The Veteran's Self-Help Guide to Discharge Upgrading
You, the veteran with the Bad Discharge Paper, know
the problems it can cause; keeping you from good jobs, from using the
Montgomery GI Bill you earned, from free medical care, or forcing you
to hide a part of your life. You are not alone. Thousands of men and
women leave the service each year with General Discharges, Undesirable
Discharges (now called "Under Other Than Honorable Conditions"
(OTH) Discharges. Including the blue discharges issued to WW-II vets,
as many as 3 million bad discharges have been given. Often it didn't
take much to get kicked out -- you got drunk a few times; left base
to take care of family or personal problems when you couldn't wait for
official permission; developed a personality conflict with your Commanding
Officer or simply couldn't handle what you were asked to do. Your Commander
may have offered you a discharge; and you took the offer without really
understanding its impact. You may even think that what you did was wrong,
but to be labeled "undesirable" or have a suspicious "General"
discharge for the rest of your life is too much to pay.
To up-grade your discharge, first get your Service Records, then apply to the Discharge Review Board or Board for Correction of Military Records. Which Board you use depends partly on what law permits and partly on what you want. You are asking the Board to consider whether your discharge is both fair and proper. The board looks at your official records, your application and your careful explanation about why you should get an up-grade and other supporting letters and documents you provide. Sometimes the Board only considers your request after you meet with it in a formal hearing. The board votes on your case and then mails you a written decision.