Types of Military Discharges – Understanding Discharge Ratings

There are many types of military discharges, including an honorable military discharge, general discharge, under other than honorable conditions, bad conduct discharge, dishonorable discharge, and entry-level separation. This guide explains the difference among these types of military discharge ratings.
Advertising Disclosure.

Advertiser Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone. This article may contain links from our advertisers. For more information, please see our Advertising Policy.

The Military Wallet has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. The Military Wallet and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Some or all of the card offers that appear on The Military Wallet are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear, but does not affect our editors’ opinions or evaluations. The Military Wallet does not include all card companies or all available card offers.

types of military dischargesU.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erick Requadt
Table of Contents
  1. Types of Military Discharges
  2. Administrative Separations
  3. How does the Administrative Separation Process Work?
    1. Honorable Discharge
    2. General Discharge
    3. Other Than Honorable Conditions (OTH) Discharge
  4. Punitive Separations
    1. Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD)
    2. Dishonorable Discharge
  5. Other Military Discharges
    1. Officer Discharge
    2. Entry-Level Separation (ELS)
    3. Medical Discharge
  6. How to Upgrade a Military Discharge
  7. How Military Discharge Information Should Be Used for Job Interviews

Many civilians assume people “retire” from the military when they leave the service, which isn’t always true. Receiving a discharge — or separation is not the same as military retirement.

When the military releases a member from their obligation to continue serving, it’s called a military discharge. A discharge relieves the veteran from any future military service obligations, whereas an individual in the retired reserve may be called back to active duty.

Types of Military Discharges

The type of military discharge a veteran receives will be listed on their DD-214 military discharge paperwork.

Separations can be voluntary or involuntary and may leave additional unfulfilled military service obligations the service member must carry out in the Individual Ready Reserve.

There are several types of military discharges, but they fall under two main categories for enlisted personnel, administrative separations (or ad-seps) and punitive discharges.

A punitive discharge can have a profound impact on a veteran’s ability to receive veterans benefits, serve in government employment, reenlist in the military, and more.

However, when your command recommends an involuntary separation through a non-judicial process, it is called an administrative separation.

Administrative Separations

An administrative separation can happen because of a minor offense to more serious offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), such as refusing to comply with the 2021 COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Similar to being fired in the private sector, an administrative separation can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Non-performance of duties or poor duty performance.
  • Insubordination.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Inability to meet weight, body composition, or fitness standards
  • A civilian criminal conviction
  • An officially filed memorandum of reprimand.
  • Repeated misconduct, which includes two or more minor disciplinary actions.


How does the Administrative Separation Process Work?

If your command issues an administrative separation, you will receive a written notification.

The written notice will outline your recommended characterization of service and the basis for the separation. Your rights will depend on how many years of service you have. It may also depend on the characterization of recommended service.

As a service member, you might be separated based on one of three categories:

  • Honorable
  • General
  • Other than Honorable

Honorable Discharge

If a military service member receives a good or excellent rating for their service time by exceeding standards for performance and personal conduct, they can receive an honorable discharge. You may be able to reenlist in the same or different branch of service or enter federal service if you received an honorable discharge.

General Discharge

A service member may receive a general discharge under honorable conditions if their performance is satisfactory, but the individual failed to meet all expectations of conduct for military members.

To receive a general discharge from the military, there has to be some form of nonjudicial punishment to correct unacceptable military behavior or failure to meet military standards.

The discharging officer must give the reason for the discharge in writing, and the military member must sign paperwork stating they understand the reason for their discharge. Veterans may not be eligible for certain veterans’ benefits under a general discharge, including the GI Bill.

Likewise, a member might be unable to reenlist or enter a different branch of the service.

Other Than Honorable Conditions (OTH) Discharge

An “other than honorable conditions” or OTH discharge is the most severe kind you can get without a court martial. It follows a pattern of significant departure from behavior, omission, or conduct expected of military members.

Some examples of actions that could lead to an other than honorable discharge include security violations, use of violence, conviction by a civilian court with a sentence including prison time, or being found guilty of adultery in a divorce hearing (this list is not a definitive list; these are only examples).

In most cases, veterans who receive an OTH discharge cannot re-enlist in the armed forces or reserves, except under very rare circumstances. Veterans’ benefits are not usually available to those who receive these discharges.

Punitive Separations

There are two kinds of punitive separations a military service member can receive:

  • Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD)
  • Dishonorable Discharge

Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD)

Only enlisted members can receive a Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD), and only through a court-martial due to punishment for bad conduct.

Time in a military prison usually precedes a BCD.

Virtually all veterans’ benefits are forfeited if discharged due to bad conduct.

Dishonorable Discharge

If the military considers a service member’s actions to be reprehensible, the general court-martial can determine if a dishonorable discharge is in order.

Murder and sexual assault are examples of situations that would result in a dishonorable discharge. If someone is dishonorably discharged from the military, they are not allowed to own firearms according to U.S. federal law.

Military members who receive a dishonorable discharge forfeit all military and veterans’ benefits and may have difficulty finding work in the civilian sector.


Other Military Discharges

Other types of military discharges include officer discharges, entry-level separations, and medical discharges.

Officer Discharge

Commissioned officers cannot receive bad conduct discharges or dishonorable discharges, nor can they be reduced in rank by a court-martial. If a general court-martial discharges an officer, they receive a dismissal notice, which is the same as a dishonorable discharge.

Entry-Level Separation (ELS)

If an individual leaves the military before completing at least 180 days of service, they receive an entry-level separation status.

This type of military discharge can happen for various reasons (medical, administrative, etc.) and is neither good nor bad, though in many cases, service of less than 180 days may prevent some people from being classified as a veteran for state and federal military benefits.

Medical Discharge

A service member may receive a medical discharge or separation if a medical or mental condition prevents them from continuing to serve.

Two medical review boards determine medical discharges: the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) and the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB). A service member’s commanding officer can also begin the medical discharge process.

Before being discharged, service members have the right to receive counseling or rehabilitation.

How to Upgrade a Military Discharge

In some situations, you may be eligible to apply to have your military discharge upgraded to a higher rating. However, there is no automatic upgrade process.

You must apply to have military discharges upgraded by downloading DD Form 293Application for the Review of Discharge or Dismissal from the Armed Forces of the United States.

You must then submit the form to the Discharge Review Board of senior officers and noncommissioned officers within 15 years of your discharge.

Your commander’s opinion does not assure the board’s decision. Instead, the board can make independent recommendations to the senior commander for final approval.

If your discharge was more than 15 years ago, you must request a change to your military records.

Here is more information about military discharge upgrades. It is a complicated process. If you’re trying to have your discharge upgraded, you should seek legal assistance.

How Military Discharge Information Should Be Used for Job Interviews

In an ideal world, employers would only use military information as a reference when screening an applicant.

Due to legal issues surrounding equal employment opportunities and related laws, employers shouldn’t ask what type of discharge a military veteran received unless it’s about a security clearance or the applicant’s qualification for veteran’s preference points.

However, a veteran’s discharge rating is private information. That means private employers can’t request verification of a veteran’s type of discharge without their permission.

Even if a veteran did not receive an honorable or general discharge, it doesn’t necessarily mean they were discharged for bad conduct. The reason could have been a medical discharge or other administrative discharge.

It is usually best to keep the line of questioning centered around the job applicant’s experience and qualifications.

For example, you may ask them if they have military service, the period of their service, rank at the time of separation, type of training, leadership, work experience, qualifications and certifications, and anything else relevant to the specific position for which they are applying.

When in doubt, check with your human resources office.

About Post Author

Get Instant Access
FREE Weekly Updates! Enter your information to join our mailing list.

Reader Interactions


    Leave A Comment:


    About the comments on this site:

    These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Kelly Watson says

    Thank you for your response and the information about benefits. I’m familiar with a lot of the benefits that we are promised. However, like most combat veterans, I approach the VA with extreme prejudice. If the VA was serious about helping veterans, then why would we need advocates, and lawyers to fight for us and force them to keep their promise. When I enlisted on my 17th birthday, I raised my right hand and swore a soldiers’ oath. I’ve kept my oath. I can’t say the same for the VA. If it wasn’t for places like this, we wouldn’t have benefits.

  2. Paul Birden says

    There is another kind of discharge that was not mentioned, the “Blue Discharge”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_discharge. Although it was discontinued in 1947, there may still be some older vets….in their late 90’s probably,… who received a “Blue” discharge and who are still discriminated against. I learned of this discharge about ten years ago when a friend’s father died but could not receive certain veteran benefits from the time of his discharge in 1945 until 2010, when his “blue” discharge was officially upgraded…to either general or honorable, I do not remember. Less than a year after his record was finally cleared, he died. In this instance, racism was involved.

  3. Walter Darnell Harrell says

    Thank You for your service!
    I have a woman that I am trying to help with benefits. She was in the Army 1973, she received a honorable discharge under the Army Trainee Discharge Program (TDP). I cannot find much information on this program. She spent about a month in basic training. I know if she had gotten a entry level discharge, she would not be entitled to benefits. Do you have any ideas.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Walter, I’m not familiar with this program either. But the name of the discharge program and the fact that she only served about a month means she likely didn’t complete Basic Training and likely received an entry level discharge. You can try contacting the National Archives to see if she has any military records on file, but there is a good possibility there won’t be much on record. Best wishes!

  4. Richard Basiliere says

    Question really, my father just passed away. I noticed that this was typed in “Character of Separation” “Honorable (CO) Discharge” What does that phrase mean? Honorable (CO) Discharge, the CO part I don’t understand. Thank you
    Rick Basiliere

    • Brittany Crocker says

      Hey there, it’s hard to know for sure with old documents, but CO usually stands for conscientious objection on discharge paperwork.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Kenny B says

    Hello. Is there a Medical Discharge? Isn’t that another type of Discharge that an individual can have. I was in the Air Force in Basic Training where towards graduation, I was sent to a Medical Facility because of a breathing condition I had. After surgery and testing, the PEB/MEB determined that I would be unfit to continue military service. I was given an ELS Discharge instead of a Medical Discharge on my DD214 Form. I believe due to the reasons on my medical forms shows a medical discharge and not an ELS discharge. Thank you.

  6. Mack Avery says

    Officer Discharge
    Commissioned officers cannot receive bad conduct discharges or a dishonorable discharge, nor can they be reduced in rank by a court-martial. If an officer is discharged by a general court-martial, they receive a Dismissal notice which is the same as a dishonorable discharge.

    So your telling me that an Officer with a drug waiver to get in, Then does drugs and gets kicked out! Nothing happens to them!
    Are they allowed to step foot on a military base or the White House?

  7. Other than honorable discharge cannot be changed t says

    Other than honorable discharge cannot be changed to something better

  8. Steven Reed says

    I served in marines for 10 most. 21 days in 1976-77 was discharged honorably JFG8 type of certificate received DD256 MC

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Steven, You should only be receiving compensation from the VA if you have a VA service-connected disability rating or something similar. You would not receive funds from the military unless you received a military retirement. You can contact the VA for more information regarding possible benefits. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  9. Jessica says

    I applied for a VA hospital position and one of the forms it ask if it was discharged and what was the reasoning. I have an entry level separation and the reason states medical fraud although that was not the case. I am panicking because that is going to look bad. What should I do and how should I go about filling out the forms? Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jessica, I recommend filling out the VA paperwork to the best of your ability. If there is a problem with your military discharge paperwork then you need to apply for a records board review to have that form corrected. See this article for more information regarding how to upgrade your military discharge rating (there is additional information about correcting records as well).

      Best wishes.

  10. terry says

    are there any compensation for soldiers who were wrongfully discharged and later found to be innocent

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Terry, To be honest, I have no idea. I recommend the soldier speak with his or her legal counsel if this is found to be the case. Best wishes. 

  11. Arturo Ruiz says

    I am being discharged from the army with a bad conduct under general court martial. Is it possible to upgrade my discharge as soon as I get out? Can I reenlist back to the army?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Arturo,

      It may be possible to upgrade your discharge at some point, but it would require a formal appeal. It would likely be a lengthy process and there is no guarantee you will be able to change your discharge status. I would speak with your JAG or legal representation to learn more about your options both now and in the future.

      As for reenlistment, you would not be eligible to reenlist in any military branch with a bad conduct discharge. You would first need to appeal your discharge rating then speak with a recruiter to learn more about your options.

      I’m not going to give you false hope – while it may be possible to upgrade your rating, it would not be automatic or quick. And even if you do, there is no guarantee you will be able to reenlist. You will need to go through the process and see what happens.

      I wish you the best.

  12. Sally says

    My son in law has been unfaithful in his marriage, he said he doesn’t know why he did it ?
    My daughter is willing to forgive him and move on, however he does not want to move on. They have three children, ages are14 -6 who are having a difficult time with it. My question is this, He has 15 yrs or so in the military and is still considered to be active duty, can he become dishonorably discharged for this???

  13. Dolores Turner says

    My son was discharged after two weeks of Bootcamp, on an ELS. When filling out job applications, should he say anything about being in the military ? I’ve notice he has filled out for numerous jobs, but not one called back…he has been putting in the military information.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dolores,

      Thank you for your question. No, he does not need to include this on his resume or job application. An Entry Level Separation can mean many things. But in general, it should not have an impact on his employability and can raise unnecessary questions.

      That said, this may or may not be the reason he is no getting called back for interviews. Each job application is unique, and the needs of the companies vary. So there isn’t enough information to know in this situation.

      Best wishes.

  14. Hannah Jones says

    My boyfriend has been at basic training for the Navy and about a month in out of no where came home. I was wondering is there is anyway to find out why cause he won’t tell me. it makes me feel like he did something bad or he quit and is really embarrassed. so do you know any place I can find out why he’s home a month early?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Hannah,

      There could be dozens of reasons why he was sent home from Basic Training. But it would not be fair for anyone to speculate about those reasons. I am not sure if there are any official means of determining why he was sent home. But the reality is that he should be the person to share this information with others when he is ready. He will tell you when he is ready. 

      I wish you both the best.

  15. Cindy says

    My son was diagnosed with adhd when he was 6. I took him off meds when he graduated high school thinking “ he will grow out if it”. He joined the army and has served for two years now. Today he called me and described what is unbearable so fit ions for him. He develops relationships easy and excels at most things. He received the army achievement metal for the higher gpa….obtained marksmanship on shooting rannge, toured in Afghanistan. He is a ball of energy and very hard to be around for a long period of time….just don’t stop talking. So his leaders treat him badly. They told him today that they will hit him in the face…..he asked why they hated him so much and they said we don’t hate you….we just tolerate you. A new recruit came to his group this week and she told him she was advised not to associate with him…. adhd makes it hard to make friend and keep them because they can be so overwhelming to be around. He is so depressed. I believe they are doing him mental harm by the way they are treating him. Is adhd a disability and are they discriminating against him. I have cried my eyes out because of the way they are tormenting him and alienating him.

  16. Devin S. says

    I work as a VA work study at a college and I had a Post 9/11 veteran walk into my office and ask me if he would be eligible for discharge upgrade from general under honorable to honorable. About 10 years ago he was discharge for a single incidence of DUI. How hard would it be to have his discharge upgraded to an honorable from the Army?


    I have a friend who has passed all requirements for the Military only to be told that he is not graduating. Everyone that felled their drug test was shipped back the next week. He passes Al test with top scores. Only to be told the week before graduation that he does not qualify. He is stressing out and I am trying to be supportive because his father does not care. What can I do to help him?

  18. John Hill says

    I received an admin discharge…for not knowingly ingesting an illegal drug. Had lost my Military I.D. ..couldnt board my ship. Automatically was urine tested…and found traces of drugs in my system. This was back in 89… 90. … Needless to say I was reduced in Rate..n served 7 days bread and water in the brig on the ship. Then admin out. Was this considered a court martial. ?.
    Will I be able to conceal and carry because of this?. Can I get it upgraded to a General Discharge. ? . . I’m considered a Veteran. ..I have a .military Vehicle license plate. So..can I order a Military I.D. showing I was In the Military?. ..

  19. N TURNER says

    My husband enlisted in the Coast Guard in October, 1969. He did not finish Basic Training as he was sent home due to a medical issue which would have required surgery. He received a DD-256 Form with an Honorable Discharge on March 19th, 1970. Would he be eligible for any VA Benefits?

    Thanks for all your help!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello NTurner,

      It may be possible. It depends on the medical condition that caused the discharge (whether it was something that occurred due to his military service or whether it was a preexisting medical condition).

      The best thing to do is to contact a Veterans Service Organization for a free benefits review. Here are some recommendations.

      Best wishes!

  20. Daniel says

    My Son is in basic training at Fort Benning, GA. and suffered and tear in a groin muscle. 6 weeks recovery time. They are considering sending him home as a new company doesn’t start for another 22 weeks. Will he be able to reenlist as long as he is medically fit? This has been his dream since he was 6 years old and I would hate for it to be over for him.

    Thank you!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Daniel, I’m sorry to hear about your son’s injury. Each situation is handled on a case by case basis and I don’t have any insight into this process. He will need to work with his chain of command and/or his recruiter to determine his options and next steps. Best wishes.

  21. Frank Balkus says

    Hi I received an ELS from Ft. Jackson SC Army Training Center in September 1987. I would like to find out if there is file somewhere with records for my three months there. And why I received the ELS. I’m just curious and looking for closure.

  22. Bart says

    A friend of mine is awaiting a potential chaptering allegedly due to something his family member had been involved with. He is stating that the unit is claiming that due to family history the enlisted is a “liability”. Can he really be chaptered for something a family member did? That seems odd to me.

  23. Philip M Schmidt says

    Hello I have a friend that enlisted in the coast guard in “79”. He left the USCG after 30 days. His DD214 states general discharge under honorable conditions. Not totally certain why he was discharged but I believe he may have requested to leave. Would he be eligible for any VA benefits?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Philip, benefits can vary based on when and where a veteran served, whether or not they have a service-connected disability rating, and other factors. The only way to know for certain is to have a benefits review from the VA, your county VA office, or a veterans service organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, etc.

  24. Alicia says

    I have a friend who’s husband served 6 years in reserved but did not go to Vietnam
    He has an honorable discharge
    His wife was looking into what benefits he qualifies for? She has been told many different things.

    Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Alicia, Thank you for your comment. Your friend has likely been told different things because some benefits are on a case by case basis, depending on when and where the veteran served, how long they served, whether it was active or Reserve status, whether or not the veteran has a service-connected disability rating, and many other factors.

      The best thing to do is to have the veteran meet with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA, the county VA office, or a Veterans Service Organization. They have counselors who offer free, individualized claims assistance.

      Best wishes!

  25. Lisa H says

    My boyfriend supposedly has a DWI and I only know a little information on the severity of this. So what could happen next? Could he be kicked out of the army?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lisa, Each situation is unique. Yes, it could be possible, depending on the severity of the situation. However, he may also be allowed to remain in the military. He will need to consult with his chain of command and his base legal office for more information.

      I wish you both the best.

  26. Valarie Ballard says

    A Navy person of 12 years is being discharged because the person he married 2 years ago decided she could not handle the life and moved back home with her parents (she had 2 previous children from another relationship). She became upset that he then moved on with his life and has reported to his Commander that she was abandoned by him. The Navy has just informed him that he is being discharged. Is there no arbitration process or a manner in which he would get to explain his side of the situation before the Navy forces his out? We would like to get to the truth of the process.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Valarie, The military legal system has checks and balances in place that should prevent a military member from being discharged without being able to state his or her case. He should speak with his base legal office and request representation (this is free for service members). He can also choose to hire his own civilian lawyer at his expense, should he choose to do so.

      Best wishes.

  27. Christian Kroeger says

    Hi my name is Christian and I am currently in the army national guard but I have major depression disorder and feel no longer fit to preform my duties efficiently. I have been on temporary profile for over a year and requested a medical discharge but nothing has happened. What kind of lawyers deal with these matters, who can I reach out to.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Christian, First and foremost, I hope you will get the help you need and that you will overcome this situation.

      That said, this is outside my area of expertise – I don’t have legal or medical training.

      I’m not sure if an individual can request a medical discharge. I believe it has to be recommended by their military doctor. I would contact your human resources department and/or medical office and ask what the medical discharge procedure is and how it works. When you understand how it works, you can work the process by the book.

      I’m also not sure which types of lawyers may be able to help. You can ask your base legal or JAG office about this and if there is any legal recourse in a situation like this, and if so, what the process would be. You could also try contacting a civilian lawyer that specializes in military law (these are often former JAG officers or retired military lawyers).

      If you don’t feel comfortable asking these questions in person, then consider calling in anonymously, or calling another unit during the normal duty week (not on a drill weekend when they will likely be slammed with work).

      I hope this points you in the right direction, and I wish you the best.

  28. Chris says

    Hi, I have a friend that served 6 years in the Marine Corps. As a fellow Marine, I am asking this on his behalf. He served years before I did back in the Desert Storm era. He told me that he never received any benefits from the VA or government. He told me that there were certain years during the period that he served they were told that they were not eligible for benefits upon getting discharged. He still has his DD-214, and he has an honorable discharge. Do you know of any resources or where to start doing research on how he can get this correct to start getting the benefits he is entitled to that he has been denied all these years? Any help is appreciated.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Chris,

      I recommend that your friend speaks with someone who can offer customized veterans benefits claims assistance and recommendations based on his specific situation. They can review his claim, service periods, medical conditions and other factors and help him apply for benefits.

      The best thing to do is to contact a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization. They have counselors who offer free, individualized claims assistance.

      Some recommended organizations include the VA, county VA office, DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, VFW, and similar organizations.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  29. shayla says

    The military is trying to administratively discharge me however I am going thru a medical board and received my findings. Can they do that even though I have been found unfit with a chronic medical condition and 100 disabled by the VA?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Shayla, I am not an expert in Med Board proceedings. I recommend speaking with your personnel or HR office, or with your Judge Advocate General (JAG) office. They can help you understand the process and your rights.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  30. Monica Brown says

    Hello I know someone that in the military. He is a sgt has been in there over 20 years. He is planning on request for honorable discharge. How long does it usually take for the process and he get released.?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Monica,

      Each situation is unique. This isn’t a question I can answer. He would need to speak with his personnel or Human Resources office to schedule his retirement paperwork and outprocessing. The process could anywhere from a few weeks to a few months (or longer if he still has a remaining service commitment). In short, there is no specific answer to this question.

      Best wishes.

  31. Dorrlyn Harris says

    I have a friend who did a couple of years in service. When he went to desert Storm he couldn’t handle it. He got discharged without honors. Can this be changed?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dorrlyn, Each situation is handled on a case by case basis. He would need to contact the Records Review Board for his branch of service and put together a case for his discharge. Best wishes.

  32. DXander says

    My brother has now been in for 2 years-but now cannot pass a PT Test due to knee issues that are so bad he can’t run. He was on a five year hitch – would he be issued an honorable discharge! They will not issue a medical discharge …

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello DXander, each situation is handled on a case by case basis. If he has a documented medical condition, then he needs to ensure he is receiving the proper treatment. The military may or may not give a medical discharge – those are always handled on a case by case basis. If he disagrees with how the military is handling his situation from a medical standpoint, he can schedule a meeting with his Judge Advocate General (JAG) office or the Inspector General (IG) office to ensure the military is handling his case within the legal requirements. As for the discharge rating – again, this is a case by case situation. If he disagrees with the discharge status they plan to give him then he can contact the JAG or IG to file a complaint – as long as he does that before signing his discharge paperwork.

    • MS says

      My son had a similar situation and ended up with a General Discharge. I hear of others who get Honorable Discharges for fitness failures. It depends on the command, it seems very inconsistent at times.

  33. Corliss says

    If you’re permanently injured (paralyzed chest down) due to motorcycle accident while on military active duty and on approved leave, shouldn’t you receive an honorable discharge? Also, wouldn’t you qualify for veteran disability?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Corliss, I don’t have enough information to answer this question. In some cases, the answer would be yes, the veteran would most likely receive an honorable discharge and may be eligible for VA disability benefits. However, there may be some cases in which this would not be the case. This topic quickly gets into the are of military law, and I am not a legal expert. I recommend speaking with someone who has a background in military law.

      Best wishes.

  34. Maggie says

    My significant other was medically discharged from basic training for the coast guard two weeks in. I have yet to hear why (he has not been able to contact me). Are people ever medically discharged for something that they can recover from and eventually allowed to return?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Maggie, Each situation is handled on a case by case basis. For example, not all medical conditions have the same impact on one’s ability to serve in the military. For example, someone may be discharged for something that could be a temporary condition, say a broken bone that may require a few months of healing and recovery. In this instance, the member may be discharged, but may later be able to attempt to join the military again.

      Other situations may have a permanent impact. For example, someone who has a medical condition that prevents serving in the military. It’s simply impossible to guess your significant other’s situation. The Coast Guard should provide him with more information prior to his discharge.

      I wish you both the best.

  35. Michael says

    Army BCT a trainee had a weapon jam. They asked for help to clear the weapon so another trainee was going to help them. The trainee pointed the loaded weapon at the other trainee’s stomach and is now being chaptered out for safety violations and attempted murder.
    What exactly does this mean? Will this just be a discharge or is it actual charges under the UMCJ?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Michael, This is outside my area of expertise. This is something the individual will need to discuss with his base legal advisor. And if the Army follows through with the attempted murder charges, it would be worth hiring a lawyer to fight the charge. Best wishes.

      • Thomas Barton says

        A past relative did something when on leave US Army 1908 that caused a discharge without honor. What is a duischarge without honor . Thanks

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Thomas, It generally means they did something that is not in line with military laws or values, or possible state or federal laws. I can’t speculate as to what that may have been.

  36. Melanie says

    How can someone be honorably discharged from one branch of the military then join another branch and get a dishonorable discharge and spend time in military prison and still receive VA benefits and go to school on the GI Bill? This doesn’t seem right.

  37. Shane Smith says

    Are there any ways to potentially have the admin separation thrown out prior to the sep board? Like for clerical errors or anything like that?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Shane, I have no idea. You would need to speak with a JAG or a civilian lawyer that specializes in military law. Or find an old NCO who has been around the block and knows the ins and outs of the process like no one else.

      Best wishes.

  38. Karen Smith says

    My grandson is currently in basic training with the Army National Guard. He previously was taking prescribed medication from his doctor for ADHD. He stopped taking the medication before entering basic training. He is being discharged from basic training because he needed to be not taking medication for a period of a year prior. Will he be able to re-enlist after a year of no medication?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Karen,

      This is a question for his recruiter. They will be able to assist with medical issues. Anything related to medical is outside the scope of my area of expertise, and are often handled on a case by case basis and will need to be addressed by someone who has access to personnel files (I.e. his recruiter).

      Best wishes.

      • Karen D. Smith says

        Thank you. I am not really sure who his recruiter is. The person who initially was is no longer his recruiter. I believe he was transferred to another job. He also continuously gave us incorrect information that greatly impacted my grandson’s experience and outcome. I haven’t a clue as to how to find out. This experience has been an ordeal from the beginning for both of us and unfortunately my kid is the one who suffers the consequences.

  39. Elliot says

    It was surprisingly easy to get a bad conduct or even a dishonorable discharge where I was stationed for basic training. Even if the recruit was not a repeat offender with multiple counselings.

  40. Dawn says

    My nephew join marines 2017 he was given a medical discharge in 2018. Is he entitled to any benefits, I don’t believe he is.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Dawn, Each situation is unique. The veteran should contact the VA for a full benefits review. They will be able to review his case and provide him with a list of which benefits he will be eligible for, if any.

  41. Kevin says

    Hello, my 71 year old step dad claimed he went awol from the marines and did jail time for it. He says it was a honorable discharge. Could that be the case? I am wondering simply because I think he is losing his memory as well as just blowing up extremely easy and fast. And has 2 handguns. I’m not sure if he should even have handguns. He has been talking about death and killing a lot for a while. Most important thing is he “babysits 2 young children that are not mine but I dont feel comfortable with it. Especially the way he has been acting. In not sure what I should do. He lies a lot about things to. I think its because he forgets doing things. Is there a way I can find out? I know I saw where certain discharges you cant own firearms. Thank you for any help.

  42. Jai says


    I blew my right ACL in Basic and I was also diagnosed with bilateral stress fractures. I was discharged after 6 months in the Army with an Uncharacterized Discharged. When I show my DD214 to an employer they alway look puzzled and I have to explain. I would like to have my dd214 upgrade to say something more clear. Any advise? Is it doable?

    • b2curious says

      I don’t think you can get your Uncharacterized discharge changed. Basically, you have a pre-IADT (Initial Active Duty Training), meaning that you did not complete Basic and AIT.

  43. Dukey says

    My daughter was recently sent home from Navy basic training with administrative discharge of RE4 During basic she got sick and it was determined that she had drugs in her system. She admits to being stupid and partied with her friends before leaving and taking the illegal substance. Is there any way to get the code changed. She really wants to go back

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dukey,

      The military takes a hardline stance on illegal drugs. Is it possible to change the rating? Perhaps. But it is not likely and would not be easy. Your daughter would need to appeal the ruling and be able to defend the reasons behind her actions. For example, it may be possible if someone slipped her the illegal drug and she was unaware she ingested it. It is less likely if she knowingly took the illegal substance.

      I recommend speaking with a military recruiter or a lawyer that specializes in military law. They will be able to provide more information.

      I wish you and your family the best.

  44. Lucy says

    What do you mean by under honorable condition (general) B ?
    He is discharge of misconduct – pattern of misconduct.

    • Lucy says

      I mean why they put “B” in under honorable condition (general) B
      What does it mean the B?

      And misconduct only drug addiction causes? Or is there are any? Like Alcohol etc?

  45. Latasha Collins says

    The Marines gave my husband an honorable discharge for weight. Does this mean he won’t receive any more benefits? Then to top it off, we have to be out in a week? People can’t move in a couple of days. Never gave an action plan about his weight.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Latasha, I recommend visiting your base human resources or personnel office. They can give you a full overview of his current benefits and what will change after he separates from the military.

      They can also tell you what to expect if you are living in base housing, in terms of when you will be required to move. You can also inquire about whether or not the military will provide moving services for your household goods.

      I can’t comment regarding an action plan for his weight. If he feels like he was not given due process, then your husband can meet with his First Sergeant or contact his human resources or personnel office for assistance. If he believes his rights were violated, he can contact his base legal office (the Judge Advocate General, or JAG). The last resort would be to contact the Inspector Generals (IG) office.

      I hope this points you all in the right direction.

      I wish you and your family the best.

  46. Billy Haake says

    Can a dishonorably discharged person become President of the U.S.? The President is the Commander-In-Chief of all the military and would there be concerns about our military leaders obeying orders from such an individual?

    • MS says

      The Constitution of the United States is the sole authority regarding the qualifications to assume the office of President. Nothing about past military service is mentioned.

  47. Debbie says

    My son handed in his DOAR over a week ago which was accepted. He is still there and hasnt been given a date to leave?

  48. Kyle Morton says

    Can I refuse to sign a release from active duty at Mob site? I currently have a stress fracture and am seeking a second opinion from a foot specialist. My command is trying to issue me “refract” papers to send me back home without seeing the specialist. Can I refuse to sign?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kyle, You are wise to want to wait – you always want to get all medical issues documented and taken care of while on active duty. It’s much easier than trying to wait and file a claim with the VA. Plus, you are still receiving your pay and benefits while you are being treated.

      That said, I’m not certain what the legal requirements are in this situation. I recommend contacting your base legal office or IG (I would start with base legal). They should be able to give you the best information for your specific situation.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Shaun Robson says

      I was discharged from the navy 1998, other than honorable discharge. I have been diagnosed with migraines in the service. I was an air traffic controller and my dd214 says a pattern of miss conduct because I was a drinker, but not on the job. I was offered a different job or an other than honorable discharge while in A School. Can I get an upgrade and also my mortgage Leander says I can get a VA loan. Is that/they true?

      Also since the service discharge, I have been diagnosed with multiple disorders relating to my drinking problem.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Shaun, it may be possible to appeal your character of discharge rating and try to have that upgraded. But it has been long enough that you would need to request a military records review board to request an upgrade. This is outside my area of expertise. Regarding the VA Loan eligibility, the VA website states,

        “Generally, in order to receive VA benefits and services, the Veteran’s character of discharge or service must be under other than dishonorable conditions (e.g., honorable, under honorable conditions, general). However, individuals receiving undesirable, bad conduct, and other types of dishonorable discharges may qualify for VA benefits depending on a determination made by VA.”

        Best wishes.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Malik, it depends on the situation. They should contact the VA and file a claim. The VA will determine if they are eligible for any compensation.

  49. Dina Marie says

    I have a friend in Army basic training. He is having severe back pain that’s has become intolerable. He has a previous injury from a car accident he had when he was younger but was never seen by a doctor for it. He was however treated by a chiropractor. The Army has conducted tests but are inconclusive therefore they don’t believe his pain is real. He wants to just leave because he can’t stand it anymore but doesn’t want a dishonorable discharge or anything bad on his record. How do you handle something like this?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dina, Military discharges in Basic Training are often coded as an administrative discharge, which is neutral (neither good nor bad). Dishonorable discharges are typically given to military members who break serious rules.

      An injury typically wouldn’t warrant a dishonorable discharge unless it was determined the member lied on his or her military service application.

      At this point, the only recommendation I have is for the recruit to do his or her best. If the pain is unbearable, then they should seek medical attention. If they cannot continue the training, they need to indicate this to their military training instructor and/or assigned doctor. The military will then handle proceedings accordingly. (what this would look like and what type of discharge this would be is outside of my area of expertise).

      I wish you both the best.

      • Michael Zanker says

        The difference is this, Dishonorable: Said member of the Armed Forces of the United States has been discharged for criminal or otherwise unjust actions that result in a Court Martial, regardless of those affected by said discharge recipient. Undesirable: Described as “Conditions other than Honorable”, an administrative discharge given when a member of the Armed Forces does not meet expectations, resulting in discharge, does not result in punishment.

        I’m not in service myself, but I try to learn as much about the military as I can.

  50. Angel Luis Arroyo says

    Hi everyone Hi have a honorable discharge medical reason code 55 and I haven’t have any luck in getting any benefits from the veteran administration no one’s to help me does anyone knows where code 55 is.

  51. Angel Luis Arroyo says

    Hi everyone Hi have a honorable discharge medical reason code 55 and I haven’t have any luck in getting any benefits from the veteran administration no one’s to help me does anyone knows where code 55 is

  52. Tim says

    I have honorable discharge 1 general under Honorable discharge and just received my final honorable from the reserves I use Usaa I did just under 6 years guard and 2 reserves would this stop me from qualifying for a va loan?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tim,

      VA Loan eligibility usually requires 6 years in the Guard or Reserves. Guard and Reserve veterans may otherwise qualify based on active duty time if they were activated. You should be good to go, since you have 8 years combined in the Guard and Reserves. I do recommend working with a lender that specializes in VA Loans, as they are more familiar with the process and should be able to provide a better customer experience.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  53. John Kennedy says

    25 plus years ago I was in active duty in the US Navy, after active duty I was in the reserves. Being young and stupid I failed a drug test and was sent home. It says on my DD-214 for separation code MBM with a narrative reason USNR Within three months of term of obligated service, what does tis mean MBM? And what does the Within three months of term of obligated service mean? Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, I couldn’t find the code MBM. However, there is “MBN – Expiration of Term of Service.” It’s possible the clerk made a typo when filling out your DD From 214. That code would make sense in this situation if you were within 3 months of the end of your contract.

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

      • John says

        25 plus years ago I was in active duty in the US Navy, after active duty I was in the reserves. Being young and stupid I failed a drug test and was sent home. It says on my DD-214 for separation code MBM with a narrative reason USNR Within three months of term of obligated service, what does tis mean MBM? And what does the Within three months of term of obligated service mean? Thank you

        Thank you, would I be eligible for VA benefits then?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello John, VA benefits will vary for each veteran based on when and where they served, whether or not they served in any named conflicts, their discharge rating, whether or not they have service-connected injuries or illnesses, and perhaps other factors. The most accurate method for determining your veterans benefits eligibility is to contact the VA and have them do a benefits review. They should be able to review your profile, enter you into the VA system, and help you better understand which veterans benefits, if any, you are eligible to receive. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  54. Joseph Wilk says

    I have my DD214 and a form NGB 22 and released just short of the 6 year term (5 1/2 year] I was honorable discharged as physically disqualified for retention [NLD] Para 13 SO # 113 MDI-AGO dtd 8 June 72. Any idea why?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joseph, I don’t know if anyone would be able to tell you why based on the information provided. I imagine they would need to review the document or your military service records.

      I don’t personally know how to interpret those codes, so I’m afraid I’m not able to provide further assistance. You may consider requesting copies of your service records from the National Archives in St. Louis. They may shed more light on the situation.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  55. John says

    I’m waiting on the forms to process. I was discharged in 1995. When the paperwork was done I remember the very specific conversation that was had. It was an interview concerning clearance and a crime when I was a teenager was found. Which I did disclose and they acknowledged that. At the end of the proceeding they stated I was receiving an “Administrative” discharge so that I could keep the veteran status benefits from my dd214. Now years later I am actually getting the stuff in the mail. Does, that sound like a typical discharge? Would that be an other than honorable under honorable conditions?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, I don’t have an answer for you. You should look at your DD Form 214 or other discharge paperwork. If you have further questions, you can take them to the VA or to a veterans organization. They may be able to assist you with understanding your discharge rating and which, if any, benefits you are eligible to receive.

  56. Anthony Mottas says

    Honorable discharge..he may be entitled to separation pay depending on rank and years in service. JAG would be able to inform him of everything he is entitled to.

  57. Dan says

    I am in the Army Reserve. i am going to possibly get a general discharge, who can i talk to, so i can try to convince them to stop the separation ?

  58. Lisa says

    My son was sperated due to failing a urinalysis while in basic training. He made a mistake and smoked weed during the holidays. Can he re-enlist? He wants to serve his country although he made a mistake how does he get back in?

  59. Carrie says

    My son is in the Air Force and just graduated Tech school but before graduation had to go before a disciplinary board over his smoke alarm being unhooked in his room. My son was unaware until later that it had been unhooked but got the blame since it was his room. The disciplinary board made the decision to retain him in the military but told him no more write ups. While waiting to be shipped to his duty station he had CQ duty and had went to lunch but took his lunch to his room(like others did also). While eating someone came to his room and told him he was being written up for taking his lunch in the room. He told them he did not know that and had never been briefed on it but they wrote it up anyway and has started his separation papers. Is there anyway to fight this or is it a done deal?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Carrie, Your son should speak with his base legal office about his options. The military provides free legal assistance to members, especially in situations when they are possibly being separated from the military.

      I have never heard of the military separating someone for a minor infraction such as bringing a meal into a dorm room. Unless he was abandoning his CQ post, which is a different charge entirely. This is a situation that he needs to take to his base legal office for further guidance.

      I wish him the best.

  60. Matt says

    In 1992 I was in DEPER Program went to boot camp 5 months later. Was discharged with an RE3 for failing UA due to taking a med that was not prescribed to me and I told them a MOT. Fast forward to today 2019 and I am a completely different person. BASEET in Electronics working on numerous high power lasers for 18 years.

    I want to work at a research company, Boeing or help our country by working on engineering a laser for our defense but can’t get hired due to my RE3 flagging my background check. With my experience I can build some defense projects that will meet the DOD SBIR demands. Since I am too old to join the military, is there anything I can do to upgrade my discharge?

  61. David says

    20+ years ago I was discharged from the Navy during training for failing a drug test upon arrival. I was young and stupid, I did not save any of that paperwork and now need to know what would be on that record. I need to find out what type of discharge that was. How do I go about that?

  62. Agatha says

    Hi is there any ground for a navy officer who got 2 women pregnat at the sane time.He just say sorry to the other one and choose to be his wife the other one.Wherein both of them doesnt know that they are both his girlfriend.
    Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Petes, A COG discharge is a Convenience of the Government Discharge. There can be different reasons for this. That said, I don’t have enough information to tell you more about this specific instance. You would need to contact the parent branch of service’s personnel or human resources department.

  63. Patrick Machayo says

    Unfortunately, few of us veterans pay close attention to the discharge code. Sure, Honorable discharge remains honorable discharge. But the discharge code may impact on a different level. For example, you served in the wars as I did, got wounded, then transferred Stateside to recuperate, all which I experienced. I received a discharge code for satisfactory completion of deployment. Not true.. The deployment was cut short due to a combat related medical condition. That should be notated accurately.

  64. Seana says

    Hello, my brother was going into the navy. in less than a month we received a call from him saying he was being separated for medical reasons. unsure if what specifically. we were informed that we would receive a 20 minute call from him after he was processed and debriefed. it has been three business days and we still have received no call. (they say that they operate Monday through Friday). Is is possible that they decided that there was no cause to separate him? has there ever been a case where someone was going to be separated but was taken back into the navy?

  65. Justin says

    Out of curiosity. If someone didn’t complete basic training and got kicked out before graduation. Can they still receive an honorable discharge and be considered a miltary veteran?

    Someone I know claims to be a vet but once I was told he didn’t complete or graduate basics, started a fight, I been confused on it. Figured I’d look for professional opionos.


  66. Kate says

    My husband was discharged from the Army in 2012 with General Under Honorable Conditions. He is now attending college and they are asking him for an explanation as to why his DD214 says that. Obviously they are wanting something sent to them even though he offered to just tell them what happened. Who do we need to contact to get a report of the incident?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kate, I’m not sure what the college is looking for or why they would need a report of the incident. They typically only need a copy of the veteran’s DD Form 214. I would ask the college to be more specific regarding their needs, and why they need it.

      As for who to contact, I would assume he should contact the Army Human Resources Command for assistance.

      I wish you all the best.

  67. Keith Zetzsche says

    Hi im in search of some knowledge of changing my military status. Is it true that if your out of military after seven or more years you can change your status? And my other question . how hard is it to change an honorable discharge under dishonorable conditions ?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Marchelle, It will depend on your Reenlistment Code, also known as the RE Code. You should be able to find it on your D Form 214.

      Contact a recruiter and they should be able to help you. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  68. Betty McGary says

    My husband joined the USMC when he was 17 with his father’s signing his consent. He served 8 months and developed a very bad ear infection from walking guard duty at night in cold freezing weather which effected his hearing. (His job during the day was driving a tank driver and was also the gunner). He spent 3 months in the hospital with his ears. He was honest and told them he had ear aches as a child and that in school he sat in front of the class to hear the teacher He was told he was going to be discharged (Good Conduct) and signed a form called 11ND NHCP TRI 80B (10-59) which actually says he was not contesting his discharge for medical reasons without any compensation. My question is, since he was still 17 could he legally sign this release form without parential consent. Funny thing is he never had any problems preforming all duties and hearing up until he had the ear infection was put in the hospital. Here he is years later and almost deaf but can not get any help from the VA because he signed away all right back when I was 17. Too young to know what I was doing. Also back when he joined the military the only hearing test you were given during your physical was someone just speaking to you and you repeating back what they said, no type if audiology test so they really didn’t have anything to judge his hearing on when I joined verses when he was discharged. He has applied for benefits because he needs a Cohlear in planted hearing aid which is very expensive and we can not afford. He was denied benefits, should he appeal. Does he have any grounds that he was too young at 17 to know what he was signing without my parents consent.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Betty, Thank you for your question. This is outside my areas of expertise. I recommend contacting a lawyer that specializes in military disability claims. They should be able to give you a better and more complete answer. I wish you and your husband the best!

  69. Chrissy Randall says

    My son says he got into some disciplinary trouble about a month ago and now the Navy is kicking him out with a general discharge no benefits. That he can either plead the charge or go to trial and possible jail. He has an attorney and she did not agree with charges or “offer”. This was two weeks ago. Now he is out to sea with practice maneuvers for a month. His girlfriend says that he is still getting kicked out an this “out to sea for a month” is punishment.

    This makes no sense. I’m sure I do not know all the real details. He is in his 3rd year of 4. Right before this, they offered him a yellow shirt job but then said you can’t have it unless you add on 2 more contract years.

  70. Missy says

    I have a nephew that has been in the AF just 18 months. However he has recently been diagnosed with RHEUMATOID Arthritis and out on medical he claims he is going to be medically discharged and receive full benefits plus his GI BILL. I don’t understand how he will get all that and it not an injury RA is a disease that’s in your genes and it’s hereditary. Besides he had an episode of the same issue a few years back while in high school

  71. Nicole says

    Hi Ryan. Question for you. At the top of the DD 214 Form they hand wrote A6. And under character of service it states Honorable and then handwritten next to it is the letter A. What does the letter A refer to?

    Thanks so much.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Nicole, I honestly don’t know. There are a few dozen separation codes and I haven’t seen a public manual that covers them all. I’ve seen a few old lists online, but several comments stated those were out of date.

      The best recommendation I have is to contact a personnel office at a military installation, or your branch of service’s HQ for personnel or human resources. They should be able to help you understand the code, and if not, look up your profile to see if there are any notes. Sorry I don’t have a better answer.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  72. Susan says

    I have two family memebers who served during Vietnam. Both of them had high security clearance. They both say they are not allow to talk about what they did during their time in the service. Both claim to have two different type of DD-214’s. Is it true that those who have high security clearance get two DD-214’s? Just wondering.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Susan, Thank you for contacting me. The DD Form 214 includes information about where the member served, medals and awards they were issued, and other service information. I do not know if it is standard practice to issue more than one DD Form 214. However, I do know that the military does try to avoid publishing classified information whenever possible. So this sounds plausible to me, even if I am not able to confirm it.

  73. Michael says

    I joined the Navy 11-06-84 and was discharged February 1986 with an OTH. I was told it would be automatically upgraded to General Under Honorable Conditions inside of 6 months. I have honestly never looked into it since then but am curious as to my “Veteran status”.

  74. Victoria L McClure says

    If my husband’s DD214 says ‘UNDER HONORABLE CONDITIONS ‘ is different from honorable?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Victoria, Thank you for contacting me. Under Honorable Conditions is usually given for an administrative discharge when there is nothing detrimental about the service. It is not a bad thing, and is comparable to an Honorable Discharge for benefits and other situations. It does not indicate anything negative.

  75. Terry L Stroup says

    We are working on getting a grave marker for our late brother-in-law who served in WW2. We have a cop of an “Enlisted record and Report of Separation Honorable Discharge” form Q-579.40. The cemetery manager is asking for a DD-214 form. Was this Q-579.40 form replaced by the DD-214, and can the form we have be used for veterans benefits for his grave marker. If not how can we obtain the DD-214 form somehow. Thank you for your help.

  76. Brandy J. says

    While I was in basic training in 2002, I had severe swelling in my ankles and trained partially in “soft shoes.” When I went to AIT, I had the bursa sack on my left knee swell up over an inch and they stuck me on crutches, delaying my training. I was sent home for Exodus, having only two weeks left of training. Considering I was 25 years old, married with two children, and was away from my family already for 6 months… unexpected things happened. When I returned from Exodus, I found out I was pregnant. My company commander did not want me to complete the last two pieces of equipment I had left to train on. He offered me to keep my OSGLI and also allow me to receive medical treatment in my home state at a local military hospital for my pregnancy. He stated if I chose to return to complete my training, they would waive basic, but I’d start over in AIT, then he gave me an Honorable Discharge with ‘nothing as follows’ for my 9 months of service. I was discharged in 2003.

    For 15 years my knee would flare up about once or twice a year. I would have to use crutches or a cane for a few weeks and be out of commission once in awhile with bad flare ups. In late 2016, the bursa sack was so bad that it filled with blood and the doctors needed to remove the sack before it burst and went into my bloodstream. I have been fine for a little over a year, until recently (May 2018) it flared up again… but now has also affected the lower and upper part of my knee. This flare up is now almost a month in the making. My mom suggested that I try to see if the Army would be able to compensate and possibly “fix” my knee issue, as prior to my service, I never had this issue.

    What are your thoughts?

    Thank you for your help.

  77. Ryan says

    I am currently in the navy as active duty and have been diagnosed with severe depression and difficulty adjusting (can’t remember the right term for it). I just made it through my first year and have three more to go. I was wondering is there a way to go from active to reserve to finish out my contract. My psychologist said they might put me up for voluntary admin seperation. What are my options.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Mitty, the best thing to do is contact the VA customer help line or visit a VA benefits counselor. They can help you understand each benefit the veteran is eligible to receive. This is the most accurate and efficient means of determining benefits. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  78. JLM says

    Here’s one for you… I went into the Army on a delayed entry program, was injured in a basic paratropper program, awoke in the VA, Phx and the military “99’d” me out ELS style. They’ve ignored me for decades to this day.

  79. Jane says

    Hello! I have a question about the definition of “under” in a General Discharge, “Under” Honorable Conditions. In this situation, does “under” mean “below or less than”, as in General Discharge, “Less Than” Honorable Conditions? Or, does it mean “with”, therefore General Discharge, “With” Honorable Conditions? Based on the explanation of the discharge, I would think “under” means “less than or below”, but I could be wrong. If “under” means “with”, I don’t see how that would really be much different than saying an honorable discharge. Thanks for taking the time to read, and hopefully answer, my question.

  80. Angelita says

    My son joined the US Army and graduated in June of 2017. He now has what is called a stress break and is being medical discharge. Will he receive any benefits such as college Tuition.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Angelita, Thank you for contacting me. He should be eligible for certain benefits. Unfortunately, it will be impossible for to say which benefits, because it will depend on the details of his discharge and whether or not he receives a disability rating based on his service.

      He will need to work with his Human Resources command to determine his benefits eligibility from the Army. Additionally, he should contact the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) when he separates. He should file a service-connected disability claim for the injuries that occurred while he was on active duty. He should also be eligible for certain VA benefits through the VA. I recommend working with a veterans service organization to help him with his claim (many organizations offer free benefits claims assistance). I wish you all the best.

  81. Heintz says

    My husband joined the Navy. Got there and they were unable to teach him to swim. He got an honorable discharge. Is he eligible for VA benefits?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Heintz, Thank you for contacting me. It’s likely that he doesn’t have enough service time to qualify for VA benefits. He would need to contact the VA to verify this. He could also look into joining a different branch of the military if he is interested in serving in a difference capacity. I wish you and your family the best.

  82. William says


    20 years ago I served for 4 years out of a six-year contract and was discharged due to too many UAs. I never received any paperwork from my unit and no one ever contacted me. This was in the late 90s. Would I have received an OTH? If so how do I go about finding out?

    • Ryan Guina says

      William, you will most likely need to do a records request with the National Archives to get a copy of all your military service records. You should receive a copy of your discharge paperwork with your records.

      • William says

        What would the National Guard do in your experience? Would they issue an OTH discharge? Like I said, I never received any paperwork I think they put me on IRR.

      • Ryan Guina says

        William, I don’t have a firm answer here. You would need to contact your parent service and ask for a copy of your discharge paperwork. They should be able to provide a copy, which will include your discharge status, or rating. Best wishes!

  83. Hunter says

    I have two questions in one paragraph. Both will be labeled respectfully. 1) I have served over 3 years in the Army, still on Active Duty, and recieving a General Discharge over a discrepancy in civil court, incident happened in August 2018. “Ch. 12-14.” 2) I was previously getting Medically Discharged due to an injury received over Emergency Leave in January 2017, car accident, which caused me to be completely immobile from the waist down but only temporarily. I have recovered to the extent that I am able to walk again but this is besides the point. 1) My MEB was completely stopped or put on a halt due to this General Discharge coming about in August 2017. My CoC, provisional 1SG, informed me that since I have served over 3 years I am able to still receive my education benefits. By the way I have received my GCM. But after reading this article I am learning otherwise. Which is true? 2) After going through TDS, Trail Defense Service, my military attorney was shocked to see that I am/was previously going through an MEB and haven’t been discharged through, as such. She, O-4, said that the VA cannot put a stop or halt on any MEB process regardless of what happens. How could I approach this with my CoC?

    • Hunter says

      By the way… I have just received my first reading of this Chapter 12-14 on April 19, 2018. This incident happened August 2017. I’ve been in the MEB since February 2017.

  84. Mackenzie says

    My husband just graduated from basic training, and hasn’t started his next part of training yet. He has been in for not even 3 months. He is wanting to get discharged. He found out that AIT is x3 what he thought it would be and he might be deployed for a year. We can’t handle that kind of separation…What discharge would this be considered?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mackenzie, The military doesn’t simply “let people go” because they decide they don’t want to serve any more. He would have signed a contract obligating service for a certain amount of time. Your husband needs to confer with his command or personnel office to determine if a discharge is possible at this stage, and if so, what type of discharge he would receive. I wish you and your family the best.

  85. Jess says

    My husband is possibly getting discharged because of multiple PT fails. What would this come under and would he still get severance pay?

  86. Don Sambol says

    What type separation was given to the Deserters who were processed at Camp Atteberry, Indiana in the mid 70’s? There was a Special designation we gave them but I can not remember. Thanks for your help.

    • Felix Diaz says

      I was given undesirable discharge in 1971…was AWOL from Sept to Feb..I turned myself in..can I over turn this discharge in any way

  87. Sam says

    I was discharged from the Army in Oct. 1985 I ask to be discharged and was allowed to leave with a ELS JGS Reenlistment code 3 & 3B. I stayed 5 months and 18 days. I am now an over the rode truck drive and am dedicated to a DOD fleet I received my interim TS less then 90 days after applying also received my TWIC card last May. It has been all most a year now could my ELS caused me not to qualify.

  88. John says

    Is it possible for someone to be in the military for only 3 months, which includes basic training and then be honorably discharged? I served for two years and was honorably discharged and another person claims he was honorably discharged after only serving 3 months! Of course, I would know the circumstances if he provided a DD-214 form. This senario doesn’t make much sense.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, yes, this could be possible, depending on the circumstances. There could be many reasons, such as a physical or medical issue, a clerical or administrative event, or some other reasons. Sometimes people are given an entry level separation with only 3 months of service. It all depends on how the military classified it at the time of separation.

      • Charlie says

        When I was in the Army the Military had a Hardship Release Discharge. It usually Meant being sole support of family. Has that changed?

    • John says

      (US Army)You would probably be deemed marginal or non-productive and since AIT is part of Basic Training after completion of Boot Camp, your separation code would probably be “JET”. You should be discharged via the Trainee Discharge Program. The discharge would be “Under Honorable Conditions.” This is with the understanding that you can apply for a waiver after 24 months to re-enlist through the Review Board. If approved, you can continue to serve out the enlistment time that you signed up for originally. If you chose NOT to apply for the waiver after 2 years from discharge, the discharge code would remain the same, however, at any point in the future, the Review Board may change your discharge type to Honorable, even without your notification. However, you will not be entitled to any benefits as a vet if you did not serve at least 180 days active duty.

  89. Brittany says

    If I got general under honorable conditions and got kicked out for failing a UA, am I considered a felon?

    • Bryan says

      No, unless you were convicted of a felony, you are not a felon! The Army has a different justice system that is separate from the civilian one.

  90. Marrion says

    I am told my Grandson (18 years old) will not be graduation from boot camp in Fort Jackson and will be leaving on a medical discharge? since we have not heard from him directly and have not received anything from the Army at this point will this be a negative issue for any employment?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Marrion, This should be considered an Entry Level Separation, which is neither good not bad. It should not impact his future career or employment opportunities.

  91. Kim Dickel says

    Quick question/comment. Why would the US Army train someone at DLI to become a Chinese Linguist then send them to a post where they don’t use those skills? In addition, the person has qualifications to be a German Linguist, has received his paratrooper wings and is a college grad. Enlisted or not, what a waste of talent and money. Makes absolutely no sense and is very demotivating to the individual in question. Help!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kim, Thank you for contacting me. I wish I could provide insight into everything that goes into military assignments. But that is beyond the scope of my knowledge.

      There are times when individuals are sent to schools as a career broadening assignment, to simply expand their talents and skills. Other times people are trained in a skill, but military needs change. There are many other factors that go into assignments, all of which can vary by branch, the individual’s rank, time in service, previous assignments, and much more. It’s well beyond the scope of this article.

      The best advice I have for the individual is to contact his career field manager, or the individual who manages assignments (the individual’s title will vary by branch of service). Getting to know that person may make help the career field manager place the individual in the position that will best help them advance in their career or fill a billet that needs to be filled.

      Best wishes!

  92. Lisa says

    Hi Ryan! Someone I know claims he served in Iraq while in the Army. He can’t use the VA or get armed forces license plates. I suspect he was dishonorably discharged because he can’t do either of the above. Could there be some other reason besides that? Thank you!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lisa, Thank you for contacting me. There may be several reasons for this. A dishonorable discharge or discharge under other than honorable conditions may be a reason. This is something many veterans are sensitive about, so it’s not something I try to speculate on. A dishonorable discharge or discharge under other than honorable conditions could simply mean the veteran made one big mistake in an otherwise good or excellent military career.

      Could there be another reason? It’s possible. Certain benefits may require a service member to serve a certain amount of time on active duty to qualify for certain benefits. This often comes up with members who served in the Guard or Reserves but didn’t have much active duty time. There is no way for anyone but the veteran to know.

  93. Kevin says

    Can you have an honorable discharge on one enlistment (DD-214 in hand) and a Dishonorable discharge on your second enlistment? (DD-214 in hand)
    I ask this question as it pertains to Veterans Preference and Service Computation Dates. My thoughts are that your final discharge defines your whole character of service (One oh crap! negates 5 “Atta boys!) but I can find no reference that pertains precisely to this scenario.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kevin, Thank you for your question. Yes, you can have two different discharge characterizations from two different service periods. I do not know how this will impact one’s application for Veterans Preference or other veterans benefits. I certainly wouldn’t try to cover up one or the other though. That may lead to certain problems (potentially even legal problems). I would inquire with the organization for further guidance. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  94. Martie Gregory says

    My son was Medically discharged from the Navy in 1991. His foot slipped on the ladder in the sub. His knee was injured & needed surgery. He had been in for 11 months when they discharged him. He did not receive Benefits of any kind. They even kept his money he had in savings. To this day we are are upset and do not understand.

    • Derek says

      Take the documentation that you have from the injury and the discharge and meet with the Veteran Service Organizations (VFW, American Legion, etc.) to see what your son’s rights are. Most VA hospitals have them on campus and they usually are very helpful with such cases.

    • Paul says

      It is coming on the deadline of when your son can apply for benefits; you have a year to file for any VA benefits once separating from the military.
      There is a county VA rep in every county, start there and as recommended above get a Veterans Service Rep; I have American Legion, they’re great.
      Any injury sustained on active duty, especially requiring surgery will almost surely amount to some sort of rating.
      Time is critical at this point. Good luck

      • Ryan Guina says

        Paul, this is a partial truth. Certain VA benefits have an expiration and must be applied for within that window. Other benefits do not have an expiration and can be applied for at any time. VA disability compensation is one of the benefits that does not have a time limit. However, many people recommend applying for disability within the one-year window of separating from the military. This is beneficial for a few reasons – the first is that it is easier to submit your claim when you are closer to your separation date. Your records are generally easier to obtain, and your claim may even be processed more quickly. Another reason is that when the veteran files within a year of separation, the VA disability compensation is backdated to the date of separation. If the veteran waits beyond one year, the backpay only goes to the date the veteran filed their claim.

        I recommend the veteran work with a veterans claims specialist to file his claim as soon as possible. This is generally the best way to go.

  95. Aimee says

    My husband serve 2 of his 4 years in the air Force because he was discharged due to a felony. This happened in the 60’s. Could he still call himself a veteran?

    • Gary Rodeghier says

      Back in 1954 I was forced to join the army just out of reform school. My dad had to sign for me in Chicago, IL to join, I went thru boot camp got my leave and then went to A time and then got court marshal and giving a Undesirable Discharge Which I understand does not exist. I have tryed to get it changed to General with no avail. So what is my discharge classified as at this date and time and how to get it changed

      • Gary Rodeghier says

        Continue from boot camp, went Aberdeen Proving Grounds in MD. went AWOL two time and then got Court Marshaled and given a Undesirable Discharge, etc.

      • David Poland says

        Undesirable Discharges (now called “Under Other Than Honorable Conditions” (OTH) Discharges).

        “Some types of cases often result in an easy change in discharge (ONCE YOU APPLY). Examples of these cases are discharges after serving in Vietnam; discharge for homosexual acts, discharges from the 1960’s and early 1970’s for drug or alcohol-related problems. For “character” and “behavior” disorders, all cases where you can argue you were treated unfairly. Types of discharges from the 1940’s and 1950’s, and cases where you can argue you were treated unfairly. While some reviewing boards are better than others, the current overall up-grade rate is approximately 10%. The bottom line is that you will get no change without first making an application.”

  96. Jay says

    My brother received an oth for missing to many drills as a Marine Reservist. His problem was a car accident that end up with him being injured and losing his license. Was that the proper discharge and can he get it up graded to join the guard?

  97. Raymond Frost Jr. says

    Hello, my question is, I was discharged from the Air Force and received a general discharge, I went to the VA office to see what benefits, if any I was entitled to. I served 1 year 19 days with 2 months DEP, this is my second attempt with the VA office, but this time I received a letter stating I wasn’t entitled to any benefits because of my discharge code, ‘ Pattern of minor disciplinary actions ‘, but served more than 180 days, Nov 1981-Jan 1983.

  98. Joann says

    My fiancee was suppose to retire from the us army July 24 2017. After serving 20 years. Well in June he applied for early retirement. I told me no to just to wait. But he didn’t. So he send for the document they sent him 3. And he filled them out and he had to send them money. Then a week later 2 more documents came in and he filled those out and had to send more money to them. And then the last document came in he signed and sent the $1,400 dollars they asked for. Well his retirement date has come and gone. Its been 2 months and he still hasn’t heard anything. His commander called and all they say there working on it. And for the money I don’t understood. Maybe you can give me some answers
    His in lbja and his being in medical now for a month. Because he lost it. Because. There not giving him answers

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joan, Thank you for contacting me. I am not familiar with this type of situation. The military will never require anyone to give them money in order to retire early, unless the member already owed the military money from an overpayment or other situation. So I’m not sure what to say in regard to the money. As for the early retirement forms – there could be a number of reasons for a delay, especially if there are medical issues. All this to say, we don’t have enough information to provide any answers. Your husband will need to speak with his finance and personnel office to get specific answers to his questions. I wish you both the best.

  99. Mom says

    My son is being discharged (not sure what type) from basic because he did tell them he told a counselor he used drugs in college. He went to a counselor for depression after leaving college. His reciter knew but told him it would be fine and not to say anything unless he was asked. It is in his medical records he turned in. He passed MEPS. Now they are saying because he didn’t say anything he is being discharged. Is this true and can he do anything?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello, We don’t have enough information here. If he declared his previous drug use or depression in his entrance interviews or paperwork then that normally won’t be cause for separation if he made it through MEPS.

      I don’t have any additional information to go on, so it’s not possible to know what his separation type will be or any additional information. Can he fight this? Possibly. He should contact the base legal office and do what they recommend. This should be free of charge. He could also hire a civilian lawyer who is familiar with the military system, but he would have to pay out of pocket.

      Best wishes.

  100. Jermaine Oyola says

    Hi, I have a friend who, after serving 19.5 years in the army, is facing a chapter because of his weight. His question is what should he expect financially? Will he receive any compensation or severance after having served so long? Or will he just receive his last check expected and move on?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jermaine, Thank you for contacting me. There is something called Sanctuary which prevents the military from kicking someone out that close to retirement unless there are extenuating circumstances. To do so requires a waiver from the Secretary of the Army. So it’s not something that can just happen. I encourage your friend to speak with his human resources department or first sergeant. They should be able to help him understand his options.

  101. Chelsea says

    My fiancé is receiving a discharge from Parris Island Boot Camp due to getting cellulitis in his legs and is being sent home. He was not allowed to talk very long so I did not find out what type of discharge he was getting. However, I was just wondering if he would be able to reenlist in the Marines later in life if he so wished to do so. We are both very worried about this.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Chelsea, The discharge type will likely be classified as administrative. It should neither be bad or good, since he wasn’t in long. It may be possible to later rejoin the military, depending on what type of Reenlistment Code (RE Code) he receives. He will almost certainly have to process through MEPS again, and be able to prove that the medical condition has improved enough to qualify him for military service. This will require a note from his civilian doctor, along with an examination from the doctors at MEPS, and almost certainly medical waivers from MEPS and the Navy Surgeon Generals office. It’s a long process, but one that can work, provided he is qualified to serve. I hope this is helpful.

  102. Dorothy Baum says

    My husband received and Honorable Discharge then reenlisted and also received an ‘Undesirable ‘Discharge which was later upgraded to a General . He was receiving VA medical benefits and agent orange benefits . They have taken all his benefits away from him and say it is because of the ‘Undesirable’ . They are dismissing the upgrade . How can they do that ? We have an appeal in but it has been about two years now and have heard nothing .

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Dorothy, Thank you for contacting me. This is outside the scope of my expertise. I recommend contacting a veterans service organization, such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, etc. They should be able to offer one on one assistance. I wish your husband the best of health.

    • Chelsea says

      Based on personal experience, the VA is difficult to get through. My father has fought for his benefits for the past couple of years after serving 23 years in the Air Force. We ended up just getting in contact at least once or twice a week towards the last couple of months and they finally “got around to it.”

  103. Beth S. says

    I have a question about the language of the General Discharge, Under Honorable Conditions. What exactly does the “Under” in this discharge mean? Does “under” mean below honorable conditions, as in less than honorable conditions? Or does “under” mean with within the category of honorable conditions, but still not quite as honorable as an Honorable Discharge?

    Hopefully what I’m asking makes sense. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Beth, Thank you for contacting me. I believe it means less than Honorable Conditions.

      Here is an explanation written by an Army Captain,

      “a “General, Under Honorable Conditions” Discharge (commonly referred to as a General Discharge) is for service members whose service was satisfactory, but involved situations where the Soldier’s conduct and/or performance of duty were not so meritorious to warrant an Honorable Discharge. Recipients of General Discharges usually have engaged in minor misconduct or have received nonjudicial punishment under Article 15, UCMJ. While the “under honorable conditions” terminology is slightly confusing, there is a clear disadvantage to receiving a General Discharge in contrast to an Honorable Discharge. While recipients of a General Discharge will receive entitlement to benefits such as VA medical and dental services, VA home loans and burial in national cemeteries, they will not receive educational benefits under either the Montgomery or Post-9/11 GI Bill.” Source.

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  104. Elton Binkley says

    my girl friend was in the national guard for 8 years and had to leave 8 months early cause of raising kids she received a general under honorable discharge in 1998 in 2002 she got a VA loan to buy a house had the loan till 2009 now she is trying to get a VA loan and she is being denied because they say she does not have a honorable discharge do you understand why this is happening to her now or who to contact to get this straight everything I read says she should be able to get a VA loan with her service and like I said she had a VA loan for 7 yrs thanks for any help

  105. John says

    I received an honorable discharge but I am not eligable to re-enlist because of the code on my DD-214. Is there a form I can fill out to attempt to habe this code changed?
    Thank you.

  106. James Kamberis says

    To whom it may concern.
    On separation from the military (active duty), I was assigned to the reserves. While on active duty i injured my back,but completed my active duty commitment. My reserve time did not require me to any physical duties. I was notified to appear for a physical before medical personal. After a complete examination I was classified as unable to perform my duties and was discharged from the military. Two years active and three years reserve time. Later I received my discharge as honorable. Should i have been discharged on a medical condition because I could not perform my military duties?

  107. Kevin says

    Hi. I went to navy boot camp. Was doing great but had many many stressful things going on in my home life during that period. I spoke to a counselor while there because I was feeling suicidal. I ended up admitting I had tried samples of antidepressants when I was younger but never mentioned it on forms. They discharged me and told me I could not ever re-enlist. I ended up going home and dealing with my mental health issues. I have been stable for about 8 years since then. It was just a really rough time in my life. Is it really impossible for me to re-enlist? Could that change if we do end up going to war with Russia, North Korea or china? Also if they re-instate the draft would that still make me ineligible?

  108. Sargee says

    If everything is regular how long does an honorable discharge from the navy take?

    Off the ship for couple days now when’s will or can a navy man leave his base station state. No longer living in the ship now?

  109. Francisco Duncanson says

    Hi Ryan, I have a question regarding my eligibility for work as Police officer, but I want to explain the circumstances before I ask. I was discharged from the USMC in 2013 with a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions. I was in for 5 days short of 2 years, and I would have qualified for some of my benefits if not for my general discharge. I ran into a lot of medical problems shortly after entering my MOS school for Crash and Fire Rescue because I had a partially torn achilles tendon and flat feet: conditions that existed before my entrance into the Marine Corps but got worse during training. I did bring the potential difficulty that these things might cause me up during the Delayed Entry Process, but I don’t believe that the Recruiters documented any of it. While at Crash and Fire school, I incurred a mysterious injury in my pelvis/hip/ groin area that prevented me from even walking normally; I needed help putting my trousers on for the first few days after that and I spent almost a year on crutches. Because the doctors couldn’t figure out what the issue was, NCOs in my chain of command labeled me as a malingerer and saw to it that I was treated badly for the duration of my time as an enlisted Marine. This continued even after I was re-classed to supply and entered the fleet. The doctors wouldn’t touch my partially torn achilles tendon because of the amount of downtime and recovery I would need, and they only seemed to be able to prescribe me pain meds and physical therapy. I was eventually asked to sign a counseling sheet saying that I was waiving my ability to pick up Corporal because I was pending Administrative Separation. I was done with the Marine Corps at that point, so I signed the paper without question. I was under so much stress that I couldn’t sleep for more than 3 hours, I was made to take anger management classes, I was put on High Risk, disallowed from being anywhere near the Armory, made to check in with an NCO every night at a designated time, and I met with a personal counselor every week. And my chain of command was informed that my flat feet and partially torn achilles tendon were pre-existing conditions. Regardless, I have no regrets about my decision to administratively separate, but now that I’m considering applying for a Job serving as a Law Enforcement Officer, I’m seeing that my DD214 may prevent me from being eligible. Since my separation, I have suffered a full thickness tear of my achilles tendon, and I’ve had it surgically repaired, so physically, I should be able to manage just fine. But my DD214 has listed my Separation Code: JFV1 , My Re-Entry Code: RE-4 and my reason for separation was as follows: Condition, Not a disability. Shortly after my discharge, I sent my paperwork to the VA, and they said there was nothing that could be done as far as getting any kind of benefits or support because a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions is not an Honorable Discharge. From what I’ve read so far it seems that the powers in charge normally stick to only allowing Honorably Discharged prior service members the opportunity to become police officers. The application process in my area takes 6 months, including a physical fitness test. With the information about my situation that I’ve provided, would you advise that I continue to pursue a career in Law Enforcement? or Should I just look for something else?

  110. Thomas says

    Hello Mr. Guina,

    I had a question. I will be separated from the Army National Guard under a General discharge. Typically, how long does it take to be separated? My wife is currently pregnant and we plan to move out of state to be closer to family during the remainder of my time in the Guard. Is there any way to expedite the process of separation? I realize the time for separation varies; however, do they make exceptions for soldiers who were good?

  111. Blaine Aycock says

    I was in USAF and received a Hardship Discharge under Honorable conditions. I had less than 3 months on a 4 year stint. I went to a VA hospital to get an ID card for medical but was told I was not eligible for VA medical benefits because my wife made too much money. I was not even issued a ID card because he said I was ineligible. I am 100% disabled but not from the military, even tough I was exposed to PCB for 10 months and a small dose of radiation. I applied in 2013. Why would I be ineligible because I know a lot of veterans and their spouses that are making a lot more money than my wife.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Blaine, Thank you for your comment. The VA has different priority levels for veterans, based on their VA disability rating (or no rating), when they served, and other factors. Some members who do not have a VA service-connected disability rating may qualify for VA health care only if certain criteria are met. Family income is one of those criteria. The VA can provide specific answers to your questions. You can also read more about VA Health Care Eligibility here.

  112. Chris Anderson says

    There is someone in our community claiming the following:
    Honorable discharge.
    30 combat kills.
    Being waterboarded at SERE
    Being offered a job with Blackwater in the last two years.
    Being Airborne

    He has been asked for his DD-214 and will not provide it.
    He openly degrades an honorably discharged female veteran.

    I, and others in my community want answers. Where do we go from here?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Chris, someone who openly degrades a female, or any other veteran for that matter, shouldn’t be welcome in the community. Personally, I would pull him aside and tell him his character and actions don’t align with his claims. What he does after that tells you all you need to know.

      In all likelihood, the members of your group probably already suspect he is lying, but you are giving him the benefit of the doubt. This is understandable, as most veterans wants to be inclusive of other veterans and have a community we belong to. This article shows some ways you can prove military service, to include looking up public records of other veterans. I don’t tell you this to nail the guy, but only as a way to verify his claims. If he is caught lying, pull him aside and tell him he is no longer welcome in your group. Or just tell him that anyway since he isn’t acting with honor to begin with.

  113. Aaron says

    Any help is appreciated… I was told that i will be processed for a MEB for a cavernoma that was found after almost 9 years of service in the Air Force… will I be medically separated or medically retired? I don’t think it can be proved that I had the cavernoma pre Air Force and I have over 8 years of service… Any insight is greatly appreciated.

  114. Maria Calabretta Zwack says

    Hello! Yesterday, I had a long conversation with my Uncle who served honorably in the Navy on the USS Fall River. He is now 90 years of age. He told me a story about his younger brother (my father-now deceased) who served in the Navy in I believe 1944 (circa). My father was dishonorably discharged from the Navy for having a sleep disorder-which was never diagnosed. What will it take to change his status from dishonorable to honorable? I can provide more information, dates, etc.,as well as the reason why exactly he was discharged, but for now, how can I begin this process? It will mean a lot to our family to at least try to get this decision reversed.

  115. Laura says

    I have a question. I was serving in the Navy Reserves a few years ago and issues a Military Credit Card. I over spent the amount on the card and agreed to repay. I was encouraged not to return to drill for which I didn’t agree, but I did as my Commanding Officer told me. I later found that I AWOL out which I felt was a set up. I believe I was discharged OTD. Can I appeal this?

  116. Sarah says

    Can you tell me what JJD/901 separation code from the navy means? He was discharged in absentia via special court martial for bad conduct with a RE-4 re-enlistment code. Would he have done time in military jail for this?

  117. c sti says

    I served more than 180 days and was sent to my duty station where I did perform duties. I miscarried my first child on duty and therefore did not wish to continue. In the end, because of my naïve age of 19, I signed a discharge of “uncharacterized”. Later I was granted a 10% disability and given a document by the Department of Veterans Affairs stating “The Department Of Veterans Affairs records certify that you separated under Honorable conditions from Active Duty Military Service….” It goes on to say I qualify for compensation for my disability which I do receive now.

    Here is my issue. USPS/Post Office will not allow me to claim a 10 point preference because they say they must use my DD214 to determine that….and as I mentioned my DD214 shows “Uncharacterized”.

    Is there no exception to the form that can be submitted to USPS…?

  118. Kim says

    I know a guy who was active and did one tour in Iraq. He came home and went awol for several several months. I’m not sure exactly the length less than a year more than 90 days. His mother is a very dishonest woman and has tried to tell us that he receives both military benefits and disability benefits that civilians receive. Is this possible? She says that after he went awol that he came back and told the army that he had injured his knee in basic. Now after almost ten years the story is he injured his head also while in Iraq. The knee injury was during basic but he now receives both benefits. She is saying he receives disability because of the head injury. Is this even possible?? I’m sorry if my tone seems abrasive but I do not have any tolerance for dishonesty or people that scam the system. (If she’s telling the truth). Thank you and Kind Regards to our brave and mighty.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kim, Thank you for your comment. Is this situation possible? Yes. Service Connected Disability Ratings often have many variables involved. And of course, we don’t have all the information. So yes, it is possible to have a knee injury or head injury and receive disability compensation for these conditions. I can’t comment on the AWOL statement. Servicemembers who go AWOL are generally discharged. The type of discharge will vary depending on the situation and circumstances. So is this specific situation true? There is no way for us to know. And quite frankly, there isn’t an easy way for anyone to verify. It could be a legitimate situation, or it could be someone scamming the system, or it could just be someone looking for attention. Unless there is substantial evidence of a crime being committed, it’s best to leave the situation alone.

  119. Geno says

    I work as a volunteer for homeless veterans. This is a very nice apartment facility located near the VA. I have been talking to veterans about a few paticular people that were allowed to live in the community. My understanding is, to quilify for housing you must have a dd 214 and honorably discharged. Some felonies are waived. However, this individual has only a letter from a comrade. The resident discovered that the person had enlisted with false information, and didn’t disclose a felony record. The service dismissed this member only 2 days into basic training. The member living among veterans explains their inability to apply for the dd214 because their service was as a reserve. I haven’t heard of this. My suspicion is the veterans living in this facility have discovered a fraudulent military person. I have further concerns about this. The resident has appeared on television documentaries, taken several donations from the public, under the umbrella of homeless veterans. Moreover, living in a federally subsides house.
    In summary, my questions are:

    1. How can you find out if someone is lying about their military service
    2. What type of record would a reservist have
    3. Why wouldn’t the veteran be able to obtain their service dd214 or any other record.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Geno, thank you for your comment, and thank you for serving the military community. This is a tricky situation, and sometimes there are no clear cut answers. The following article discusses how to prove military service. The steps covered in the article work for veterans being able to prove their service, and as a method for veterans organizations to do the same. I hope you find it helpful.

  120. Rose says

    Hi there,
    My boyfriend who was in the Marines got a discharge other than honorable because he failed a drug test. He now has to carry a lot of weight mentally and can’t get hired to become a police officer or carry a concealed weapon. He feels down. Can he get his other than honorable discharge reversed?

  121. Daniel says

    I thought that a Medical Discharge was an entirely separate category. Was it ever, or is that just incorrect usage?

  122. Donna K says

    Can the Navy force a sailor to extend his initial contract because they want him to? A tremendous amount of pressure is being applied to sign an extension before the sailor can leave for his ship assignment in Japan, including threats to “flag his file” if he doesn’t extend his contract. Is this sort of pressure normal designed to “make him a man” or what? And what doesn’t flag his file really mean? Now we have a 20 yr old who intended to serve his country feeling like he is being faced with a situation beyond his control..what do you think?

  123. Tammy Marcee says

    Dear Ryan
    I left for basic in Feb. 02 I got to reception got everything done then was told basic was full in April a JAG officer came through and asked how long I had been there I told him going on 4 months and didn’t know why I had not gone to basic like everyone else. I had not been hurt or in trouble, I was bay leader. Then he told me I had timed out and was going home. I wanted to serve my country, and feel like I was robbed my chance. Now I am fighting health issues I go to apply for disability and they said I am receiving X amount from the military so I can’t get benefits. I have not received any payment since I was sent home April 15 2002. I have never seen my DD 214 all I got was a unsigned paper orders 105-140. Am I discharged, or separated? Am I owed money? Was I supposed to do drills and annuals still?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tammy, Thank you for contacting me, and I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers. You will need to contact your branch of service human resources or personnel office for more information. (Army Human Resources, Air Force AFPC, Navy or Marines BUPERS). They should be able to look up your discharge status and any applicable paperwork. If they don’t have your paperwork, you may need to contact the National Archives in St. Louis for more information. Try this article for more information on getting a copy of your DD Form 214.

      In regard to receiving money from the military – you could contact DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service, which is the organization that handles military pay). Additionally, you can contact the VA to see if you have a claim in their system. I hope this points you in the right direction.

  124. SJ says

    My teenaged daughter has been dating a marine reserve; I am reluctant to doubt my daughters judgement, or the integrity of her boyfriend, but I’m curious about some of the things he has said.
    He has been in the reserves for a year or so, but recently ‘withdrew’ with an ‘honorable discharge’…. he had enrolled in school then dropped out but insists the Marines will continue to provide him with lifetime education benefits, as well as a paycheck, insurance, living expenses, etc….. is that accurate? It seems very generous, as this young man isn’t even 21 years old yet and served only briefly…..

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello SJ, Thank you for your comment. Earning lifetime military benefits usually requires serving for more than a few months or even a few years. In general, one needs to serve 20 years in order to be eligible for retirement benefits such as health care and retirement pay. Education benefits usually come with a time limit of either 10 years or 15 years, depending which GI Bill program. There are a few exceptions, such as receiving disability compensation, or a medical retirement. So it’s possible he may have received some other form of related discharge.

      Otherwise, most military members who do not receive retirement benefits no longer receive any pay or insurance after leaving military service, and their education benefits come with a term limit. It’s possible he is lying, stretching the truth, or simply misinformed. That’s not my call to make. But learning about military benefits is fairly easy to do – just review a few websites, or call the local Marine Corps Reserve recruiter to ask about benefits. They can show you all the resources. Just be gentle in how you share this information with your daughter or how you confront the Marine. It could cause a big confrontation.

  125. Rex Ricchett says

    A friend of my son is in the Coast Guard for about 4 years. Within 2 months of marriage, his wife cheated with his best friend. She filed **** charges and sodomy charges against him. He was placed in a Navy jail for sex offenders for 6 months while awaiting trial. After all the evidence came out, it was found the wife made up the charges to get the husband out of the picture so she could fool around with the friend. He was released from jail and the charges were dropped WITH prejudice. He was re-stationed anywhere he wanted. A month before his enlistment date, he received a letter stating they are discharging him from the Coast Guard based on the charges. How can they do this? The discharge was going to be a Bad Conduct Discharge. He was only held in jail, never convicted and the charges were dropped. I don’t understand how all this could happen when there is written proof from the Coast Guard Prosecuting Attorney the wife made up the charges.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Rex, Thank you for your comment. I am not trained in the legal professions, so I can’t make a comment. It’s possible there is more information than we are privileged to. It’s also possible a mistake was made. At this point he should speak with a JAG (Judge Advocate General) or hire a civilian lawyer with military experience. This is the only recommendation I can make. He needs a professional to assist.

  126. Kim says

    Hi Ryan,
    I retired from the Army in 2004. My DD214 does not state my character of service on it. Is that usual for retirees? I didn’t notice it until recently a DMV worker pointed it out when I was requesting the veterans designation on my drivers license. I have a military retiree ID card and all of my re-enlistment terms ended with honorable discharge certificates but I find it odd that my DD214 does not state character of service and wonder if this is a mistake that I need to have corrected?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kim, Thank you for contacting me. I’m honestly not sure. I was under the impression each DD Form 214 should list the separation type on the document, but I’m not 100% certain. You would need to contact the Army Human Resources Command for more information. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  127. Chad malkinson says

    What exactly are the qualifications for the GI bill? I am currently in the navy and will either be getting out for a medical discharge or milpersman 125 failure to complete initial skills training pipeline. I was in the seal program and was dropped for failing a pst but I’m over 180 days almost 9 months in and I’m wondering when I get out if I will qualify for GI bill because I’ve heard that you can get 50%. Also what’s the difference between Montgomery gi bill and post 9/11 and how do I know which one I qualify for?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Chad, The Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) is the program military members are able to opt into when they join the military. It costs $1,200 to join the program and is taken from the paycheck at a rate of $100 per month for the first 12 months. The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a different program. In general, it is more valuable and does not cost the member anything to join. However, eligibility is only for those who served after September 11, 2001, and one must meet certain service requirements in order to be eligible. The requirements can be found in this Post-9/11 GI Bill guide. 6 months of service is equal to 50% of the GI Bill benefit rate, and the percentage vested increases up to 100% at 3 years of service (full vesting can occur with less service time in certain circumstances, such as a discharge for a service-connected disability). Here is a GI Bill guide that covers both programs.

  128. Cardless Dixon says

    Hello Ryan, I would like to know what is the difference in Honorable Discharge and Expiration of time in service. Some of my paper work says Honorable but the DD 214 say EIS. I was told that I couldn’t have the Veteran Designation on my Driver License unless it had Honorable Discharge.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Cardless Dixon, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I’m not sure what the difference is. The best recommendation I have is to contact your branch of service personnel department or headquarters (Army HRC, AFPC, BUPERS, etc.) and ask about the difference and if it is possible to have your DD Form 214 corrected. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  129. Ronald Cato says

    I was discharged in Dec of 1997 with an Other than Honorable. My 15 yrs has lapsed, how can I go about getting that request to change my military records and where do I send in that request. Thanks

  130. Brandon says

    Hello Ryan I’m just now trying to apply for my va benefits again because I was told years back that I wasn’t entitled to anything. I have a general under honorable conditions discharge..I’m aware that I’m not entitled to the gi bill but I was just taking a shot to see what could I be entitled to with the discharge that I have?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Brandon, Thank you for contacting me. Military benefits often vary by individual based on when and where they served, discharge type, and other factors. It’s very difficult to answer your question with the information you provided. The best thing to do is schedule an appointment with a Veterans Benefits Counselor with the VA or a Veterans Service Organization. They will be able to review your entire situation and give you a list specific benefits or programs you may be eligible for. I hope this points you in the right direction. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  131. Lisa Wachob says

    Hello, I have a son who might not pass the measurements for the Navy. If he is released, does he qualify for the GI bill?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lisa, Thank you for contacting me. That depends on many factors, including for how long he served. In most cases, the veteran must serve a certain amount of time in the military before they are eligible to receive GI Bill benefits. There may be certain exceptions for veterans who have a medical disability or condition that occurred while they were in the service. Your son should speak with his personnel department to find out more information regarding the benefits he will be eligible to receive if he is separated from the military.

  132. CHAD HOLLIDAY says

    What process or steps can my son do to appeal his seperation? Who can he talk to be his advocate? He stated it was for failing room inspections. I’m sure I’m not getting the full story. He’s been in 1 year. He just finished A school in Monterey CA. I can’t see the Navy wanting to invest the resources in his training and then just letting him go.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Chad, Thank you for contacting me. If he is still in the military then he should visit his JAG or base legal office. They can walk him through the process and help him understand his options. If that doesn’t work, he could hire a civilian lawyer who specializes in military law.

  133. David Hernandez says

    My son is an officer in the Nation Guard, started in California, transferred to North Dakota – and now he wants to transfer to Washington State. He didn’t pass the PT test in ND (the running part, everything else he did) but because he didn’t pass – he cant transfer to WA. He cannot be going to ND from WA with a financial hardship – what can be done to get him transferred, he still has 3yrs left to complete his obligation – if he doesn’t go back, what kind of discharge will they give him?

  134. Shawn D. says

    I just have a question. My friend was awol for 3 consecutive months we are in the national guard. And he is trying to get out of the military but his sgt told him that if he misses one more that he will more than likely receive a general discharge. I just wanna know what’s worse a general or a less than honorable.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Shawn, Thank you for contacting me. The Sgt your friend spoke with means well, but he isn’t the official who determines the discharge rating. That is usually up to the base or unit commander. The discharge types can range depending on the reason given for the discharge, and other circumstances. The best thing for your friend to do is to speak with a JAG or other military legal professional. They can give him more specific information for his situation.

  135. Susan Calderone says

    My father in law was dishonorably discharged from the army sometime before 1935. Is there anyway to obtain a copy of his discharge? Thank you.

  136. Georgina says

    My husband recently passed away Aug. 2nd, 2016, and I am arranging for internment in a National Cemetery. I gave the funeral director the original DD-214 that my husband kept in his file when he was discharged from the Marine Corp in 1984. However, when the funeral director sent a copy to the National Cemetery officer to set up our date for interment I was told that I needed to get a new one as the one I have doesn’t have his discharge reason on it. Nowhere does it say GOOD, BAD or anything else on his DD-214. I know he was discharged with Good Conduct, but why didn’t this original form have that information included on it? I had sent off for a new one on Aug 4, 2016, but it seems to be taking for ever to receive it, and now I am worried that I won’t be able to have the interment on the date our family had chosen. Can you tell why and when the DD-214 form was changed, and why I can’t find any info about it on the NPRC website?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Georgina, Thank you for contacting me, and I’m sorry for your loss. Unfortunately, I do not know when or why the DD Form 214 was changed. The National Archives would be the organization to contact about this situation.

      This link has information for requesting documents for funerals (including emergency requests). They try to process all emergency requests within two business days. Hopefully they can expedite your request.

      Again, I am sorry for your loss, and I hope this will be resolved in time for your husband to receive the Burial Honors he deserves.

  137. juan says

    I received my honorable discharge when I first time in the Army. Went back in the Army after 1 year and a 1/2, but this time after 2 years went A.W.O.L. I turned myself in an received an undesirable. Does my first discharge give me V.A. benefits?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Juan, Thank you for contacting me. You will need to speak with the VA. It’s possible your most recent discharge will be what the VA uses to determine benefits eligibility. You can contact the VA or a Veterans Service Organization for a free benefits review.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Don, I don’t have an answer for you. Each situation is unique. You will need to contact the VA for a full records review. They will be able to tell you which benefits programs you are eligible for. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  138. Miguel Santana says

    Hi,my name is Miguel Santana. I was enlisted in 2002 and I was a (ESL) student, never started basic training. ..I was dischage from the Army, I try for years to Re-enlist and for any reason the recruitlers dont made any effort to signing me.I was in the Army for around of 180 days, academic dischage.

  139. Mike says

    I served 4 years active duty 97-01 and 4 years national guard 01-05. I received an honorable discharge from both. I fulfilled my initial military commitment. I enlisted in the reserves 05-09. I failed one test for thc in 07. In october 2008 i got a misdemeanor drug charge. There was a major in command that had that i believe had personal reasons to get me out. I came to my unit and told them i had 6 months in jail. They never said anything about seperation or paperwork. While i was in jail they had the address and knew where i was. During this time they proceeded to send certified mail to my home knowing I was in jail and couldnt sign. But i never signed any paperwork for discharge at all. When i got out i found out information that made me understand what really happened. A friend told me the command said one brother is in jail (me) and the other one is also. My brother was in the unit before he transfered to a different unit and received an honorable discharge in 07/08. At the time i didnt know my brother did something financial. From that affected the people in higher command from battalion down. It affected their personal lives also due to it involved money. I had nothing to do with this or knowledge of it until i asked him. At that time he told me what happened and who it happened to. The major was one of the people affected by my brother.He retained military and civilian lawyers for civilian courts. He did not go to jail or even discharged. He received an honorable discharge. Since nothing could be done by the battalion towards my brother. I received an other than honorable discharge for thc. This was 2 years after i failed the test. I didnt see the discharge papers until i got out. It was effective week or so before i got out. Remind you was i jail during this process. So i never heard, seen or sign anything about a discharge until i got out. My discharge was done faster than any discharge i ever seen. Pretty much for no reason in so many words. It said for thc which was 2 years prior. In the manner it was done was hush basically. My discharge had nothing to do with me being in jail which i believed was the reason. But isnt or wasnt according to my discharge papers. This unit/ battalion i was in had several people some alcoholics who received several dui’s. Wife beat and others of sort. This was an mp battalion and i was a specialist in comcommunication. I didnt a direct nco which left me basically with no chain of command. Considering the events above does the other than honorable discharge fit or is it incorrect. I know it sounds crazy. What is your best advice on trying to get this upgraded.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mike,

      Thank you for contacting me. Your situation is unique. I’m not a lawyer, so my observations here are just that. This is not legal advice, and I would recommend retaining the services of a lawyer if you wish to pursue this further.

      I’d start by saying that THC is an illegal substance, and its use is against military regulations. The military is with their right to discharge you based on the use of the substance.

      Regarding them sending letters to your home: Did you officially update your address, or did you only give them a verbal update? Did they have an official notification of where to reach you? Having an up to date address on file is required by military regulations.

      Failing to attend drills and unit training events can be grounds for discharge.

      As I mentioned, your situation is unique. An Other Than Honorable Discharge is still much better than a Dishonorable Discharge. So that at least is in your favor.

      Can it be upgraded? I don’t know. I would read the following article on upgrading your military discharge. This is not an automatic process, and can be very difficult unless there was a proven clerical error or similar administrative fault in your discharge rating. It does not sound like that is the case with your situation. Be prepared to seek assistance if you decide to request a discharge upgrade, as the Board of Appeals Process can be difficult to navigate on your own.

    • melissa corral says

      hey mike I’m kind of in the same boat as you.
      I failed the the test and was let go this month nov 2017;
      however, the thc test was a year and a half ago, and I was never given any documentation for the test results or any article 15. I know had to have some rights I was on may 6 year already close to seven in therapy reserves. please help. and I was a hopping to get information on where can I get the legal counsel help

  140. troy says

    Hi, I was DEP (Delayed Entry Program) into the army back in 1987 I was supposed to start June 8th of 1988 but never went my question is would that be a dishonorable discharge or els?

  141. Mary says

    Hi. My family member was just “kicked out” of honorable military burial squad for reasons unknown as has several of his other squad members over the past 6-8 months. these are young men trying to serve their country. It seems there is much turmoil in the company due to race. How can he fight the early Forced discharge?

  142. Renne says

    Hello, I sent off to get a copy of a family member military records from the National Personnel Records and the family members have been telling everyone that he was a US Marine for 12 years and was a caption, but the paper work is saying something different he only did one month and he was discharged. Is there any other way to get more paper work on this family member. Or what other steps can I take. I need help

  143. Jesse C says

    Hi Mr. Guina,

    I apologize for the strange question however, I was enlisted in the PA National Guard in 2008. I did my one weekend a months for a year because I was still in high school and was not able to ship to basic training. I left for basic in June of 2009 and while I was in processing at Fort Indiana town Gap they weighed me and I was overweight and had hurt my knee. They sent me home to seek treatment for my knee, but since I had passed the year mark and still had not shipped I was discharged. I was never told if my discharge was honorable or dishonorable.

    I am only asking because I have gotten my weight under control and my knee is stronger and I am have started the process to attend the police academy. I know they complete background checks. I just didn’t know if because I failed to ship to basic training their would be a record at all, and if their is a record what they would find, or where I could find copies of my record.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated,

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jesse, Thank you for contacting me. You would need to contact the National Guard to see if they have a record for you. You would not receive a dishonorable discharge for medical reasons. The likely discharge would either be an administrative discharge or an honorable discharge. But your former unit or the Army Human Resources command should be able to provide you with an official record.

  144. Marcus Q. says

    I have a friend who has turned himself in for being AWOL for quite some time, he left post after his deployment to Iraq. it has recently come to my attention that this person has recently been diagnosed with bi polar disorder (diagnosis after enlistment) and suffers from manic episodes which has certainly accounted for behavior at times. I know the man personally…. he is a good man… just extremely manic at periods and flies off the handle, and now must take some pretty serious meds in order to maintain. He is currently being chaptered out of the military. is there any advice you can impart for my friend? what kind of chapter is in store for this gentleman?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Marcus, Thank you for contacting me. The best advice I have for him is to visit his base legal office. Each base has lawyers who specialize in military law. They will provide him with free counsel regarding his options. He should also visit his base medical facilities and make sure he gets a diagnosis for every medical condition has has (this includes both physical and mental health). Finally, when he is chaptered out of the military, he should visit the VA to get in their health care system to see if he can continue receiving treatment for any conditions that were diagnosed while he was in the military.

      As for the type of discharge he will face – I can’t say. This is where the legal counsel will come into play. I wish the best for your friend and I hope he receives the treatment he needs.

      • Bobbie says

        I have a question! My son has received 2 demerits in Tech school and he was told today when he got his second that if he received 2 more he would be sent home , so I’m just wondering if that was true. All demerits were given for fail inspection.

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Bobbie, Thank you for contacting me. I can’t comment on tech school policy, because each school or branch of service may have their own ways of doing things.

        A simple demerit shouldn’t be a big issue. But repeated dorm inspection failures may be a problem, depending on the reasons and severity. For example, keeping illegal or prohibited items in the dorm is much worse that not making one’s bed. In most cases, dorm inspection failures are only a contributing factor to students being sent home, and not the only reason (again, barring dangerous or illegal items).

        The best thing for your son to do is speak with his leadership so he can be clear on the expectations. In general, the standards are too difficult to maintain.

        I hope this is helpful.

    • Pfc matthew humphreys says

      Probably dishonorbible discharge because awol unless has friends high places. dispear usauly less 30 days usually genarel discharge 30 days or more is awol

  145. karen erich says

    Ryan, my daughters boyfriend is trying to tell her that the army has contacted him and wants him back in the service after being kicked out with a dishonorable discharge. I know this is a load of crap, he even went as far as to tell her he has to go to fort hood in febuary and when he got the boot he was a private and now he will be a staff sergant, he told her his strips just came in the mail. My best friend was in the army for 25 years and he tried to tell her it wasnt true but she wont listen. Who is right ? ty

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Karen,
      Thank you for contacting me. I have never heard of a situation like this. Normally a dishonorable discharge is a big deal and the member would not be allowed to serve again. The exception would be if the Army later comes back and changes the discharge type. This can happen, but usually involves a formal appeal or legal action. In any situation, the veteran would receive some form of formal notification in the form of an official letter, a set of orders, a summons, or other document. I hope this helps.

  146. Tracey Rogers says

    My son has been enlisted in the Army since January 2015 and has recently gotten into trouble by failing his drug test. He made a huge mistake by hanging out with friends on his leave and admitted to this. He regrets his decision and understands what he did was stupid, but now it may cost him his military career. His Commander wants to kick him out for this one mistake even though there have been other privates who have done the same thing and have been given a second chance. My son feels that his Commander dislikes him and that’s why he is pushing for his dismissal.
    Is there anything my son can do to stay in the Army and out this behind him. He just turned 20 and doesn’t want this to ruin his life.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tracey, Thank you for contacting me. The best thing he can do is visit his base legal office. They will walk him through his options and advise him on the best course of action. He could also try hiring a civilian lawyer with military expertise, but there is no guarantee this would have a better impact and he would have to pay for this out of his own pocket. I would start with the base legal office and go from there.

  147. Kalithia says

    Hi Ryan,
    My daughters father was discharged with an “OTH”. He suffers from PTSD, Depression, paranoia, and anxiety. I really believe it started when he was in Iraq. He came back different and started to make bad decisions. He’s seeking counseling. But, I was wondering if he could fight to change his discharge? He needs the insurance and benefits. He struggles in the normal world and could really use the support.

  148. Prentiss B says

    Hi Ryan,
    Is there any way to find out the discharge category of a person of whom you are not next of kin?

  149. Jc says

    My question to you is I was discharged from usmc and given a uncharacterized entry level separation and I’m Appling for college asking for finicial aid (Fasfa) the question I’m I consider a veteran all though I only did 4 months

  150. RAUL PEREZ says

    Hi Ryan Guina, I served in the army national guard was looking through old military documents ran across one that state discharge from component READY RESERVE TYPE: Honorable. By having this document do i qualify for any benefits any will be greatly appreciated

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Raul, Thank you for contacting me. You are most likely eligible for some veterans benefits, but which benefits will vary depending on your service – how long you served, when and where you served, whether or not you were deployed, and other factors. The best thing to do is get a personalized veterans benefits review. You can do this for free through the VA, or through another veterans organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, or another organization. I hope this is helpful. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  151. Renico Smith says

    I was in the military from 930302 to 090709. My final discharge was BAD CONDUCT. I am currently a veteran and I am employed with the DOJ (Department of Justice) in Los Angeles Federal Court. My question is on my DD214 it is stated that I have “CONTINUOUS HONORABLE ACTIVE SERVICE 19930302-20051016”, can these 12 years of Honorable service be used as with my time with my current federal employment so that in 8 years I will be at my 20 yrs mark with the federal government?

  152. Lynea Gallagher says

    I am doing some genealogical research and am trying to understand the military paperwork I am finding. Is there somewhere I can go to find information on the types of discharges used historically?

    For example, my great-great uncle was discharged for “industrial reasons” and I am really curious to understand what that means.

    I know I am not the only on who would like some historical resources. Thanks!!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lynea, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great resource. You may need to find a history book that discusses this in greater detail. In this specific instance, “industrial” may mean that his services were needed for a civilian job more than they were needed in the military. But I can’t be certain. I wish you the best in your search!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jennifer, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I don’t know the answer. I would contact the base legal office for more information. They should be able to give you an answer. Sorry I don’t have this info.

  153. Martha says

    Hello Ryan – My son was discharged with ELS and Discharged Fraudulent Entry because of a pre-existing scoliosis. My questing is if he applies for a federal job will that show? Please let me know. Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Martha, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a firm answer. But I can tell you that if he applies for a federal job he would be required to answer questions about previous military service and he would most likely be required to disclose this information. I cannot say how the federal service would handle this, as I don’t have experience with their hiring system. The same question may also come up in back ground checks for security clearances if one is required for his job.

      So my recommendation is to be upfront and honest about this if the question is asked. Trying to hide this could lead to further problems, including not being able to be hired or obtain a security clearance.

  154. Mandy Dunn says

    My sons biological father was Honorably discharged after serving 4 years in the U.S.M.C. He was a Marine from August 29th, 2010 until August 29th, 2014. He swears to me that he is not getting any benefits such as money, retirement plan, nor health insurance, etc. Is he correct about that as well as he says he is not a reserve, either? Is he telling me the truth?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mandy, Most members who only serve 4 years on active duty do not receive any retirement pay, health care benefits, or other ongoing financial payments. He may still be in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), but that is not a paid billet. I would take him at his word on his statements unless you have proof otherwise.

  155. fernando says

    I have been in the army for a little over a year now and have been diagnosed with hemridging and bleeding in my brain. Cavernous malformations. I am most certainly going to get med boarded but I am wondering if it will be a medical retirement or medical discharge and whether or not they can try to chapter me out before a med board I have heard stories of units trying to chapter soldiers out before med boards for numerous reasons such as it being a faster process even though i’ve been a great soldier this whole time. Do you know if med boards take priority over chapter. Will I still get my post 9/11 bill?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Fernando, Thank you for contacting me. I’m sorry to hear about your health condition, and I pray you will fully recover. My belief is that your medical condition is serious enough to warrant a medical board. But I am not the person who makes that decision and this is a complicated topic. My recommendation is to work closely with your medical unit to receive the care recommended by your physician. You should also work closely with your personnel department to understand your options going forward. You can also consider setting up an appointment with your legal office to make sure the Army does everything by the book.

      I don’t know if you would be eligible for a medical retirement, or if you would receive a medical discharge. Please do your research to understand your options. Set up appointments to have things explained if you don’t understand everything. (This can get complicated, so try to get things in writing for future reference).

      Regarding your Post-9/11 GI Bill: Servicemembers must generally serve 2 full years on active duty for full benefits, but there is also a clause that allows servicemembers to receive full benefits if they are injured or discharged for medical reasons. You may wish to verify with your education department, but I believe you should be eligible for the full Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit.

  156. Brennan Green says

    I went to boot camp for the navy. They found out about half way through that I used to be perscribed ADAH medication when I was younger. I was discharged. I can’t remember what kind of discharge I received. How do I find this information out?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Brennan, You can contact the main personnel HQ for your branch of service if you were separated recently (BUPERS for the Navy). If it has been more than 5 or 10 years (how long each branch maintains individual records can vary), your records would likely be in the National Archives.

  157. James Edward Holiday says

    I received a 2c re-enlistment code conduct and performance. I never had a conduct or performance problem. The issue was that I wanted to become an air force chaplain but didn’t know how to go about pursuing it. After being discharged I was told that I would be a part of the inactive ready reserve or inactive reserve. Does my time in the inactive reserve count toward the 2 months 21 days of service I had? I’m presently employed at the Savannah River Site with Centerra, formerly Wackenhut, as a class one law enforcement officer.

  158. Martha says

    Hello – my son left for AF boot camp May 10, 2016. He called me on May 20, 2016 that he maybe getting discharged due to having scoliosis. I have not heard from him since then. How/where can I get information on his condition?

  159. Jon Blockson says

    Hi my name is Jon Blockson, I was discharged from the army national guard after serving less than two years, the discharge says general discharge. Reason,(unsatisfactory) is this a general under dishonorable or general under honorable? The reason for the discharge was missing to many meetings. Years_1978_1981

  160. Bodie says

    Is there anyway I can find out if my son was discharged and for what reason, from the army in 1995, or if he just voluntarily quit. My son and I are estranged, (not my doing), and I have always been left out of the loop on everything. When I was able to see him before marriage to last one, he would never talk about the army, nor have I ever seen photos, uniforms, military gear, etc. He said the army keeps it all, but I often see others in their fatigues or their uniforms worn when active—but he said that is forbidden. None of this has ever seemed right, but never pushed for answers. I would like to know, but would never let him know if I were to find out. He just was not very grown-up during those eight years, and I feel there is another reason why he would give-up. Was told he went on to blow some money he got by leaving army, on another woman,—then moved to my house until he met the next one. Even now 48 years old and still treating his adopted elderly Christian Mother as he does. He has not been a good father to his children, because of poor examples of a real man, from his dad and his; anyway I just don’t fit in with his plans, tis sad, but I pray for him. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Bodie, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t know of any way to find out his type of discharge. And to be honest, I don’t think it matters. He has moved on from that period of his life and bringing up that history won’t help him today, especially if it wasn’t a great period in his life. Offer love and support – that is the most important thing you can do.

  161. Kris says

    I’m not sure if you will have the answers I’m searching for or not, but here is my story. My son enlisted in the U.S. Army in November of 2014. Boot camp, AIT all went on without a hitch, in August he got news he would deploy in late September of 2015. Came home on leave for about 7-8 days… Went back to his FDS. He later called and says he will not be deployed because higher rank, and those with more experience in his MOS wanted to deploy first.. So he was to start college courses in the state he was assigned to. Long story short, he comes home for Christmas, say he must report back to base the first week of January this year. He did not leave to go back. And, Well he then tells us, he is now in reserves, says he filed for this when he was still on base, and was waiting to here from his Sargent. At first it was full time reserves, now it’s part time….. And he will finish out his college classes here in our state… He’s not giving me answers to any of my questions. Could there be fact to any of this? Can I find out any information on him now? He’s not a minor, he’s 20 yrs old… Could it be possible he was discharged for some reason?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kris, Thank you for contacting me. There are many possibilities but it’s impossible for anyone outside of the situation to know the full details. The military does allow some members to transfer from active duty to the Reserves – sometimes full-time Reserves, sometimes part-time Reserves. It all depends on the contract that is signed. I can’t tell you his situation – only he can do that.

      If he was discharged, it may be that he is having a difficult time processing this change. There are many reasons for being discharged – from medical to administrative, to failure to meet military standards, or something else.

      As you mentioned, he is not a minor. So he doesn’t have to discuss this if he isn’t willing to do so. It’s also important to note that transitioning out of the military, for whatever reason, is difficult. Perhaps the thing he needs most right now is support, not questions. Please note I am not judging you or him. I cannot know the full situation and won’t pretend to do so. But I do know the transition out of the military is difficult and sometimes veterans need time to process that transition.

      So to answer your question, yes, it is possible he is telling the truth. It’s also possible it is a partial truth, or there is more to the situation than meets the eye. We can’t know this. But we do know he still needs your love and support. I hope this is helpful.

  162. danasia jones says

    Hi, I am a active duty service member. my contract was 3 years 25 weeks, July makes 2 years I have been serving. I haven’t had any negative counseling or punishments. However, I am having trouble meeting weight standards. what type of discharge am I likely to receive?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Danasia, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a firm answer here, but probably either honorable or general. Your personnel section can provide more information. I’d call and ask the question without providing your name or rank – just ask them a hypothetical question. They should be able to better explain this for you. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  163. Scott says

    I have served over 20 years. I have been flagged for 3 years due to a false accusation that I was later acquitted of. The original board was overturned due too acquittal
    They have placed me on notice for another board. They are still denying my retirment request. This situation has destroyed my family. Can the separate me administratively and deny retirement?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Scott, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a firm answer for you – this question is outside my scope of knowledge. I believe military retirements are protected once you reach a certain amount of service. However, there may be legal circumstances that could change things. I recommend taking your question to your base legal counsel. They will be able to answer all your questions and show you the regulations that govern their answers. I wish you the best.

  164. Omaira Rosado says

    Hello, my son is active duty in the army he just had knee surgery 4 weeks ago, and is undergoing therapy. They want to honorably dismiss him from army due to the fact that he is not up to par to physically run and he was due to deployment in October. At this point if he is released would he be able to change branch and join the navy or air force

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Omaira, Thank you for contacting me. The military cannot usually just kick someone out because they are injured. There is usually a formal process to determine their health and decide if they are qualified for disability benefits or severance pay.

      If he is discharged, the military will give him what is called a Reenlistment Code (RE Code) which will determine if he is eligible to serve again. We don’t have enough information at this time to tell you if he would be able to join another service. It really depends on his RE Code, the status of his health, and other factors. The best thing your son can do is visit with his doctor, personnel section, and possibly his legal department to get a full understanding of his options. I hope this is helpful.

  165. Kellie Crow says

    My husband signed up for the Air Force Reserves about 5 1/2 months ago and has yet to go for his training. Initially he signed up b/c we needed health insurance for our family as he was furloughed from his job and that was the only way we could afford insurance and my job was part time. He now works for the Federal Government and we HAVE to use the Federal benefits and not the military benefits. He really wants to get out of the Air Force b/c the reason that he signed up for is not the case anymore and he will have to be 13 weeks for his training that will put a financial stress on our family. Is it possible that he could do the Entry Level Separation? Who would he need to talk too and how quick can this process take effect? I know we only have the 180 days Would this type of separation negatively affect his veteran benefits? Thank you for your help!!!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kellie, Thank you for contacting me. He will need to speak with his recruiter and/or personnel section to determine if he is able to get out of the Reserves without repercussion. If he has not yet been to Basic Military Training (BMT), then he may be able to cancel his enlistment. However, he should know that doing so is bad form, as the recruiters have filled his spot and scheduled training dates based on his agreement to enlist. He should also be aware that canceling his enlistment before going to Basic Military Training may prevent him from ever being able to serve in the military.

      If he has already been through BMT, then it’s highly doubtful he can simply cancel his enlistment. He would need to work with his unit to figure the next steps. Don’t be surprised if there is no simple solution. As for veterans benefits, he most likely would not have any veterans benefits if he hasn’t yet completed BMT or any other military training. If you want to earn veterans benefits, you must serve for a certain time frame (these vary by benefit; he would need to speak with his recruiter or someone in his personnel section to determine which benefits he may be eligible to receive, and how long he must serve to earn those benefits).

      Joining the military is not something one should do just for a short term solution to earn benefits. The military is a long-term commitment and requires sacrifices. That said, the benefits can be well worth it (and I’m not just talking about the financial benefits, education, health care, etc.; I’m referring to the training, job skills, pride that comes from serving in the military, and other intangible benefits).

  166. Julie says

    My husband is being released from the army with a general (other than dishonourable) discharge. He has 19 years service (3 national guard / 16 active duty) can you tell me normamlly how lobg do we have to clear/outprocess and what benefits he is entitled too.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Julie, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, there is no specific timeline for out-processing. It all depends on the situation. As for the benefits, this will depend on the situation. I recommend he sit down with his personnel section or with a Veterans Benefits Counselor at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization to go over his military records and get a customized benefits review. Additionally, he is very close to earning a military retirement. I suggest he visit with his base legal office and personnel section to ensure his discharge is handled properly and to see if it is possible to receive retirement benefits. I wish you the best during this time.

  167. Cody Hughes says

    Hi i am currently serving in the National Guard and I just don’t want to be in the military what can I do

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Cody, Thank you for contacting me. I have answered a variation of your question here: Can I Get Out of the Military Early? The answer is not customized to your situation, but covers some broad considerations. At the end of the day, you have to assess your options and speak with those in your chain of command to determine which options are available to you. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  168. Diane says

    Quick question…………..I have a medical discharge from the Marines and am being taken care of at our local VA hospital for my disability….BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL care!!! I am fortunate. My question….if I take a job as a civilian and am offered health insurance through the employer, will I lose my VA health benefits if I sign up for their coverage or can I just refuse the civilian coverage if I have to choose?? I really do NOT want to lose the VA….they have been so wonderful to me.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Diane, Thank you for contacting me. I recommend speaking with the VA to verify your specific benefits. Usually, the VA will continue to offer medical coverage for medical conditions that occurred while on active duty and having access to medical insurance through another source may not affect that coverage. But some veterans receive medical coverage due to income levels or other reasons. So I highly recommend speaking with the VA for your specific benefits so you have a full understanding of what will happen if you are eligible for civilian medical coverage through an employer. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  169. Stephanie Jacobson says

    A local girl claims she was discharged from the Army boot camp because the Army gave her the wrong eyeglass prescription. She started in January and came home about a week ago. Is this something they would discharge from boot camp rather than fix the problem, if it was their error? We don’t believe this is correct.

  170. AJ Penn says

    Question on a ELS discharge, do the 180 days start from boot camp or upon reporting to your first duty station?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi AJ, I’m not sure. I always thought it was 180 days from entering military service, but that is an assumption. The best thing to do is ask your personnel section. If you are no longer in the military, you can contact your branch of service’s main personnel section – AF Personal Center for Air Force, Human Resources Command for Army, BUPERS / Navy Personnel Command for Navy and Marines, etc.

  171. kc says

    Hi Ryan,
    I have been an army medic for seven years now, deployed to afghanistan, and just recently came up positive on a urinalysis for a class IV drug characterized as “oxaz”. I have never had anything else negative in my military career (not even a counseling) and have in fact been an over achiever in almost every sense of the word. I understand i totally ******* up, but i was having knee pain and a buddy of mine just happened to have muscle relaxers one night. I have never done it again, or before this one time (we have so many UA’s, i can prove this was a one time thing). To top it all off, my wife is 22 weeks pregnant with our second child and I feel like I ruined our family because of one moment of weakness. I know you can’t say anything for sure, but what are your thoughts on me having any chance of either being able to stay in (i wouldn’t even fight losing rank), or possibly getting an honorable discharge (i know what i did wasn’t honorable, but i do feel i served honorably). I have been told by my chain of command they would recommend retention, and have been told by my previous COL’s and SGM’s they would write a letter of character for me. Do you think i have any chances or approaches whatsoever? I am just worried that my child will be born with no medical coverage and i will be stuck flipping burgers for the rest of my life now, unable to support my family. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      KC, Thank you for contacting me. I’m sorry to hear about this situation. I can’t make any guesses regarding what will happen – each situation is case-by case. In the early years of the War on Terror, the military was having a hard time getting enough people, so they did their best to fight to keep everyone they could. Right now, the military is going through a Reduction in Force (RIF) and trying to get smaller and leaner. So this could play a role in your future.

      On the flip side, it sounds like your leadership is doing their best to keep you around. Their support will likely be the difference in whether or not you will be able to remain in the military, or if you are discharged, the type of discharge you receive. So my recommendation is to work with your leadership as closely as possible to try and keep things in your favor. At the end of the day, this will most likely have the largest impact on your future. I wish you the best during this time.

  172. Alvin says

    Sir. I was discharged in 1997 with a condition of government (COG) a honorable discharge while at boot camp in parris inland. I recently received info from the VA saying my discharge is considered to be a Uncharacterized. I am wondering if this is something that might have been changed.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Alvin, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I’m not sure. Discharges given during initial entry are sometimes labeled as uncharacterized for various reasons. You can request a copy of your information from the National Archives and see if there is additional information in your file, but I’m not sure the value at this point. Veterans benefits are generally only available to veterans who served at least 180 days on active duty, unless they were injured, wounded, or became seriously ill and were separated due to those reasons. There may be additional qualifications as well, but they are all on a case by case basis. Your best bet may be to contact a Veterans Service Organization and schedule a one on one meeting with e representative to help you understand your available options. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  173. jeanny says

    i enlisted in the army NG a month ago, have my ship date and went already to me first drill, but im regretting my desicion of joining the military for so many reasons is it possible to me to ge a “discharge” is it late ? thanks

  174. Robert Ferguson Sr. says


    I am 75 and have been retired from the US Naval Reserve as an officer after a full 20 years service, all reserve time. I, of course, collect a Naval pension, and have an issued ID card which identifies me at a RETIRED officer. Recently, I tried to join a quasi military organization which is insisting that I can not do so until I show a DD214. To my recollection, I never received such a document. My on-line research says an officer retiring from the reserves does not get issued a DD214. Can you refer me to a site that I may show that I do not get such a form, or in fact, I am wrong and I just never got one as I should?


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Robert, Members of the Guard and Reserves would only receive a DD 214 if they were activated. If you were never activated, you would never have received a DD 214. So this isn’t a form you would have. You would be able to prove service through other means, such as your retiree card, your commissioning paperwork, or any discharge paperwork you received when you left the military.

      Now here is what you may run into – the definition of a veteran. Some definitions of a veteran are someone who served a minimum of 180 consecutive days on active duty, or were unable to complete 180 days on active duty due to an illness or injury, or some other reason. Many members of the Guard or Reserves did not finish 180 consecutive days on active duty, though they may have many more days total cumulative service. By this definition, some Guard or Reserve retirees are not technically considered veterans by some organizations. This is not something I personally agree with, but I am not a policy maker for those organizations.

      So you would need to talk to the gate keepers at the quasi-military organization you are considering joining, and ask them about their policies. You served 20 years, so you are obviously a veteran in my book. But each organization makes its own policies, so you will need to inquire about theirs, and go from there. I wish you the best, and I thank you for your service!

  175. Vivian says

    Good afternoon Mr. Guina,

    I greatly appreciate your services. You are wealth of knowledge for many who aren’t sure where to get their hands on good information.

    My case I hope is something I can find an easy answer to. While on active duty, I injured my knee, was referred to the medical board but I don’t remember ever receiving an answer. Two months later, I was discharged from active duty. I couldn’t run or pass any of the PFT’s. If you can’t run for the Marine Corps, you’re really not a Marine. )=

    I do have my DD-214 but on there it doesn’t say why I was discharged. It was honorable, however. I still do have the copies from my CO that sent the letter to the board for release off active duty due to my knee injury.

    But I don’t know where to go from there. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Have a Happy New Year!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Vivian, Your DD 214 should have an “RE Code” on it, which stands for reenlistment code. This is a code that often shows why the servicemember was discharged. You should be able to Google the code to learn what it means. I hope this helps!

      • Tom Jones says

        I do not see an Re Code anywhere on my dd-214. I have seen it on other peoples forms, but I can’t find it on mine. I have the Aug 2009 version of the form. Where on the form should this be listed?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Tom, Thank you for contacting me. I found this DoD Instruction which lists the changes for the DD Form 214 – see page 21. At the bottom, in box 27, there is a section for Reentry Code.

        This document shows there are multiple versions of the DD 214. Two are for the member, one is for the Service, and one is for the VA, etc. If you don’t have the proper version then you may need to make a records request from your service’s personnel department, or the National Archives if your service no longer has the records (each branch maintains the records for several years before they send them for permanent storage at the National Archives in St. Louis).

  176. Casey says

    I received a discharge back sometime in 1983 I think and it was due to lack of attendance, as I was a 31M Army reserve. Is it possible that I received a dishonorable discharge for lack of attendance? I would find that hard to believe, but an looking for feed back.

    Any insight would be very helpful.

  177. Johnnie says

    Hi Ryan, My child was injured at boot camp and in addition did not pass boot camp and was given the “other than than honorable discharge.” I believe that the lack of medication for my child attributed to the discharge; medication that the army was not aware that was needed before enlisting. The need for medication was told to the recruiter but somehow was not identified on the enlistment application. Is there any hope for getting the discharge revised. Any direction you can give will be appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Johnnie, Here is an article that covers the Discharge Review Board Process. A discharge upgrade is not automatic, and it is up to the veteran to show proof that the discharge rating was made in error. So in this case, it would be recommended to have copies of doctors letters stating which medications should have been used, copies of military medical records if possible, and any other related documents or statements you can get that will support your case.

      Best of luck!

    • Carly says

      My husband served 15 years in the navy he had 70% VA benefit with an honorable discharge my daughter will be attending university next year I am trying to apply for the gibill for her and I be been told that he did not transfer it to the kids he told me he did shat can we do?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello Carly,

        Thank you for contacting me. The GI Bill can only be transferred while the member is still on active duty, or serving in the Guard or Reserves. Transferring the GI Bill requires the member to extend an additional 4 years (the ability to transfer the benefit is a retention tool).

        Unfortunately, there is no way to transfer the GI Bill after the member has separated from the military.

        The only way it would be possible to do that now would be for your husband to join the Reserves and agree to serve a minimum of 4 more years. He could then transfer the GI Bill.

        There are sometimes scholarships for children of military members with disabilities. I would check with your local Veterans Service Organization, such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc., and also with the VA and the state veterans affairs office. These organizations may be able to help you understand your options or possibly find a way to help pay for school.

        I wish you the best.

  178. Patrick Stovall says

    I was discharged from the Navy General under honorable conditions back in 2006. I have a a re-4 code which means i’m not able to reenlist in the Navy. However I was wondering if I could reenlist in the Army?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Patrick, Thank you for contacting me. Generally, the RE codes will also apply to other services. But there may be exceptions. Your best bet is to contact a recruiter. Be sure to have a copy of your DD-214 at hand so you can give the relevant information. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  179. George Franchino says

    Hello, I joined the Navy because I believed they have the best schools. Growing up in New York I never went to the ocean save for the sandy part of the beach. After boot camp I was assigned to an Auxiliary Fleet Tug {USS Takelma}based in Pearl Harbor. We would tow targets and take dignitaries on “bird cruises”. Every time we set sail I got seasick. I never got my “sealegs”. Our doctor was concerned because of my constant weight loss. I did what I was told but being sick it affected my performance. I carried a bucket everywhere. I received an “undesirable” discharge. It still bothers me after fifty years. Can anything be done to upgrade to “honorable”?
    Sincerely, George Franchino

    • Ryan Guina says

      George, Thank you for contacting me. Since it has been longer than 15 years, you would to file a Correction of Military Records Request. This isn’t something I have direct experience with. I recommend speaking with a veterans service organization, or with someone who has experience in this area. I hope this points you in the right direction. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  180. Molly Brandon says

    I was discharged (by my own request) with less than 180 days of service. I was pulled from AIT graduation, the day of graduation, and told that my discharge was a go. Therefore, they did not MOS qualify me, though I did complete and pass AIT. I do not have my DD214 in front of me, at this time, but, if I remember correctly, it was general or ELS. My reason for requesting a discharge was that my mother had custody of my 1 yr old son and she notified me that she could no longer care for him. I had no one else to care for him so I had to request to get out to go home to care for him. My question is, am I eligible for VA benefits (mainly the VA home loan)? Any information / help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Molly, I believe the VA requires one to have served a full 180 days to be eligible for the VA loan, unless they were injured in the line of duty. You would need to contact the VA for more specific information. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  181. Timothy Clarey says

    I entered the Army on 82/02/10 was honorably discharged on 82/04/29 I injured my knees in basic was told I had reached “full medical improvement”to this day I frequently get severe pain in my knees I was wonder would I qualify for veterans benefits

    • Ryan Guina says

      Timothy, Thank you for contacting me. You would need to apply for disability compensation through the VA. This can be done by visiting a VA hospital or medical center or by applying online. However, you may be better off getting assistance through the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) or another veterans service organization. These organizations offer free benefits claims assistance.

      You will need to be able to prove you had an injury while you were in the military. So you may need to get a copy of any associated medical records if you do not have a copy. You might be able to find them through the National Archives, which is where military personnel records are stored. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  182. Phyllis says

    My daughter is getting a General discharge she was doning her basic traing for the army reserve. She really wants to go back and prove she can do this. How can she get back in? Or is it even possible to get back in. If so how?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Phyllis, Thank you for contacting me. This isn’t something I can answer – the reason for the discharge, and the associated Reenlistment Code (RE Code) will be major factors to see if she is eligible to enlist again. She will need to contact a recruiter, who will be able to look at her information and assess her situation. That is the only way to move the process forward. Best of luck!

  183. mario segura says

    Hi, my son is going to be discharged because of surgery on his knee. What kind of medical discharge is he going to have?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Mario, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have that information – that will need to be provided by his unit. If he is still going through his initial training, it is possible he will receive an administrative discharge, or a medical discharge. If he is still relatively early in his career, it will most likely be a medical discharge. In some cases the military will offer a medical retirement, but the illness or injury typically needs to be severe and the member must have served a minimum amount of time in order to receive this. Your son should speak with his personnel section and his medical provider to understand what is being recommended and how he should proceed. I hope this helps.

  184. Daniel says

    Hi, I enlisted at 18, did most of a three year enlistment but did something very stupid a couple months before ets and got myself a BCD.. Now ten years later I’ve not been in any trouble and I’m a completely different person than I was at 20.. I’ve been told I can get my discharge upgraded.. But is there any hope in getting it upgraded and reenlisting? I would like the chance to serve my country with a proper head on my shoulders.. Thanks for your advice.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Daniel, Thank you for contacting me. It can be possible to get your discharge rating upgraded, but it isn’t always easy.

      As for serving again, I can’t tell you yes or no. All I can do is refer you to a recruiter who will be able to give you that information. Generally they will look at your previous service record, reenlistment code (RE Code) found on your DD214, and look at other factors. If your RE code won’t allow you to reenlist, then you may be out of luck, unless you can get that changed. Again, it’s not always easy to do that.

      So your first course of action should be to contact a recruiter, and take it from there. They will let you know if you can reenlist. And if not, then you can ask them where to go from there.

  185. Blaine Cash says

    Back in the 70s, the recruiter and I, quite literally forged my birth certificate to say I was 18. Even filed for a new ss#, Was SOOO easy back then, Any ways, ended up getting an OTH designation on my DD214. What can I do to get this changed?
    Blaine in MO

  186. Perry says

    I know a friend that was in the Marine Corps and received an “honorable discharge”. After leaving the Corps he joined the Army Reserves and now may be pending an “other than honorable discharge” or “bad conduct discharge”. Will he still receive his benefits for his “honorable discharge”? or will his “other than honorable or bad conduct discharge” take his “honorable discharge” away?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Perry, Thank you for contacting me. You would need to verify with the VA, but I believe it is the most recent discharge status that the VA considers for benefits purposes. Some benefits may have different requirements as well, so the best thing to do is sit down with a VA benefits counselor and go through a counseling session to determine which benefits, if any, the veteran is eligible to receive. I hope this helps.

  187. John says

    I’ve currently been seen in mental health for anxiety and depression. As well as ADAPT. I’ve been assigned to treatment for alcohol and failed the program. I’ve been through numerous of previous treatments passing them all before. I’ve been in numerous personal therapies. Now mental health is pushing for admin separation. What type of admin separation should I expect? I’m not in trouble or have no article 15’s pending or within 8 years(one for curfew violation). Should it be a medical board for psychological so general under honorable or a straight general? Maybe an honorable?

    • Ryan Guina says

      John, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, I don’t have a specific answer for you. I can give general information, but I’m not qualified to answer on behalf of another unit or comment on individual situations. My recommendation is to schedule an appointment with your base legal office to see if they can give you more information. You may also wish to consult with your unit personnel office for their input.

      If this separation does go through, I highly recommend scheduling an appointment with the VA to submit a VA disability claim (if applicable) and set up health care through the VA after you leave the service. There are many organizations that can assist you with your claim, and/or getting started with the VA. Some options include the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc. I wish you the best of luck with this situation, and more importantly, I hope you get the help you need.

  188. Patricia Napoli says

    My husband is being discharged for mental health/depression. What kind of discharge would that fall under?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Patricia, To be honest, there is no way for me to know. It could be a medical discharge, which is often under Honorable conditions. It could be a General discharge, which is also often referred to as an administrative discharge. There may also be other factors involved that I am not aware of that could impact the discharge rating. All factors are considered by the member’s unit, which will usually determine the discharge status.

      I hope your husband will receive the help he needs – either from the military, or through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Be sure to set up appointments with the VA before he separates. They may offer him benefits of access to programs where he can receive help. I wish you both the best.

  189. Karen says

    Hello Ryan,

    My son has just started basic boot camp for the Navy and is being told there is a strong possibility of being medically discharged for having a migraine. He does not have a history of migraines so I am in shock. He did have a bad headache but considering that he does not have a pattern of migraines I am not sure why this is grounds to be medically discharged.

    Can you please advise what he can do? His dream is to continue his path in the Navy and ultimately work in the medically field as a PA.

    Is there a way to help him not get medically discharged??

    Thank you so much for your time and input.



    • Ryan Guina says

      Karen, Thank you for contacting me. I wish I could help you, but I really don’t have any insight into medical conditions and how they are treated by each respective branch of the military. The only advice I can offer is to make sure he requests a second opinion if the Navy is going to discharge him for a condition he has never previously had. There isn’t much else I know to do. Sorry I can’t offer any better guidance. But I do wish him the best, and I hope he is able to serve in the Navy.

  190. trina says

    My son served his term with an honorable discharge and re listed. This time he got oth. Is he still eligible for benefits with his honorable discharge.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Trina, generally it is the final discharge that is considered when it comes to benefits. I recommend your son sit down with a VA representative to determine which benefits he is eligible to receive.

  191. Susan Chandler says

    I am doing some genealogy research of certain veterans and came across records noted with the term “discharged by purchase.” I assume it means the service member wanted to leave the service before his commitment was up and bought out the remainder of his contract, but I’m not really sure. I tried looking it up on Google, but I didn’t find anything but your website, so I though you could help. The definition is not relevant to my research, just curious.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Paula, Thank you for contacting me. No, you cannot receive a Dishonorable Discharge for a legitimate medical reason. I recommend speaking with a Judge Advocate General (JAG) or other legal representation for more specific advice if there has been discussion regarding a Dishonorable Discharge for medical reasons. There would need to be other circumstances to receive a Dishonorable Discharge.

  192. Lisa latham says

    Hi my name is Lisa Latham, I hope you can help me my brother Robert Paul Richards, was enlisted in the Marines and was doing boot camp at Parris Island S.C. 1973, he received a honorable discharge or medical discharge, he is unsure, it was due to his eyesight, where would I begin to to help him look for his records, and is he qualified for any benefits? Please help,

    • Megan says

      His medical records are locked in a basement in St. Louis.

      He can more than likely get a ebenefits account and request for his DD214 and start that way, also once he receives his medical records have him go to DAV and they will help him file a claim and potentially be compensated.

  193. joe says

    Hi Ryan, i got discharged in 2005 after serving 3 years in the military. It was drug charge and got OTH. My urine sample came up with cocaine,something i will never do so it was very disappointing. i believe somebody induce it in my drink or food. I never fought it just shut my mouth and got the discharge. It took awhile for me to recover from the dissapointment but things got better. I have never gone to see about any benefits even tho they told me i would have some because i served for the 3 years in a time of war. is this true? can i change my discharge? thanks in advance sir

    • Ryan Guina says

      Joe, Thank you for contacting me. You would need to apply to have your discharge upgraded. Unfortunately, this isn’t something I have experience with. And a drug case makes it more difficult. I recommend contacting a Veterans Service Organization such as the VFW, IAVA, American Legion, or similar organization to see if they have recommendations for how to applyto upgrade your discharge. They will also be able to tell you which benefits you may be eligible to receive. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  194. jdavis says

    My son was told by his neurologist a few years back that he had a subarachnoid cyst and that it was nothing and he was born with it. so he is at basic now and has had major headaches, shaking, blurred vision, and is then blacked out and now is stuttering! He called and said that two DS’s said that some just weren’t meant to be in and he said they were sending him home. He called and said the paperwork was done and that he just didn’t know when he would be transported home….. anyone that can help me know how long it might be? I didn’t get to talk to him long.. said they said he had a panic attack and ever since he is stuttering. I could barely understand him. I don’t know if they are checking him out medically. He just said he was waiting to be transported home and had to turn in his things at his home drill station. I am a little concerned something medically is wrong and just wondering how long before he will actually get transported?

    • Ryan Guina says

      jdavis, there is no way to know how long it will take. It can be within a couple days, or it can take a week or two. In the mean time, he probably does not have much access to the phone, or a computer, so the best thing to do is contact his recruiter to see if the recruiter can get you additional information. I wish your son the best of health.

  195. chris j says

    Hi, I’m the Delayed Entry Program for the Air Force and I don’t want to join anymore. I haven’t gone to BMT yet, but I’m set to leave in four weeks for the sere special opps career field. What will happen if I tell my recruiter I don’t want to be in the AF no more?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Chris, To be honest, I don’t know. I don’t believe they can make you go if you haven’t sworn in yet. But I will tell you that you will be burning a big bridge and your recruiter will most likely not be willing to work with you again if you change your mind. In fact, you may find it difficult to get into the Air Force in the future if you back out. A different branch may be willing to take you, however. The best I can tell you is to ask your recruiter what would happen, and explain why you are having reservations, or why you changed your mind. If you don’t want to ask your recruiter, then contact a recruiter in a different area, or even a different state, don’t give your real name, and ask the recruiter what will happen. That should give you a decent idea of what to expect. Best of luck.

  196. trish says

    hi, I’m writing a story, and i was wondering how my character’s status would read?

    My character was a ranger, but after a while, started suffering from PTSD something awful, and got discharged. (he did not make the full tour until actual retirement)

    He was always exemplary, cared very much… good guy, good officer. just, cracked out there.

    would that be “medically retired”? Generally discharged? Honorably discharged?
    or “other”?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Trish, Thank you for contacting me. Start by capitalizing terms like Army and Ranger. They are proper nouns and should be represented as such. A tour can be describer as an enlistment term, generally 4-6 years, or it could refer to a specific deployment in a specific location. For example, “he served two tours in Iraq, and three tours in Afghanistan.”

      A medical discharge is given after a medical review board, and is given when the individual can no longer meet the physical or mental requirements to serve in the military. Severe PTSD could qualify someone for a medical discharge.

      A medical retirement is given only under certain circumstances, and means the individual is retired from the military with benefits including pay and health care. A medical retirement is usually given for those members who have been in the service longer, or meet certain criteria (though someone can be medically retired after only serving short period of time, depending on the severity of the injuries or medical condition).

      In both cases, the individual would be eligible to apply for service-connected disability benefits from the Office of Veterans Affairs, or the VA. You should research the VA, as this could play an important role in a story.

      Regarding type of discharge, it depends. Once can be medically retired and still have an honorable discharge. If your character is upstanding, but dealing with severe PTSD, then I would probably give him an honorable discharge, provided his service was honorable all the way through and he didn’t make any serious mistakes in his final days in the uniform. Unless of course, you want to have a broken character, in which case, you can weave that into your story. There are no finite rules with fiction, are there? 😉

      I hope this helps, and best of luck with your story.

  197. Alyse Leibel says

    I’m filling out a form to file a complaint on the Builder for a home we purchased with a VA loan – husband was in the Army. He was Honorably Discharged 15+ years ago. I have two questions… first the online form asks if he was/is an active member, d-fnce empl, depndt, or retired. There is a box for none if he is/was none of these. I’m wondering is he considered retired? I think I read retired still means ‘available to serve’ in the military’s eyes – he’s not. Then secondly, do you know anyone who I could contact who provides real estate legal advice for veterans. I have yet to check with USAA – I found your site first… Thank You in advance.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Alyse, Thank you for contacting me. Typically when there is a question referring to retired military it is asking if the individual retired from the military, which is usually 20 years of service, unless they were medically retired. I would check the box indicating he was an active duty member.

      I do not have any legal resources for veterans. You could try contacting a local real estate lawyer, they should be able to get up to speed on the VA loan (it may not matter much if you have a case, if the builder is at fault). Or you could check with a Veterans Service Organization. Best of luck!

  198. Doreen says

    My son received a general discharge. He was told in the end by his “Shirt” the lead commander. He wasn’t airman material. One month before he was do to get out. This is after he went below the zone and was the youngest staff sargent on base. The person in charge was the father figure to an enlisted personnel. Her husband to be was not military. He became friends with my son while the wife was deployed. They were Mormon and while she was gone, lets just say he wasn’t living by his churches guidelines. They are not aloud to consume alcohol etc. My sons wife went to the lead commander and asked what had he done? The commander said that he once thought of her husband as a son and he quote, “Did not appreciate the relationship he had with his serogate daughters soon to be husband.” Basically blaming him for the young man falling away from the Mormon church.
    I know this sounds crazy. But, all truth. Lets just say it ruined my son. Changed his life in the worse way. He had been to Iraq 3 times before he was 23. He enlisted as his dream at 19. He lived for it. He has not been the same. How can this man be held accountable? If he was smart he would have never made that comment. But the truth of his hatred and is arrogance were evident in his own words. Would love to right the wrong. Ultimately all will have to answer to a higher “Shirt”. For now I would just love to have my sons heart returned to him.

  199. C Patrick McIlvain says

    While I did receive an Honorable discharge back in 1972 it was, as I was told, a “For The Good Of The Country” just what is that about……
    Thank you.

  200. Dusty says

    Hi Ryan, I am a First Class Petty Officer Reservist in the Navy. I have 7 years active duty time, and 8 years as a reservist. 3 years ago I was diagnosed as being an insulin dependent (4+ injections daily)and was reviewed by a MRB. I have been allowed to stay in the reserves with restrictions. Every year I get evaluated by the MRB. My condition has started to get worse and I am concerned that if I do get medically discharged I will lose my retirement benefits. Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Dusty, I’m sorry to hear about your health condition and I hope it becomes manageable. Unfortunately, I don’t have much knowledge when it comes to medical discharges for Guard and Reserve members. I know there are some cases when yo can push for a medical retirement, but I’m not exactly sure how that process works. My recommendation would be to contact someone in your personnel section and see if they have any experience with medical discharges and medical retirements. Obviously the medical retirement would be the preferred option if possible. Sorry I don’t have an exact answer for you, but I just don’t have experience here. I wish you the best of luck with this situation, and most importantly, I hope your medical conditions stabilizes.

  201. don says

    My father was in the ARMY from Nov 1947 till Feb 1950. the papers I have found say certificate of separation. is that the same as a discharge?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Don, I would think so – I believe the current separation paperwork was first used in 1950, but some units continued using the old forms until they were exhausted. So his form is probably different than the current forms. I am not an expert on the old forms and documentation, so I can’t be 100% certain. But it sounds like they are the same thing.

  202. chris says

    Alright so I’ve been in the national guard for almost a year and a half and I just recently had my asthma pop up again with a couple of asthma attacks lately and I went to the doctors and they prescribed me a exhalier for my asthma, if I got discharged how would that work and what kind of discharge would I get because of the fact that it just recently popped back up again.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Chris, Thanks for reaching out. It would either be an honorable discharge or a medical discharge, which is usually listed as administrative (neither good, nor bad). This is provided you don’t have any unfavorable information files or any negative action pending. In the end, it shouldn’t be a problem. I hope you get your asthma under control. Best of luck!

  203. Jean says

    Hi, I applied for a job and the background investigation came back with FBI records showing the military discharge for use of spice.

    I would like to know if you are given a general discharge for an admission of using spice (synthetic marijuana) and the interviewing officer tells you that since you did not test positive for the spice and since I was never charged criminal by the military this would not go on my record. Do I have any recourse to get this corrected or removed from the FBI records?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jean, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I don’t know the technical aspects of how discharge records are maintained, and whether or not you can request the record be changed. I imagine it would follow a similar process to getting a discharge upgraded, but I’m not certain.

      You will need to do further research on this, or you may need to hire someone with experience in this. I don’t have any specific recommendations for hiring lawyers. But you may try contacting a veterans service organization such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc. to see if they have any recommendations for lawyers who specialize in military law. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  204. Ana says

    Hello. My mother in law who lives with us now is unemployed and has a heart condition. Because she moved here from another state they are saying she doesn’t qualify for any type of medical benefits, medicaid, medicare… She needs to see a cardiologist and we are running out of options. She was married to my husbands father for 17 years. He was in the Air Force before they divorced, I would think she could get some type of military spouse benefit but she says he was discharged. I’m not sure what type of discharge, but so far with this information, is there anything you know about her being able to get some sort of medical benefit through the military? THANK YOU!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ana, Thank you for contacting me. There aren’t many military benefits that extend to divorced spouses of former military members. In limited circumstances, there may be some benefits available if the military member actually retired from the military after 20 years of service, they were married minimum of 20 years, and the former spouse remains unmarried. You can read more about this here (see the 20/20/20 rule).

      It doesn’t sound like there would be any available benefits through the military if they were married for less than 20 years, and if he did not retire from the military. I hope your mother-in-law will be able to find health care coverage soon.

  205. perry DOMINGUE says

    On my DD214 it reads discharge, under honorable conditions, can this be reviewed and upgraded its been over 15 years?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Perry, Thank you for contacting me. If it has been longer than 15 years you will need to apply for a Correction of Military Records. This is a different process that the record review board.

  206. Teresa says

    My daughter is in BCT Army she was rushed by her recruiter promised such wonders, and was gone with in weeks of applying, she was sworn in shipped out 4/21/15 she called me crying telling me she made the biggest mistake in her life that she is very depressed crying hysterically she was told she would see a counselor the next day. She called me the next day “the last call” said they are making me go and I can not talk about anything else. I received my 1st letter from her today along with the official one they do. She basically is having bouts of depression she told them she was having suicidal thoughts and has informed her 1st Sargent and DS she is not physically or mentally tough enough to be an army soldier, they took her military gun for that I am grateful, so that’s acknowledging and issue, how ever they have not let her speak with doctor as for as I know. They have told her not to think about things that make her sad she is not their priority, and she probably will not leave until she pays back the money that the army has spent on her, she gets yelled at every day the whole platoon and others call her pathetic, stinky, they have group photos the “gracious volunteers” took on facebook, knew as soon as I saw them she was already singled out and tormented for any and every insult. Reading her letter she describes racing thoughts not feeling like her self any more, and not knowing who she is when she looks in a mirror. She has not been in BCT more than 3 weeks.
    By the way, she never in her life by any means would be called those things she’s more a humanitarian type,very beautiful, hard worker, she is compassionate, and caring.
    There method of character building is hugely flawed, it does not work for all the future soldiers. I feel as though she is a victim now, and will probably be discharged home with medical issues if she is subjected to this treatment any longer. MY question is there anything I can do, will she get discharged.

  207. Pablo says

    Hi Ryan,
    Due to a myriad of personal problems, my wife’s 30-something year old daughter is staying with us temporarily. Her deal was this : back when she was 18 she enlisted in the Navy and after 2 weeks into basic training, she had a nervous breakdown. She then spent 6 weeks in a military mental hospital/facility and then was released from the Navy. She calls herself “veteran” on social media sites and when she tries to get financial assistance she always clicks the veteran box. When I told her she most likely wasn’t a veteran and not to get her hopes up for any benefits, she told me she got an honorable discharge. I asked to see her DD-214 and she replied that she never remembered getting one, and she is currently in touch with the VA and they are going to send her the appropriate transcripts. My question is this : Doesn’t her scenario seem more like an ELS than an honorable discharge ?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Pablo, Thank you for contacting me. Based on this information, yes, it seems like it would be an Entry-Level Separation. There generally aren’t benefits associated with an ELS, except under limited circumstances. The best course of action is to get a copy of the DD 214 from the National Archives or from her service personnel office if they haven’t yet been sent to the National Archives. The DD 214 will show the type of military separation. It will also be required for proof of service, or applying for benefits (if eligible).

  208. norma villa says

    my son is in the air force in basic training, he is going to be discharged because they were going to do a lie detector test and they ask him before hand if he had ever done any drugs to admit it now or later get in big trouble for lying. He answered yes once a year before he apply for the military and for this reason he will be discharged. Will he be able to apply to another branch?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Norma, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I don’t know. It depends on his discharge rating when he gets discharged from the Air Force. But I will say that lying on the military application is a serious issue, and he almost certainly will not be able to go back into the Air Force. If he is still interested in joining the military, then he will need to contact a recruiter with a different branch of service and he will need to explain the entire situation up front, including his drug use, lying on his application to join the Air Force, and getting discharged because he lied on his application. The recruiter with the different branch of service will then be able to give him more information regarding his potential for joining that branch of service.

  209. meredith schreckengost says

    Hi I’m getting discharged from the Coast Guard for 2 alcohol incidents. I didn’t get any DUIs. Nothing happened during the workday. All after the workday. I’ve been in for 4 years in June. I’m a hard worker and always have been. Besides the 2 incidents my record is clean. I’ve always had high marks and my supervisors think highly of me. I’ve always had good behavior. These incidents were just dumb mistakes of a 21 year old. My question is would my command give me a general discharge even if I qualify for an Honorable?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Meredith, Thank you for contacting me. I can’t answer for your Command, but if you are being discharged for two alcohol related incidents then you may not even qualify for an Honorable discharge. It may be possible, but in general, it’s rare to receive an Honorable discharge when you are being discharged from the military due to misconduct. The best course of action is to contact your base legal team or someone in your chain of command so you can learn more about what your discharge rating you will receive and what your options are going froward. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  210. Anthony says


    First my brother is a foreigner and not a US Citizen. My brother was been discharged 2 weeks before graduation from Basic Training just because during interview with the DOD background check interviewer prior to shipping out for basic training, he told the interviewer when asked whether he will denounce his citizenship with the foreign country and he answered NO. He did not know the implication and was not informed by the recruiter about the implication of not denouncing his foreign citizenship. This is very sad because he really wanted to serve and should have answered YES to the denunciation question. The sad thing is that they did not tell him about this till 2 weeks to his graduation from Basic Training after he has spent weeks in training and was on track to graduate from basic training. Does he have any recourse? I felt that he should have been notified before shipping out of his ineligibility due to the non-denunciation instead of letting him go through the whole basic training and then been discharged towards the last 2 weeks just for a question he did unknowingly answer incorrectly prior to basic training. This is very sad and unjust. Please any advise on recourse?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Anthony, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, this is a situation I haven’t come across. The best course of action is for your brother to speak with his recruiter to determine what his next steps are, and to see if he has the opportunity to change his answer or go through Basic Training again. I honestly don’t know how the process works. But his recruiter should have some insight into the process and should be able to guide him. Best of luck!

  211. Emma says

    I am an enlisted future soldier in the army reserve. What if I chicken out before basic training because it’s making my life more complicated and I can’t take the stress? Of course, I realized the commitment and I am trying, I just wanted to know? Also, I have a doctors appointment next week to make sure I don’t have cancer. What if I do though? That’s something I can’t even control…

    • Ryan Guina says

      Emma, Thank you for contacting me. It sounds like you have a lot going on. Let’s start with the most important thing – your health. I pray you don’t have cancer, but if you do, then the military would not allow you to enter the military until you get past this health condition. If something changes with your medical condition, you would be required to inform the military before you ship out to Basic Training. Let’s hope this is just a false alarm!

      As for deciding not to go to Basic Training, that’s completely different. To be honest, I’m not completely sure how this is handled. The best way to find out is to ask a recruiter. Now I would probably not ask your recruiter unless you believe your recruiter will tell you the honest truth. Instead, consider contacting a different recruiter, and ask what the ramifications would be, if any, if you are in the Delayed Entry Program and decide not to ship out to basic Training. It certainly couldn’t affect a discharge rating, because you haven’t officially joined the military at that point.

      But it’s quite possible this is just a case of the nerves. It’s natural to be nervous before shipping out to Basic Training. My recommendation is to first find out your health status. That is the most important thing in your life. If everything checks out, then a huge amount of stress will automatically disappear. And then you can turn your attention toward the military. At that point, talk to some new Soldiers and see how they have adapted to the transition from the civilian world to the military environment. Speaking to someone who is in the military will give you a different perspective on what you are going into. I wish you the best of health, and I’m sure the rest of it will work itself out.

  212. Shan says

    Hi if I got pregnant but I wasn’t aware of it in the process of becoming enrolled in the army ,what kind of discharge will I receive ? An ELS?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Shan, Thank you for contacting me. This all depends on when you joined the service, and how long you have been in. If this occurred right before you went to basic training, then there would be no discharge, since you wouldn’t actually be in the military yet. If your pregnancy was discovered when you reported to Basic Training, then it would likely be an Entry Level Separation (ELS). If this happened after Basic Training, then it may be an ELS, depending on how long you were in the service. If you have more specific questions, you can ask your personnel flight. They will be able to give you more specific information for your situation.

  213. Nick says

    I received a honorable discharge from the USAF but the separation code is JHJ and for some reason doesn’t allow me to use the GI Bill? I have wrote letters and met with people at the VA and has lead to nothing. I writing because now I’m going to apply for a VA or Cal vet home loan and I’m wondering if that code is going to impact the loan process? The code JHJ is the separation code and is my road block to va benefits. Is it possible to have the separation code reviewed and changed? Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Nick, Thank you for contacting me. It looks like the reentry code JHJ stands for “Unsuitability (Reason Unknown)/ Unsatisfactory performance.” Does this sound right to you? For example, did you get separated for failure to meet standards, failing an academic of physical fitness test, or something similar? Or perhaps you weren’t allowed to reenlist due to some negative information in your file? If that is the case, then it sounds like your reentry code may be correct, and your Commander was nice to give you the Honorable Discharge rating. If that isn’t the case, and you didn’t have anything negative on your file, then perhaps your reentry code was recorded incorrectly.

      To correct your reenlistment eligibility code, you will need to contact the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records, and fill out a DD Form 149. More information is on this page. Unfortunately, I can’t give you an estimate for how long a records correction might take. Your best bet is to get a contact at the AFBCMR that you can speak with on a regular basis so you can follow up on the process.

      Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  214. Justin says

    I am in the coast guard and I am not happy here at all. I have only been in for about 3 months and I want to get it and go about my life in a different way. Am I able to do that? And how would that affect my future?

  215. Trey says

    Is it possible to get an honorable discharge without completing your first enlistment? Also, and I know this varies greatly, but how exactly would a general discharge under honorable conditions look to an employer if you got out before the end of your enlistment? Would they ask why? If so, how would you go about responding to that if you preferred not to answer?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Trey, Yes, it is possible to receive an honorable discharge without completing your first enlistment. Regarding a general discharge under honorable conditions – you don’t have to list your discharge rating on your resume, or bring it up in your interview. If asked, you can simply state that you served under honorable conditions and no you are looking at using your military experience and skills and working in a new career field. How you answer and how much information you give is completely up to you.

      • Trey says

        Thank you for the response. I have a follow-up question: Under what conditions/circumstances would it be possible to receive an honorable discharge before the end of your first enlistment? What would you have to do to get it? And how long would you have to be in beforehand?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Trey, there are many reasons a service member could receive an honorable discharge before completing an initial term of service. Some examples include force shaping / downsizing, physical or medical reasons, voluntary separation to join the Guard or Reserves, separation to become an officer, needs of the military, certain administration reasons, etc. There is no minimum time you need to be in the service to receive an honorable discharge, though some members who haven’t completed basic training and/or their Tech School / A-School / or other initial technical training may be given a general discharge, depending on the circumstances.

        There is really no one-size-fits-all or definitive list. A lot of it comes down to the underlying reason for the separation, and how the unit decides to categorize the separation. The best I can tell you or anyone else is to serve honorably, and work with your unit if/when it comes time to separate. How you handle yourself during the separation process can go a long way toward your final discharge rating.

  216. Zach says

    Hello, I am 3 years into a 6 year enlistment in the army national guard. I’m currently attending college, but in the past year have had serious focusing and procrastination problems. I have always had those problems with school but didn’t care in grade school. Now that it is affecting my college however, I’m worried I have adhd. My question is if I am diagnosed with adhd, would I be separated from the military, and if so what type of discharge. Note I have never been diagnosed and have only started thinking that it could be a mental issue this past year.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Zach, Thank you for contacting me. ADHD can be a problem when you go to join the military, but if you are already in the military, they will typically try to work with you to manage any issues you may have. It would be a good idea to speak to a physician or counselor to be tested for ADHD or other issues and get the help you need so you can complete your studies. You can also request to speak with a military doctor to find out which medication(s) are recommended or allowed while in the military. Hopefully you will be able to get your military and civilian doctors to work together to find a treatment plan that will give you the help you need and allow you to continue your military career. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  217. Bobby Gaines says

    Lets cut to the chase with one week before completing basic training I developed a medical condition, but instead of receiving a medical discharge I got an honorable instead do I qualify for benefits. By the way this was in 1980.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Bobby, to be honest, there are many factors that would determine how they classify your discharge. Most likely you received an administrative discharge. Should it have been a medical discharge? I honestly don’t know. That’s determined on a case by case basis. My recommendation would be to contact a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV or VFW to help you determine what, if any, benefits you should be eligible to receive. These organizations typically offer free benefits claims assistance.

  218. Terrance R. says

    I received a General Under Honorable Conditions discharge over 10 years ago. I recently applied to purchase a firearm and was denied with no explanation, I want to apply for a carry permit so that I won’t have to apply for every purchase. Would my discharge effect it? I have no criminal record and with military mos I had topic secret security clearance……

    • Ryan Guina says

      Terrance, Thank you for contacting me. I’m not familiar with most gun laws, so I don’t know the specifics for your question. But by itself, I don’t see why a General under Honorable Conditions should affect your ability to own or carry a gun. However, there could be another reason if you have some form of legal conviction in your personal record or military career. Other than that, I don’t have any answers.

  219. D. Budd says

    I am being threatened with an Adminstrative separation package that would give me an OTH discharge. I extended for a year in the reserves after my honorable 8 year service in the reserves was over. I attended 2 drills and upon not being able to attend another drill because of work conflict…I was told there could be no make up and I would be dropped to the IRR. here it is 5 months later and I have been told if I don’t make up the drills that I will be Administratively separatively. What can i do if I dont have enough time to make up the drills before my end of current contract but I am willing to make them up?

    • Ryan Guina says

      D. Budd, Thanks for contacting me. This is a tricky situation. I recommend starting with your First Sergeant. He should be your point of contact for this type of thing. Explain the situation, that you couldn’t get off work, and that you have done your best to reschedule your Drills, but haven’t been able to make them up. Explain that you are willing to do everything in your power to remain in good standing with your unit. If you are not planning on reenlisting, explain that you aren’t trying to hurt the unit or screw anyone over; you just want to be able to serve honorably and leave the military with an honorable discharge. If you are planning on trying to reenlist, then explain that situation. Basically, go into the meeting with a full explanation of what happened, how you plan on fixing the situation, and your desired outcome. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  220. Kaysha Honeycutt says

    I will have had 5 years active duty, but the Navy is downsizing and my “c-way” is being denied. My question is will this be considered an Honorable discharge, involuntary separation, if I don’t tell them I will cross-rate to stay in?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Kaysha, Thank you for contacting me. If you are not allowed to reenlist in your career field and choose not to cross train into a different career field, then the military will not hold it against you. You should be allowed to separate after your contract is up with the discharge rating you earned. If you have no administrative, non-judicial, or judicial actions, then you should rate an Honorable Discharge.

  221. Jacob says

    Can the military discharge you for no reason? I thought I read somewhere a couple years ago that the military just started randomly firing people because of the new budget or something. I want to join the military when I graduate but I don’t want to end up getting discharged for no reason and end up broke.

  222. Juston says

    I’ve been in the military going on three years now and I have three left. I’ve been suffering from knee injuries that have effected my ability to run or walk long distances. I’ve sent in profile papers each month for almost a year and each time it got kicked back. Finally I got diagnosed with jumpers knees basically no cure just pain non stop. Knowing my pt test is in April and the chances of passing are slim…..what possible discharge can I receive. The only counseling statements I’ve gotten where for not passing the pt test.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Juston, Thank you for contacting me. The most important thing is to have a written record of your medical condition and the attempts you have made to obtain a profile or medical waiver for your fitness test. This is essential because it will show that you have been proactive in your approach to receive medical care for your condition, and it will prove that you have an injury. Your medical records will also be helpful for claiming a service-connected disability rating through the VA, should the medical condition linger.

      Should things progress to the point of a discharge (you won’t get discharged after one PT Test failure), then you can request a medical board to review your case to see if you should be discharged for medical reasons.

      This can be a long and complicated process, and is something you should seek assistance with if possible. You can start with your enlisted advisor such as your First Sergeant (if you are enlisted), or with someone else in your chain of command.

      The bottom line is there is no cut and dry path here. Some commands are willing to work with their troops, and others take a hard line approach. Each unit is different. Just remember that no one will keep your interests in mind better than you. So do your part to get the medical care you need and ensure it is documented properly. This will go a long way toward ensuring you get a positive military discharge, and possibly receive some benefits after you leave the military. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  223. daryl says

    Ryan, My wife is looking at separating from the military for pregnancy. When she is submitting the application it’s asking her to either be discharged or release from active duty. It also says that the release will place her in IRR and discharge says she is done done. Will either options effect her RE code?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Daryl, To be honest, I’m not sure what the RE code is for separating due to pregnancy. I recommend your wife contact your base personnel department for more specific information about these options and how it will impact her going forward. You may even want to join her so you both have a full understanding of what her options are, what to expect, and how the decision will affect her ability to serve in the future, or how it will affect her future benefits. For example, will either type of separation impact the benefits she will have going forward (i.e. did she serve long enough to fulfill the Post-9/11 GI Bill, will she be eligible for the VA loan, does she qualify for other VA benefits, etc.)?

      Regarding a discharge or being released: A discharge means she is done with the military and cannot be called back. But it also means she is completely out, so going back into the military could be more difficult. That may not seem like a big deal now, but it could be a consideration later, especially if she is considering joining the Guard or Reserves. If she thinks she may wish to continue her service in the future in either the Guard or Reserves, then the release may be a better way to go, since she would transition into the IRR. It’s very easy to go from the IRR to the traditional Guard or Reserves. It may not be as easy to do so if she is discharged. At the minimum, a discharge means she would need to go through MEPS and the application process again.

  224. czel fillmore says

    my husband was honorably discharged from the military with an article 15. how will that affect him in job interviews? he seemed can’t find any job in any case for the past years now.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Czel, Thank you for contacting me. An honorable discharge is the best discharge rating there is, so that shouldn’t have a negative effect on his job search. There are many other factors that can have an impact on finding a job, including the local economy, the veteran’s skills. willingness to relocate or work odd hours, and much more. The best I can recommend is for the veteran to contact a job search company that specializes in helping veterans find work. There are many such organizations that offer free assistance with crafting a good resume, practicing interviewing skills, searching job sites, and much more.

  225. john says

    Hello, so I got a OTH discharge for being AWOL for 9 months I turned my self in and received a article 15 njp. I know I cant get a job at the federal level, but will this affect me in getting into the medical field? Im trying to become a nurse or a emt but my live scan thru the fbi is delayed , is this a serious issue?

    • Ryan Guina says

      John, To be honest, I don’t know how this will affect your chances of getting into the medical field. It depends on the requirements of the licensing organization you need to go through. My recommendation is to contact the licensing board for whichever professional license(s) you need to get a job in your desired field.

  226. Todd says

    Hello, my question is when I was 18(37now) I join the army. I stupidly intentionally failed the final pt test because I wanted to go home for a girl (huge mistake!). When I was released they gave me a discharge of other then honorable (conduct) this looks terrible on my record. I am now 20yrs later trying to become a police officer. This has been a road block is their anyway to get this changed or expunged?? Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Todd, Here is our article about applying for a military discharge upgrade. It looks like you are outside the 15 year window, so you would need to request a military records correction. To be honest, I think you are facing an uphill battle. It may be possible, but I’m not an expert here. You may consider speaking with a lawyer that specializes in military law. Best of luck!

  227. Charles Blake says

    I recieved a medical separation in the marines I had 2weeks left before I was to graduate from bootcamp am I able to recieve any benefit once I swore in I became property of the us government

    • Ryan Guina says

      Charles, You will need to contact the VA and inquire about benefits you may be eligible to receive. However, in general, veterans are required to serve a certain amount of time before they are eligible for benefits. The only way you will be able to find out for certain is to contact the VA. Best of luck.

  228. Jonathan says

    Also to be noted there is much more as far as unfair treatment to my ankle situation it’s just a lot to type unless you have time to read a lot of info I would be greatly appreciative thank you

  229. Jonathan says

    Can one still receive a honorable discharge if they have patterns of misconduct such as 2 article 15 for not being a point a place of duty and not keeping in contact with chain of command while on convelecent leave for ankle surgery but while at work soldier is squared away

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jonathan, That will likely depend on the unit you are assigned to and how things are going when you separate from the military. If your First Sergeant and/or Commander like you and want to help you out, then you may be able to get an Honorable Discharge when you separate. Otherwise, it will depend on the circumstances of your separation. It would not be uncommon to see a General Discharge, or Other than Honorable Discharge for two Article 15s.

  230. mike says

    what type of discharge would i receive if i am depressed and always angry and am not happy? i am also not adjusting to military life. i have been in the navy since july 22nd 2014. i can’t take doing this anymore but i haven’t told anyone because i don’t want it to affect me from getting a good job when i get out. how should i go about getting a discharge?

    • Leon says


      I am a senior enlisted leader in the Marine Corps. I encourage you seek assistance through your chain of command. If you do not have confidence in your chain of command, I recommend you talk with your Chaplain, or Medical Officer. You do not need to disclose the nature of your visit to anyone but them. If anyone forces you to ask, tell them politely that you do not want to disclose the nature of your visit. It really is as simple as that. The other avenue, is a request mast, where you get to see the Commanding Officer and express your concerns. Best of luck to you.


  231. Sam Falzone says

    After two weeks of basic training, a relative of mine was tested positive for drugs and was given an Entry Level Separation. Must he reveal this information on job applications or interviews? Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Generally it is unnecessary to disclose an entry level separation to future employers. However, this may not be the case if applying for certain jobs at the state or federal level.

  232. Anthony says

    Hey Ryan , Thanks for the quick response. The discharge reads: General discharge under honorable conditions? bad, good?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Anthony, A General Discharge is one step below an Honorable Discharge. It’s usually an administrative discharge and generally isn’t considered bad, but it’s also not considered great. However, because yours says “under Honorable conditions,” yours can be considered good. At this point, I don’t think it will hurt you. Best of luck getting everything straightened out, and best of luck in your civilian career!

  233. Anthony says

    I served just over a year and a half in the army national guard. Some unfortunate things happened in my life with my family and i needed to seek help to get out of depression.Therefore causing me to miss training and drills. The army Discharged me under honorable conditions since i did so well while i was in. Will this prevent jobs from hiring me in the future and is being discharged under honorable conditions bad?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Anthony, I’m not sure what you are asking. The discharge classifications are: Honorable, General, Other Than Honorable, Bad Conduct, and Dishonorable. An Honorable discharge is the best you can have. There is nothing bad about it. If you mean you have an “Other Than Honorable” discharge, then it won’t have a positive impact and could have a negative impact. At least raise questions with the potential hiring company. You do not, however, need to disclose your discharge rating, except in certain circumstances. So if you have an “Other Than Honorable” discharge, I simply wouldn’t volunteer that information.

  234. Colin says

    When “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was in effect, were people found to be gay discharged dishonorably? If so, does that continue to follow them now? If a military serviceman was dishonorably discharged under DADT can that be changed now that it is no longer in effect, or is it more of an “it was illegal at the time” thing so those servicemen were still in the wrong?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Colin, Right now there is no automatic change to the discharge status under DADT rules. However, one can apply to have a discharge upgraded, and a bill has been proposed that would help smooth the passage of those discharge upgrades.

  235. jim eichler says

    I own a gun shop the doj does not accept a retirement card if it does not say honorably retired. many of my customers have over 20yrs in and their card just says us army retired. what’s the difference. I have a major with 32yrs in and it just says retired, not honorably. ????

    • Ryan Guina says

      I’m not sure, Jim. It’s possible the ID cards were issued at a different time, or the retiree cards are for the Guard or Reserves, which have a different retiree ID card until the retiree reaches age 60.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jose, The military can discharge a service member for drug related offenses regardless of where the incident took place. Drugs are illegal according to the UCMJ, so it doesn’t matter where the drugs are taken – if a service member tests positive for drugs, he can receive a dishonorable discharge. This includes smoking marijuana in a state where it is “legal,” such as Colorado. It is still illegal at the federal level and according to the UCMJ.

  236. Darleen says

    Hi, I spent 24 yrs in the US Army Reserve. I spent time on active duty during these years but never the 180 consecutive days. I will get my retirement pay next Feb 2015. Am I ever considered a veteran? I put in allot of time in my military career and I feel I deserve some type of acknowledgement as a veteran. Will this come through when I collect retirement?

  237. E J Jafari says

    My father was discharged from the military after being diagnosed with meningitis in June 1948, with a “8-2U” reason. What does the code “8-2U” mean?

  238. Sergio Garcia says

    Well for me I served 11 years in the Guard and did my tours OIF-OEF and after 11 years missing the two weeks of anual training I was reduced in Rank then after continuing my drills and compleating a 2 week anual training and showing my unit I was dependable and never got in trouble in the 11 years of service I was sent a letter that I was discharged from the military considering I had just put in paperwork for a second re-enlistment , yes I used jag and were no help at all useless and for this I received a other than honorable discharge witch first of all the reduction hould have been sufficient punishment or wage garnishement considering I had served for 11 years flawlessly and with honor , my rank was taken, then Discharged after almost half a year after incident and was not even told I really wanted to finish my 20 bit was striped of that honor I would have continued to serve for free thats howmuch I loved being in the military if there is anybody out there that can help me in any way please feel free to contact me thank you.

  239. joe says

    Im in the national guard and only have 2 months left until my ets. I didnt go to drill because I make more money at my civilian job than I do in the guard. The commander said that they were going to (involuntary extend) me so they can awol me. Is this possible can they extend my contract without my consent? What should I do?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Joe, To be honest, I don’t know. By why risk it? It’s only two months. Why put several years of good conduct and a potential Honorable Discharge on the line for a few dollars? If you are having financial difficulties, then speak with your chain of command and ask if you can miss the last two drills. Many Guard and Reserve commands are willing to work with troops in these matters. If they say yes, you get what you were seeking – increased pay, and you won’t have to attend drill. The problem comes from not attending drill and not notifying anyone, or at least skipping drill without permission. That is when they can potentially charge you with AWOL. It’s not worth the risk, Joe.

  240. Cara says

    Hi, I’ve been in the Air Guard for almost 4 1/2 years. Recently, I’ve filled out paperwork to be discharged due to punctuality that resulted in accumulated abscences. I do take full responsibility, but I’m not sure if I’ve been discharged yet or what. Last I filled out was a paper that described my inequities and that I had 30days to turn in anything to fight against it. It’s been over 30 days and idk where I stand with my unit right now. After I signed the paper I felt as if I was being terminated, especially by the way my Sgts were speaking. I’ve had two drills so far that I didn’t attend bc I’m not sure if I should or can? I also contacted a Lt they recommended to help me. He just told me to info h when I receive a certain letter? Any insight on this? Kind of lost and don’t know where I stand.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Cara, you will need to speak with the personnel section of your unit. They will be the people who will be able to help you. It’s unlikely anyone else will have insight into your files and be able to give you a status update. best of luck.

  241. James says

    Hi Ryan,
    I joined the National Guard in April shortly after enlisting in the Navy because it suited my lifestyle quite perfectly but wasn’t allowed to ship until September as an 11B because it was the closest opening. During this time I started having a few medical problems and have to have a colonoscopy done. I also might be seeing a specialist for anxiety and be put on medication again. The Navy recruiter said I should lie at MEPS or they would turn me away. If I tell my National Guard recruiter of my full situation I’m sure I will not be able to leave for basic now. What discharge will I receive? I’ve been told dishonorable discharge. Also my recruiter knows about my colonoscopy and sent me an email threatening to give me a dishonorable discharge because he believes I was lying. Is this possible?
    Thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      James, don’t lie on any of your medical forms, questionnaires, or exams. Always tell the truth. Lying can get you in trouble, including a possible dishonorable discharge. It won’t be your recruiter who gets in trouble, it will be you. So do the right thing, and tell the truth. Regarding the colonoscopy – that doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot serve. But you will likely need to provide a doctor’s statement regarding your health, and possibly submit to additional exams. All of that is a hassle, but it’s easier to do than go through the process of a dishonorable discharge. Tell the truth, and let the cards fall where they may. Best of luck.

  242. Bryce says

    Hi Ryan
    My dd 214 states General under honorable conditions. My story is this I loved the Army and did Very well making rank of Spec E4 in 18 months. I went through many different schools ending at Ft Braggs 82 Avn. At 20 months I tested positive for cocaine use and it was legitimate. It was one of those situations where I was at the wrong place at the wrong time and celebrating a neighbors birthday who was a civilian. Being naive to the drug scene I unknowingly drank a shot of alcohol containing a cocktail of drugs. We were tested the following morning and here I am. I was told by many people that you don’t normally get kicked out for drugs however it was made clear by the C O that no drug use is tolerated. 25 years later I’m wondering if I will get burial honors as in the flag and if I actually qualify for some benefits. I was told at separation that i forfeited my $1200 for the GI bill but that’s it. Now I’ve learned that I’m Not considered a Veteran because I failed to meet the 24 month mark. Please help me with this or provide a clear direction because so far I get directed to the VA. There I get the run around. Thank you

  243. Cris says

    Hi Ryan. I received a OTH with a reinlistment code of 4 for going AWOL. I turned myself in and was late discharged. Is that considered a felony or misdemeanor in Texas? I just applied for my real estate license and they did an FBI background check. Would that come up on my background? If so, will that prevent me from getting my license?

  244. Ben says

    I received an undisirable discharge in 1972 after being AWOL for 2 years is that considered other than honorable can I get VA benefits

    • Ryan Guina says

      Here is a quote from the VA: Generally, in order to receive VA benefits and services, the Veteran’s character of discharge or service must be under other than dishonorable conditions (e.g., honorable, under honorable conditions, general). However, individuals receiving undesirable, bad conduct, and other types of dishonorable discharges may qualify for VA benefits depending on a determination made by VA (Source).

      In other words, it is possible to receive VA benefits under certain circumstances. There are several conditions that may qualify you or disqualify your ability to receive VA benefits, so I encourage you to seek help from a Veterans Service Organization if you wish to file for a benefits claim. They offer free assistance to veterans.

  245. MarineMarvin says

    Hi Ryan,

    Thank you for providing such expert advice to many concerned people.

    Can someone who was discharged with OTH status for a positive drug (marijuana) screen have his discharge status upgraded in order to qualify for VA benefits? He was on a 10 day break and engaged in this activity at a social event; he reported back to base and was tested. Sad thing is that he only had less than a month left with the Marines until he completed his duties. He is in the process of being diagnosed with PTSD. From what I know, he was treating his PTSD with the marijuana.

    What are your thoughts on this? Be has not had his hearing yet. Questions:

    1. Can he get his status upgraded in this situation?
    2. Should he wait for his hearing before sending a letter to his congressman?
    3. What would you do?

    Thank you again and God bless.

    • Ryan Guina says


      Thanks for contacting me. Can a discharge status be upgraded in the face of drug charges? Maybe. But in most cases, drug charges are hard to change. It doesn’t really matter whether the servicemember was on leave when the incident occurred, or whether or not the servicemember was close to separating from the service. All servicemembers are aware of the military’s rules against drug use.

      Could a PTSD rating change things? Possibly. And the VA shouldn’t deny treatment for a service-connected disability. What would I do? Based on the above information, I would hire a lawyer that specializes in helping veterans with legal issues such as discharge ratings, or filing VA disability claims. This is a complicated situation, and one that is best helped with specialized legal assistance. We do not recommend specific lawyers through our website, so we recommend contacting a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, or another veteran’s group to see if they have any recommendations for lawyers in your area. Best of luck.

  246. Janet says

    My son is currently at Ft. Benning. While training to go in, he found out he had Compartment Syndrome. He went to a top-notch specialist and had a very rare and expensive surgery to correct the problem (he only had the surgery because he wanted to go in Army SO bad.) He received a DEP and finally shipped in September. At MEPS he passed with flying colors. The doctors had his papers, a release from his surgeon saying is was a simple surgery and a personal letter from his surgeon saying he was 100% and ready for combat training. Before he left, my son was running 2 miles a day and doing Cross-fit every day!! MEPS docs said his leg looked great— and said, “you are shipping”. For three weeks we heard nothing from our son, then this week we get a call that they are medically discharging him. A physical therapy student from Auburn was at the Base when they were doing PT at Reception and said “what’s that scar”. My son explained about the Compartment surgery to loosen the fascia around his shin muscle. They immediately drug him to the doctors in Reception. He was then told his leg was a “liability” and he would have to go home to “recover” for 6 months. We found out he has been in Reception this entire time without any way to talk to us—and we can’t write him. He said he has no idea how long he will be there. His recruiters even told us that this is crazy, because they don’t override MEPS like that. My son is a phenomenal athlete (HECK only phenomenal athletes get compartment syndrome!) The surgery actually MAKES THEM BETTER THAN THEY WERE BEFORE. He said he feels like he is in prison—the army has been my son’s dream since he was a little kid. He is devastated.

  247. Jeanine says

    Sara says:
    June 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm
    Hello, I enlisted in the OHIO NG for a little over a year now and I can honeslty say that the military isn’t for me and like to know how to get out with a honorable discharge? I also received a scholarship to complete my BA degree do I have to pay that back if I get discharged? Help.


    to reply to sara….I’m an example of what the policy WAS in the 80’s; I am not sure if the policy is different now but I’d be curious as to what response you recv. from VA in current policy… I signed up for 3 yrs enlistment into regular Army, went thru basic training (graduated) & AIT (advanced individual training) and graduated, I got assigned to my permanent duty station and while I was there I WAS able to pass my Physical aptitude training standards BUT my Body Mass Index during EACH weigh in became an ISSUE: I was on avg. no more than 5-10 lbs. over “military standard avg. range”, and my body fat percentages were not on mark either approx. 10% over. Unfortunately they overlooked my “weigh in results” in BT & AIT. Therefore in Permanent Duty it haunted me every time I was up for a pay grade increase and/or company/individual medal merit altho I exercised & jogged every chance I got! My company commander put me on Overweight Program and “flagged my MLPJ” until I could lessen the degree of my “issue”. Long story short (lol); I was persuaded to take an HONORABLE DISCHARGE with early release from my service at 1 yr. and 8 mos. When I was released from military back to my hometown and throughout my civilian life including now… I had to forfeit my GI bill (not eligible to ever use it, govt. kept all my $ contributions), wasn’t eligible for unemployment insurance after military release, not eligible for VA home loan, not eligible for VA health coverage, etc…even to this day!! So I plan on appealing after 20+ years from date of discharge.

  248. Todd says

    I got out several years ago on an honorable discharge and I was trying to find out what happend to my TSP. Does anyone know how to find out about that.

  249. MikeS says

    Hi Ryan, I am a recent retiree from active duty. My new job asked me my veterans status. I was wondering about the definition of “Recently separated veteran” — which is one who “served on active duty in the United States military, ground, naval, or air service during the three-year period beginning on the date of such veteran’s discharge or release from active duty.” Is a retiree considered “released” from active duty? I had always thought the terms “discharged” or “released” referred to veterans who had served less than 20 years. Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Mike, For this purpose, yes, I believe it would be appropriate to use the term “released” from active duty. Most companies only use this information for internal purposes. If your company deals with government contracts, then they may use this information when making bids for govt. contracts. You should contact your company HR rep if you have questions about how the information is used. Their response can often help you determine the appropriate answer. I hope this is helpful!

  250. curt says

    I am a army veteran. I ETS in 2012 but had a flag and bar to reenlist…..does it mean I cant reenlist? I was honorably discharge with my ETS date not for being flagged.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Curt, I’m not familiar with the terminology, “had a flag and bar to reenlist.” The best I can tell you is to look at your DD Form 214 and find the section near the bottom labeled “Reentry Code.” (this is also known as your reenlistment code).

      You should be able to look up the reentry code online and have a better idea of whether or not you will be eligible to reenlist. Keep in mind that even if you have a reentry code that makes you eligible to reenlist, it may be difficult to find a job in the Army at your previous rank and MOS, due to the current downsizing. You may find it easier to join the Guard or Reserves if you cannot find an active duty position. It may also be possible to join the Guard or Reserves in another branch of service if you are unable to find the job you want in the Army. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  251. May says

    Hello Ryan, I am an E4 in the Army National Guard. I have completed 2 of my years in service out of my 8 year contract. I am married to an Active Duty Airmen who is currently stationed in Korea. He got accompanied orders to Japan for March for 3 years. I do plan to move there with him and am wondering what kind of steps I need to take without going AWOL. I did not get a sign on bonus and have not taken any money for schooling. I am in good standing with my unit. I have asked a few of my Sergeants as to what my options are and how I go about it, but they seem to have no answers. I’ve actually had a Corporal tell me to just go AWOL. Thank you in advance.

    • Ryan Guina says

      May, Do NOT listen to a barracks lawyer wearing Corporal stripes. Doing so will only get you into trouble. You need to decide what you want to do, then find a way to do it. There are several ways to get out of the Guard without breaking any rules or getting into trouble. Start by scheduling a meeting with your First Sergeant and explaining the situation. You are a dual military couple and your husband has orders to Japan. Ask if there is any way to: transfer orders to a Guard or Reserve unit in or near Japan, transfer to the active duty Air Force (rare, but possible under some circumstances), go into an inactive status for the duration of your husband’s assignment to Japan, or request release from your contract. There may also be other options for being released from your assignment.

      Whatever you do, do NOT go AWOL. You can get yourself into legal problems that will end up costing you a lot of money now, and potentially in the future, as it can impact your future career opportunities and may make you ineligible for veteran’s benefits. Take the time to learn the system and your options, then take the best course of action.

  252. Kim says

    Hello Ryan, I’m a military army wife, my husband has been in for almost threw years and our experience has been mostly bad. My husband turned to smoking whenever he felt like he couldn’t deal with his army work place. He end up failing a drug test but he was enrolled in CAC I think that’s what it’s called a class for ppl who has a problem with drugs and alcohol. Well they were giving him a honorable discharge. Then they turned around and said they think he lied about not smoking when he first joined. Well his recruiter told him not to say anything about him smoking so he didn’t. And I mean everybody know recruiter will tell you anything to get you to join well at least in my city they do. So he told them about how his recruiter said to not say anything. Everything is under investigation now. Is there a way they can throw this out and give my husband a honorable or general? Is it possible? We are so stressed about this because it’s taking so long. We are sitting around playing the wait game while we could be moving on with our life. It seems like no one cares about you in the military. He’s also a excellent worker! 🙁

    • Ryan Guina says

      Kim, your husband can’t use the excuse, “my recruiter told me to lie.” When recruits go through MEPS (the military recruit processing station), they are explicitly told the consequences of lying on government forms. Recruits are also required to sign documentation confirming they are aware they are signing official government documentation, and the consequences for lying on the entrance forms can include being kicked out of the military. As for smoking, I don’t see why it is even worth lying about that. Being a smoker does not prohibit one from joining or serving in the military. But lying about it could cause problems down the road. In other words, lying about it is a no-win situation.

      As for the discharge, I can’t tell you what will happen. Being placed on a program to help with drug addiction is good. I sincerely hope your husband gets the help he needs and is able to conquer his addiction(s). But it isn’t uncommon to receive a discharge under other than honorable conditions or some other discharge that is less than a general discharge or honorable discharge. All I can recommend at this point it to continue seeking treatment and hope for the best. In the mean time, don’t do anything that would worsen the case against you. Best of luck.

  253. Samantha says

    Hello Ryan,
    I have a relative who recently signed up for the national guard. He was sworn in and is scheduled to go away for basic training in a few weeks. However, while going to the required one weekend a month training until the actually basic training starts he became very ill after having an allergic reaction. He went to a allergist who commenced numerous testing and discovered he has severe case of allergies to every kind of tree, plant, pollen, peanuts, cats, dogs, carpet etc. The doctor said this was by far the worst case they had ever seen. He has documentation as well as pictures of his arms of how his body reacted when being exposed to those elements. The exposure to these elements cause his airways to be some restricted and caused him to have problem breathing. He diagnosed serveral medications and a Epi pen. He wants to go to basic training but is afraid that his condition would prevent him. He contacted his recruiter and even went to the last training and the sergeants where trying to tell him he is scared and nothing is wrong even when they saw his nose start bleeding. What should he do? What steps need to be taken?

  254. Randy says

    I’m in AIT and on my 9th week here and I realized that the Army is not for me. Do you know what discharge I would get for failing out? I have one negative counseling and it was for being late. Will the discharge effect my career outside the military?

  255. Dodie Bradley says

    My father was given an honorable discharge April 30, 1945. He also had a “CERTIFICATE OF DISABILITY FOR DISCHARGE AR 615 361 & LST IND AAF REGIONAL HOSPITAL SAACC”. Could you tell me what his medical condition was?

  256. Angie says

    Hello, I was in navy bt back in winter of 96 was kick out with re 4 els for asthma. I never had a day of asthma as a kid and ran track all through school. I was ill and was sent to medical doctor give me breathing treatment side o this helped you so you have asthma. As soon as I got out I seen doctors and had pulmonary testing done. Showed no asthma I have had it done a few times sense. I tried to go in ROTC for Air Force but during first week of school I was let of because of my re code. I was told I had to. Get it changed. I give up went of to college and teaching. However over the years I have been told that because of the navy discharging me for something I did not have I I wanted to make a life out of it, I should be able to fight for va benefits. Is this true and how do I do this.

  257. James says

    I commissioned as an officer in PA National Guard in oct 2013. I was to attend BOLC in Sept 2014 and had gotten my XO permission to not attend AT. Due to circumstances I had to push BOLC back until
    Feb 2015. I recently had a conversation with some people at HS and it appears they are annoyed with lack of presence at AT. I have email into the MAJ at the Battalion and awaiting his response to meet face to face. Can anyone shedight into the effect this will have on my military career. Can this lead to a discharge?

  258. Arnold says

    Hi, I was with the airguard for almost a year then… a month prior to bootcamp, i had a problem with my security clearance…..i did disclose my hisotry of chapter 7 bankruptcy but according from them I did not….. to cut the story short …. I got discharged from the airguard…..after 2 yrs… I still want to go back and be a part of the service and serve. I am a graduating nurse with a bachelors degree in nursing…… will i still be able to join the service…. I will wait for your response. Thank you.

  259. Terris says

    I’ve been in the army reserves for about a year now. I failed one PT test, last drill I didn’t take one because I was hurt from my civilian job but I didn’t have a doctors note, so I was taken down in rank. I have drill coming up this weekend and don’t plan on taking the PT test and doctors said they weren’t authorized to give me a note or profile, military doctors have to do so. What kind of discharge will I be looking to get for not talking a PT test more than once?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Terris, You will need to speak with your unit representative to determine what type of discharge you may receive. It will typically not be an Honorable Discharge if you are separated for failing to meet standards. (It will likely be a General Discharge or Other than Honorable Conditions, but your unit Commander will have final say).

      Regarding a doctor’s note: It’s true that a civilian doctor cannot write a military fitness profile, but they can recommend you abstain from certain physical activities such as running, pushups, etc. At that point, you should contact your military doctor and request an appointment for an examination and a profile if your doctor agrees with the civilian doctor. In other words, this is an entirely avoidable situation.

      I encourage you to try and get an appointment with your civilian and/or military doctor before your PT test this weekend. Otherwise you are all but guaranteeing yourself a difficult situation. Keep in mind that your discharge will stay on your file forever, making it more difficult to get certain civilian jobs, may make you ineligible for certain veterans benefits, and possibly prevent you from ever serving in the military again. I’m not saying it will ruin your life, but it certainly won’t make things easier. Best of luck.

  260. brooke says

    My uncle serve 24 yrs in PA, he has been discharged from the service since 2000. He did not receive any benefits because he has no discharge order document to show. What can we do? Hope you can help us.

    • Ryan Guina says


      Every military member should receive some form of discharge paperwork or documentation when the leave the military. If he was serving on active duty, he would have received a DD Form 214. If he served in the Guard or Reserves, he may have been issued some other form of paperwork. The best way to get this information is to contact the National Archives, which is where all military records are stored.

      Here is some more information we have regarding replacement DD Form 214s, and Military Records:

      How to get a New DD 214.
      Military Records Requests.

      I hope this is helpful, and best of luck!

  261. Markis says

    Hey there, I was in usmc at boot for only 1 month. I have a ELS and a re 3f… is this able to be upgraded so I can try to get back in? Also, I have a uncharacterized separation.

  262. Jorge Martinez says

    Good morning Ryan, I recently was found guilty of couple articles (Possesion of banned substance and False Statement) at NJP. I am being processed for Administrative Separation with a General discharge. I was wondering will those specific charges I was found guilty of be listed on my DD 214? Also, just how crippling in the civilian job market is a General Discharge? Thank you very much for your help.


  263. Brian Freel says

    In 1980 I received a General Discharge under honorable conditions from the Marine Corps. Am I entitled to all benefits, or are they diminished?

  264. Tom says

    I was a USAF officer who was brought up on charges of fraternization in 1987. As opposed to going through a Court Martial I resigned my commission. The type of discharge was OTHC. Both myself and my enlisted girlfriend (we had plans to be married) were single and consensual. The Area Defense Council(ADC) handling my case told me that this wasn’t as bad as a Bad Conduct or Dishonorable discharge. I come to find out this is the worst kind of discharge I could have received as an officer. It is now past the time to appeal the discharge and I am told all I can do is appeal to the military records correction group. This is only if the information is incorrect not that I was misled or received an unfair discharge type. Since then I have been married (to a different woman) for 25 years and have two daughters. Can you tell me where to go for help? After serving 9 years I do not want this to be my legacy to my wife and daughters.

  265. Brad says

    Went into the USN as a Nuke ET back in the early 90’s. Of course they sent me up the river into bootcamp without getting a waiver. Short story, spent Oct 93 – Jun 94 in boot camp and apprentice training fighting the review board to stay in the Navy. Separated out in 94. My dd214 says “Discharged” for the the type of separation and “Uncharacterized” for the character of service.

    Is this bad? Is it Honorable, General, OTH, Dishonorable character of service?

  266. Bobby Russell says

    I was going through the MEB process for a condition with my hear. I recently attended an administrative separation board and was recommended for separation and an other than honorable discharge. I have just under 10 years of active duty service and 3 reenlistments. I was recommended for separation because I was on the receiving end of a temporary restraining order. I was never arrested or charged with domestic violence but still the board voted that I must go. My question is, is there any way that I can fix my situation and receive the benefits that I’ve earned? My last reenlistment was less than a year ago.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Bobby, Thank you for contacting me. My advice is to get a lawyer who can advise you on your options and the separation process. Start by contacting your base legal office and see if they can offer you assistance. If that doesn’t work, then you should contact a lawyer that specializes in military law. It is possible to get a discharge rating upgraded later on. However, it’s always best to get it taken care of the right way before you separate. It will reduce the amount of paperwork you have to deal with and allow you to have a higher discharge rating which can be helpful when looking for employment. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  267. Sara says

    Hello, I enlisted in the OHIO NG for a little over a year now and I can honeslty say that the military isn’t for me and like to know how to get out with a honorable discharge? I also received a scholarship to complete my BA degree do I have to pay that back if I get discharged? Help.

    • Ryan Guina says


      Thank you for contacting us. To be honest, I don’t know what happens if you stop going to drill. You would be best off asking your personnel or legal department. You could also contact the base legal department at a different location if you are concerned about anyone finding out what is on your mind. You can also look into programs to see if there is a way you can get out of your contract early without getting into trouble.

      Regarding paying back your scholarship, again, this is something you will need to ask your personnel or finance department, or read the terms of the contract you signed if you still have a copy. It should clearly spell out the terms of your scholarship and what recourse, if any, the government will receive if you fail to complete your service obligation.

  268. ken says

    I served 2 years than went awol.,I had been in trouble prior to enlisting so to get out off a youth camp I enlisted. So after getting in trouble and having all kinds of trouble with my marriage I kept going Awol so when it finally came to make a decision what to do. They asked me if I knew I was released from the boys home before I enlisted I said no. They said then that I could get out on a fraudulent discharge. It has been over 30 years since this all has happen. Would I have gotten something showing I was in. .I know I was wrong but I feel they could have did a little more to help with my problem to. It has been a long time but as I get older that always haunts me. If I could make it all up I would sign up know. All I want is a something to say I was a in the Army. They said it could hurt me or it may not hurt you.

  269. Cathy says

    My daughter just found out today she will be sent home from Basic Training….after 7 weeks….for not scoring well enough on the sit up portion of her PT test. What are her options from this point? She has been hearing she must wait 6 months before trying to go back in or before being able to look at joining another service. Is that just barracks lawyers talking?

    Thank you for your time!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Cathy, Thank you for contacting me. At this point, she will be separated from the military and probably given an administrative discharge. This is neither good nor bad in terms of future employment prospects or legal ramifications.

      Regarding the 6 month waiting period – I don’t know the exact regulation, but that sounds about right. However, since I don’t know the regs, I recommend she speak with her recruiter about her options. Her recruiter will be able to go over her options and help her decide the best course of action. The good news is that 6 months should be plenty of time to work on strength and conditioning if she decides to continue with her goal of joining the military. I wish her the best!

  270. David Espinoza says

    I’m a Vietnam disabled vet, I receive my health care through the VA hospital.
    The church I attend honor vets on Memorial Day and on Veterans Day, but there is a church goer who who was in the USAF. He committed a crime of theft and was given a dishonorable discharge, plus he was deported back to San Salvador.
    Is he a felon and is he a veteran to be taking honors from our church?

  271. Arturo says

    I have been in the army reserves since 2012. My unit makes it difficult for me to switch and go active. I have tried going 18X but i dont clear security clearance. Cant go active either without airborne and my unit makes it really difficult to go to any schools its nearly impossible its a dead end so desperate I was wondering if i stop attending drill and get discharged. Is that considered a dishonorable discharge? If not how will that affect me enlistment again?

  272. Cory says

    Hi Ryan I got a els well what I thought was a els I quit the army in basic I did the right procedure to get out I went to home return unit and everything but a employer recently looked at my recorded and it says oth but my folder said els and it was uncharctorized so I was wondering what do I have and I want to go to law enforcement so bad it was a life long dream will I be able to. If you could email me and help anyothers who could will greatly be apprechated

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Cory, Your DD Form 214 should state the reason for your separation, including your discharge classification. There should also be a reenlistment code on your DD Form 214, which is an official classification stating whether or not you are eligible to reenlist. It is possible to have an Entry Level Separation with a reenlistment code that states you are ineligible to reenlist (for whatever reason). It is possible the employer was able to decipher your reenlistment code and read between the lines. My recommendation is to speak with the employer to determine what their requirements are, where you stand, and what you can do, if anything, to rectify the situation. Best of luck.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Marc, I’ve been doing a little reading on peanut allergies, and it looks like the odds of getting a waiver are not good. The issue is the military often uses peanut oil for cooking. There would be times your daughter wouldn’t know how the food was prepared and what the ingredients were. This could put her at risk of a severe allergic reaction, or possible death, depending on the severity of the allergy. There could also be times when your daughter would be in the field and away from medical facilities and possible life-saving medication. This puts her and her unit at risk, should something happen.

      My recommendation is for her to ask to be retested to determine the severity of the allergy. She can also contact her recruiter or the medical personnel at her basic training location to inquire about the possibility of waivers. It’s no guarantee she can get a waiver, but it is at least worth a try.

      I wish her the best of luck.

  273. Marc says

    what kind of discharge will a person get if they found out that they were allergic to nuts in basic training? My daughter is in her 4th week and found out via a blood test or skin test

    • Ryan Guina says

      Marc, Thanks for contacting me. I’m sure this must have been a disappointment for your daughter. It would most likely be an administrative discharge, which is neither good nor bad.

  274. ray e lee jr says

    I recently received my deceased fathers discharge papers from the Navy. It states he was dishonorably discharged with the letters (GCM) behind. Can you tell me what this means.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ray, GCM stands for General Court Martial. This means he was tried and found guilty in a military court. His punishment included a Dishonorable Discharge.

  275. Tom says

    FYI- I have an ELS after a stint in the brig, and refusal to return to service during basic training.

    I still get benefits.

    Go apply!

  276. Lauri says

    Question regarding discharge/dismissal….
    In all cases, the service member is given their DD-214, correct?
    Is it also the case that the service member is returned to their “home base”? They wouldn’t just be kicked out and not have a way home, right? IE: left in Germany or Italy, etc….


    • Ryan Guina says

      Lauri, Yes, every military member should be given a DD Form 214 when they separate from the military. Regarding being sent back to the US from overseas, I don’t have a good answer for you. The military normally sends people to their home of record after they separate from the military, but I don’t know the full details for each specific situation.

  277. Bill says

    Discharged in 1970 Honerable “convenience of the Gov’t”
    This was done in Lu of a hardship discharge requested by myself.
    Just obtained my military records. There is a statement within that I agreed to The terms of a convenience of the government discharge. I am trying to find out what a convenience of the government discharge actually means. Have I lost any rights or benefits with this type of discharge?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Bill, So far as I know, this should be the equivalent to an administrative discharge. This shouldn’t have a negative impact on your benefits, provided you would otherwise qualify. For example, some benefits eligibility requirements include serving a minimum amount of time for eligibility. The best recommendation I have is to contact the VA or another benefits agency to inquire about which benefits you may be eligible for.

  278. Jack Fields says

    The term “veteran” means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.

    “Under conditions other than dishonorable” is not a character of service under Title 10 USC. Under conditions other than dishonorable is a general term that allows an agency to determine lost time during this period of service certified in block 29 of the DD-214, pursuant to 10 USC 972 or the requirement for determination of active duty service not meeting the requisite months or some other non-saving law or rule under under an agency granting veteran benefits.

  279. Jack Fields says

    Dear Alexander,

    Out of curiosity what is certified in block 29’s lost time during this period of service (which is pursuant to 10 USC 972)?

    According to United States v. Howard, 20 M.J. (C.M.A. 1985) and United States v. King, 42 M.J. (CAAF 1995), “personam jurisdiction over servicemembers is lost upon granting the discharge certificate, absent same saving circumstance or statutory authorization.”

    Block 23 Type of Separation “Dismissed” and block 24 Character of Service “UNDER OTHER THAN HONORABLE CONDITIONS,” appears as if you were disabled in office, during a coup d’état, in the sudden disposition of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    Pursuant to President’s Rule RCM 1003(b)(8), Manual for Court-Martial, in the matter of punitive separations “a court-martial may not adjudge an administrative separation from the service.”(Honorable, General, OTH), which means in turn, no convening authority may grant a punitive separation (Dismissal, Dishonorable, Bad Conduct)

    In accordance with Title 10 USC 1161, “officers who are either dismissed or dropped from the rolls there is no character of service. In block 24 for character of service, X’s “MUST” be entered and must be appropriate and consistent with reason and the authority of separation (block 25).”

    Civilians and enlisted personnel may not have enough understanding or training to know that enlisted and officer separation is not the same thing.

    What do you say when confronted is your call. The DD-214 states “Special Additional Information (For use by authorized agencies only) applicable to blocks 23-30.

  280. Alexander says

    I was an Army Warrant Officer, and my DD214 Says both Other Than Honorable and Dismissed. Is this possible and what does that really mean to me. Do I tell anyone officially inquiring that I have a dismissal or an OTH. Do I have both administrative discharge and a punitive. Does it default to one or the other. Could it be that the Army never changed my Officer Status from Reserve to Active after I was promoted to CW2, Which I was told prior to my departure from service.

  281. Bianca says

    My husband was in the Marines back in the late 80’s. He completed basic training. He was let in with flat feet. While he was enlisted, he was operated on and had to have his body “flushed” three times because his appendix burst. When he was sent home to recover, he was then discharged due to “flat feet”. Can you tell me why he’s ineligible for any benefits? Seven to eight years ago he became diabetic (insulin dependent) without warning. His pancreas literally just stopped working. The doctors cannot determine the reasons for this. How would he be able to apply for health benefits?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Thanks for contacting me, Bianca. You will need to contact the VA regarding benefits eligibility. They are the agency that determines who is eligible for benefits.

      Regarding medical issues, it’s essential to have a copy of his medical records while he was in the service. Then he would need to get an examination to determine if his medical conditions were caused by issues he had while he was serving in the military.

      Additionally, you might want to see if your husband was stationed at Camp Lejeune in the early through mid 1980s. There were water contamination problems and he may be eligible for medical care coverage if he was exposed to the bad water at Camp Lejeune and he contracted a related health issue. Here is a resource for more information.

  282. Sylvester Lang says

    Ryan thank you can’t be said enough for your comment “retirement and discharge/separation are not the same thing”

    The Ex-military officials in the Department of Veteran Affairs have caused their civilian subordinates and peer to believe that “they” as officials in the DVA can determine, Title 10 USC’s military retirement for the length of service (20yrs) when their is no lost time in block 29 of the DD-214.

    The above has lead to these officials falsely making/misrepresenting the certificates of discharge (DD-214) issued by the military service department (Title 18 USC 498).

    The Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has warned VA to stop treating military certified on the DD-214 by military service department as a decision that can be made by the VA on appeal. The latter can not be appealed Brown vs Sori, military service is the prerequisite to VA entitlements, when the military service department certifies military service, it is final and binding upon the Department of Veteran Affairs

  283. carolyn says

    My son has been in the army since June of 2013 and he has gotten in trouble a few times for being late. They took him down in rank after he just got ranked up and had extra duties 2xs now hes been in the jail for violation of atraffic ticket do you think they will let him go he is in Texas el parson what are his. Chances of making it his first 4yrs

  284. Damon Romar says

    Hi, Ryan. I enlisted in the army in January of 1997 and I went AWOL in November or December of 1998. I turned myself in to Fort Sam Houston the following spring. I never sought to look into the availability of military benefits afterwards because I thought the severity of my operation automatically canceled them. Lately, though I’ve found that it is based on the type of discharge I received. Now I don’t remember what discharge I actually did get. I seem to remember that it was “general under honorable conditions”, but it seems more likely that it was a”bad conduct discharge.” I’d like you to give me your opinion on the likelihood that I escaped with anything other than a bad conduct discharge and is there any possibility that I may be entitled to any benefits. Thank you, in advance, for your time and consideration.

    • Ryan Guina says


      Thank you for contacting me. You will need to get a copy of your DD Form 214 (official separation paperwork) to learn the exact classification of your discharge. This will help you determine if you are eligible for any military or veterans benefits. You can learn more here: How to get a New DD 214, Military Records Requests.

      Unfortunately, I can’t give you a specific list of your benefits eligibility because it is always a case by case basis. My recommendation is to contact the VA after you determine your type of discharge, and they can help you walk through any possible benefits.

  285. Gary W. Williams says

    Is there such a thing as to receive a “less than Honorable Discharge” and then be changed to an “Honorable Discharge” six months later? (Navy branch)

    • Ryan Guina says

      Gary, It is possible to have a discharge upgraded, but it is not an automatic process. It is something that must go through an appeals process, and you must prove why the previous discharge rating should be upgraded. From what I understand it is a time-intensive process to have a discharge upgraded.

  286. william says

    Your initial oath at the processing station doesn’t count. If do not go to basic training, you are not enlisted. If you really don’t want to go, don’t, they might call you and mail some forms but there are no negative consequences. 12 years active duty E-7.

  287. Oliver says

    Hello! Ryan I have a question for you. I just signed up for the national guard last month but I do not want to go to basic training. I just feel like the army is not for me. Is it going to be a dishonorable discharge or ELS? Will this disqualify me for police officer job and federal government job? You answer will be helpful.

  288. Sarah says

    I was reading this article as an HR professional trying to find out how to better screen veterans. But what I find troubling about these comments is how little our Vet’s know about their service and discharge classifications. This speaks loudly about the state of our military if our men and women in uniform don’t know how to get the help they need or don’t understand what their discharge means. That aside, I am wondering why an OTH discharge is given for “being found guilty of adultery in a divorce hearing”. Obviously I believe that adultery is dishonorable but I fail to see what that has to do with a person’s military service?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Sarah, Members of the US Military are under the jurisdiction of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which has additional guidelines above and beyond the scope of civilian law. Service members who break laws in the UCMJ are subject to discipline under those guidelines, up to and including being tried in a military court of law. Adultery is against the UCMJ, so it can be used as means of discharging someone in the military.

  289. ALEX says


  290. Ryan Rose says

    Hello sir. I am 19 years old and i was just curious about what type of discharge i would receive for not attending my drills in the army reserves. I think it would be maybe general or administrative, but with whatever discharge due to this, would i be able to be a cop, or apply for any gov job such as the FBI or DEA with whatever discharge?? By the way i am a college student and im just curious because Law enforcement is my life.

    • Ryan Guina says

      I don’t have a firm answer for you because each situation is unique – but I can tell you that it won’t look good on your resume and depending on the type of discharge you receive, it may hinder your ability to work for the federal government and some state or local government agencies. My recommendation is to speak with someone in a military personnel office for more specific information on the type of discharge you would receive.

  291. Michele says

    I just read this on a Facebook page—“It was only when President Carter became President that he commuted all the Dishonorable Discharges to Honorable ones to make peace.” —-and am trying to verify it. Did President Carter do this? Is it even possible for the President to change a discharge classification?

  292. chris says

    I joined the navy 10 years ago, in bootcamp I broke my back and was discharged (oth). Got out and saw a spine specialist who gave me restrictions warrenting disability. I dealt with life never recieving anything from the navynow 10 yearsvlater trying to support my family and being told I’m at a extremely high risk of being in a wheelchair. I’m now looking into getting help from the navy. Am I entitled to anyhing? Where do I go? Who do I talk to? Everywhere I’ve tried thus far is giving me the run around and conflicting advice. Please any advise is appreciated.

  293. Jason says

    I hope you can help me with a question I haven’t been able to find an answer to elsewhere. I enlisted in the Illinois Army National Guard in 2002, and was scheduled to go to basic training in 2003. Before basic, I suffered an injury and was separated from the Army.I was officially enlisted for some 11 odd months. My paperwork lists the reason for my separation as “Medically unfit for retention,” and the type of discharge as “Not Applicable.” What category of discharge does this fall under?

  294. Annie says

    Hi Ryan,

    What is the difference between a DD-214 and a SF-180 and which one would provide the most information?

    If someone were to receive a dishonorable or an other than honorable conditions discharge; would the form state exactly the reason why? In other words, will the form merely state a code or will it provide a written statement as to why that discharge was given.

    I appreciate any help you could provide me with.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Annie, a DD-214 is the discharge paperwork which records the veteran’s service record, including service dates, campaigns he or she served in, medals and awards, discharge type, reenlistment code, and more. This is basically the proof of service, and the required form for most veterans benefits. A form SF-180 is the form used to request military records from the National Archives. Form SF-180 won’t provide much information because it must be filled in by the veteran or next of kin when requesting military records.

      So far as I am aware, a DD Form 214 or other discharge record will only list the discharge code, and not the specific reason for the discharge.

  295. george says

    I am trying to find out the codes on my “general with honorable conditions”. The codes are listed at 11-c on my dd214. (reason and authority). Can you help me or point me in the right direction? Thanks!!

  296. Miqueal A B. says

    I was reviewing your info and I received a General Discharge back in 96 but I was given a chance by the Army Guard so they waived me back in. Then I crossed back into the blue and was in the Air Force National Guard and served for 15 years I wen to apply for a police position and they wouldn’t accept me because of the General Discharge from back in the day, what do I do?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Miqueal, I would ask them if there is some kind of waiver process, since you have served honorably after your General Discharge. You may also wish to see if there is a different discharge form from your time in the Air National Guard that might take the place of your previous General Discharge. Another option is to see if there are character waivers or other ways to get accepted into the police force. You will need to do some research on your end and talk to some people.

  297. James says

    If I received an OTH, am I eligible for VRAP benefits. I was approved benefits such as VA medical facilities.


    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello James, According to the VA Fact Sheet, to be eligible for VRAP the veteran must:

      • Be at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
      • Be unemployed
      • Have an other than dishonorable discharge
      • Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
      • Not be in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
      • Not be enrolled in a Federal or state job training program
      • Other than dishonorable discharge just means it can’t be dishonorable, so I think you would qualify. So you should be good to go.

  298. Tony says

    If I was adminstrative discharged with an Under Honorable Conditions (general)

    Type – Discharge. Can I receive VA benfits to attend college?

  299. Elliott says

    Hi Ryan, I am pending admin discharge due to a felony civilian conviction (nonviolent) and the Air Force was taking too long, My enlistment had to be extended in order to complete the discharge process. The extension has lapsed and I still have not heard anything with regards to the discharge. I am eligible to retire if it weren’t for this issue. I distinctly recall the ADC stating that if the Air Force SJA did not act timely, I may be entitled to retire due to their lack of timely due process. Can you provide guidance??

  300. Laura says

    Ryan, please help me as I am trying to do my research but every website I go to gets me even more confused! My husband which is active duty in the Navy will be getting out in August. He wanted to stay Reserved, that way we will still get our family medical benefits but he tells me that the Navy won’t allow him to stay reserved because they are going to give him Medical Discharge for knee surgery he had in 2011. Is this true?? If he wants to stay Reserved would he has to deny Disability? And what would be best thing to do? Family Medical Benefits or Disability? Thank you!

  301. MATTHEW says


    I have been in the airforce since 2008 and am a career enlisted aviator. i have deployed four times and when i came back from my last deployment i got diagnosed with asthma and have been disqualified from flying. now i have been sitting around the squadron for about 9 months doing paperwork while i wait for my MEB to start (im still waiting for the pre-board to be complete to decide if i have to go through the full MEB) i know that i cant fly again but the doctors talk as if i will pass the pre-board no problem and will be returning to duty to retrain. i have a year and a half left so i dont plan on retraining as i planned on getting out to start with. my problem is that my squadron has gotten tired of me sitting around waiting on this and have started to take after me because someone suspected that i was intoxicated at work even though it was inncorrect/never proven. i am having to fight off paperwork everyday (e.x. i got a LOC for AWOL for being late to work for being at medical appointment which my supervisor tried to help me fight off but we couldnt because the cheif out ranks him.) i have been told by nco’s that they are looking to write me up with anything and everything they can find which luckily for me isnt alot. after almost 5 years though i have collected 5 LOCs and 2 LORS in my PIF. one LOC and one LOR are for failing PT tests because of my asthma. the others are because of haircuts and various things (i had a hard time getting the concept when i was younger.) The reason i am saying all this is because they are starting to do DOS rollbacks and they are looking at rolling me back to seperate in may which would be before my MEB. the first sgt told me that with my PIF looking the way it does with those LOCs and LORs that id be looking at a general discharge even though ive never had an article 15, UIF, or been on a control roster. my question i guess is 1. can they roll back my DOS to a date before my MEB? 2. can they really give me a general discharge for just a PIF like the one i described? i feel like a earned an honorable for doing my job and deploying 4 times. who should i talk to?

    thank you

  302. barry goforth says

    Ryan……I found out that attempted suicide is court martial,if you suceed in killin yourself with any tool, its as if you were line of Duty.Benefits will be paid to dependants an Honorable discharge.If a sunburn is an article 15,you’d think killin yourself would be worse,not forgiveing an honorable discharge with bennys.Ours is not to wonder why,but do or die.

  303. barry goforth says

    Question….. If you’re in military for 4 yrs and kill yourself yourself, does it matter how and what does discharge say? Is it still honorable cause of 4 yrs service or general or something else. Article 15 if you get sunburn,see what I’m getting at? You can’t give him honorable if he killed himself with a gun cause that would be violent, which states general discharge. I’ve been asked this question and looking for the answer to pass on. We had home town boy kill himself in Kalabar suicide, don’t know how.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Barry, I’m sorry to hear about this tragedy. I honestly don’t know how the military classifies discharges for deceased servicemembers. I do know there are discharge codes on separation paperwork which specify the reason for the discharge, but I am not sure if the code affects the discharge classification. I am also unaware how this might affect dependent benefits. My recommendation is to get in touch with a military personnel organization that represents the branch of service he was in. You may also try posting on a military forum to see if anyone there has specific information. I hope this points you in the right direction.

  304. Russ says


    I have a quick question for you. I was injured in the military while parachuting and I have a life long disability. Later however I did received a dishonorable discharge, am I entitled to any type of VA medical on my injury?

  305. James says

    Hi Ryan,
    I joined the Navy in January 2000. I re-looked over my paperwork and it turns out it was actually the Naval Reserves TAR enlistment program. I went to basic training and decided it wasn’t for me and basically 2 days later I left. I didn’t get picked up until December 2003, was arrested taken to county jail and then transferred to MP. Was in the brig for maybe 2 weeks then pretty much got transferred to a base for 2-3 weeks and got processed out. My dd214 says oth discharge. Since then I have been going to school to become a nurse and finally got into a nursing program, well my first clinicals are at the VA! I have to fill out a federal application for employment even though I’m not being employed just doing clinicals but still need a background check. On the federal application for employment is says:Have you ever served in the United States military?

    “IF YES,” list the branch, dates, and type of discharge for all active duty.

    If your only active duty was training in the Reserves or National Guard, answer “NO.”

    I answered NO Since basically I joined the reserves and only did 2 days of training and was processed out years later.

    I am wondering if this is going to pop up on the background check. And if so can I just explain that it was the reserves and that’s why I answered no because that’s what the application said. If they don’t accept that then I just explain what happened I guess but I don’t feel I was lying since that is what the application stated. Any insight in this would be great so maybe I can just give them a call and change it before it goes through. I still need to do fingerprints.

  306. Lucy says

    Hi Ryan,
    Question. My son is in the Marines but not started school as of yet. He is in sac due to the finding a warrant on his record in the civilian world. What is going to happen to him. It was not there when he enlisted. It may be for auto theft which could be a felony. Basically his friend got his car back but is ****** off and filed charges against him. It could be dropped to a misdemeanor but he will have to go to court. He has an appointment with legal tomorrow. What would his discharge be and would it be possible to still be active after court? Help

    • Ryan Guina says

      Lucy, Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers for you. This is something that will have to go through the court system and any discharge (if it happens) would depend on many factors. My recommendation is to have your son try to work this out with his friend and hire a lawyer if necessary.

  307. Taren says

    Hi Ryan,
    My boyfriend joined the Air Force, is still at BMT, and about a month ago they found out that he has a heart murmur. They have been doing various tests for the past month and we finally got the phone call today that he is being discharged a week from today, which is the same day he would have graduated. We are more then furious with them for multiple reasons, one being that they took this long to figure it out and are discharging him literally a week before he was supposed to graduate. There was 9 of us going to see him and we are leaving Saturday. We just found out that all of our tickets are non-refundable and are freaking out just a little. From what we have heard, they discharge you and fly you out the next day. We were wondering if they were flexible on the dates he flies out. We are wanting for him to fly home with me on Sunday so that we can all just make the best of the situation. I was wondering if you knew anything about the flight information. Any little advise would help right now. Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Taren, I’m sorry to hear about this situation. I know it must have been disappointing for everyone involved. To be honest, I don’t know the specific answer to your question. My recommendation is to have your boyfriend ask his training instructor if there is a way they can allow him to leave at a later date. This may be something he needs to move up the chain of command in order to get permission. I don’t know the specific Air Force regs on this, so it may or may not be possible. The Air Force may have a policy that requires them to send discharged Airmen home immediately. Or there may be some wiggle room. He won’t know for sure until he asks. I wish you and everyone the best.

  308. Wesley says

    Mr. Guina,

    Can a soldier who is overseas file for a discharge and be sent back home? If not, is there any way a soldier could request and be granted a discharge from military service? And if he or she was granted a permanent leave of absence would the military fly them back home? I’m a writer and in the story a man serving overseas has to get home to be with his wife who’s dying but I need an expert to tell me how that would be possible.

    Thankyou for your time, it’s greatly appreciated.

  309. Trent says

    Hi Ryan,
    Glad I came across your site. I was discharged from the Navy in 1993 with an OTH for Misconduct. I have a few questions.
    1- I have looked into a couple positions that do government work and require a background/security check. Do I need to worry about my OTH?
    2- My son is on a direct career path in the military. Am I barred from entering a base, say for his graduation from bootcamp?
    3- Am I considered a Veteran / receive Veteran status/points for job applications?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Trent, Here are the answers to the best of my knowledge:

      1. This will be a topic you will need to disclose if you are required to submit a security clearance. That doesn’t mean you will be ineligible, but it will be noted. You may try talking with your HR department or contacting someone in an outside agency if you wish to remain anonymous. LinkedIn may be a good place to find more information on this topic.
      2. I don’t think you will be barred from visiting a base. He will have to sponsor you on the base though.
      3. I do not believe you are eligible for veterans preference points. According to the Office of Personnel Management, “To receive preference, a veteran must have been discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable conditions (i.e., with an honorable or general discharge).” This can be found under the heading “Types of Preference” http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/veterans-services/vet-guide/

      I hope this information helps, and thanks for your service.

  310. Jarrod says

    Question. I am currently in the Coast Guard. Dislocated my shoulder and went on light duty in may, after my MRI they found out I did a significant amount of damage to my shoulder and I had surgery in June involving 5 screws and 9 months on limity duty. Needless to say I didnt join the CG to sit behind a desk on watch for 45 hours a week, so after some discussions and headaches I am getting an administrative discharged and was promised it would be Honorable. I’ve been in for approximately 13 months so far, still waiting on discharge papers. I believe the discharge will be listed as adjustment disorder with an RE-3. In general, is this something you would forsee as a problem when talking about future employment. I’m incredibly concerned that it could affect my future job outlook.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jarrod, I don’t know enough about the discharge codes to give you an exact answer. But from my understanding, it would be much better to receive a medical discharge as opposed to a discharge coded as an adjustment disorder. I did a little research on the codes, and while you may be able to join another branch of service, you may need a waiver to do so. I recommend contacting a veterans organization or a veterans affairs office to see if someone with more experience can give you more specific advice.

      I hope this points you in the right direction. Best of luck, and thanks for your service.

  311. Lynn says

    I was in the US Navy from Apr 2001-Apr 2004. I received a General Under Honorable Discharge and was also married to a US Navy active duty member at the time. I am currently trying to go back to school for my bachelor’s and have submitted an application via VA.gov and was denied. I am now trying to prepare a dd 293 inorder to ugrade my discharge to an Honorable. Wouldn’t I still be eligible if I was a dependant to an Active Duty Member for the GI Bill?.

  312. Ciarra says

    I was discharged from the Air Force in 2009 for fraudulent enlistment for something that wasn’t fully documented by my recruiter.I went in Feb and was discharged in Mar. I got out and went to school and graduated with my college degree (Criminal Justice) and I’m currently working on my second degree. I am having a trouble getting into my career field with this discharge. I got into contact with my local congressman and he told me that you don’t have to claim that you were in the military if you weren’t in for 180 days he also said that since I only served approximately one month that it wouldn’t show up during a background check. My question is do you have to list that you where in the military if you served only a month and does it show up on a background check for law enforcement if you chose not to list it?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ciarra, I don’t have a firm answer for you, but I don’t like the answer that cam from the Congressman’s office. I don’t know if your service would show up on a background check, but I would err on the side of caution and assume that it would be on a background check.

      I would look into getting your discharge upgraded or changed to an administrative discharge if possible. There is a long process to do that, but it would probably be worth it, since you wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not you need to disclose prior military service. You could simply answer that you enlisted, but were given an administrative discharge during training. There are dozens of reasons that this could happen, and it’s not a necessarily a negative mark against you.

  313. michael says

    how are you ryan? with an uncharacterised discharge and having my reenlistment eligibility code as RE-3 for the authority and reason it states NRG 600-200, Para 8-35 e what does that mean? i was told i may need a waiver if so what do you think my chances would be?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Michael, There are a lot of factors involved, and I can’t give you a straight answer because I don’t know all the regs. I can tell you that it will depend on why you were separated and what the current needs of the unit are. Since a waiver is involved, you will need to contact a recruiter for more information. Sorry I can’t give you a better answer, but the recruiters have the inside scoop and you will need to go through them to get back in anyway. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

      • Michael says

        Thank you for your response Ryan. i know the 1st sgt i talked to at first knew my background and knew why i got discharged and that is when he informed me that i would be able to get back in that i just needed a waiver and i could get back in. he is the one that controls all the paper work and if im not mistaken the discharge process as well so hopefully what he says is correct and i can get back in and continue with my dream. thank you again for your response.

  314. E. Lauren says


    My boyfriend received an honorable discharge (states it on his DD214 as well), but his re-enlistment code is RE-4b because he got involved in an incident and lost rank. He was able to stay in the USMC for another year, deploy and then receive an early out (separation code KCCI) to go back to school. My question is, have you ever heard of someone with an honorable discharge and RE-4b re-enlistment code who was successful at re-enlisting? There have been mixed reviews online and most information only talks about OTH discharges and RE-4b codes. I have had little success trying to figure out if he can re-enlist or not. It seems as though he should with an honorable discharge, but the RE-4b (according to online research) makes it very clear that he cannot…

    • Ryan Guina says

      E. Lauren, I don’t know the ins and outs of each branch’s reenlistment codes, but from what I have read online, a code of RE-4b usually means that it is not waiverable. Since he has an Honorable Discharge, it is possible the reenlistment code was entered in error. If that is the case, it may be possible to have the reenlistment code changed. That said, every situation is taken on a case by case basis. My recommendation would be to contact someone who is a USMC personnel expert and see if they have any recommendations.

      The good news is that an Honorable Discharge won’t ever affect him in the civilian world. Best of luck.

  315. K. Ronald says

    Hi Mr. Guina, I am a former officer of the United States Air Force. In 2003 I was court martialed after being charged with **** and fraternization. I was found not guilty of **** but I plead guilty to my fraternizing charge which led to my being sentenced to dismissal and ten months confinement. Through appeal, my confinement was reduced to seven months. In your article, you mention that for officers a dismissal is the same as a dishonorable discharge, but also mention that dishonorable discharges are for reprehensible crimes such as murder and sexual assault. My question to you is, if I was found not guilty of **** but guilty of fraternization especially when fraternization is not a crime in the civilian sector, why should my conviction of fraternization receive the same penalties of reprehensible crimes just because I was an officer? In addition, I have been given the run around in regards to receiving my dd 214. My appellate process ended a couple of years ago yet I believe that I am technically still active duty. Any ability to shed light to my situation will be helpful. If I am eligible, I would like to be able to receive benefits such as being able to shop at the exchange. Thanks in advance.

    • Ryan Guina says

      K. Ronald, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a good answer for why you were charged with dismissal based. It could be that it has to do with the plea bargain or that officers are generally held to higher standards than enlisted personnel. The best place to go for an answer to this question would be a JAG officer, or contact a civilian lawyer who is knowledgeable in military law.

      As for your DD Form 214, you should be able to get a copy from the National Archives. Here is more info: How to replace military records, and How to replace DD Form 214.

      Regarding base access and benefits – you would need an ID card in order to access the base. A dismissal should result in your discharge from the service, which would make you ineligible for an ID card, and thus the ability to use base facilities.

      That said, I am not an expert on all of the finer points, and each situation is handled on a case by case basis. I wish you the best in getting this sorted out.

  316. Hector says

    Hello Mr. I’m Hector, I was in the National Guard and PR, for family reasons, I requested permission to leave my house in the state of CT, for that time I did not know English and I put in the letter I wanted disharge National Guard and they said to me that that was no problem and that he could return on the agreed date. When I wanted to return to continue a SSG told me that I would not return because I became a problem for the National Guard. I did everything possible to return and SSG not accept myself. all this I pay all plane tickets when they were going to pay me. now not to do that because you got me kind of discharge and it hurts me. All the time I wanted to go back but they refused. Please any help you can give me will be grateful.

  317. Will says

    I have been in the Navy for 3 1/2 yrs. most of which i have spent overseas in Japan. I have been to Mass 3 times and my CO has recommended me for Admin. Sep. (General Under Honorable Conditions). Currently i am awaiting Paperwork so I can be processed out, However, lastnight i decided to break curfew and stay out when i was suppose to be back on my ship and did not return till the next morning. What can i expect this to do to my Discharge? will it be an OTH, or Bad Conduct? thanks for your help.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Will, you will need to speak with your CO for a better idea of what this will mean for your discharge type. It all depends on whether they pursue the paperwork, or just continue with your current discharge plans. At this point, there is no way for anyone to know. Best of luck.

  318. lou says

    i have a question, i recieved a dishonorable discharge back in 2000, at the time my mother was very sick and i wanted to be home to take care of her, they gave me a reserve post in my hometown for 3 months but when those 3 months were up i had to go back, my mother’s condition was progressively getting worse so when i asked to go back home, they didnt let me, long story short i went awol and spent 3o days at home until my mother finally passed away, when i went back they put me in the brig and gave me a dishonorable discharge, after 13 yrs does a dishonorable discharge uprgade a bit? i heard that it goes to a general discharge when a certain amount of time goes by? is this true?

  319. Jay says

    I was in the army reserves. I did basic and my ait. After going to my unit, for my weekend, all we did was sit around a table for the 8 hours per day. With that being done, I never returned after a full year of this. I received a other than dishonorable discharge. Does that disqualify me to get a conceal to carry license in the state of Va, let alone allow me to purchase a firearm?

  320. Jen says

    My daughters soon to be “ex” may not have even made it far past boot camp before he was thrown in the BRIG and soon after serving his 1 year in prison – was discharged. He says that he received a BCD but somehow he is still using Tricare Medical (along with his step fathers Cigna insurance under his step fathers last name which was never his last name). did he just slip through the system somehow and still has Tricare? How / who would I report him to? I’d like for someone to really look into this guy as he didn’t spend a year in jail while enlisted for nothing. He also states that he was diagnosed as clinically insane (though I beleive he may be) is there such a diagnosis from the military?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jen, I don’t have an answer for you regarding being diagnosed as clinically insane. As for TRICARE, there are many ways to be eligible. For example, if someone is under age 26 and does not have an employer sponsored health care plan, they may be eligible for TRICARE under their parent’s eligibility. Their parents would have to pay for it. If you believe there is fraud involved, then contact TRICARE.

  321. Charlene says

    I enlisted in the Army 1982. I only completed 30 days and my mother became ill so I had to return home. My discharge says Discharge. But nothing else. Separation code is (JET). Uncharacterized. I am applying for a guard service under the Federal Protection Service. Is this a general discharge? It also says in block 25. AR 635-200 Para 11-3. What does all this mean.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Charlene, the Army Separation Code JET means Army Trainee Discharge. This is more in line with an administrative discharge, though I can’t say for certain the type of discharge. I recommend calling your local VA center and asking them for more information. They should be able to help make sure you fill the form correctly.

  322. H says

    Lets say I recieved an Honorable discharge from 4 years active duty service and I joined the reserves and recieved an OTH, or General do I even have to mention my reserve time to future employers? Does it matter to them?


  323. Cj says

    I am a Navy mom and desperate for help. My son went to basic in Dec. Of 2011. He was even the RPOC over his division. He went to his A school which was to be a Nuke. He was attending class 8 hours a day and having to do study and class time another 8 hours. He did this for 2 months and just couldn’t handle it and ask for a re-rate. He got one and was sent to Pensacola for a job in aviation. He is now told he did not qualify to be in aviation due to his re-rating to get out of nuke school. He has been told the “big” Navy will not tolerate 2 re-rates and is being discharged with an honorable, medical discharge. He does not want a separation from the Navy. My understanding his separation will have a mental type medical reason, barring him from joining other services. Is there anything he cn do to stop the separation? I know my details are vague, but I’m not sure of all the lingo or details. Can you please tell me if there is anyone that can help him? They have already staered the separation process, so this is urgent. Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      CJ, I’m sorry, but I don’t have a firm answer on the ins and outs of how the Navy processes separations. Each branch handles these on a case by case basis. I recommend your son speak with his supervisory staff and see if there are any other options available to him to remain in the Navy. Regarding the classification he will receive upon separation, again, each situation is unique, and I don’t have much insight into this.

      Your son needs to take the lead with this since it is his future at stake. There are many military forums which specialize in these topics, and he will find more complete answers there, and by speaking with his personnel department.

  324. Ruben says

    I was in the Marine Corps from 1-20-2005 to 4-30-2006, seperated (discharged) Honorably under medical with a sep cod of JFL1 and sep narative as “disability, severance pay”. I did not complete my “A” school. Question 1) Am I considered a veteran? Question 2) How do I receive the severance pay and whom do I contact to see if I qualify for benefits? Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Ruben, you served honorably for over a year – you are a veteran. Most benefits, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill and VA Loan are available to veterans who served at least 90-180 days, or were discharged earlier with a service-connected disability. There may be some other benefits programs which may or may not be available based on your specific circumstances. The best thing to do is meet with a benefits counselor at the VA, or meet with your local veterans benefits counselor (such as a state, county, or local veterans group), the VFW, American Legion, or other military veterans group. I would include severance pay on your list of questions to ask. If these resources aren’t able to help you, they should be able to recommend another person or group to ask. Best of luck, and thanks for your service.

  325. alvin says

    When i was 19 i joined the army, the day i left for basic my cousin was buried and i wasnt allowed to stay long enough to go to it. I spent a day at a motel waiting to leave then and i know its a crappy excuse to whine but it was what my problem was and when i got to basic i squalled like a mama’s boy till they gave me the ELD.
    Needless to say i was ashamed of that so when i was 25 the towers fell and i made up my mind i was gonna join again but marines this time. I did after i lost a job i had and was broke, too broke to pay off a bunch of speeding tickets i had gotten over the last year or two.
    When i was enlisting they asked me if i had any and i lied to them, cause they wouldn’t let me go if i had them and i didnt really think it was a big deal. to make things worse my shame of my army enlistment and discharge led to me not mentioning that either.
    I was under the impression that the ELD was the same as never having served in the military and didnt really think i was hiding it as much as i guess it was.
    At basic when they did the moment of truth, they promised all lies we made would be waivered and we might get article 15 stuff at the most like docked pay or something.
    I was a smartass in my youth, and really could have used the dicipline long before then, and had no reguard for law. I racked up $1300 dollars in speeding, and other driving fines.
    I lied about the fines when enlisting and didnt mention the army and i kinda knew better when i did those things so the fault was all mine.
    I didnt get the waiver, instead i was given another ELD and told “dont come back”.
    Like when i was discharged from the army there was a 2 year limit befor i was supposed to be able to re-enlist. But there was also alot of anger at me there too and they left the impression on me i wouldnt be accepted back there or in any other branch.
    Its embarrasing part of my life that i regret everyday. i lost the discharge paperwork i had in hurricane Katrina so im working on memory of somewhere i barely understood.
    Am i barred from re-enlisting now? im 35 now and im not getting younger and time is running out. My family is patriotic and i want to fix what i did and serve befor the war is over so i dont feel like some draft dodging coward all my life.
    I want that Marine Uniform still but i think im too old now. Recruiiters are kinda hard to get a fact from and i just dont like talking to them about it all. I KNOW WHAT I DID AND DONT LIKE IT EITHER.
    With 2 ELD, am i banned from the military?
    I dont have the attitude anymore so im sure i would leave it a better place than what i joined, might be only a slight increase but i think i would just the same.
    If i can, whats the age limits also?

  326. Brad says

    I have a question hopefully someone can answer. I did 4 years in the Marines and got out of course with a Honorable Discharge. I was let go of my job after 3 years and went back to the Corps. Did another 4 years and just signed for another two which will make me reach ten years. Never had a page 11 or NJP never a bad piece of paperwork. More awards than bad. But I wa injured on a deployment overseas to where I had to get surgery and will take a year to recover which they are saying I may never be 100% again. They also found in the MrI my lower back is really messed up as well. I also gained arthritis in my shoulder I have very bad sleep problems cause of pain which now the meds don’t help as much. All together with my job trying to help with what I can and all doc appts and therapy is making me very depressed a lot and family is seeing it. So now there stating I could be medically discharged separated or whatever it’s called. Will that be Honorable? I already received honorable once never done anything bad just injury may prevent me from a future in the Marines. Also what comes out of this?

    • Ryan Guina says

      A medical discharge will usually be classified as an Honorable discharge, for veterans who have a clean record. (some may receive an entry level discharge if it happens during basic training or some other event; but this wouldn’t be the case for you).

      Some people who receive a medical discharge are classified as medically retired, which gives them access to certain base privileges and benefits other veterans may not receive, so this is worth looking into. (you will need to do this research on your own as each case is unique).

      My recommendation for you is to make sure you have everything regarding your medical history updated in your medical records because it may be possible to get a service-connected disability rating when you separate from the service. You also want to make sure that you get any surgeries before you get out of the military because it may take time to get them approved through the VA and you may have to wait. Better to get them for free while you are still in the service. These can also help you build a case for a VA service-connected disability rating. I can’t stress enough how important this is.

      You may find it helpful to visit with a VA benefits counselor before you actually receive your discharge. They can help you make sure you get everything documented correctly and give you advice for filling out the forms and getting everything filled out before you separate, making your claims process faster and more likely to go through. Get assistance – it will save you time and in the long run, help you more quickly receive the benefits you have earned.

      Best of luck, and thanks for your service.

      • Brad says

        Which is better for my sake? A medical retirement or just going for VA benefits? It’s pretty much set in stone I will no longer be able to continue in the military. If there is the option of med retired or leaving due to medical and handling it thru the VA which would be the best choice? What are the differences? Obiv pay comes into a factor cause I can kiss any hard labor job goodbye which is all I ever done. How does the pay become different and can you receive both? Sorry so many questions I just want to make the right decision and not someone do it for me and I get ******* down the long run. Just want to make sure me and my family are fine cause it’s a big change from military to civilian life. Thank you

  327. Greg says

    I’m an E-3 in the Navy, and I’m about to go to NJP. I’ve been to DRB twice, once for an injury I recieved while drinking, and the second regarding my current issue, which is unrelated to the first. It hasn’t been well explained to me, but I know I’m being charged with some form of Minor Misconduct. Seeing that this is my Second offense in a fairly short amount of time, I’m preparing myself for a possible Separation. Every time I ask my LPO or LCPO about possible outcomes in regards to Separation, they say “I don’t want to give you any advice on that, because I don’t make the decision.”. I was hoping that maybe you could shine some light on which kinds of Separations, if any, I can expect, as well as how they might affect my life after Separation? Thanks so much!

  328. Ryan says

    Sorry to ask, but I received a bcd after I went awol for family issues, and I haven’t been able to find job restrictions, if there is any. I was special court martialed, and I was trying to see if there are restrictions/limitations I should know about when looking for a job. Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      I don’t believe employers aren’t allowed to ask you about your type of discharge from the military during interviews. However, there may be some restrictions for state or federal jobs, depending on the circumstances.

  329. Kris says

    I was discharged under the terms of General with honorable mention. Would I be eligible for a veterans military ID?

  330. Luis says

    Hi Ryan back in May 1999 I enlisted in the navy I did not like the navy boot camp I thought it was not enough training for me so I wanted to get out so I went U/A for three days came back to boot camp and saw a doctor he ask me what was my problem I told him that I wanted out cause I didn’t like the training long story short my paper work saids ERRONEOUS ENTRY-ALCOHOL ABUSE , uncharacterized entry level separation RE-4 now it’s been 12years since then I’m 35 years old I want to join the army reserve do I hav to mention it to the army or should I just take the ASVAB test go tru the process?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Luis, My recommendation is to speak with an Army Reserve recruiter, as they will have more specific information than I can offer. My belief, however, is that the Army will find out about it either way, and it is better to be up front about it than to leave it out. (Not disclosing the information could possibly be grounds for dismissal from the service).

      Best of luck.

      • Benjamin says

        You enlisted in the Navy, but “it was not enough training for me” so you decided to go UA?

        Sounds like it was way too much training for you. You have to disclose all previous enlistments, and to be honest, if it’s even a question in your mind, I don’t want you in my Army.

  331. Nathan says

    Just out of curiosity, if someone gets an OTH does it affect their ability to go to schools in the future (say med school) and get jobs. Also, if they receive an OTH as the worst form of administrative discharge will that mean they owe money back to the government if they were an Academy grad (like West Point). Thx.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Nathan, Each case is unique, so I don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer for you. In general, an OTH discharge shouldn’t affect your ability to go to school. As for your future career prospects, my understanding is that employers aren’t able to legally ask about the nature of your discharge. If you had a dishonorable discharge, it could possibly show up in a background check, but on OTH discharge probably wouldn’t. So there may not be any negative repercussions in regard to future employment.

      Regarding owing the government money for schooling; I don’t have a firm answer. I would direct this question to the base legal department.

  332. paul says

    I attended usaf basic and got an ELS in the 4th week. My NGB form doesn’t state an RE code or anything like that. The ELS was due to insomnia during training (literally didn’t sleep for 7 nights straight). Was seen by a doc at the base hospital, then a lt col who recommended me for discharge after evaluating me. Nothing was really ever explained to me, I would just like to know if this would affect applying for a PD

  333. aprimmer says

    I have a couple of questions about types of discharges.

    About 18 years ago I signed up for the Army Reserves, went to bootcamp, was only there for 1 month and did not complete. The discharge listed on my paperwork is an uncharacterized ch. 11 discharge, is this the same thing as an ELS discharge? Also, I am interested in applying for a job at the VA, do you know if the time that I spent at bootcamp is considered active military duty and if I have to list it on my job application?

    Thanks in advance for your time!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Based on my understanding, yes, a Chapter 11 is an ELS. I am not sure if it is required to be listed on your VA application; I recommend asking the VA human resources office for more clarification.

  334. Terri Robinson says

    I am composing a list of Veterans for our Church Newsletter. We have one young man who I understand was “dishonorably discharged” but I have no details, etc. Is there a way I can find out if it was the “ELS” or truly a dishonorable discharge without having to ask his family?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Terri, as far as I know, there is not a public record which lists the type of discharge a former military member received.

      An Entry Level Separation occurs when an individual serves less than 180 days, and the individual is therefore not classified as a veteran according to most guidelines. An Entry Level Separation can happen for many reasons and is neither good nor bad (it could be administrative, for medical reasons, etc.). I don’t know how to determine if someone was separated with an ELS classification without asking that person or a family member or friend who would know.

      A Dishonorable Discharge usually occurs due to a serious offense and in many cases there is a crime involved. In some instances it may have been mentioned in the press. If so, it may be possible to research the individual using a search engine like Google or Bing, or by doing a background investigation on the person.

      That said, I would be careful with this situation, as it might bring about some unwanted attention to the individual in question. I would consider speaking with your pastor or church leader to determine the best course of action here, and possibly ask him or her to approach the family to ascertain the individual’s veteran’s status.

      If the former military member does not qualify as a veteran then you should leave that person off the list. Otherwise, I would avoid listing an individual’s type of discharge along with his or her name. This could be considered an invasion of privacy and invite unwelcome questions about an individual. It is best to celebrate a veteran’s service without limitations or qualifications.

  335. Mike Madonna says

    Doing some research: Is it a law that Dishonorably Discharged service members cannot own their own businesses?


    • Ryan Guina says

      I haven’t read anywhere that veterans with a Dishonorable Discharge can’t own a business. However, it is possible there are some regulations which don’t allow government sponsored business loans to people with a Dishonorable Discharge, or otherwise receive federal benefits.

      Do you have a reference to the link?

The Military Wallet is a property of Three Creeks Media. Neither The Military Wallet nor Three Creeks Media are associated with or endorsed by the U.S. Departments of Defense or Veterans Affairs. The content on The Military Wallet is produced by Three Creeks Media, its partners, affiliates and contractors, any opinions or statements on The Military Wallet should not be attributed to the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Dept. of Defense or any governmental entity. If you have questions about Veteran programs offered through or by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, please visit their website at va.gov. The content offered on The Military Wallet is for general informational purposes only and may not be relevant to any consumer’s specific situation, this content should not be construed as legal or financial advice. If you have questions of a specific nature consider consulting a financial professional, accountant or attorney to discuss. References to third-party products, rates and offers may change without notice.

Advertising Notice: The Military Wallet and Three Creeks Media, its parent and affiliate companies, may receive compensation through advertising placements on The Military Wallet; For any rankings or lists on this site, The Military Wallet may receive compensation from the companies being ranked and this compensation may affect how, where and in what order products and companies appear in the rankings and lists. If a ranking or list has a company noted to be a “partner” the indicated company is a corporate affiliate of The Military Wallet. No tables, rankings or lists are fully comprehensive and do not include all companies or available products.

Editorial Disclosure: Editorial content on The Military Wallet may include opinions. Any opinions are those of the author alone, and not those of an advertiser to the site nor of  The Military Wallet.