ISS3 2012

Reservist Magazine is the award-winning official publication of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Quarterly issues include news and feature articles about the men and women who comprise America's premier national maritime safety and security

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BCMR...Can I buy a vowel? Facts and Myths By LT Daniel LiBrando Personnel Service Center Many people have heard the term BCMR (Board for Correction of Military Records), but few have an understanding of its purpose or the process. In this article I will attempt to demystify what the BCMR is and why it may be of importance to you! What is a BCMR? The United States Coast Guard's Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR or Board) is an adjudicative body within the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the General Counsel. Every branch of the military has its own correction board – e.g., the Navy has the Board for Correction of Naval Records or BCNR. What does the BCMR do? The BCMR has the authority to review Coast Guard military personnel records and order that corrections be made to them when the Board finds that a member's record is erroneous or unjust. For example, corrections may be made regarding erroneous or unjust discharges, drug or alcohol incidents, DD-214 concerns, contracts, pay or financial matters, Non Judicial Punishment, Page 7 entries, officer or enlisted performance evaluations, non-selection for promotion or advancement, retirement, Reserve matters, medical disability ratings, medals and awards, bonuses, and other entitlements and benefits. The BCMR does not conduct investigations but may review reports of investigations that the Coast Guard has already conducted. Where does the BCMR obtain its authority and procedures? Authority is derived from Title 10 United States Code §1552 and Title 14 United States Code §425 and is further clarified in Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations Part 52. Is there any Coast Guard policy guidance regarding this topic? Yes. Recently promulgated COMDTINST 1070.1, Who may apply to the BCMR? n Ǯapplicantǯ may be an active duty member, a reservist serving in any capacity, a former member of the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve, or SPARs (the women's contingent first organized during WWII), a potential Academy cadet, officer candidate, or enlisted recruit, or someone who wishes to apply on behalf of a deceased member or a veteran who cannot apply on his or her own, such as a widow, next-of-kin, or legal representative. or reentry code (all noted on your DD- 214 separation document), and you were separated within the past 15 years, you must first apply to the Coast Guard's Discharge Review Board (DRB) using DD Form 293. If any of these possibilities are not applicable or if your request gets denied anywhere in the Coast Guard, you may then turn to the BCMR. Will my case be rejected if the issue concerns a matter over three years old? Not necessarily. The Board possesses broad latitude to waive the three-year statute of limitations if they find it to be in the interest of justice to excuse the untimeliness of your application. Moreover, if the error is discovered while the member is still affiliated with the Coast Guard (in an active or reserve status), the three-year limitation period is automatically waived. Could the Board's decision leave me in a worse state than my current situation? No. This would undermine the intent of the BCMR process. No correction will be made to one's record that could be construed as damaging or unfavorable by the applicant. How does the process work? When the Board receives your DD- Correcting Military Records, discusses appeals through the chain of command, the Personnel Records Review Board (PRRB), Discharge Review Board (DRB), and BCMR, as well as other forms of administrative remedy. When is it the appropriate time to apply to the BCMR? Before applying directly to the BCMR, you must first exhaust all other avenues of possible remedy within the Coast Guard. This may mean trying to resolve your complaint at the lowest possible level by following any administrative avenues of appeal or waiver through your command or Coast Guard Headquarters; if the error is less than one year old, applying to the Coast Guard's PRRB; if you are seeking a correction of your character of service, reason for separation, separation code, 149 application, it will be docketed once the Chair determines that your application is complete, meaning that you have identified one or more specific allegation(s) of error or injustice and the Board has received your military records to include, if applicable, your medical records. If you have been discharged or are retired, these records may have to be ordered (by the Board) from the National Archives and/or the Department of Veterans Affairs before your case can be docketed. Once docketed, a copy of your application with any supporting documents you submitted, along with your record that was received, will be sent to the Coast Guard Personnel Service Center (PSC) for objective analysis. The PSC's views are then forwarded to the *TTVF t ᕇ RESERVIST 37

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