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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 18791
Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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I have been in the army on active duty for 32 months but I

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I have been in the army on active duty for 32 months but I signed a 4 year contract. Pressing issues have arisen in my family that require my attention so I went to talk to behavioral health. They suggested a Ch. 5-17. They stated that I will get 90% of my GI bill and that since I have no Article 15 or UCMJ action in my past history that I will get an honorable discharge. I plan to be a dermatologist in my future and I want to be certain that this chapter will be honorable and will not hurt my future plans. My family is very important to me and so is my future so if this route doesn't work I need to find out so I can look for an alternative. My chain of command is currently on deployment and we have horrible leaders in their place who have already had several IG complaints filed against them from other soldiers, so I am concerned that they will try and screw me over with a general discharge. Is that possible?

Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I have nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines, including JAG.


Most employers are only going to care about the characterization of service, honorable, general, etc.


That being said, when you start applying to higher levels of employment they very well may seek out your DD Form 214.


If your discharge status says Chapter 5-17 and then the narrative description states "mental disorder" some employers are going to have a problem with that.


So, what really matters is what they choose to put in that description or narrative reason for your discharge. It really makes all the difference.


Now, as for whether or not they could give you a general discharge, technically yes. Paragraph 5.1 of the AR 635-200 specifically allows for a General (under honorable conditions) discharge for all Chapter 5 sections. However, such a characterization would require notice of the reasons for the lowered status and that paragraph makes it clear that, for Chapter 5-17 (among others), a General Discharge is typically inappropriate and an honorable should be given.

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