RECORDS AVAILABLE FROM MILITARY ARCHIVES
We have talked about the definition of MST, some of the difficulties faced with these cases, and various ways you can help to prove your claim using credible secondary evidence. The following contains information regarding how you might locate records pertaining to MST events previously reported on military bases that could potentially provide irrefutable evidence of an occurrence.
We recently handled a case for a veteran who had suffered from an event involving MST caused by the actions of a superior officer in the U.S. Army. At the time of the event, the veteran, fortunately, reported the incident to the Military Police at the base. But because it had been more than five years since the incident had occurred, the records were no longer at the military base. (Typically, the Military Police will retain the records for a period of five years at the base location. After that, the records are sent to the U.S. Army Crime Records Center archives in Quantico, Virginia.)
It was fairly easy to request the records from the Army’s Crime Records Center (CRC). The Privacy Act request form is available at the CRC’s website: http://www.cid.army.mil/crc.html. It must be sent along with a legible copy of the requester’s government issued photo ID and can be mailed or faxed to the CRC. Their website notes that if your request is in support of a VA claim, then you will get a more rapid response if you contact your VA representative (or attorney) and have their office fax your request to 571-305-4155 (CRC Records Division).
In this instance, we requested copies of a 1977 incident providing the veteran’s name, SSN, date of birth, contact information, an approximate date of the incident and a brief description of what occurred. (We did not have the exact date or even month of the incident but only used an approximation.) The completed form also had to be signed by the veteran. The veteran was very pleased to receive the results in about three weeks, and the report clearly supported his story of what had occurred. There was also no fee involved to obtain the report.
Other branches of the military also have websites indicating how to obtain criminal records from their archived sites:
U.S. Navy & U.S. Marines — NCIS FOIA Request
U.S. Air Force — http://www.foia.af.mil/
This is just one avenue to possibly use to help prove your claim. In prior articles, we have mentioned various other methods that might be beneficial as well as the elements necessary to prove a VA MST claim.