ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS (ABCMR)
MISSION: The Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) is the highest level of administrative review within the Department of the Army with the mission to correct errors in or remove injustices from Army military records.
OVERVIEW: When applications are received requesting that an error(s) be corrected or an injustice be removed from the record, multiple actions are taken.
First, the Soldier’s or Veteran’s records are obtained. If no records are available, it may not be possible to process the application further. In 1973, there was a fire in the National Archives’ National Personnel Records Center. Many Veterans’ records from World War II were destroyed. In addition, other Government agencies may also have the applicant’s records checked out if multiple actions are in progress. For these reasons, applicants should provide copies of as many military record documents as they have and which are relevant to the application issue.
When necessary, advisory opinions are obtained from other Army staff elements. If an advisory opinion is obtained, it will be referred to the applicant for comment before the application is further considered.
In some cases, administrative corrections can be made based on the records and advisory opinions without the need for a board decision.
If the application cannot be resolved administratively, the Board staff will prepare a brief for the Board’s consideration. The board will render a decision which is final and binding on all Army officials and Government organizations. When directed, corrections will be made to the record, and related corrective actions will be taken by the responsible Army or Government organization. Applicants may request reconsideration of a Board decision within one year of a decision if they can provide new relevant evidence that was not considered by the Board.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is it necessary to submit a request for correction of records (DD Form 149) through an intermediate level review forum before submitting an application to the ABCMR?
No. However, all administrative remedies must first be “exhausted” before an application will be considered by the ABCMR.
I have a mandatory separation date approaching. Can the ABCMR suspend this action while my application is under review?
No. While every effort will be made to process an application involving a retirement/separation issue, the fact that an application has been submitted does not provide a basis to suspend the action. However, it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the ABCMR is aware of a pending retirement/separation date.
If my application must go to the ABCMR for final decision, will I receive copies of any opinions prepared by the evaluating office and will I have an opportunity to present any final matters directly to the Board?
Yes. If any advisory opinion does not fully support the relief requested, a copy will be referred to the applicant or counsel. The applicant/counsel will have 30 days from the date of the referral to present any new statements or documents directly to the ABCMR. If an extension is required, you must request it in writing within 30 days of the referral date.
Who will know about my case?
Submission of an application is a private matter between the applicant and the Board/Board staff, and Privacy Act provisions apply.
Who receives copies of the decisional documents?
Copies of the Record of Proceedings or Memorandum of Consideration are furnished only to the applicant or the applicant’s counsel. If a correction to your record was approved, the decision from the Board will be furnished to the appropriate Army activity to make the necessary corrections.
How long will it take to get paid once the Board decision in my favor is approved?
The ABCMR directs that the responsible military agency(ies) make the necessary changes to the record. Once those changes have been made, that agency(ies) will notify the Defense Finance and Accounting System (DFAS) to make the necessary pay adjustments, if applicable. These actions normally take 3-4 months after the Board’s decision is published.
Can I receive compensation (damages) from the ABCMR based on a substantiated injustice I suffered?
No. Monetary settlement occurs only as a result of correcting the military record. Claims against the Government must be presented through the appropriate Federal Civil court system.
How do I obtain a blank application form?
A blank application form and instructions are available on the agency’s website. A blank application form can be printed in Acrobat Reader (PDF) or PureEdge formats. The agency’s website also supports the ability to apply online.
What do I need to provide to support my application?
You need to provide copies of all relevant military records in your possession and any other evidence which supports your request. Do not send originals. In addition, as part of your submission, you need to submit copies of any correspondence you have had with other agencies to try and resolve your issue. The ABCMR can only address issues after you have exhausted all administrative recourse/appeals available to you.
How long will it take to process my application?
Based on the tremendous volume of applications received by the agency each year, it could take from 12 to 18 months to process your application.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
The decision to hire counsel to assist you with your application is a personal one that will likely be dependent upon the gravity of your issues and the limitations of your financial resources. Finding an attorney experienced in pursuing ABCMR appeals may be the important first step to obtaining relief or landing a successful outcome for your matter.
- DODD 1332.41 – Boards for Correction of Military Records (BCMRs) and Discharge Review Boards (DRBs)
- Army Regulation (AR) 15-185 – Army Board for Correction of Military Records
If you are interested in correcting your military record, please contact Columbus Military Lawyer Scot Sikes!