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Army Grade Determination Review Board

THIS INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD STRONGLY CONSIDER THE BENEFITS OF CONSULTING WITH A TRAINED LEGAL PROFESSIONAL

The Army Grade Determination Review Board (AGDRB) determines the grade at which a service member will retire. This has implications on a service member’s pay and benefits, so having a high retirement grade is a crucial consideration.

An enlisted member (E-1 through E-9) or warrant officer (W-1 through W-5) retiree with less than thirty years of active service who previously held a higher grade can apply for advancement to that higher grade on the retired list.

The AGDRB determines retirement level by determining the highest grade the he/she has served satisfactorily. The board examines each situation on a case-by-case basis, evaluating the veteran’s overall service in the grade in question. Each aspect of the veteran’s service is reviewed to determine satisfactory service.

The AGDRB evaluates satisfactory service based on:

  • Medical history – a veteran’s service-incurred disabilities, whether physical or mental, can have an effect on whether a veteran’s grade is reduced. Medical history can also be a decisive factor in determining the severity of a veteran’s misconduct or substandard performance.

  • Compassionate Circumstances – severe family situations often require a service member to return home. In cases such as these, a veteran’s family obligations are sometimes considered in evaluating a veteran’s service and determining his/her retirement grade.

  • Length of Time in Grade – TIG requirements are crucial in determining a veteran’s retirement level. Although the AGDRB can evaluate outstanding circumstances, the board must follow statutory requirements for retirement at the current grade

  • Performance Level – a veteran’s performance while in the military is essential in determining a veteran’s retirement level. The board reviews evaluation reports, service records, and medals in evaluating satisfactory service.

  • Nature and severity of misconduct – any previous transgressions the veteran was involved in while serving can seriously damage a veteran’s retirement rating. The grade the service member served at when the misconduct occurred, as well as the amount of punishment the individual received are considered in determining the degree of misconduct.

Oftentimes, veterans with considerable valor and service find themselves in danger of retirement reductions. This is especially true with one veteran who served for years Afghanistan and Kuwait, yet was discovered to be involved in serious misconduct that required reevaluation of his retirement grade.

The veteran served for 38 years in the army reserves. After years of commendable service as a warrant officer, he received an honorable discharge and was granted the retirement grade of a CW5. Shortly after his discharge, however, the veteran was discovered to have worn medals he had not earned and to have submitted a badge application containing fraudulent documents.

Due to the allegations of misconduct facing the veteran, he was subject to a re-evaluation by the AGDRB.  The board reviewed his tour in Afghanistan and Kuwait, and the medals and performance reviews he received while stationed there. The board also examined the veteran’s service-connected PTSD, which could have been a contributing factor in his misconduct.

Our firm does everything we can to protect veterans. Although wearing unauthorized medals and submitting falsified documents was dishonorable and ignoble, veterans who served have also protected their country bravely and deserve to have their service honored. A demotion from a CW5 to CW3 would cost the veteran more than $21,500 in retirement benefits per year, according to the US Department of Defense. This punishment can be harsh.

The Army Grade Determination Review Board is an important tool in evaluating veterans’ service and assigning appropriate retirement compensation. It is important that the board puts any past misconduct into proper perspective and keeps in mind all they have sacrificed. The service veterans provide is invaluable and they deserve to be repaid in full.

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