HQ ARPC strengthens partnerships, educates Airmen on record review boards

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  • By By HQ ARPC Public Affairs

Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center hosted the Air Force Review Boards Agency for a full-day of discussions and breakout sessions here, Jan.15, 2020.

Personnel related issues that make it to the level of the AF Review board frequently involve divisions within HQ ARPC such as separations, DD 214s and awards and decorations.

“ARPC is part of the team with the agency, so it takes both of us to get the work done,” said Troy McIntosh, deputy director of the Air Force Review Boards Agency (AFRBA).

Getting the work done is easier when members know how their work positively contributes to a larger process.

“It’s important for ARPC members to know why we’re requesting what we’re requesting because it gives them the opportunity to provide the Air Force side of the story,” said Nicole Jackson, deputy director of the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR). “When we’re reviewing cases, all we have is what the applicant provides, which is one side of the story.”

Having both sides of the story for each case allow board members to make well-informed decisions, she said. AFRBA’s boards provide an impartial review of personnel actions and record corrections, and the BCMR is the Air Force’s highest level of administrative review. The boards’ ability to make the best decision for an airman depends on all parties involved having the same information, which was one of the main reasons for the visit.

“It was an opportunity to sit down with ARPC personnel and ensure we’re all on the same sheet of music,” said Col. Chad Segura, AFRBA Reserve advisor and chief of the Air Force Personnel Board. “Also, it’s always good to put a face to a name so that when you have an issue, you can just pick up the phone and call or send an email instead of continuing to work with questions.”

For this particular visit, HQ ARPC decided to do something different from previous visits and host an AFRBA outreach event. Anyone in the building interested in a “behind the curtain” look at boards and how they work was encouraged to come to both the main discussion and then the breakout sessions that targeted specific boards and processes. Representatives from the Buckley Air Force Base legal office and area defense council were also in attendance.

“With the team that was coming out representing personnel boards, the BCMR, and the broad background on all the boards, we thought it was a great opportunity to open it up to everyone so our subject matter experts in the building could see how their work fits into the bigger picture,” said Col. Mynda Ohman, staff judge advocate at HQ ARPC.

Ohman’s previous assignment was at the Air Force Review Board Agency. Her familiarity with their mission was the impetus for opening it to more than just personnel who work on board transactions.

“I knew the outreach they could provide would be value added to any airman whose path may intersect with the board operations,” she said.

How those boards operate and that they do so from the standpoint that “they are neither the advocate for the airman nor the advocate for the Air Force, but they are the fair and impartial reviewer of many of those actions” is important for everyone to know, she added.

Ohman specifically mentioned that having an understanding of the BCMR, the board that corrects errors and injustices in records, is a good resource for Airmen to know is out there, “whether it is for the Airmen themselves, the supervisors mentoring and developing Airmen, or perhaps those of us that might be practitioners whose products end up before the boards.”

Increasing awareness of what the Air Force has as a [type of] protection is important, added McIntosh. He said that some people believe nothing can be done if there are errors or injustices in their records.

“Mistakes are made. Policies change. People evolve,” he said. “What was wrong in society one day is not wrong in society the next day. This is a chance for the Air Force to do right by the Airmen.”