If there is an error or injustice contained in your service record book that you would like to correct, the military services have a process in place to address the concern. The Board for Correction of Military Records is considered the highest level of administrative review within the various services, but, depending on the particular branch of service, there may be other remedies a servicemember must exhaust first.
BCMR (called BCNR for Marine Corps and Navy) applications must be made on a DD 149 form. The BCMR applicant bears the burden of proof to demonstrate that the matter contained (or omitted) from the service record was in error or unjust. The Board can vote to upgrade a discharge, change the narrative reason for a discharge, remove Page 11 entries, or remove an adverse fitness report. Active duty, Reserve, and Retired servicemembers may petition the BCMR to correct their records.
All BCMR applications must be filed before the expiration of three years after the servicemember discovers the error. The Board may excuse an untimely application in the interest of justice, but it is best to file on time. The process typically takes from 10 months to two years to complete.
Brandon Barnett is a Reserve Marine judge advocate who used to write the legal review for the Marine Corps’ Board of Correction for Naval Records cases. If you have negative history in your service record, contact Mr. Barnett to help you apply to the Board of Corrections of Military records.