The Mayer Law Blog

From Discharge to Discharge Upgrade – Be Aware, Prepared

A common problem often arises when we review possible cases for discharge upgrades. My client failed to start preparing while they were still in uniform. This is where preparing for a discharge upgrade begins. Great preparation helps your military discharge upgrade lawyer to prepare for your application to a discharge review board.

First, awareness. You must be aware of everything that is happening during the administrative discharge process. A few keys include:

  • Keep copies of ALL paperwork. All paper during the discharge process should be kept. We cannot emphasize this enough.
  • Understand the process. Your lawyer (civilian or assigned military) has a duty to teach you about the process. Generally, this includes, at a minimum, notification, opportunity to respond, chain of command recommendations, decision, and out processing. Too many discharge upgrade clients are unaware (or forgot) about this process and what happened. This leads to the next point.
  • Keep a journal. Record all events that occur during the administrative discharge process. This journal is only for sharing with your attorney, so label it clearly with something like “NOTES FOR LAWYER.” Be as detailed as possible.
  • Make a list of everyone (military or civilian) who would be willing to say something good about you later. In this list, include their phone number, email, and what you think they’d say about you. Keep in contact with these people and update their contact information as necessary. A military discharge upgrade lawyer will want to see this list. More detail is better. Character letters are an important part of showing that you are “better than your discharge.”

Keep all of this in a safe place. I cannot tell you how many of my clients say “I didn’t want to think about the military, so I threw all that paperwork away.” This is the wrong attitude, and it sabotages your chances of getting a discharge upgrade. Put all of this paperwork away, safely. You’ll need it later.

Next, prepare. Put everything in a logical order. A box full of [stuff] makes the job harder later.

  • Medical records: keep them in chronological order.
  • Administrative discharge paperwork: keep it in the order in which you received it.
  • Evidence Packets/Reports: put it in a separate envelope to keep it from getting mixed with the rest of your documents.
  • DD-214/NGB-22/Discharge Memos: Keep them handy and safe. It is the first and most important document you need.

Even for personal appearance hearings at the discharge review board, paperwork forms the backbone of your case. For this reason, keeping it in order and complete helps your discharge upgrade lawyer to prepare your case in the most effective manner.

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