BEFORE YOU APPLY
Before applying to the BCMR, you must exhaust any other administrative remedy the Coast Guard currently provides. For example, if you are on active duty or in the Reserve, the Personnel Records Review Board (PRRB) may be able to correct your record if the error in your record has been made within the past year. If you are a veteran seeking an upgrade of your discharge or reenlistment code and have been discharged within the past 15 years, you should apply to the Discharge Review Board (DRB) before applying to the BCMR. You may download a DRB application, form DD 293, at the following website: http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd0293.pdf
The BCMR does not have the authority to conduct investigations. Therefore, before applying to the BCMR, Coast Guard members should consider pursuing applicable procedures that result in a written report of an investigation, such as the procedures outlined in the Coast Guard Civil Rights Manual.
HOW TO APPLY TO THE BCMR
If you are a current or former member of the Coast Guard or Coast Guard Reserve and you believe that information in your military record is erroneous or unjust, you may apply to the BCMR to correct your record. To do so, you must complete and submit an application form, DD 149, along with any documentary evidence you may have of the error or injustice in your record. To download a BCMR application, form DD 149, go to the following website but be sure to send your application to our new mailing address, as shown above: http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd0149.pdf
COMPLETING YOUR DD 149
You should complete every section of the application form, especially your mailing address and signature. If you need more space, write “see attached” in the space on the form and attach your answer on a separate sheet of paper. Specify exactly what correction(s) you want the Board to make to your military record. Explain what error or injustice you believe the Coast Guard has committed. Provide the date that you discovered the alleged error or injustice. Applications should be submitted while you are still on active duty or within three years of the date of discovery of the alleged error or injustice. If more than three years have passed since the date of discovery, explain the reason for your delay. Be sure to enclose whatever evidence you have gathered to prove your case.
It is important to submit a copy of any evidence that helps prove your case. The BCMR will order your official Coast Guard records, but you should submit copies of any records, correspondence, or other documents you may have that relate to your case. If your case pertains to a medical condition, you should ask the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to send us a copy of your medical records. You should also consider seeking and submitting signed statements by people who witnessed or have knowledge of the facts of your case. The evidence should be submitted with your application.
The Board’s regulations are published in Title 33, Part 52, of the Code of Federal Regulations (33 C.F.R. pt. 52). Upon receiving your completed application, the BCMR will send a copy of it to the Judge Advocate General of the Coast Guard, who will review the application and submit an advisory opinion to the BCMR. This advisory opinion is not the Board’s final decision. The BCMR will mail you a copy of the advisory opinion so that you can submit a written response within 30 days. To reach a final decision, the Board will review all of your submissions, your records, and the advisory opinion. The Board may grant your request in full or in part, or it may deny your request. Unless you request an extension, modify your request, or submit evidence late, the Board should reach a decision in your case within 10 months of the day it is docketed. If it does not, a remedy is provided under 14 U.S.C. § 2507. Copies of the Board’s final decision in each case are sent to the applicant and to the Coast Guard for implementation of any correction ordered by the Board.
Most BCMR applicants do not hire an attorney to represent them. However, depending upon the complexity of your case, you may wish to employ a private attorney or seek legal assistance through a veterans’ organization to help you complete your application or respond to the advisory opinion of the Judge Advocate General. Such assistance may help you identify legal issues, assemble evidence, and present strong arguments. Whistleblowers whose complaints have been investigated by the Office of the Inspector General may be entitled to representation pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 1034.
You may contact the BCMR by calling (202) 447-4099; by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or by writing to the BCMR at this address:
DHS Office of the General Counsel
Board for Correction of Military Records
2707 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE, Stop 0485
Washington, DC 20528-0485