23 April - I finish check-out from Memphis, and proceed to PSD New London for final separation processing. There are numerous issues with my Form DD 214, the piece of paper that officially affirms my separation from active duty. But one stands above all others. The form shows me being separated at paygrade E-5, but without mention of my selection for advancement to E-6. WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT? I point this out, and the separation clerk informs me that she needs the exam scores. I don't have them, and the guy who can look them up isn't available, so she tells me to come back...the following Tuesday. Five days. Argh.
28 April - I return to PSD, armed with a copy of my advancement profile sheet, as well as the certificates from my two NAMs. These come in handy, as the guy who looks the advancement scores up is still unavailable, and my NAMs weren't listed on the form. Thanks to what I brought, the facts are placed on the form. I am satisfied, and I sign it out. Thinking the question of my advancement status is settled, I stop checking with the Navy Advancement Center.
1 May - The NAC posts an new profile, indicating that I am slated to be officially advanced to E-6 on 16 May, just two days before my EAOS. Since I have stopped checking, I do not discover this fact.
19 May - at 0000Q, I pass through to the "ultimate awesome" of the civilian corps. Nine minutes later, I drop my military ID into a mailbox, in the hope of expediting the arrival of my Form DD 214.
23 May - I am poking around on myPay, and I notice something weird on my final LES...it lists my paygrade as E-6. Alarm bells and red flags are prominent in my brain. I immediately check back with the Navy Advancement Center, and discover that I was a first class when I got out. The paperwork I signed doesn't reflect this, and is therefore woefully inaccurate. And it's Memorial Day weekend; PSD won't be open until the following Tuesday. That day has another name - the opening day of the Post-Navy Roadtrip. I do care about this serious faux pas, but I am NOT delaying the trip to deal with it.
28 June - I arrive home in Northport from the trip, to an envelope from Groton postmarked in early June. It contains all the relevant separation paperwork, including the erroneous DD 214 I signed nearly two months prior. This must get fixed, and I resolve to employ all necessary means to make that happen.
29 June - I write a letter to PSD New London, in balanced language. I had to be respectful - but at the same time, I had to make clear that I was not requesting that they fix this thing - I was expecting it. With this letter, I enclose a copy of the profile sheet that should prove to be conclusive evidence of my case. That same day, I posted to Facebook that I was "preparing to fight," in the battle that I described in the subject of this post. I also said there that you would find "coverage exclusively on ESPN8, 'The Ocho.'"
I cannot overestimate my resolve to get this fixed. As I told my former co-worker Veez, "the tentacles of the Navy's incompetence reach even beyond my enlistment's grave." I may be a civilian now, but this drew me back to so many things inherent to the Navy. I dropped my expectations to the appropriate level - that is to say, expect the worst possible outcome, and be surprised when it doesn't come to pass. I had researched some things, and was bracing myself for the possibility of having to file a DD 149 with the Board for Correction of Naval Records - and that would have been a VERY long process. I had begun drafting letters to my elected representatives in my head. In short, I expected the Navy to make this hard for me - in fact, as hard as possible. And then...
6 July - I come home from doing laundry to a letter-sized manila envelope. This can't be...can it? I open the envelope...and it is. A signed, sealed, and delivered DD 215, correcting my 214 to reflect the truth of my separation at paygrade E-6. Unbelievable. The Navy makes it easy? What's next, letting Sailors assume normal adult responsibilities in liberty ports?
In all seriousness, BIG props to PSD New London for resolving this using the method simplest for all parties involved. My opinion of the Navy is just slightly less colored...