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When Navy and Marine Corps members receive their initial PEB findings, they often wonder why IPEB  members failed to find a given condition unfitting or combat-related.  The brief rationale accompanying Navy IPEB decisions rarely sheds much light on these subjects. However, reviewing the Navy PEB TRIM file- the official PEB case file- will often disclose the answers to these questions. In some cases, the PEB may be unaware of changes in your medical condition (s).  This will be readily apparent by reviewing what records were contained within the MEB case file and which are missing. But, another document in the TRIM file is worth its weight in gold- the Voting Packet.  This document comprises the written notes of the IPEB members regarding how they determined whether a condition was unfitting, combat-related, and medically stable.  It is also the first document most FPEB members review when preparing for a formal hearing.  By studying this document, you and your attorney will gain valuable insights allowing you to reverse engineer the case to overcome any obstacles during your FPEB hearing.  Interestingly, the Navy is the only service requiring its PEB staff to maintain these notes.  So, your choice is simply- to use this tool to your advantage or to ignore it at your peril.


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