Formal Physical Evaluation Board Fighting For Return to Duty (RTD)

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#1
All,


I am looking for advice and opinions on people that have been through an Air Force FPEB at Randolph AFB in the last few months….or at least the last year or two.


Here is what is going on:


I am active duty AF amd hit 18 years next month. In 2009 I had an MRI done and it showed that I had degenerative disc disease (DDD). The doctor at the time asked me how many years I had in and I said 10 years. He said he advised me to bury the MRI and not mention it to anyone. I said no problem. Now, fast forward 5 years and my back was really starting to bother me as it was extremely sore after pounding the pavement and aging. I had my first and only PT failure in October of 2014…I passed every component minimum, but it added up to 73.5. I began going to physical therapy and was placed on two types of medication. My PCM put me on Ultracet (contains Tylenol and 37.5 mg of Tramadol) for pain and Robaxin which is a muscle relaxer. I was told to get a walk profile for my PT tests to avoid aggravating my spine. Two years of walk tests (passed every single one) and quarterly epidural steroid injections (ESI) along with the same medication regime with the dosage never changing. A year and a half into this regime I deployed for six months, so I merely paused the ESI's and took a 3 month supply of medication with me and had my wife send me the other 3 months when I was half-way through the tour. I want to stress that I was always worldwide qualified even when on a walk profile and receiving ESI's and my medication.


Upon my return from the deployment I find myself once again sitting across from a different PCM. This PCM suggests that I should just seek a permanent walk profile so that I didn't have to go to the doctors before a fitness assessment every six months. In hindsight I should have said, "NO THANK YOU". The reason being is that she stated that it could possibly trigger a MEB, but not to worry because I would be RTD because physically I was in good shape.


Well an IRLO was conducted at my local MDG and then my medical record was sent to the Deployment Action Working Group (DAWG) and AFPC/DP2NP (some medical department) at Randolph AFB. A Form 4 was generated which stated that the DAWG recommended me for RTD, however, on the same form DP2NP non-concurred with the DAWG’s recommendation and instead stated that I had to undergo a full MEB. I was shocked. However, as diligent Airman, I went to my VA medical appointments while obtaining the required Commander's Letter that the base Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO) sent to me. This letter would ultimately end up sitting in front of the Informal Physical Evaluation Board (IPEB). My commander recommended that I be returned to duty and stated that my medical condition had no impact on my in-garrison or deployed job requirements. I work in Manpower and we are basically "desk jockeys" who crunch data all day. The CC letter also stated that there were no schedule "work-arounds" and I didn't miss work because of the DDD. I had complete faith that the IPEB would RTD me. Wrong! They came back saying my back was 10% unfitting and to discharge me with severance pay (DWSP). I was at 17 years and 8 months. Reason stated was that I could not physically meet the demands of my primary AFSC and that I was worldwide disqualified so I couldn’t deploy. Holy crap! As you all know as soon as you are tagged for an MEB you are automatically code 37 which means no TDY’s or deployments until the MEB is completed. So they were using the code 37 that the PEBLO placed against me…against me. Furthermore, my career field requires that I be able to lift 40 pounds. I can do this with one arm. It was obvious that the person who reviewed my medical record had no clue what Manpower did. Furthermore, my CC letter did nothing to sway their opinion. The statement was that when I bent over my range of motion (ROM) was only 80 degrees instead of 90 degrees because I couldn’t essentially touch my toes. Let me tell you now, I’ve never been able to touch my toes as I am not a flexible person. Even when younger I couldn’t do so and can reach past my knees to my shins. Well looking at the VA rating calculations if you do not hit 90 degrees you are automatically rated at 10%. The crazy thing is…they never used a goniometer (medical device that is basically a glorified protractor used to capture the precise angle of a bend your joints). They “eye balled” me and made the determination of my ROM. Once again I was shocked. I obviously non-concurred and requested the FPEB.


Here is what I've done in preparation for the board on May 2nd.


Over the 9 months this process has taken I obtained a 92% and in January of 2017 a 100% on my fitness assessments (still walking though). I obtained character references from the Air Force Career Field Manager for Manpower who is a CMSgt in charge of the entire career field. I obtained a letter from a GS-15 who is the top person in Manpower for the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) that I am part of. I obtained a letter from the Mission Support Group commander (O-6 Colonel). I obtained another letter from my squadron commander and finally a letter from my direct supervisor (GS-12 civilian). I also obtained a letter from the doctor off base who has been treating me since 2015 and he stated that the ESI's were helping to improve my physical fitness. So much so, that I asked to have my Ultracet reduced by half in January since my back wasn’t bothering me as much as I got stronger. The doctor stated that my DDD did not require surgery (never had any surgery) and that I was weaning off my pain medicine. Apparently Tramadol is a schedule IV drug and deemed a narcotic (laws changed in late 2014, of course no one in the medical community informed me that this could be used against me. Anyways, I’ll get to that later.


Well I trained hard physically after my January PT test even though I scored a 100%. I knew that they (FPEB) would use the walk against me. On Monday I completed a full component PT test and scored a 90.7% (excellent). It hurt, but I was motivated because my career and 4 dependents depend on me (one dependent is enrolled in the exceptional family member program (EFMP).


I thought I was set, so did my lawyer. He told me to send him all the stuff I compiled and the fitness score. On Tuesday through my lawyer appointed to me by the Office of Airmen Council (OAC we asked the FPEB for a summary judgement (basically they review everything and make a decision without me physically being there). Well it took the FPEB exactly one day to deny the summary judgement and state that I had to come down to the FPEB.


Great, now I played all my cards, gave them all my evidence and reasons for being RTD and I am denied. Now I have to stand in front of the FPEB next week and look at the people that already told me they were not going to RTD me. The only questions they had asked my lawyer prior to making their decision was what my dosage of Ultracet was (2 tablets every other night about 3 times a week). I specified I never take it before work and remember after almost 3 years on this stuff it is equivalent to me taking aspirin.


That was it…the FPEB focused on the Ultracet. So now, regardless of what I’ve done, the medication given to me by my military PCM and continued by my civilian doctor is now THE issue. The IPEB only mentioned my ROM, the fact that I was non-deployable (code 37 for the MEB), and my walk profile.


However, the FPEB saw I took care of the restrictions through a full component PT test and that I had solid character reference letters. So they instead are now focusing on the low dose of Ultracet that I recently had reduced by half with a letter from my doctor stating that my goal was to be completely off all medication in the next several months as I continue to strengthen my core.


My perception is that the FPEB now trying to find anything to NOT RTD me. My CC is appearing by telephone to testify on my behalf.


So administratively my first 15 years are nothing but 5 EPRS, my 2015 EPR was a 4 (AC) under the new system (I marked myself down because of the PT failure in October of 2014). My 2016 EPR was a 5 (LC) under the new system with my EPR closing at the group and receiving the promote statement. I have checked every box by completing 3 CCAF’s and obtaining my bachelor’s degree two months ago. No administrative paperwork in my PIF.


That is where I am at…I meet the board in a few days and it seems they’ve made up their mind on me. I am beyond disenfranchised. I would literally start my terminal in 659 days if I am allowed to stay (1.8 years). No medical retirement, nothing for my 18 years but a check.


So…what do you think the FPEB is going to do? I know I can appeal one more time to the office of the SECAF...but I am so over the stress of all of this.


Thanks for taking the time to read this.
 

zippi45

Registered Member
#3
All,


I am looking for advice and opinions on people that have been through an Air Force FPEB at Randolph AFB in the last few months….or at least the last year or two.


Here is what is going on:


I am active duty AF amd hit 18 years next month. In 2009 I had an MRI done and it showed that I had degenerative disc disease (DDD). The doctor at the time asked me how many years I had in and I said 10 years. He said he advised me to bury the MRI and not mention it to anyone. I said no problem. Now, fast forward 5 years and my back was really starting to bother me as it was extremely sore after pounding the pavement and aging. I had my first and only PT failure in October of 2014…I passed every component minimum, but it added up to 73.5. I began going to physical therapy and was placed on two types of medication. My PCM put me on Ultracet (contains Tylenol and 37.5 mg of Tramadol) for pain and Robaxin which is a muscle relaxer. I was told to get a walk profile for my PT tests to avoid aggravating my spine. Two years of walk tests (passed every single one) and quarterly epidural steroid injections (ESI) along with the same medication regime with the dosage never changing. A year and a half into this regime I deployed for six months, so I merely paused the ESI's and took a 3 month supply of medication with me and had my wife send me the other 3 months when I was half-way through the tour. I want to stress that I was always worldwide qualified even when on a walk profile and receiving ESI's and my medication.


Upon my return from the deployment I find myself once again sitting across from a different PCM. This PCM suggests that I should just seek a permanent walk profile so that I didn't have to go to the doctors before a fitness assessment every six months. In hindsight I should have said, "NO THANK YOU". The reason being is that she stated that it could possibly trigger a MEB, but not to worry because I would be RTD because physically I was in good shape.


Well an IRLO was conducted at my local MDG and then my medical record was sent to the Deployment Action Working Group (DAWG) and AFPC/DP2NP (some medical department) at Randolph AFB. A Form 4 was generated which stated that the DAWG recommended me for RTD, however, on the same form DP2NP non-concurred with the DAWG’s recommendation and instead stated that I had to undergo a full MEB. I was shocked. However, as diligent Airman, I went to my VA medical appointments while obtaining the required Commander's Letter that the base Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO) sent to me. This letter would ultimately end up sitting in front of the Informal Physical Evaluation Board (IPEB). My commander recommended that I be returned to duty and stated that my medical condition had no impact on my in-garrison or deployed job requirements. I work in Manpower and we are basically "desk jockeys" who crunch data all day. The CC letter also stated that there were no schedule "work-arounds" and I didn't miss work because of the DDD. I had complete faith that the IPEB would RTD me. Wrong! They came back saying my back was 10% unfitting and to discharge me with severance pay (DWSP). I was at 17 years and 8 months. Reason stated was that I could not physically meet the demands of my primary AFSC and that I was worldwide disqualified so I couldn’t deploy. Holy crap! As you all know as soon as you are tagged for an MEB you are automatically code 37 which means no TDY’s or deployments until the MEB is completed. So they were using the code 37 that the PEBLO placed against me…against me. Furthermore, my career field requires that I be able to lift 40 pounds. I can do this with one arm. It was obvious that the person who reviewed my medical record had no clue what Manpower did. Furthermore, my CC letter did nothing to sway their opinion. The statement was that when I bent over my range of motion (ROM) was only 80 degrees instead of 90 degrees because I couldn’t essentially touch my toes. Let me tell you now, I’ve never been able to touch my toes as I am not a flexible person. Even when younger I couldn’t do so and can reach past my knees to my shins. Well looking at the VA rating calculations if you do not hit 90 degrees you are automatically rated at 10%. The crazy thing is…they never used a goniometer (medical device that is basically a glorified protractor used to capture the precise angle of a bend your joints). They “eye balled” me and made the determination of my ROM. Once again I was shocked. I obviously non-concurred and requested the FPEB.


Here is what I've done in preparation for the board on May 2nd.


Over the 9 months this process has taken I obtained a 92% and in January of 2017 a 100% on my fitness assessments (still walking though). I obtained character references from the Air Force Career Field Manager for Manpower who is a CMSgt in charge of the entire career field. I obtained a letter from a GS-15 who is the top person in Manpower for the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) that I am part of. I obtained a letter from the Mission Support Group commander (O-6 Colonel). I obtained another letter from my squadron commander and finally a letter from my direct supervisor (GS-12 civilian). I also obtained a letter from the doctor off base who has been treating me since 2015 and he stated that the ESI's were helping to improve my physical fitness. So much so, that I asked to have my Ultracet reduced by half in January since my back wasn’t bothering me as much as I got stronger. The doctor stated that my DDD did not require surgery (never had any surgery) and that I was weaning off my pain medicine. Apparently Tramadol is a schedule IV drug and deemed a narcotic (laws changed in late 2014, of course no one in the medical community informed me that this could be used against me. Anyways, I’ll get to that later.


Well I trained hard physically after my January PT test even though I scored a 100%. I knew that they (FPEB) would use the walk against me. On Monday I completed a full component PT test and scored a 90.7% (excellent). It hurt, but I was motivated because my career and 4 dependents depend on me (one dependent is enrolled in the exceptional family member program (EFMP).


I thought I was set, so did my lawyer. He told me to send him all the stuff I compiled and the fitness score. On Tuesday through my lawyer appointed to me by the Office of Airmen Council (OAC we asked the FPEB for a summary judgement (basically they review everything and make a decision without me physically being there). Well it took the FPEB exactly one day to deny the summary judgement and state that I had to come down to the FPEB.


Great, now I played all my cards, gave them all my evidence and reasons for being RTD and I am denied. Now I have to stand in front of the FPEB next week and look at the people that already told me they were not going to RTD me. The only questions they had asked my lawyer prior to making their decision was what my dosage of Ultracet was (2 tablets every other night about 3 times a week). I specified I never take it before work and remember after almost 3 years on this stuff it is equivalent to me taking aspirin.


That was it…the FPEB focused on the Ultracet. So now, regardless of what I’ve done, the medication given to me by my military PCM and continued by my civilian doctor is now THE issue. The IPEB only mentioned my ROM, the fact that I was non-deployable (code 37 for the MEB), and my walk profile.


However, the FPEB saw I took care of the restrictions through a full component PT test and that I had solid character reference letters. So they instead are now focusing on the low dose of Ultracet that I recently had reduced by half with a letter from my doctor stating that my goal was to be completely off all medication in the next several months as I continue to strengthen my core.


My perception is that the FPEB now trying to find anything to NOT RTD me. My CC is appearing by telephone to testify on my behalf.


So administratively my first 15 years are nothing but 5 EPRS, my 2015 EPR was a 4 (AC) under the new system (I marked myself down because of the PT failure in October of 2014). My 2016 EPR was a 5 (LC) under the new system with my EPR closing at the group and receiving the promote statement. I have checked every box by completing 3 CCAF’s and obtaining my bachelor’s degree two months ago. No administrative paperwork in my PIF.


That is where I am at…I meet the board in a few days and it seems they’ve made up their mind on me. I am beyond disenfranchised. I would literally start my terminal in 659 days if I am allowed to stay (1.8 years). No medical retirement, nothing for my 18 years but a check.


So…what do you think the FPEB is going to do? I know I can appeal one more time to the office of the SECAF...but I am so over the stress of all of this.


Thanks for taking the time to read this.
I feel your pain, I've been fighting to get off this for the past year, doing whatever it takes to get off this. I've been cleared by my doctor and ran a full PT component with a passing passing score. I ruptured my achilles in 2014 and have been struggling to get back. I have submitted everything this past week and I've been waiting at the edge of my seat for a decision in the hopes that I wouldn't need to go in front of the board, but nothing. I have given them Commander's letters three different doctors letters and references from chiefs and other officers. Now I have to fly down on Monday and fight to save my career. I only have a 1.5 year left to finish my AGR your. All I'm asking for is to be allowed to finish my time properly. Good luck, probably see you down there
 

denmom117

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#5
My first thought is do you have anything in Category II that is considered unfitting that could be moved to Category I? That's what I did in front of the Formal Board. After I received the results I appealed to SAFPC and that took 13 months from the day I submitted it to the day they responded. Then I did a VARR in hopes of getting one of my ratings fixed, which took 5 months.

I guess what I'm saying is it's still possible for you to get to retirement but it will be a struggle of not knowing when you'll hear the results as well as if they're the results you're wanting to hear.
 

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#7
I swear they are doing this more and more to people. My story sounds so similar to yours at 18.5 yrs. @MSgt Martin I messaged you
There is definitely a trend going in. It would be crazy to see the stats of who they RTD and how many have contracts where they are over 18. This information should be transparent to us all. Definitely doing a congressional (never done one) if the PFEB does not RTD me while in conjunction with my appeal allowed to the SECAF. I would also write to the Air Force Times to see if this trend of discharging people between 18-20 is increasing across the community in a whole. I've earned 45% of my retirement and now in my "silver years" they are saying...thanks for playing, sorry your body is worn down. Heres's a check...go.
 

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#8
I feel your pain, I've been fighting to get off this for the past year, doing whatever it takes to get off this. I've been cleared by my doctor and ran a full PT component with a passing passing score. I ruptured my achilles in 2014 and have been struggling to get back. I have submitted everything this past week and I've been waiting at the edge of my seat for a decision in the hopes that I wouldn't need to go in front of the board, but nothing. I have given them Commander's letters three different doctors letters and references from chiefs and other officers. Now I have to fly down on Monday and fight to save my career. I only have a 1.5 year left to finish my AGR your. All I'm asking for is to be allowed to finish my time properly. Good luck, probably see you down there
See you in a couple days! Good luck man!
 

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#9
My first thought is do you have anything in Category II that is considered unfitting that could be moved to Category I? That's what I did in front of the Formal Board. After I received the results I appealed to SAFPC and that took 13 months from the day I submitted it to the day they responded. Then I did a VARR in hopes of getting one of my ratings fixed, which took 5 months.

I guess what I'm saying is it's still possible for you to get to retirement but it will be a struggle of not knowing when you'll hear the results as well as if they're the results you're wanting to hear.
I have just one unfitting condition bud. Thanks though. I could see about that helping if you had multiple ones and were persuing the medical retirement route....
 

Fran0609

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#10
There is definitely a trend going in. It would be crazy to see the stats of who they RTD and how many have contracts where they are over 18. This information should be transparent to us all. Definitely doing a congressional (never done one) if the PFEB does not RTD me while in conjunction with my appeal allowed to the SECAF. I would also write to the Air Force Times to see if this trend of discharging people between 18-20 is increasing across the community in a whole. I've earned 45% of my retirement and now in my "silver years" they are saying...thanks for playing, sorry your body is worn down. Heres's a check...go.
I agree 100%. I have asked about a congressional in this forum but got no reply. I will do whatever it takes to get me to 20!!
 

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#11
All,


I am looking for advice and opinions on people that have been through an Air Force FPEB at Randolph AFB in the last few months….or at least the last year or two.


Here is what is going on:


I am active duty AF amd hit 18 years next month. In 2009 I had an MRI done and it showed that I had degenerative disc disease (DDD). The doctor at the time asked me how many years I had in and I said 10 years. He said he advised me to bury the MRI and not mention it to anyone. I said no problem. Now, fast forward 5 years and my back was really starting to bother me as it was extremely sore after pounding the pavement and aging. I had my first and only PT failure in October of 2014…I passed every component minimum, but it added up to 73.5. I began going to physical therapy and was placed on two types of medication. My PCM put me on Ultracet (contains Tylenol and 37.5 mg of Tramadol) for pain and Robaxin which is a muscle relaxer. I was told to get a walk profile for my PT tests to avoid aggravating my spine. Two years of walk tests (passed every single one) and quarterly epidural steroid injections (ESI) along with the same medication regime with the dosage never changing. A year and a half into this regime I deployed for six months, so I merely paused the ESI's and took a 3 month supply of medication with me and had my wife send me the other 3 months when I was half-way through the tour. I want to stress that I was always worldwide qualified even when on a walk profile and receiving ESI's and my medication.


Upon my return from the deployment I find myself once again sitting across from a different PCM. This PCM suggests that I should just seek a permanent walk profile so that I didn't have to go to the doctors before a fitness assessment every six months. In hindsight I should have said, "NO THANK YOU". The reason being is that she stated that it could possibly trigger a MEB, but not to worry because I would be RTD because physically I was in good shape.


Well an IRLO was conducted at my local MDG and then my medical record was sent to the Deployment Action Working Group (DAWG) and AFPC/DP2NP (some medical department) at Randolph AFB. A Form 4 was generated which stated that the DAWG recommended me for RTD, however, on the same form DP2NP non-concurred with the DAWG’s recommendation and instead stated that I had to undergo a full MEB. I was shocked. However, as diligent Airman, I went to my VA medical appointments while obtaining the required Commander's Letter that the base Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO) sent to me. This letter would ultimately end up sitting in front of the Informal Physical Evaluation Board (IPEB). My commander recommended that I be returned to duty and stated that my medical condition had no impact on my in-garrison or deployed job requirements. I work in Manpower and we are basically "desk jockeys" who crunch data all day. The CC letter also stated that there were no schedule "work-arounds" and I didn't miss work because of the DDD. I had complete faith that the IPEB would RTD me. Wrong! They came back saying my back was 10% unfitting and to discharge me with severance pay (DWSP). I was at 17 years and 8 months. Reason stated was that I could not physically meet the demands of my primary AFSC and that I was worldwide disqualified so I couldn’t deploy. Holy crap! As you all know as soon as you are tagged for an MEB you are automatically code 37 which means no TDY’s or deployments until the MEB is completed. So they were using the code 37 that the PEBLO placed against me…against me. Furthermore, my career field requires that I be able to lift 40 pounds. I can do this with one arm. It was obvious that the person who reviewed my medical record had no clue what Manpower did. Furthermore, my CC letter did nothing to sway their opinion. The statement was that when I bent over my range of motion (ROM) was only 80 degrees instead of 90 degrees because I couldn’t essentially touch my toes. Let me tell you now, I’ve never been able to touch my toes as I am not a flexible person. Even when younger I couldn’t do so and can reach past my knees to my shins. Well looking at the VA rating calculations if you do not hit 90 degrees you are automatically rated at 10%. The crazy thing is…they never used a goniometer (medical device that is basically a glorified protractor used to capture the precise angle of a bend your joints). They “eye balled” me and made the determination of my ROM. Once again I was shocked. I obviously non-concurred and requested the FPEB.


Here is what I've done in preparation for the board on May 2nd.


Over the 9 months this process has taken I obtained a 92% and in January of 2017 a 100% on my fitness assessments (still walking though). I obtained character references from the Air Force Career Field Manager for Manpower who is a CMSgt in charge of the entire career field. I obtained a letter from a GS-15 who is the top person in Manpower for the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) that I am part of. I obtained a letter from the Mission Support Group commander (O-6 Colonel). I obtained another letter from my squadron commander and finally a letter from my direct supervisor (GS-12 civilian). I also obtained a letter from the doctor off base who has been treating me since 2015 and he stated that the ESI's were helping to improve my physical fitness. So much so, that I asked to have my Ultracet reduced by half in January since my back wasn’t bothering me as much as I got stronger. The doctor stated that my DDD did not require surgery (never had any surgery) and that I was weaning off my pain medicine. Apparently Tramadol is a schedule IV drug and deemed a narcotic (laws changed in late 2014, of course no one in the medical community informed me that this could be used against me. Anyways, I’ll get to that later.


Well I trained hard physically after my January PT test even though I scored a 100%. I knew that they (FPEB) would use the walk against me. On Monday I completed a full component PT test and scored a 90.7% (excellent). It hurt, but I was motivated because my career and 4 dependents depend on me (one dependent is enrolled in the exceptional family member program (EFMP).


I thought I was set, so did my lawyer. He told me to send him all the stuff I compiled and the fitness score. On Tuesday through my lawyer appointed to me by the Office of Airmen Council (OAC we asked the FPEB for a summary judgement (basically they review everything and make a decision without me physically being there). Well it took the FPEB exactly one day to deny the summary judgement and state that I had to come down to the FPEB.


Great, now I played all my cards, gave them all my evidence and reasons for being RTD and I am denied. Now I have to stand in front of the FPEB next week and look at the people that already told me they were not going to RTD me. The only questions they had asked my lawyer prior to making their decision was what my dosage of Ultracet was (2 tablets every other night about 3 times a week). I specified I never take it before work and remember after almost 3 years on this stuff it is equivalent to me taking aspirin.


That was it…the FPEB focused on the Ultracet. So now, regardless of what I’ve done, the medication given to me by my military PCM and continued by my civilian doctor is now THE issue. The IPEB only mentioned my ROM, the fact that I was non-deployable (code 37 for the MEB), and my walk profile.


However, the FPEB saw I took care of the restrictions through a full component PT test and that I had solid character reference letters. So they instead are now focusing on the low dose of Ultracet that I recently had reduced by half with a letter from my doctor stating that my goal was to be completely off all medication in the next several months as I continue to strengthen my core.


My perception is that the FPEB now trying to find anything to NOT RTD me. My CC is appearing by telephone to testify on my behalf.


So administratively my first 15 years are nothing but 5 EPRS, my 2015 EPR was a 4 (AC) under the new system (I marked myself down because of the PT failure in October of 2014). My 2016 EPR was a 5 (LC) under the new system with my EPR closing at the group and receiving the promote statement. I have checked every box by completing 3 CCAF’s and obtaining my bachelor’s degree two months ago. No administrative paperwork in my PIF.


That is where I am at…I meet the board in a few days and it seems they’ve made up their mind on me. I am beyond disenfranchised. I would literally start my terminal in 659 days if I am allowed to stay (1.8 years). No medical retirement, nothing for my 18 years but a check.


So…what do you think the FPEB is going to do? I know I can appeal one more time to the office of the SECAF...but I am so over the stress of all of this.


Thanks for taking the time to read this.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update: 5 May 2017


FPEB did not RTD me to duty.


They used the low dose Ultracet which became a schedule IV medication a few months after I was prescribed it by my PCM against me and the fact that I took a full component PT test scoring a 90.7%, even though I was on a profile restriction. I told them during my hearing that I had email traffic two weeks prior to my fitness assessment where I asked the PEBLO and PCM to ensure all my profile restrictions were lifted. My PEBLO and PCM did not lift the restrictions even after stating to me that they would. I will be going to patient advocate on Monday when I return to work to file a complaint on why I was told this would occur, but it never did.


The FPEB also stated that even though I had reduced my Ultracet (two tablets of 37.5 mg before bed) every other night to help with the lower back pain, I was still unfit. I even let the board members know that I was following up with my pain management doctor the very next week to come completely off the medication, in a safe manner. I called the pain management doctor and have a medical appointment on Wednesday. I am asking that I be taken off the Ultracet immediately.


Remember from my earlier post, I deployed with this medication, never taking it before work and on 4 times the dosage when deployed a year and a half ago. I earned a JCOM and never missed work or even visited the hospital when at my deployed location. I stated I did not need a C code that would limit where I could deploy to and would gladly go to Afghanistan wearing body armor as my physical strength has increased over the past 9 months since this process started. I avoid using weights and do body strength exercising (set's of 10 pull ups, 50 sit-ups, 50 push-up, planls, leg lunges, and body weight squats).


This all fell on deaf ears. The medical doctor stated that I should have never taken the full component PT test where I scored an excellent. My response was that my profile was supposed to be updated showing that all restrictions were lifted because I had email traffic between myself and the PEBLO and PCM two weeks prior to my FA. So, basically my PCM did not change my profile restrictions in those two weeks leading up to my FA...even though I asked over email. I have all of this documentation in email and will be appealing to SAFPC


I also had my commander appear by telephone and state that in his 29 years of being in the military, he has never requested that anyone be RTD, except for my case. There are no work-arounds, I am in a chronic critical AFSC, and he has never seen the low dose medication (tramado starts at 50 mg, however Ultracet is mixed with 350 milligrams of Tylenol so the Tramadol dosage is lower) effect my performance. I do not take this medication before work, and it is shocking that they came to this conclusion.


I had letter of recommendations from my CFM, GS-15 at my MAJCOM, Colonel in MSG, my Maj (line for Lt Col) squadron CC, and direct supervisor all stating that I can do my job and execute my in-garrison and deployed duties without any work-arounds.


I can now only hope that SAFPC will see reason as my testimony fell on completely deaf ears. The board did not look at the whole person concept; they cherry picked the one thing that could be used against me (Ultracet) which I told them no one in the medical community ever sat me down to explain that this medication could be used to determine whether I would be fit to stay in the Air Force. Especially, since I don't take it before work. I even had my wife there testifying that when I take it at night, there is no impact to my behavior whatsoever. It helps me get a restful night because I do not wake as frequently with my spine being irritated.


I am in utter shock and disenfranchised. I feel like this is an attempt to get me out before I hit 20. I am doing this in hopes of changing the way the Formal Board conducts their hearings because there is no accountability when SAFPC overrules their decision. The FEPB needs 2 out of 3 members to agree to RTD me duty, but it was obvious that the medical doctor made the decision by the way the Form 356 read. In fact, I watched her roll her eyes and slump over to the side when my commander testified that I was on a low dose narcotic medication within the first 5 minutes of my FPEB hearing during his interview with the board members. Her response to my commander was, “How would you know what a low dose of narcotics would be”? Her non-verbal behavior was completely unprofessional and showed that she had an instant bias against me for taking medication prescribed to me by the very military doctors now stating that this medication does not make me fit for continued service. Furthermore, she asked me why I didn’t discontinue the medication completely once I found out from my lawyer that this could be used against me. Read that sentence carefully….I didn’t find out through my doctors, I found out from a military lawyer that the Air Force medical community would use a drug that they prescribed to me…against me to kick me out of the service.


On Monday, I will make sure that my profile restrictions are completely lifted because I will stand in the waiting room of Family Health until my paperwork is completed showing all restrictions lifted, rather than taking someone's word for it that they would do it. I was lied to when told by the PEBLO and PCM that they were working on getting my restrictions lifted. The Lt Col at the FPEB stated that I wouldn't have been able to get the restrictions lifted anyways because I was undergoing an MEB, so I shouldn't waste my time talking to patient advocate. However, their response on the Form 356 findings were that I tested on all components and passed with an excellent which ran counter to my current profile (which was never updated) that directed me to not test on all components. They used the fact that I tested on all components against me even though I told them I had requested to be lifted from all restrictions two weeks prior to my PT test. Talk about a catch 22. It is the same logic they apply when stating that you are no longer deployable when the MEB process instantly places a code 37 against you stopping you from going TDY or deploying so that you are available to go to all of your appointments.


Remember, I am stronger than ever before in my 18 years of service as I have changed my diet, life-style, and workouts to allow me to work around my back condition over the last 9 months I have been going through the MEB process. I appeared in front of the FPEB in my blues showing my 20 ribbons because as a SNCO you should strive for excellence and the blue short-sleeve shirt showed that I was not overweight because I did not hide my body. It did nothing to persuade them.


The perception is that the Air Force is turning its back on active duty soldiers that have worn their bodies down through years of pounding the pavement through physical fitness regimes necessary to stay in shape to stay in the service. I am sure there are many other members in our AF that are on tramadol. In fact, I spoke to two MSgt's in my squadron that are currently on higher dosages of this medication that are not being MEB'd for using their medication as prescribed.


So logic would follow, why isn't the AF targeting all military members who are on the lowest of all Schedule IV medication? We take a prescription given to us by a doctor that is used responsibly to manage chronic pain and then this very medication is used as rational to kick us out of the military after earning 45% of our retirement. Remember, we are talking about Discharge With Severance Pay (DWS), not a medical retirement. No healthcare for me or my 4 dependents, one of whom is in the EFMP program and will need medical care the rest of her life.


Moving forward, I am going to do a congressional inquiry in conjunction with the SAFPC appeal. I am also going to contact a national media outlet to tell them my story so that we can shed national light on what the AF is currently doing to its military members who have been serving their country honorably and are nearing retirement.


I do this not out of anger, but to hopefully protect and help those that meet the FPEB in the future. There is a serious flaw in the logic they apply and the lack of accountability that the board members are held to when making their decision.


More to follow and I will keep this post updated as I go through each step such as the media interview and the congressional inquiry.


Thanks for your time.
 

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#12
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update: 5 May 2017


FPEB did not RTD me to duty.


They used the low dose Ultracet which became a schedule IV medication a few months after I was prescribed it by my PCM against me and the fact that I took a full component PT test scoring a 90.7%, even though I was on a profile restriction. I told them during my hearing that I had email traffic two weeks prior to my fitness assessment where I asked the PEBLO and PCM to ensure all my profile restrictions were lifted. My PEBLO and PCM did not lift the restrictions even after stating to me that they would. I will be going to patient advocate on Monday when I return to work to file a complaint on why I was told this would occur, but it never did.


The FPEB also stated that even though I had reduced my Ultracet (two tablets of 37.5 mg before bed) every other night to help with the lower back pain, I was still unfit. I even let the board members know that I was following up with my pain management doctor the very next week to come completely off the medication, in a safe manner. I called the pain management doctor and have a medical appointment on Wednesday. I am asking that I be taken off the Ultracet immediately.


Remember from my earlier post, I deployed with this medication, never taking it before work and on 4 times the dosage when deployed a year and a half ago. I earned a JCOM and never missed work or even visited the hospital when at my deployed location. I stated I did not need a C code that would limit where I could deploy to and would gladly go to Afghanistan wearing body armor as my physical strength has increased over the past 9 months since this process started. I avoid using weights and do body strength exercising (set's of 10 pull ups, 50 sit-ups, 50 push-up, planls, leg lunges, and body weight squats).


This all fell on deaf ears. The medical doctor stated that I should have never taken the full component PT test where I scored an excellent. My response was that my profile was supposed to be updated showing that all restrictions were lifted because I had email traffic between myself and the PEBLO and PCM two weeks prior to my FA. So, basically my PCM did not change my profile restrictions in those two weeks leading up to my FA...even though I asked over email. I have all of this documentation in email and will be appealing to SAFPC


I also had my commander appear by telephone and state that in his 29 years of being in the military, he has never requested that anyone be RTD, except for my case. There are no work-arounds, I am in a chronic critical AFSC, and he has never seen the low dose medication (tramado starts at 50 mg, however Ultracet is mixed with 350 milligrams of Tylenol so the Tramadol dosage is lower) effect my performance. I do not take this medication before work, and it is shocking that they came to this conclusion.


I had letter of recommendations from my CFM, GS-15 at my MAJCOM, Colonel in MSG, my Maj (line for Lt Col) squadron CC, and direct supervisor all stating that I can do my job and execute my in-garrison and deployed duties without any work-arounds.


I can now only hope that SAFPC will see reason as my testimony fell on completely deaf ears. The board did not look at the whole person concept; they cherry picked the one thing that could be used against me (Ultracet) which I told them no one in the medical community ever sat me down to explain that this medication could be used to determine whether I would be fit to stay in the Air Force. Especially, since I don't take it before work. I even had my wife there testifying that when I take it at night, there is no impact to my behavior whatsoever. It helps me get a restful night because I do not wake as frequently with my spine being irritated.


I am in utter shock and disenfranchised. I feel like this is an attempt to get me out before I hit 20. I am doing this in hopes of changing the way the Formal Board conducts their hearings because there is no accountability when SAFPC overrules their decision. The FEPB needs 2 out of 3 members to agree to RTD me duty, but it was obvious that the medical doctor made the decision by the way the Form 356 read. In fact, I watched her roll her eyes and slump over to the side when my commander testified that I was on a low dose narcotic medication within the first 5 minutes of my FPEB hearing during his interview with the board members. Her response to my commander was, “How would you know what a low dose of narcotics would be”? Her non-verbal behavior was completely unprofessional and showed that she had an instant bias against me for taking medication prescribed to me by the very military doctors now stating that this medication does not make me fit for continued service. Furthermore, she asked me why I didn’t discontinue the medication completely once I found out from my lawyer that this could be used against me. Read that sentence carefully….I didn’t find out through my doctors, I found out from a military lawyer that the Air Force medical community would use a drug that they prescribed to me…against me to kick me out of the service.


On Monday, I will make sure that my profile restrictions are completely lifted because I will stand in the waiting room of Family Health until my paperwork is completed showing all restrictions lifted, rather than taking someone's word for it that they would do it. I was lied to when told by the PEBLO and PCM that they were working on getting my restrictions lifted. The Lt Col at the FPEB stated that I wouldn't have been able to get the restrictions lifted anyways because I was undergoing an MEB, so I shouldn't waste my time talking to patient advocate. However, their response on the Form 356 findings were that I tested on all components and passed with an excellent which ran counter to my current profile (which was never updated) that directed me to not test on all components. They used the fact that I tested on all components against me even though I told them I had requested to be lifted from all restrictions two weeks prior to my PT test. Talk about a catch 22. It is the same logic they apply when stating that you are no longer deployable when the MEB process instantly places a code 37 against you stopping you from going TDY or deploying so that you are available to go to all of your appointments.


Remember, I am stronger than ever before in my 18 years of service as I have changed my diet, life-style, and workouts to allow me to work around my back condition over the last 9 months I have been going through the MEB process. I appeared in front of the FPEB in my blues showing my 20 ribbons because as a SNCO you should strive for excellence and the blue short-sleeve shirt showed that I was not overweight because I did not hide my body. It did nothing to persuade them.


The perception is that the Air Force is turning its back on active duty soldiers that have worn their bodies down through years of pounding the pavement through physical fitness regimes necessary to stay in shape to stay in the service. I am sure there are many other members in our AF that are on tramadol. In fact, I spoke to two MSgt's in my squadron that are currently on higher dosages of this medication that are not being MEB'd for using their medication as prescribed.


So logic would follow, why isn't the AF targeting all military members who are on the lowest of all Schedule IV medication? We take a prescription given to us by a doctor that is used responsibly to manage chronic pain and then this very medication is used as rational to kick us out of the military after earning 45% of our retirement. Remember, we are talking about Discharge With Severance Pay (DWS), not a medical retirement. No healthcare for me or my 4 dependents, one of whom is in the EFMP program and will need medical care the rest of her life.


Moving forward, I am going to do a congressional inquiry in conjunction with the SAFPC appeal. I am also going to contact a national media outlet to tell them my story so that we can shed national light on what the AF is currently doing to its military members who have been serving their country honorably and are nearing retirement.


I do this not out of anger, but to hopefully protect and help those that meet the FPEB in the future. There is a serious flaw in the logic they apply and the lack of accountability that the board members are held to when making their decision.


More to follow and I will keep this post updated as I go through each step such as the media interview and the congressional inquiry.


Thanks for your time.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Update: Just received the Form 356 as I had just spoken to my lawyer about it on the telephone. I read it and found that they added a medication that I do not take all. Zanaflex was prescribed 7 months ago to help muscle spasms. The board said I take this nightly, which is 100% false. About a year ago I took it at nights about twice a week but did not like the drowsiness it caused. I asked the doctor to remove me from it. The FPEB did not ask me about it's use and merely consulted a medical record that was printed off in September. Anyways, I will be off all medication and just take Tylenol and Motrin from here on out. NOTE: Military members: even your non-narcotic medication will be used against you! Advice heading into a FPEB if you are trying to RTD...get off all medication other than Motrin!
 

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#13
I'm going to remove my SSN from the Form 356 and post it. I'm also going to post my email traffic showing request to have ALL restrictions lifted.

The reason is that the FPEB stated that I basically lied because they found a note in April in the system stating I was requesting a no pushup exemption. My email traffic proves this too be 100% false. I WAS on a no push-up profile and requested to be removed because I was planning on doing a full PT test. Why would I be asking for a pushup restriction? The Form 356 made no mention that I deployed with this medication and used the fact that I wasn't off the medication prior to coming down to the board. I stated I needed to have the doctor remove me from the medication in a safe manner. Well, guess my medical health doesn't matter because I just terminated it completely today. I can't believe the board can outright lie and leave out crucial details that would at least posture me for success when appealing to SAFPC. Shocking!
 
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MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#15
The board briefs you that it is a fact finding body. However, they skew facts to fit the outcome they choose and choose to leave out facts that can help a military member win an appeal at SAFPC.

For instance, I hit 18 years in 21 days...rather than state that I am almost at 18 years, they say I am over 17 years. I get penalized for testing on all components even though I have email proof showing I'm asking for restrictions to be lifted. They erroneously state I'm asking for a push up exemption in April after seeing a "note" in the system thereby implying that I lied to them? I'm beyond bewildered by the process. Congressional inquiry needed!
 

Fran0609

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#16
I had the same experience. I just started seeing a new neurologist, and he acknowledged that my previous neurologist did not utilize all meds before starting me on botox. Now mind you, I just started seeing this new neurologist and he has a very different plan of care for me. They haven't even allowed me to give this one a chance and are using it against me that he decided his first step was to see if I had Occipital neuralgia rather than plain migraines. So in doing that, he gave me the botox, but did a nerve block to see how I would respond and to confirm the OC (which would follow a different treatment). They used that against me! They also used it against me that I hadn't tried a new medication since starting botox.. how can I if I am not being prescribed anything else? I cant control that this neurologist didn't feel like botox was a big deal and that he provided this same treatment to many of his active duty pts with no problem.

They used it against me when I said the few meds I had tried before botox didn't work because they just made me too sleepy. Now, I work in the medical field, take care of pt's. How and why would I take a medication that I know has a side effect of causing drowsiness when I am at work taking care of pts? What responsible provider would do that? But they wrote it up like "she is often sleepy from her oral medications, therefore we have no confidence that oral medications would work if she came off botox." Its not that they don't work, its just that I decided I could take care of a pt better with a migraine than I could being drowsy at work from taking a oral med when I had a migraine!

I do not feel that the boards are set up to be truthful and fair. They do not take into consideration the whole person at all. It is meant to be an attack on you, because they have access to medical records and use them against you at all cost. I am very disappointed in how this system is set up.
 

Fran0609

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#17
I also don't get how we are set up with an attorney just a day before our board is to start, and expect this person to adequately defend us. I know I did not get any preparation, I did not sit down and look through medical records to see what kind of strategy to use against potential questions they would ask me. I mean, realistically, these attorneys don't know you or your history enough to prepare you for success on these formal boards..
 

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#18
I also don't get how we are set up with an attorney just a day before our board is to start, and expect this person to adequately defend us. I know I did not get any preparation, I did not sit down and look through medical records to see what kind of strategy to use against potential questions they would ask me. I mean, realistically, these attorneys don't know you or your history enough to prepare you for success on these formal boards..
We are just treated as numbers. We get an attorney so the FPEB can check a box saying we were represented. This whole process is an absolute shame and I'm going to go as high as possible to get this sorted out. I will not stop fighting!
 

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#19
I am just keeping this post fresh on everyone's mind who may be reading it. I am moving forward with a congressional inquiry in conjunction with my appeal to SAFPC.


The bottom line is that the FPEB is flawed. The reason I state this is that the AF 356 cannot be corrected once written. The AF Form 356 is the summary that the FPEB comes to when documenting your fit or unfit status. I asked my lawyer how we can correct factual errors on the form. My lawyer stated there is no mechanism in place to rebut factual errors once the FPEB has written their response on the Form 356.


Read that carefully... even a Letter of Reprimand or Letter of Counseling allows you 3 duty days to offer a rebuttal for small administrative actions that can impact your career. However, the Form 356, one of the most important documents in your military career, does not offer you an avenue to rebut factual errors? Why can you not offer new supporting evidence to aid in their fact finding mission? How is this even legal to not allow it? If an official form is being used to determine whether you stay in the military has erroneous information on it, there absolutely must be a way for it to be corrected to be fact. How can the FPEB allow factual errors to occur and not offer military an avenue to rebut these errors?


The response that I will more than likely be told is that I should just fight it first at SAFPC and then at the Board for Corrections of Military Records. We know that SAFPC takes 3-6 months before they even look at your case. I also know that they will be looking at the Form 356 which is the very form containing factual errors. This form will influence their decision to return to me to duty. I was told by my lawyer that Board for Corrections of Military Records can change an outcome of erroneous facts. However, this means I could very well be discharged from the military as a result of errors in facts on the Form 356. Dare I say alternative facts?


I will fight to pave the way to give future Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guard and Airmen the avenue to rebut factual errors on the Form 356 PRIOR to it being routed to SAFPC. I can honestly say we are all the 1% of the total U.S. population that chose to serve our country. We do not deserve to be tossed aside after we have worn our bodies down fighting for this great nation. I will personally ensure that we are not forgotten with the help of our congress and leaders in the Air Force that realize there is a serious flaw in the FPEB process.
 

MSgt Martin

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#20
I feel your pain, I've been fighting to get off this for the past year, doing whatever it takes to get off this. I've been cleared by my doctor and ran a full PT component with a passing passing score. I ruptured my achilles in 2014 and have been struggling to get back. I have submitted everything this past week and I've been waiting at the edge of my seat for a decision in the hopes that I wouldn't need to go in front of the board, but nothing. I have given them Commander's letters three different doctors letters and references from chiefs and other officers. Now I have to fly down on Monday and fight to save my career. I only have a 1.5 year left to finish my AGR your. All I'm asking for is to be allowed to finish my time properly. Good luck, probably see you down there
What was your outcome?
 
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