Entry level separation (ELS): uncharacterized[edit source]
Entry level separations, or uncharacterized discharge, are given to individuals who separate prior to completing 180 days of military service, or when discharge action was initiated prior to 180 days of service. This type of discharge does not attempt to characterize service as good or bad.
World War I poster depicting a soldier holding his honorable discharge.
To receive an honorable discharge, a service member must have received a rating from good to excellent for his or her service. Service members who meet or exceed the required standards of duty performance and personal conduct, and who complete their tours of duty, normally receive honorable discharges. However, one need not complete a term of service to receive an honorable discharge, provided the reason for involuntary discharge is not due to misconduct. For instance, service members rendered physically or psychologically incapable of performing assigned duties normally have their service characterized as honorable, regardless of whether they incurred the condition or disability in the line of duty, provided they otherwise met or exceeded standards. Similarly, service members selected for involuntary discharge due to a Reduction in Force (RIF) typically receive an honorable discharge, assuming their conduct while on active duty met or exceeded standards.
An honorable discharge can, on rare occasions, be granted to a former service member (whose service was characterized as less than honorable) as an act of clemency, should that person display exemplary post-service conduct and show evidence of outstanding post-service achievement in areas such as education and employment.
United States Marines must have a proficiency and conduct rating of 3.0/4.0 or higher to receive an honorable discharge.
General discharges are given to service members whose performance is satisfactory but is marked by a considerable departure in duty performance and conduct expected of military members. Reasons for such a characterization of service vary, from medical discharges to misconduct, and are utilized by the unit commander as a means to correct unacceptable behavior prior to initiating discharge action (unless the reason is drug abuse, in which case discharge is mandatory). A commander must disclose the reasons for the discharge action in writing to the service member, and must explain reasons for recommending the service be characterized as General (Under Honorable Conditions). The service member is normally required to sign a statement acknowledging receipt and understanding of the notification of pending discharge memorandum. The person is also advised of the right to seek counsel and present supporting statements.
In addition, service members are required to sign documents acknowledging that “substantial prejudice in civilian life” may be encountered under a general discharge. A general discharge may preclude a veteran’s participation in the GI Bill, service on veterans’ commissions, and other programs for which an honorable discharge is required, but is eligible for VA disability and most other benefits. Illinois prohibits discrimination against a veteran from housing or employment on the basis of unfavorable discharge from military service per the Human Rights Act of 1970; this protection does not apply to dishonorably discharged veterans, as shown below.
Other Than Honorable (OTH)[edit source]
An OTH is the most severe form of administrative discharge. This type of discharge represents a departure from the conduct and performance expected of all military members. OTH discharges are typically given to service members convicted by a civilian court in which a sentence of confinement has been adjudged or in which the conduct leading to the conviction brings discredit upon the service. It can also be given as the result of certain civil hearings, e.g. divorce for adultery. OTH discharges can be accepted in-lieu of court-martial proceedings at the service-member’s request; persons facing OTH are guaranteed, by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the right to have their discharge heard by an administrative discharge board, which is similar to a court-martial but is not a public forum.
Recipients of OTH discharges are barred from reenlisting into any component of the Armed Forces (including the reserves), and are normally barred from joining the Army National Guard or Air National Guard.
Clemency Discharge[edit source]
Clemency Discharge established by Presidential Proclamation 4313
By Presidential Proclamation 4313, President Ford created a procedure for those military personnel who resisted against the Vietnam War to receive a Presidential Pardon and have their punitive discharges changed to a Clemency Discharge. It also provided a path for those who left the country to return. If the military personnel fulfilled certain requirements of alternative service, they would also receive a Certificate of Completion from the Selective Service System.
Bad Conduct (BCD)[edit source]
A Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD) can only be given by a court-martial (either Special or General) as punishment to an enlisted service-member. Bad conduct discharges are often preceded by a period of confinement in a military prison. The discharge itself is not executed until completion of both confinement and the appellate review process.
Virtually all veterans’ benefits are forfeited by a Bad Conduct Discharge; BCD recipients are not eligible for VA disability compensation in accordance with 38 CFR 3.12.
A dishonorable discharge (DD) can only be handed down to an enlisted member by a general court-martial. Dishonorable discharges are handed down for what the military considers the most reprehensible conduct. This type of discharge may be rendered only by conviction at a general court-martial for serious offenses (e.g., desertion, sexual assault, murder, etc.) that call for dishonorable discharge as part of the sentence.
With this characterization of service, all veterans’ benefits are lost, regardless of any past honorable service, and this type of discharge is regarded as shameful in the military. In many states a dishonorable discharge is deemed the equivalent of a felony conviction, with attendant loss of civil rights. Additionally, US federal law prohibits ownership of firearms by those who have been dishonorably discharged per the Gun Control Act of 1968.
Thanks for finding and posting.
So I’m thinking it was a dishonorable- maybe.