(Typing incompletely to fit within 800 words!) A year and 9 months served, separated from Army in Sept11 under Ch 5-7 for generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, nightmares, and depression. Was given a General discharge. NO MISCONDUCT at all in my record and service. Served as a paralegal. Therapy and psych treatment beginning Nov10. Began oversleeping in July11 after new and heavier doses of anxiety and sleep medications. Provided memos from psych, Medical Profiles (stating not to report prior to 0900), full prescription history (showing psych history), sleep study results, etc. They refused to "buy it," said that Profile was only a recommendation, report at 0630 anyways. Overslept few more times-- SumArt15, CompArt15, Gen discharge w/ Medical separation. Is an upgrade to Hon. possible?Amendment: There was no misconduct in my record prior the Summarized and Company Grade Article 15 that I was given in July/August 11, which were under Article 86 (failing to report) for oversleeping through PT at 0600/0630. Prior to the Article 15s, I had provided memos from the psychiatrist stating the new doses of medications and their symptoms, a sleep study that revealed a serious inability to get restful sleep (night tremors, awakenings even with the meds), full prescription history dating back to Nov10 (showing an honest pattern of issues), Medical Profiles from the psych. (stating that the SM was not to report prior to 0800 and 0900), and fact sheets on the medications. They denied all of the documentation, ignored the orders of the doctor, and demanded I report anyways. I overslept again, and I was given the Summarized. I overslept a few times after that in the following weeks, and I was given the Company grade. Finally, the chapter was processed and I was separated with a General.
You say you had no misconduct while in the Army, but you seem to indicate in your last sentence that you received at least one Article 15. Certainly, the Art 15 must be based on some sort of misconduct, presumably failure to go (Art 86 violation). In any event, if your misconduct and discharge were, in fact, precipitated by your mental health disorder, you may have a good argument for upgrade. That said, discharge upgrades are not easy to obtain. It will largely depend on the actual facts in your record as well as your performance while on duty. I recommend you obtain a complete copy of your service record from the National Personnel Records Center and have an attorney experienced in these matters review it to assess the likelihood of success before the Discharge Review Board.
Law Office of Stephen P. Kelly (508) 983-1479--Criminal Defense, Military Law, Divorce & Family Law, Appeals. DISCLAIMER: Answers to posted questions are for general interest only and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by virtue of any answer posted by the attorney.
The Army presumes your discharge is correct. As such, you will need to prove it is not. What I have done in these cases is have an independent physician review the medical records and give an opinion as to whether the health issues were the likely cause of the misconduct. My experience is that getting the discharge upgraded is reasonably possible, but getting the "reason" for discharge is more difficult, unless a doctor can show that you did not suffer from the illness.
While I agree with my colleague, Mr. Cassara's advice, I would add that I would also try and get your discharge changed to a purely medical discharge. If you are currently or have been treated by the VA, that documentation can also be of assistance in this process. This is especially relevant if you deployed to either Iraq or Afghanistan.
Good luck to you.
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