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Someone wants their military record corrected.  Must they ‘exhaust remedies’ at the discharge review board [DRB] first, or can they leapfrog directly to the Board for Correction of Military Records?

An older case, called SHERENGOES v. SEAMANS, from 1971, suggests it’s DRB first.   See 449 F.2d 333 (1971).  

The various service boards blow hot and cold on this issue.  Generally,  we advise folks to try the DRB in the Army….but avoid it if they can in Navy cases.  That is because the Army board seems to grant generous relief and the Navy Board does not.

However, as SHERENGOES shows, there is good authority that the system can require DRB action first.    The various service boards are not always insistent; but right now, they are enforcing the exhaustion requirement.

Bottom line: presentation at the DRB first, provided the case is within the DRB’s mandated 15 year statute of limitations.

Incidentally, there were some a pretty high-powered folks involved in SHERENGOES — Robinson Everett ended up being the Chief Judge of the highest military court.  The Fourth Circuit’s  Chief Judge Haynesworth went to the Supreme Court. 

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