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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 35015
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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In 1981 I received a Genral discharge and was told I could

Customer Question

In 1981 I received a Genral discharge and was told I could get it up-graded in 10 years if I stayed out of trouble.
I have done that for allmost 30 years now, but when I try to get a V.A. home loan I am turned down as somebody's document or copy of my DD214 say's I received a dishonerable discharge.
I have worked as an A&P aircraft mechanic on several millitary bases and have not had any problems with the law.
Please help me.

David Michael Holmes U.S. Army 1979 to 1981 SSN is XXX-XX-XXXX
You can reach me at XXX-XXX-XXXX or [email protected] or at 8939 West. Echo Lane, Peoria Az 85345

I really need to refinance my home loan now in order to keep it out of foreclourse.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX Holmes
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.

Whomever told you about the "automatic upgrade" either was misinformed or was outright lying.

There is no "automatic upgrade".

But tell me, have you applied to have the discharge upgraded? When? Result?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

The person who told me about auto up grade was my lawyer from the Army.

I have tried to reach out and contact the A.G. by certified mail in 1992 and went to the locale V.A. in person in 2006 and was told all my paperwork was correct and did not know why I was turned down on my V.A. home loan once it was sent in.

I do have my copy of my DD214, which clearly states I received a Genral discharge.


It has been awhile so the dates I am giving you are approximent dates.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 7 years ago.
Well, the lawyer was either misinformed or lied. There is no automatic upgrade and never has neen (with one small exception for folks charged with AWOL from the Vietnam war)

So, that begs the question, can you upgrade now?

You can, certainly it is possible...but it is not an easy prospect.

The process is straightforward. You can begin the process here

There is also a very good overview of the process here

To be successful, you will need to demonstrate, under the circumstances, that an upgrade to the charachterization is the appropriate result in your case. Typically this would be done by showing that the result at the time was wrong for some reason...for example if there was some error in the process that was not addressed at the time, that would be a basis for upgrade.

The board will also consider your post service conduct, but this to a lesser degree than than your service conduct.

You should start with a request of your records. You can request them here

Unlike the urban legend, there is no "automatic upgrade" for fact only a small percentage of requests are granted.

To have the greatest chance for success you should consider working with an attorney that can help you assemble the package you will submit. A google search under "military lawyer upgrade discharge" will net you several prospects...I would talk to several to see if one can be of help...but understand this is a long shot...beware of promises.

The one thing the lawyer can help with is organizing the information you have to put it into a "package" that will make it easy for the board to see your points. This can be a very valuable service.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne: Its possible but difficult to do.

Let me know if you have more questions
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you.

It sounds like I need to hire myself an attorney to try and get my discharge changed and that that there is only a small hope that it will happen?

Is that pretty much the jist of what you are saying?


Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX Holmes

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 7 years ago.
Yes...that is exactly what I am saying.