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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 26154
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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I want to start a family. Unfortunately, due to specific circumstances

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I want to start a family. Unfortunately, due to specific circumstances, I am unable to do so unless I leave the military. I am an Air Force Nurse with three years remaining on my contract. On the Accession Bonus for Nurse Officers form, I signed that I “…understand that I am NOT ELIGIBLE for voluntary release (to include voluntary resignation, separation, or retirement) from the Air Force for the duration of my contract except when considered to be in the best interest of the Air Force.” However, AFI 36-3208, 3.17, found here, http://pubs.afmentor.com/pubs/afi36-3208.pdf, does not address pregnancy discharges as they relate to specific career fields and contract obligations. In short, I’m wondering whether or not I’d be eligible for a pregnancy discharge having signed a contract with the above disclosure. I’ve heard of others being granted such discharges and having to return their bonuses, but I’m unsure about the regulations specific to the Nurse Corps. Thanks.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  wendy-Mod replied 11 months ago.
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Expert:  P. Simmons replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.

I am sorry to have to bear bad news. The fact that AFI 36-3208 does not break out different rules for different career fields will not help you. In fact, it would tend to not be helpful at all.

To get that bonus you had to agree to not request to be discharged early.

AFI 36-3208 is clear that an airman who is pregnant can request to be separated. So you can make the request.

But AFI 36-3208 also makes clear that the request must be process through your chain of command. If your commander recommends denial of the request, then the request is forwarded to AFPC for adjudication.

The problem you face is that by taking the bonus money, and obligating yourself to the contract length, you give the AF a basis to deny your request to separate based on pregnancy.

They can still separate you...no harm in asking.

Just understand that your case will be evaluated in a different light than an airman who did not take a bonus to remain in.

Again, sorry to have to bear bad news

P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 26154
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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