Army Grade Determination Review Board

The AGDRB determines the highest grade in which a Soldier served satisfactorily. A "satisfactory" determination of service at a particular grade has pay implications in three types of cases:

  1. Advancement on the retired list for enlisted Soldiers and warrant officers who previously held a higher grade after 30 years combined service on the active duty and retired lists (see application procedure below),

  2. Retiring officers above the grade of warrant officer who have been the subject of adverse information since their last promotion (see information at the end of this page), or

  3. Disability separations and retirements (see information at the end of this page).

Advancement on the Retired List after 30 Years on Active Duty and the Retired Lists - Application Procedures

Who May Apply

Under the provisions of Title 10, United States Code section 3964 (10 USC §3964), if you are an enlisted (E-1 through E-9) or warrant officer (W-1 through W-5) retiree with less than thirty years of active service who previously held a higher grade, you can apply for advancement to that higher grade on the retired list.  This applies to former members of the Regular Army, and reserve members of the Army who were serving on active duty at the time of regular retirement.  In the case of members of the National Guard, full-time National Guard duty is considered active duty.  Those who retired as a commissioned officer above a warrant grade (O-1 through O-10) are not eligible.

In order to be advanced on the retired list to the highest grade held satisfactorily, you had to have actually held that higher grade.  Simply stated, you must have been promoted to, paid in that grade, and served at that grade for the required statutory or regulatory time.  Merely serving in, “acting as” or holding a position or job title authorized a higher grade is not sufficient.  If you were an enlisted member or a warrant officer and also held a reserve commission, you may be eligible for advancement on the retired list if you served on active duty in that higher commissioned officer rank for the required statutory or regulatory period of time.  For example, if a retired E-7 during his or her career on active duty also served on active duty in his or her reserve status for more than thirty consecutive days as a W-1 through W-5, or at least six months as an O-1 through O-4, or at least three years as an O-5 or above, then the retiree may be eligible for advancement on the retired list.  However, a retired enlisted Soldier who held a reserve commission while serving on active duty in the Regular Army in an enlisted status (sometimes referred to as “dual status”), is not eligible for advancement [to the Reserve Officer grade unless they served in the officer grade on active duty] absent the required service on active duty in the officer status.

When to Apply

You should submit your application when you reach a total of 30 years time on active duty plus time on the retired list. Although Army Regulation 15-80 allows applications to be submitted prior to reaching the 30-year point when misconduct is not an issue, neither the Human Resources Command nor the Defense Finance and Accounting Service have a suspense system that can accommodate early applications.

How to Apply

If you qualify under 10 USC '3964, you should request a review by the AGDRB. A sample application letter is in the link below.

Mail your application letter to the Army Review Boards Agency, AGDRB, 251 18th Street South, Suite 385, Arlington, VA 22202-35318. The AGDRB, consisting of three field grade officers, will convene to determine the highest grade you served satisfactorily while on active duty. Since you are not entitled to appear in person before the AGDRB, you should attach a copy of any relevant documents you have.

If the AGDRB decides to advance you on the retired list, your resulting increase in retired pay will be retroactive to the date you became eligible; that is, the thirty-year mark, not back to the date of retirement or the date of your application. The thirty-year mark is the date you accumulated thirty years of combined active duty service and time on the retired list. Active duty service does NOT include Section 1405 service.

Non-Regular Retirees

For those who will be receiving non-regular retired pay based on service in a Reserve Component, AR 135-180 authorizes the US Army Human Resources Command to make final determinations on the highest grade served when reduction was not due to misconduct, inefficiency or for cause. If you will be receiving non-regular retired pay and you were reduced for other reasons, such as a down-grade of your position or a reduction in rank caused by a reduction in force or transfer between positions, you should write to: Commander; US Army Human Resources Command, ATTN: AHRC-PDR-RCR, 1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Dept 420, Ft. Knox, KY 40122-5402 when you apply for non-regular retired pay Your letter should explain the circumstances surrounding your promotions and "demotions," the grade at which you retired, and the highest grade you held. You should also include a copy of any supporting documentation that you may have, such as promotion orders, reduction orders, and DD Forms 214. Please include your full name, social security number and if applicable, your service number. If you are receiving non-regular retired pay and you believe your retired pay should be based on a higher grade, you can apply to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) for a correction. Information on the ABCMR is contained on this website.

Retiring Officers Above the Grade of Warrant Officer Who Have Been the Subject of Adverse Information Since Their Last Promotion

An officer above the rank of warrant officer retires in the highest grade satisfactorily served, not necessarily the grade held the day before placement on the retired list.

When an officer applies for retirement, HRC reviews the officer's file to see if there is any adverse information generated since the officer's last promotion. If there is, AR 15-80 requires HRC to refer the officer's case to the AGDRB. Even if there is no adverse information in the OMPF, the officer's command or branch can refer the officer for a grade determination if there is adverse information reflecting conduct since the last promotion that is not required to be filed in the OMPF. The AGDRB will notify the officer what information the AGDRB will consider and provide the officer an opportunity to submit matters in support of retiring in their current grade. The officer does not have a right to appear before the AGDRB.

Disability Separations and Retirements

A Soldier separating for a physical disability receives severance or retired pay based on the highest of (1) the pay grade at time of separation, (2) the highest grade satisfactorily served, or (3) the grade to which the Soldier had been approved for promotion. If the Soldier is not serving in his or her highest grade or on an approved promotion list to what would have been the highest grade, the Physical Disability Agency forwards the disability case to the AGDRB for a determination of whether the Soldier served satisfactorily at a higher grade.

If you were medically retired or separated in a lower grade without the benefit of a review by the AGDRB, then you should apply for correction of military records by completing a DD Form 149 and mailing it, along with a copy of any relevant documents you may have, to the address listed on the back of the form. The Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR) has jurisdiction to correct errors or injustices, and can act in place of the AGDRB in these cases