Citation Nr: 18154175
Decision Date: 11/29/18	Archive Date: 11/29/18

DOCKET NO. 16-50 609
DATE:	November 29, 2018
The issue of entitlement to service connection for back disability is remanded.
A DD Form 214 documents that the appellant had a period of active duty for training (ACDUTRA) between March and July 2009.
This case comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal of a rating decision by a regional office (RO) of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  
The issue of entitlement to service connection for back disability is remanded.
A remand of the issue on appeal is warranted for additional development and medical inquiry.
First, the RO should attempt to clarify in the record the appellant’s periods of service.  It is not clear whether she served on any periods of active duty, on periods of ACDUTRA in addition to the March to July 2009 ACDUTRA, and if and when she served on inactive duty training (INACDUTRA).  
Second, she should undergo VA compensation examination.  The evidence indicates that she has a current lower back disability, and indicates that she experienced back pain during service.  See McLendon v. Nicholson, 20 Vet. App. 79 (2006).  Moreover, the examiner should provide an opinion regarding the appellant’s claims that service caused a back disability and aggravated a pre-service back disability.  
The matter is REMANDED for the following action:
1. Document in the record any periods of active duty, ACDUTRA, and/or INACDUTRA.    
2. After the foregoing development has been completed, schedule an examination to determine the nature and etiology of any back disability.  After reviewing the claims file, interviewing the appellant, and examining her, the examiner should answer the following questions.  
(a.) What are the appellant’s current back disabilities?
(b.) Is it at least as likely as not (i.e., probability of 50 percent or greater) that a lower back disability is due to a specific injury during a period of active duty, ACDUTRA, or INACDUTRA?
(c.) If the answer to (b) is negative because the examiner determines that a back disability existed prior to service: 
(i)	Is it at least as likely as not that the pre-service back disability increased in severity during service?  If not, do not answer (ii) below.  
(ii)	If so, is it clear and unmistakable (i.e., undebatable) that the pre-service back disability WAS NOT aggravated (i.e., permanently worsened) by service?  In other words, is it clear and unmistakable that any increase in severity during service of the pre-service back disability was due to the natural progress of the disorder?        
In answering (a) through (c), consider and discuss medical evidence indicating that the appellant injured her back in automobile accidents prior to service; service treatment records noting limitations during service due to back disability; the appellant’s August 2016 lay assertions indicating that physical training exercises, marches with heavy backpacks, and being pushed against a wall by a senior enlisted person, caused or aggravated a back disorder; and the August 2016 statement from a Platoon Sergeant who attests to witnessing the appellant struggle with back disability during service.   
(Continued on the next page)
Please explain in detail any opinion provided.
Acting Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	J. Wade, Associate Counsel

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