The Mayer Law Blog

Military Discharge Upgrade Notes, March 2023

Posted March 22nd, 2023 in General

Here are a few recent observations about the current status of military discharge upgrade cases.

  • The quality of your life after discharge matters. Education, professional dedication/advancement, leadership, and community service are all important considerations for the board.
  • Be contrite. Even if you feel that someone else is to blame for some/all of your discharge, find a way to say that you are sorry. The board expects this. Show ownership of your military discharge.
  • For record review cases, have your documentation 100% prepared and gathered upfront. Boards used to accommodate updates to files while they waited for review. They are no longer as accommodating, and sending in documentation late can delay or derail your case.
  • Obtain a copy of your official records as soon as possible. Go to and request a COMPLETE copy of all records. If you don’t request a complete copy of ALL records, they will only send you a copy of your DD-214. The sooner you do this, the better. Without it, you (and your counsel) are operating in the dark.
  • Tell the truth — especially on your resume. Be honest about your degrees, certifications, and work history. You’d be surprised how easy it is to fact-check these things.
  • Don’t lie about deployments. You might think you can lie about deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan for combat operations. Don’t do it. Once discovered (and they always are), they make board members (most of whom have been in combat) extremely angry. For many, this constitutes stolen valor and is unforgivable.
  • However, if you have been deployed, make that very clear. Deployments matter, even non-combat ones.
  • Don’t lie about awards and devices. These are so easy to verify. Yet, almost every day someone lies about being a Navy SEAL or having earned a Ranger Tab.
  • However, if you did earn awards and/or devices, make sure to mention them. These matter and can be used to show dedication and aptitude.
  • Time matters. The more time you put between your discharge and your application, the more sympathy the board might have for you. However, be mindful of the date your discharge turns 15 years old.

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