concur with Arkay that the issue of changing the discharge itself is daunting.

However, military discharge upgrade/changes are separate from Veteran Affairs benefits. Since it's not a simple question of discharge type but circumstance, terms of service, mitigation, statutory requirements and even compassion; if you are truly in need of veteran benefits, a qualified attorney experienced in VA issues is usually the best route. If you review some of the Board of Veteran Appeals cases, you will see where benefits have been granted because the denial was not consistent with the law.
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Old 01-19-2017, 04:34 AM
 
Location: Central Massachusetts
4,683 posts, read 4,532,722 times
Reputation: 5949
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkay66 View Post
As a former member of the Army's Board for the Correction of Military Records, I'd say the chances of getting a discharged changed after a court-martial are slim and none. It would require the military appeals system to overturn said conviction first, as the board has zero authority to change the outcome of a court-martial.
I agree if OPs discharge is the result of a court martial it will be more likely denied. Especially if it is due to a felony.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabrrita View Post
I concur with Arkay that the issue of changing the discharge itself is daunting.

However, military discharge upgrade/changes are separate from Veteran Affairs benefits. Since it's not a simple question of discharge type but circumstance, terms of service, mitigation, statutory requirements and even compassion; if you are truly in need of veteran benefits, a qualified attorney experienced in VA issues is usually the best route. If you review some of the Board of Veteran Appeals cases, you will see where benefits have been granted because the denial was not consistent with the law.
This is a route OP needs to follow. They should also file an appeal and do it while with counsel on the VA benefits. Otherwise they will continue to be denied.
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Old 01-19-2017, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
188 posts, read 197,951 times
Reputation: 487
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfingduo View Post
I agree if OPs discharge is the result of a court martial it will be more likely denied. Especially if it is due to a felony.

Would you please provide an example of a UCMJ violation that resulted in a special or general courts martial conviction and bad conduct or dishonorable discharge that wasn't a felony? Thanks!
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Old 01-19-2017, 12:44 PM
 
1 posts, read 589 times
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@bigconductdischarge - I wanted to thank you for posting this message and motivating me to start my process to retrieve my GI bill monies. Much like you I received a Big Chicken Dinner from the military, but served over 3 out of my 4 years on active service and receive a good conduct medal and many others. I know it's going to be a long rood ahead and I'm wondering if you still have the letters you sent to the VA for benefits to use as a guideline for the letters I will surely have to send them. If so please let me know and again thank you for posting and any help or advise you can give would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely
Darren
dharbin@alliedfl.com
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:46 AM
 
18,289 posts, read 10,025,337 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishcopper View Post
Would you please provide an example of a UCMJ violation that resulted in a special or general courts martial conviction and bad conduct or dishonorable discharge that wasn't a felony? Thanks!
I was on a special court-martial panel. Convicted an airman (Pararescue) of wrongful appropriation (he "borrowed" a Rolex diving watch from the unit then returned it with a handwritten note of apology), for which he received a bad conduct discharge, three months confinement.


If he had signed the note, he would have walked.
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Old 01-20-2017, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
188 posts, read 197,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
I was on a special court-martial panel. Convicted an airman (Pararescue) of wrongful appropriation (he "borrowed" a Rolex diving watch from the unit then returned it with a handwritten note of apology), for which he received a bad conduct discharge, three months confinement.


If he had signed the note, he would have walked.

Thanks for the example. Under the circumstances that seems rather unduly harsh but on the other hand no one needs a thief in the military particularly in the special warfare community. What was the estimated value of the Rolex diving watch? A low end Rolex starts at about $5K retail which in civilian terms could be a felony theft over $500.00 charge. Which begs the question why is the Air Force purchasing high end dive watches as organization equipment for P.J. units? During my military career I knew and worked with a number of Navy SEAL's, Navy divers and Force Recon Marines. None of them wore a Rolex on missions or off duty.
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Old 01-20-2017, 07:16 PM
 
18,289 posts, read 10,025,337 times
Reputation: 17859
Quote:
Originally Posted by irishcopper View Post
Thanks for the example. Under the circumstances that seems rather unduly harsh but on the other hand no one needs a thief in the military particularly in the special warfare community. What was the estimated value of the Rolex diving watch? A low end Rolex starts at about $5K retail which in civilian terms could be a felony theft over $500.00 charge. Which begs the question why is the Air Force purchasing high end dive watches as organization equipment for P.J. units? During my military career I knew and worked with a number of Navy SEAL's, Navy divers and Force Recon Marines. None of them wore a Rolex on missions or off duty.
This unit had Rolex diving watches. In this particular situation, they had just gotten some new ones on a Friday afternoon. The NCOIC failed to properly account for them--he didn't even record the serial numbers.

Over the weekend, the airman absconded with one later that afternoon. Apparently the NCOIC returned on Saturday to do a proper accounting and saw one was missing, and locked them up properly. He also called the security police, who sent over the OSI to investigate. Because he had not accounted for the watch, the OSI told him flatly that they were not going to bother investigating further--the Air Force would not be able even to prove a watch was missing, and wouldn't be able to prove ownership of any watch that was recovered. That left the NCOIC holding the bag for the loss.

The unit had jumping/diving training the next Monday. While they were recovering at sea, the NCIOC announced that a theft had occurred...and that the OSI was hot on the case and would soon make an arrest. However, if the watch got returned, he'd call off the investigation and all would be well.

So that night, the watch reappeared at the unit...along with a handwritten note of apology. The NCOIC recognized the handwriting and called in the OSI.

The OSI called in the airman for a conversation. The airman saw the watch, saw his note, and thinking the NCOIC was going to make good on the "all would be well" promise, he made a confession.

So we heard all this in the court-martial. And, frankly, we took a dim view of the NCOIC.

The airman almost walked on a technicality: His defense attempted to portray the apology note as a confession to the NCOIC...made without a prior reading of Article 31 (which is why I always kept an Article 31 card in my wallet). Since the OSI would not have had a clue to that airman without the note, that would have tainted everything connected to it, including the airman's confession to the OSI. But the judge ruled that the airman had not intended it to be a confession because he had not actually signed it.

At any rate, we on the panel were still annoyed with the NCOIC...we didn't think he was honorable. And he had screwed up. The initial charges were breaking and entering and grand larceny. We gave him housebreaking and wrongful appropriation.
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Old 01-21-2017, 11:48 PM
 
8,768 posts, read 10,522,005 times
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Since there are no felony or misdemeanors under the UCMJ, it falls on the user to decide if it's a felony or misdemeanor. Most jurisdictions use the standard method of maximum penalties. If the maximum penalty that can be imposed (not what was imposed) is over one year, it's considered the equivalent of a felony. If the maximum penalty that can be imposed is under one year, it's considered the equivalent of a misdemeanor. However, since penalties are set by the CINC, its's not incorporated directly into the specific offense in the UCMJ. So again, the user often refers to their jurisdiction penalty for a similar civilian offense to decide if they will consider it a misdemeanor or felony. There are civilian service that us employers use that will indicate the standard classification as part of the employment background checking.

Last edited by Rabrrita; 01-22-2017 at 12:00 AM..
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Old 01-23-2017, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
188 posts, read 197,951 times
Reputation: 487
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
This unit had Rolex diving watches. In this particular situation, they had just gotten some new ones on a Friday afternoon. The NCOIC failed to properly account for them--he didn't even record the serial numbers.

Over the weekend, the airman absconded with one later that afternoon. Apparently the NCOIC returned on Saturday to do a proper accounting and saw one was missing, and locked them up properly. He also called the security police, who sent over the OSI to investigate. Because he had not accounted for the watch, the OSI told him flatly that they were not going to bother investigating further--the Air Force would not be able even to prove a watch was missing, and wouldn't be able to prove ownership of any watch that was recovered. That left the NCOIC holding the bag for the loss.

The unit had jumping/diving training the next Monday. While they were recovering at sea, the NCIOC announced that a theft had occurred...and that the OSI was hot on the case and would soon make an arrest. However, if the watch got returned, he'd call off the investigation and all would be well.

So that night, the watch reappeared at the unit...along with a handwritten note of apology. The NCOIC recognized the handwriting and called in the OSI.

The OSI called in the airman for a conversation. The airman saw the watch, saw his note, and thinking the NCOIC was going to make good on the "all would be well" promise, he made a confession.

So we heard all this in the court-martial. And, frankly, we took a dim view of the NCOIC.

The airman almost walked on a technicality: His defense attempted to portray the apology note as a confession to the NCOIC...made without a prior reading of Article 31 (which is why I always kept an Article 31 card in my wallet). Since the OSI would not have had a clue to that airman without the note, that would have tainted everything connected to it, including the airman's confession to the OSI. But the judge ruled that the airman had not intended it to be a confession because he had not actually signed it.

At any rate, we on the panel were still annoyed with the NCOIC...we didn't think he was honorable. And he had screwed up. The initial charges were breaking and entering and grand larceny. We gave him housebreaking and wrongful appropriation.
Given the integrity issues of both the defendant and the NCOIC, in the Navy we might have referred to such a scenario as a "science fiction story". It's unfortunate that this young airman was able to endure one of the most rigorous special warfare training programs in the world only to have his military career ended because he lied about a damn Rolex diving watch. The NCOIC sounds like a shady character for sure. Thanks for the clarification and relating this interesting SCM case.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabrrita View Post
Since there are no felony or misdemeanors under the UCMJ, it falls on the user to decide if it's a felony or misdemeanor. Most jurisdictions use the standard method of maximum penalties. If the maximum penalty that can be imposed (not what was imposed) is over one year, it's considered the equivalent of a felony. If the maximum penalty that can be imposed is under one year, it's considered the equivalent of a misdemeanor. However, since penalties are set by the CINC, its's not incorporated directly into the specific offense in the UCMJ. So again, the user often refers to their jurisdiction penalty for a similar civilian offense to decide if they will consider it a misdemeanor or felony. There are civilian service that us employers use that will indicate the standard classification as part of the employment background checking.
I've used a similar standard to break out UCMJ violations and that was the intent of my question regarding convening a SCM for a "non-felony" offense. Thanks!
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