MEB and 2nd DUI

JustToday

Registered Member
#1
Hello all. I'm looking for some guidance (as we all are). This will be a bit lengthy, please bear with me.

I'm an AD E-6 in the USAF. 16 years TIS, 7 deployments, 1 year overseas remote. Diagnosed MDD/GAD since 2008. Recently PTSD...non-combat, but operationally related.

May 2016: got a DUI. Lost my line number for E-7, Letter of Reprimand, and Unfavorable Info File. Besides the off base repercussions.

November 2016: 28 day hospitalization for Alcoholism Severe, MDD, GAD.

November 2017 - February 2018: Partial Hospitalization for MDD, GAD, Substance Abuse (alcohol). 1 year sober (Nov 2016 to Nov 2017).

28 May 2018 (Memorial Day): Arrested and charged w/ 2nd DUI.

2 June 2018: Self refferred for hospitalization for MDD, GAD, PTSD, Substance Abuse.

My case off base and admin action on base is pending. The thing is, the day I went to mental health regarding my DUI and slip in sobriety, I was notified the AF was pushing for full MEB. I had known I was submitted, but I was waiting on the official word from AFPC.

First, the PEBLO told me that I should elect to move forward with the legacy MEB because it would be quicker and hopefully processed before my admin actions. Then I'm told by mental health that my MEB is a no go because the trip back into treatment and not knowing if the depression drove the slip or the alcoholism drove the depression. I call BS.

My query to you all is this: is my MEB cancelled? Can my CC cancel my MEB? What other actions (worst case scenario) can my CC take even though I have a long history of mental health problems, but have been otherwise stable and an exemplary career minus the 2 DUIs.

Now, I take full responsibility for my actions. I know what could have happened and I obviously have deep regret. But, I haven't been mentally stable in a few years and at times the it seems the AF just wanted to keep "kicking the can."

Im at the point now that I don't want to be in anymore. I know I've done a great disservice the USAF and my fellow Airmen, but I also don't want 16 years of a hard working and dedicated career to amount to nothing. I always imagined myself going to 20+ and retiring, but as things are, I just can't do it anymore.

Thanks for reading and please advise. God Bless.
 

Matt Kozyra

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#2
@JustToday,

Thanks for sharing, and I know this is likely a very difficult time for you and your family. Try to make sure you're taking the time to see to your own needs - stress can be a powerful force multiplier when it comes to mental health symptoms.

I'm coming from a Navy background, so other folks will likely have more accurate guidance on the Air Force side. It sounds like what you're talking about is the process called "dual processing." In a lot of cases, especially with mental health, Service members will end up with overlapping MEB and ADSEP proceedings. Your medical team thinks that your disciplinary issues are the result of a mental health condition, and your CoC just thinks you're a turd sandwich.

Back in the old days (up to about 2 years ago), the general rule was that ADSEP proceedings for misconduct trumped the Med Board proceedings. You'd end up separated administratively before your Med Board finished. The Chain of Command could absolutely just turn off your MEB by initiating an ADSEP.

A few years back, SECDEF (Carter) decided that there was probably something wrong with that, so he tasked the services to review their dual processing guidelines. I don't know what process changes, if any, the Air Force made. On the Navy side, anyone who's being processed for separation due to misconduct, and who also has a mental health or TBI diagnosis, gets put into a special lane where they get Flag officer review and a bunch of other special protections. It's rare to see an ADSEP proceed over a Med Board in the Navy these days, which I think is a good thing.

At the same time, Congress has been looking into taking that decision away from the Services, who they don't think are moving fast enough to address the issue. The Government Accountability Office put out a great paper on this last year, available here: https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/684608.pdf. It found that 62% of all Service members separated for misconduct between 2011 and 2015 had been diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, or another mental health condition that could have contributed to the misconduct within the previous two years. Now, there's no way that's a coincidence.

That info may or may not be helpful to you. As I said, I'm not sure what steps the Air Force has taken to fix this. The folks who should know for sure are the Trial Defense JAGs at your installation. Might be worth making an appointment to talk to one of them. If your case is being processed incorrectly, these sorts of things are much easier to fix on the front end than the back end.

-Matt
 

JustToday

Registered Member
#3
@JustToday,

Thanks for sharing, and I know this is likely a very difficult time for you and your family. Try to make sure you're taking the time to see to your own needs - stress can be a powerful force multiplier when it comes to mental health symptoms.

I'm coming from a Navy background, so other folks will likely have more accurate guidance on the Air Force side. It sounds like what you're talking about is the process called "dual processing." In a lot of cases, especially with mental health, Service members will end up with overlapping MEB and ADSEP proceedings. Your medical team thinks that your disciplinary issues are the result of a mental health condition, and your CoC just thinks you're a turd sandwich.

Back in the old days (up to about 2 years ago), the general rule was that ADSEP proceedings for misconduct trumped the Med Board proceedings. You'd end up separated administratively before your Med Board finished. The Chain of Command could absolutely just turn off your MEB by initiating an ADSEP.

A few years back, SECDEF (Carter) decided that there was probably something wrong with that, so he tasked the services to review their dual processing guidelines. I don't know what process changes, if any, the Air Force made. On the Navy side, anyone who's being processed for separation due to misconduct, and who also has a mental health or TBI diagnosis, gets put into a special lane where they get Flag officer review and a bunch of other special protections. It's rare to see an ADSEP proceed over a Med Board in the Navy these days, which I think is a good thing.

At the same time, Congress has been looking into taking that decision away from the Services, who they don't think are moving fast enough to address the issue. The Government Accountability Office put out a great paper on this last year, available here: https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/684608.pdf. It found that 62% of all Service members separated for misconduct between 2011 and 2015 had been diagnosed with PTSD, TBI, or another mental health condition that could have contributed to the misconduct within the previous two years. Now, there's no way that's a coincidence.

That info may or may not be helpful to you. As I said, I'm not sure what steps the Air Force has taken to fix this. The folks who should know for sure are the Trial Defense JAGs at your installation. Might be worth making an appointment to talk to one of them. If your case is being processed incorrectly, these sorts of things are much easier to fix on the front end than the back end.

-Matt
Matt,

Thanks for the info. That helps tremendously, but like you said... who knows for the AF. Hopefully someone that might have some experience or insight that is AF related will chime in, but again, thanks so much for the info!
 

JustToday

Registered Member
#5
Both processes are suppose to proceed. But it doesn't sound like and MEB was actually started.
chaplaincharlie,

The very beginning of the MEB process was started by AF standards. Air Force Personnel Center gave the go ahead. As I understand the process, all that was left was to get my medical appointments lined up, wait for my ratings, and then determine a separation date.

Is there something I'm missing or just don't know?
 

oddpedestrian

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#7
Hard to advise there are also inconsistencies in different commands on how they handle DUI's some act like you committed murder while others allowed for more treatment and non-judicial punishment and maybe an admin separate.
 

Matt Kozyra

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#9
ADC should be your first stop, especially if the ADSEP is pending. When I was a defense attorney, even before the fancy new Dual Processing protections, we had a lot of success in getting commands to drop an ADSEP in favor of a MEB just by asking nicely. MEB is less work for the command, and can take about the same amount of time to process if you're willing to roll the dice in the LDES.

If your command agrees that your issue is mental health and not "you're a bad person," then they may be inclined to cut you some slack but just not know how to go about doing it. ADC can help with that.
 
#11
All, reviving this thread and thank you for all the great info.

So, it looks like my command will not be seeking admin sep. The MEB will process as originally planned. I just completed a 6 week in patient program for PTSD and other issues.

I was told the CC will be giving me a Letter of Reprimand and demotion from E6 to E5. This will activate the High Year Tenure policy which means I'm supposed to be out processed of the USAF NLT 120 days from demotion. I was told I would be placed on med hold for processing of the MEB.

My question to you all is now that I know that the CC is not seeking admin sep, should I navigate the IDES program vs going legacy, seeing as I have the time? Moreover, how will the demotion affect total compensation/percentage with the VA. As stated in previous post, I have 16 years of service. Ultimately, what should I be fighting for. I'm lost in this process and my PEBLO is not the greatest nor VA coordinator.
 
#12
At my old unit, I had a buddy (got a long with him, but he had really questionable judgement) get 3 DUIs as a CPT. He got put into a MEB as he was being disciplined, and the MEB trumped his disciplinary action. This was last year, and he got permanent retirement at 80%. Your retirement should be based on the three year rule. Where you did honorable service at your highest rank for three years.

From a leadership standpoint, the best thing you can do for your chain of command, is just lay low, do everything they ask of you, go to your appointments, and keep everyone updated. That will really make the process easier and quicker, even though it might not seem like it for you, youre actually doing yourself and the Air force a great service if you just follow those simple rules.

Good luck! Be safe! and dont let one rough spot in your life dictate the rest of it!!
 
#13
At my old unit, I had a buddy (got a long with him, but he had really questionable judgement) get 3 DUIs as a CPT. He got put into a MEB as he was being disciplined, and the MEB trumped his disciplinary action. This was last year, and he got permanent retirement at 80%. Your retirement should be based on the three year rule. Where you did honorable service at your highest rank for three years.

From a leadership standpoint, the best thing you can do for your chain of command, is just lay low, do everything they ask of you, go to your appointments, and keep everyone updated. That will really make the process easier and quicker, even though it might not seem like it for you, youre actually doing yourself and the Air force a great service if you just follow those simple rules.

Good luck! Be safe! and dont let one rough spot in your life dictate the rest of it!!
300whisper,

All good info and I appreciate the quick response.

I'm told that my Command will attach an MFR to my MEB showing that I was demoted. The AF has already found me unfit. How will that affect the proceedings? Any idea?

Trust me, my full intent is to comply with all instructions, directives, and appts. I don't want anything else to ruin the opportunity I'm being given.
 
#14
Im not familiar with MEBs or the VA as I just finished the VA process myself. I know from being a CPT in the Army (leadership side of the house and having to write MFRs for soldiers) that the MFR will probably just add historical evidence to your MEB to show that your mental health issues are negatively affecting your performance. That shouldn't affect any kind of rating if the MEB deems you unfit for duty.
 
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