Three years ago, I was other than honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy under reason of misconduct/drug abuse after having a couple wisdom teeth pulled.
Upon my transfer from active duty to the reserves, I was required to take a routine urinalysis exam. Unfortunately, I had undergone dental surgery a few days prior and failed to notify my command of the medications I was prescribed. On Aug 10, 2010, I received a notice of administrative separation with reason of "Discharge due to misconduct/drug abuse". The letter stated that I had 30 days to submit any documentation refuting the charge. I submitted copies of the prescriptions signed by my dentist for the medications detected in my system the same week I received the letter. The envelope itself, however, stamped May 7, 2010, was missing my apartment number and was never delivered to my home. Although the personnel department of my command had my full address on file, a lack of communication between departments resulted in the three month delay.
I was officially discharged on Aug 11, 2010, one day after receiving notification of threat of discharge. One of the reasons being that I had not submitted the necessary documentation on time.
Upon request by my command for reevaluation of my lab results, on Jan 21, 2011, the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory determined "Acetaminophen-Codeine can produce a positive urinalysis result for codeine and/or its metabolite morphine". When I received this confirmation that there was no abuse, I elected to have my case reviewed by a board.
My case was sent to the Navy Counsel of Review Boards for revision. On Nov 09, 2011, I received a notice from the Executive Secretary of the Navy Counsil of Review Boards stating their unanimous decision that, by a vote of 5-0, the characterization of discharge was to be changed to Honorable.
On May 05, 2012, I received a letter from the Navy Personal Command affirming that they had made a mistake. The letter stated that "Under the decision of the Naval Counsil of personnel Records...we have corrected your naval record."
Now almost a year later, on May 02, 2013, I received a letter from the Board for Correction of Naval Records stating that a three-member panel considered my application for correction of record and found the evidence I submitted to be insufficient to establish injustice.
We elected to have the board reconsider its decision. Today, Oct 31, 2013, the board replied stating that as there was no new evidence presented, my request was again denied.
Throughout the last three years, my family has requested assistance from Maryland's state senator, and my story was recently published in the local paper. Neither of these outlets appear to have achieved results. During the time I've spent fighting to have the charges against me revoked, I have lost both time and money from my military career. More importantly, I am losing faith in this institution I had once been willing to give my life for.
Following the chronology of events, it's apparent that I should not have been discharged. I strongly challenge and resent that such a misunderstanding should earn me the consequences that I have been branded with. As this is such a clear-cut case, I cannot fathom why there is still need for additional evidence. I was an exemplary sailor with a clean record. Had the Navy accepted responsibility for its mistake in wrongfully discharging me, I would still be serving my country.
I am innocent of what I have been accused and deserve not only a clear record, but also reinstatement. Please sign my petition calling on the Secretary of the Navy to correct my military record to Honorably discharged with a reentry code of RE-1.
Graciela Saraiva started this petition with a single signature, and won with 422 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.