Woman Wins Fight to Fix Navy Discharge Record

By Jackie Bensen
|  Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013  |  Updated 8:34 AM EDT
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A woman discharged from the Navy three years ago after failing to disclose she had taken a pain reliever after surgery has succeeding in getting her record fixed.

Jim Handly

A woman discharged from the Navy three years ago after failing to disclose she had taken a pain reliever after surgery has succeeding in getting her record fixed.

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A  Maryland woman has won the fight to clear her name after being discharged from the Navy.

The U.S. Navy gave 23-year-old Graciela Saraiva  an "other than honorable" discharge three years ago after she tested positive for codeine. But the Montgomery County resident appealed the decision, arguing that the test was positive because she forgot to disclose she took a pain medication containing codeine after a root canal.

"When I made the transfer, I went to a civilian dentist, and so it was my responsibility to let them know what I was taking," Saraiva said. "It just slipped my mind, completely."

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After reviewing her documentation from her physician, an appeals board ruled in her favor and simply recommended she be reprimanded for failing to disclose the pain medication. The Navy, which has final say in such matters, denied that appeal. 

Her story gained national attention and a Change.org petition.

According to The Gazette, the Navy changed its mind earlier this month.

“As of November 22, the Board for Correction of Naval Records has been directed to change Ms. Saraiva’s reenlistment code to a code of RE-1, which allows Ms. Saraiva the opportunity to apply to re-enlist in the armed services,” Sarah M. Flaherty, a naval spokeswoman, told The Gazette.

Saraiva says she is thinking about re-enlisting in the Naval Reserves.

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