Communications re: Medical Records of deceased serviceman

Diane L Junk filed this request with the Minot Air Force Base of the United States of America.
Tracking #

2021-00103-A

2021-01630-F

Status
Completed

Communications

From: Diane L Junk


To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:

All materials and communications (sent and received) regarding Master Sergeant Brian Charley Riley, who was pronounced dead on December 17, 2019 at his off-base housing (105 22nd ST. NW, Minot, ND 58703). Please include all communications related to his service, service treatment, medical records, his death, and the release of his records.

Please consider as responsive the following materials and communications related to MSgt Riley: files, office notes, regular and "special" delivery" mail, phone calls, memorandums, texts, emails.

Please search at the very least the following offices:
• Judge Advocate General
• 5th Medical Group staff
• the USAF Inspector General, Deputy Commander, Major Julie L Menegay
• Col. Lisa M Bader - head of the 5th Medical Group
• any other relevant personnel at Minot Air Force Base including Chapel Ministries

This FOIA Request is being sent by the Mother and Primary Next of Kin of MSgt Brian Charles Riley

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Diane L Junk

From: Minot Air Force Base

Good Afternoon,

I need some more information to complete your request.

To aid in the search for the members records quickly, Can you send his DOB and SSN?

A date range of records to be searched?

Willingness to pay all fees associated to this request? (First 2 hrs of search time and first 100 pages are free)

Lastly, I spoke to the base Casualty and Mortuary Affairs on base about this case, due to you not being listed as MSgt Rileys Person Authorized to Direct Disposition (PADD) of his remains, they are unable to give any information on his death, service, or any correspondence as requested, along with any other records that they may hold. Knowing this information, do you still wish to proceed with this request?

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you

//SIGNED//
VERONICA K. MORRIS, TSgt, USAF
NCOIC, Knowledge Management
DSN: 453-2084
Comm: 701-723-2084

From: Diane L Junk

In reply to TSgt Morris:

"Can you send his DOB and SSN?
Brian Charles Riley
26 June 1982
Greenville, PA 16125
SSN: 200-62-3275

"A date range of records to be searched?":
All Medical Records for his entire employment in the USAF from 29 May 2002 - current.
All Communications regarding not releasing his medical records to the STR Processing Center, San Antonio, TX from 15 Dec 2019 -current
All Communications regarding my son, not just his medical records, from 31 August 2018 when he reported for duty at Minot AFB - current including communication regarding the Investigation into his Suicide.

"Willingness to pay all fees associated to this request? (First 2 hrs of search time and first 100 pages are free)"
As the Primary Next of Kin and the Mother of the deceased, any fees associated with this FOIA request should be nonexistent.

"Lastly, I spoke to the base Casualty and Mortuary Affairs on base about this case, due to you not being listed as MSgt Rileys Person Authorized to Direct Disposition (PADD) of his remains, they are unable to give any information on his death, service, or any correspondence as requested, along with any other records that they may hold. Knowing this information, do you still wish to proceed with this request?"

A PADD or Person Authorized to Direct Disposition of Human Remains is just that. It is a USAF form "to direct" who my son wanted to handle the disposition of his carcass - nothing else. This military form does not direct or entitle the USAF to deny the mother of the deceased his medical records which include the disposition of his cremains. My son was unmarried and had no children. Certainly, I wish them to proceed and release his records.

Thank you,
Diane L Junk

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

TSgt Morris is currently out of the office and I am assisting with your FOIA request.

My sincere apology regarding the loss of your son.

I will get the ball rolling on your request and keep you updated on the status.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

Please find the attached FOIA acknowledgment letter for your recent FOIA request.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Diane L Junk

Diane L Junk
MuckrockNews
DEPT MR 108618
411A Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02144-2516

Ginney L Jones, GS-09, DAFC
Freedom of Information Act Manager
870 Bomber Blvd Suite 114
Minot AFB, ND 58704-5053

Ms. Jones,

I am in receipt of your 2 March 2021 correspondence.

Specifically, I have issue with two items in your correspondence.

First:
“We understand you have identified yourself as next of kin, however – according to our 5 BW/JA legal team, we will not be able to provide any records protected by HIPPA. Please follow the previous direction provided by the legal team, you were in contact with last year, who acknowledged your request and provided legal recommendation on how to further pursue medical and HIPPA related records for your son.”

In response to that, I am submitting SF-180 for the 8th time. Enclosed please find SF-180, and a copy of my son’s Death Certificate. In case there is any confusion over the Mother’s Name on the Death Certificate, I am voluntarily submitting a copy of my Resumption of Maiden Name, following divorce. My daughter, Stephanie Lynn Riley Hannan, knows full well what my middle name is because it is also hers. She was in error as “the informant” on the Death Certificate.

I cannot “follow the previous direction provided by the legal team” at Minot, because they are not complying with the HIPPA laws.

SF-180 IS a HIPPA Compliant Military Legal Document used to receive Medical Records of a deceased Veteran. I repeat that my son was pronounced dead on 17 Dec 2019.

On SF-180, (Standard Form -180, or Request Pertaining to Military Records) you will notice in Section 2, Item #1, the Medical Records box is checked. Also, Section III, Item 2. The box that is checked reads: I am the DECEASED VETERAN’S NEXT – OF – KIN (MUST submit Proof of Death. See item 2a on instruction sheet.) I identified myself as the Mother

From the instruction sheet, Item 2a: “If the former member is deceased, the surviving next-of-kin may be any of the following: unremarried surviving spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, sister, or brother.
Requesters MUST provide proof of death, such as a copy of the death certificate, newspaper article (obituary) or death notice, coroner’s report of death, funeral director’s signed statement of death or verdict of coroner’s jury.”

My next issue is:
“Your request for a fee waiver remains TBD.”

On SF-180’s Instruction Sheet, Item #2b reads: Fees for records: There is no charge for most services provided to service members or next-of-kin of deceased veterans.

Sincerely,

Diane L Junk

ENCL: SF-180- completed with the accompanying Instruction Sheet
Death Certificate of Brian Charles Riley
Resumption of Maiden Name of Diane L Junk

From: Diane L Junk

3 uploads at a time prevented me from sending the last piece of documentation, My Resumption of Maiden Name. I will upload it now.

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

I will share all of what you have provided with our legal team here at Minot AFB.

I will keep you informed as your case moves forward.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Diane L Junk

Thank you.

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

One more question please: since your son passed on 12/17/2019, are you sure you don’t want to adjust the search date of your request to begin on that date? I’m simply suggesting this, because we have to do our best to accommodate the search date of the requester and there may be documents of importance that were actually generated that same day. Just a suggestion.

Please confirm one way or another.

Original search date that shows for your request is 12/19/2019 to 12/31/2019.

We are making progress, but felt it was necessary to check on this matter once more.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Diane L Junk

Ms. Jones,

You are in error stating "Original search date that shows for your request is 12/19/2019 to 12/31/2019."

Here are the Original Search Dates that I requested:
1. All Medical Records for his entire employment in the USAF from 29 May 2002 - current.
2. All Communications regarding not releasing his medical records to the STR Processing Center, San Antonio, TX from 15 Dec 2019 -
current.
3. All Communications regarding my son, not just his medical records, from 31 August 2018 when he reported for duty at Minot AFB -
current, including communication regarding the Investigation into his Suicide.

That should clear up the matter.
Thank you,
Diane L Junk.

From: Minot Air Force Base

Understood. Readjusting search scope for requested documents.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

Yes, we are still working your FOIA request.

We are presently waiting on final legal review of the proposed releasable records we have found. Once legal review is completed, the last stop will be the final review/release recommendation from our duty base commander.

Our new estimated completion date is: 23 April 2021 (hopefully).

Thanks for your patience.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Minot Air Force Base

A fix is required to perfect the request.

From: Diane L Junk

My request for the Medical Records of MSgt Brian Charles Riley was improperly denied for 4 reasons. I am submitting 4 documents that prove this denial wasn't justified.

Brian D. Vlaun, Col, USAF states on page 2 of his communication the reason for his denial of my request for my son's Medical Records. I quote: "They however, are unable to provide MSgt Riley's Medical Records due to you (my) not being listed as next-of-kin on the members (his grammatical error, not mine) last updated virtual record of emergency data (vRED)."

1. I am submitting a copy of my son's last vRED, dated 17 July 2019, which was included in his personnel records that were requested and received in early 2020, well over a year ago. I am listed as next-of-kin on that document. My married name was stated on the vRED and my physical address hasn't changed in over 20 years.

2. In addition, the USAF declared that I WAS Brian's PRIMARY Next-Of-Kin on their official document titled "Report of Casualty". Copy enclosed. I am singled out on that document as the "Primary Next of Kin" because I am the eldest of Brian's parents.

3. I am also submitting my son's Certification of Birth verifying my Maiden Name.

4. I submitted with my FOIA request a Court Document that showed my Resumption of Maiden Name years after my divorce was finalized. I am providing that document again. It verifies both my Married Name and my Maiden Name.

Kindly note that MuckRock only permits 3 uploads at a time, so the 4th upload, “Resumption of Maiden Name”, will be uploaded after I submit this appeal.

Thank you,
Diane L Junk

Attached:
1. vRED
2. Report of Casualty
3. Brian's Certification of Birth
4. Resumption of Maiden Name (in separate upload)

From: Diane L Junk

Attached is the 4th reason why my FOIA request for my son's Medical Records should not have been denied. A court document titled: Resumption of Maiden Name.

Diane L Junk
129 Plum Street
Greenville, PA 16125
The Mother and Primary Next-Of-Kin of MSgt Brian Charles Riley

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

Your FOIA case has been closed. Is the purpose of your recent email an appeal?

Reasons why you disagree with the final response have been provided, however “appeal” was not mentioned in your email correspondence.

Please clarify.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

Please disregard the previous email. I re-read your previous email and caught the word “appeal” at the very end of the email. Sorry about that.

We will open an appeal and keep you posted on the status.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

Please find the attached FOIA Appeal acknowledgement letter – 2021-00103-A.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Diane L Junk

I cannot open your acknowledgement using a Brave Browser or a Tor Browser.
You will have to mail it to
Diane L Junk
129 Plum Street
Greenville, PA 16125

Below are the copy/paste of the Warnings.
Thank you.

Warning: Potential Security Risk Ahead

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From: Minot Air Force Base

Ma’am,

Per your request, the acknowledgement letter for your Appeal has been mailed – today.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Diane L Junk

Thank you, Ginny! God's Blessings to you.

From: Minot Air Force Base

You’re very welcome.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Diane L Junk

Today, 17 July 2021, I received by USPS, a communication from Melinda J Arbogast, GS-11, DAFC the Casualty Assistance Representative for my son, MSgt Brian Charles Riley. She sent me an UPDATED & INCORRECT DD FORM 1300 - Report of Casualty; with a copy of DD FORM 1300, which was so blurry that I couldn't read page two.

I am attaching a copy of her letter and a copy of my email response to her pointing out her error and requesting a corrected copy. Attached to my encrypted email was 4 pieces of supporting documentation for her to make that correction to the Report of Casualty. The Error she made was the incorrect spelling of my legal name. The legal documentation that I submitted to her was my Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, Resumption of Maiden Name and my son's Birth Certificate. You already have been given Brian's Birth Certificate, Resumption of Maiden Name, and the Report of Casualty dated 18 Dec 2019.

With this update to my Appeal, I will be uploading the following:
1. Letter dated 13 July 2021 from Melinda J Arbogast, Casualty Assistance Rep
2. My email reply to MS Arbogast dated today, 17 July 2021 (2 pages)

Since there is a limit on the documentation that can be uploaded at one time, I will submit with the next "Follow Up" the final 3 pieces of proof of my current legal name, which was also my legal name at the time of my son's suicide. Those 3 documents will be my Marriage Certificate, My Divorce Decree and The Report of Casualty, which was updated to 9 July 2021 and is still incorrect.

Thank you,
Diane L Junk
129 Plum Street
Greenville, PA 16125

From: Diane L Junk

As my last communication stated, here are the final 3 pieces of proof of my current legal name, which was also my legal name at the time of my son's suicide.
Those 3 documents will be my Marriage Certificate, My Divorce Decree and The Report of Casualty, which was updated to 9 July 2021 and is still incorrect.

Thank you,
Diane L Junk
129 Plum Street
Greenville, PA 16125

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

We are still proceeding with your FOIA Appeal (2021-00103-A), here at Minot AFB.

Unfortunately, the concerns you have with the information you’ve shared in your email below is out of our jurisdiction. You’ll need to address your concerns with the information that was given to you back to the originator.

Once, again we are processing your FOIA Appeal. Any problems with documents that were given to you by another agency will have to be addressed with them directly.

Appeals can result in a lengthy process and timeline. We appreciate your patience.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Diane L Junk

Ms Jones,

I'm going to upload proof that I mailed "The Originator" of incorrect documentation (happened twice), the Casualty Assistance Officer, Melinda J Arbogast who's mailing address is 2475 Defense Ave, Coraopolis, PA 15108.

Not only did she update DD Form 1300 incorrectly, but she sent a Line of Duty Determination, AF Form 348 which was poorly copied and I couldn't read page two of that document. I asked her to correct both, DD Form 1300, "Final Report of Casualty" and to re-copy and mail AF Form 348.

The Informant, my daughter, Stephanie Riley Hannan, submitted incorrect information to the North Dakota Department of Health for Brian's Certification of Death. I am having that corrected at well. I find it amazing that the informant was not subject to verification of data.

Thank you for your patience.
Diane L Junk

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ma’am,

Sorry for the delay with your FOIA appeal. I am reaching out to our base Legal office (who is currently reviewing the case) and asking them for status. I’ll let you know.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

From: Diane L Junk

Thank you for your update, Ms Jones.

In the course of getting my son's death certificate corrected I have been informed by TAPS that my son's Medical Records were sent to San Antonio and I could submit, for the 10th time, SF-180. Minot AFB assured him that I would be able to receive them, so I did. Last week I was informed that his records were not in San Antonio (and most likely were never sent there) by Brian's casualty assistance officer. She said that his records were sent to the National Personnel Records Center. Do I believe yet another lie?

None the less, this FOIA request is for who talked/text/email/answer machine, etc., to who between Minot AFB, STR Records Processing Center, Inspector General of USAF, etc. Perhaps I will learn the truth.

Again, thanks for the update,
Diane L Junk
129 Plum Street
Greenville, PA 16125

From: Minot Air Force Base

Ms. Junk,

Please find the attached Appeal closure letter and releasable records that support your Appeal request. After a second look, these are the only additional records found at Minot AFB.

Please let us know if this satisfies your appeal. If so, we will close it.

If not, we will have to refer it to a higher agency.

Thank you for your patience with this process. We hope this will help provide further understanding regarding the limitations of providing the records you are seeking.

v/r,

Ms. Ginney Jones
Minot AFB Base Records Manager/FOIA/PA
5 CS/SCXR
Minot AFB, ND 58705
DSN: 453-7542
Comm: (701) 723-7542

5 CS-Records Management email dl: 5 CS/SCXR Records Management
5 CS-Minot FOIA dl: minot.foia@us.af.mil

Records Management info:
https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/Minot/wing/5bw/5msg/5cs/scx/KMC%20Schedule/SitePages/Records%20Management%20Site.aspx

  • Tab 4 - Appeal releasable (2) Riley vRED - 17 July 19_EMPHASIS_Redacted 2_Redacted

  • Tab 4 - Appeal releasable (1) 5 MUNS email explaining vRED_Redacted

  • IDA Appeal letter - Final - Signed

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