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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 20225
Experience:  Licensed attorney and former Navy JAG serving ashore, afloat and at the OJAG
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Our son is considering an " other than honorable" discharge

Resolved Question:

Our son is considering an " other than honorable" discharge after getting beat up trying to stop a fight that broke out during his USMC MCT training at Camp Gieger, NC. What is this and what are the military and civilian implications of this type of discharge?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.

There seems to be a disconnect here between what the say the facts are and what you are saying is happening to your son. Marines aren't given an unfavorable discharge for getting beat up, so there must be more to this than you have shared with me, or that has been shared with you. In any event, if your son was awarded nonjudicial punishment for misconduct of some sort, then if it was serious misconduct or he has a history of getting into minor trouble, then his Command could indeed be processing him for administrative separation with an Other than Honorable characterization. If he waives his right to a Board, or is otherwise separated with an OTH, then he will generally not be allowed to reenlist in the future, although there are exceptions and waivers, depending on the circumstances.

If he does not have a prior Honorable discharge from a prior enlistment, he will not be eligible for GI Bill benefits. However, if he did have a prior enlistment and received an Honorable discharge for that, then he can still claim his GI Bill benefits. Other than that, he can still apply for VA benefits, however, since he would have a OTH, those benefits would not be guaranteed and the VA would make their own separate decision based on the facts of his case and what he is applying for.

In terms of effecting his civilXXXXX XXXXXfe, there are some employers, mostly Government jobs, that do not hire someone who received an adverse discharge. However, for the most part, it won't effective most private employer hiring decisions.

Please let me know if you have follow up questions, I would be more than glad to answer them. I generally don't work on Sundays, so if there is a delay in my response, please forgive me and I will respond as soon as I am available.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I guess I should rephrase the statement. My son has not been convicted of anything. He wants out of the marine corps due to lack of "honor, courage, and commitment". He says to get out he will have to "refuse to train". What are the military implications, I.e. will he have to serve time in the brig, etc?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,

Thank you for that information. I can't guess what his Command's reaction would be to his refusal to train or any other sort of misconduct, because his Commander has wide discretion. Anything from nonjudicial punishment to court-martial, the latter of which is very serious and could not only end up putting him in the brig, but also end up in a Bad Conduct discharge, which is a punitive discharge and will effect much more of his future. The court-martial would be, if at a Special Court-Martial, a misdemeanor conviction. In addition a BCD would preclude him from any VA assistance and job prospects.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
Hello again,

There was nothing incomplete about either of my responses to your questions. I can't second guess your son's Commander since, as I said, he or she has a discretion to handle his case in the way they see fit under the rules I discussed. I told you what the law is and what the possibilities are. There is nothing incomplete in that.

If you have more specific related questions I will do my best to address those, but without having all the facts and personally speaking to your son and his Command, I can't just guess at what is going on.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Its obvious to me with your general type answer that you do not know the USMC procedures that are written and would govern the outcome of this. I will accept your answer so that you get paid but in my opinion I could have gotten the same answer from any local lawyer and not had to pay a cent. This service is a rip off.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 5 years ago.
Well you are, of course, entitled to believe what you want to believe but I am intimately familiar with USMC procedures as I was an active-duty Navy Judge Advocate and the Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy and I served and provided legal advice to Marine Commanders. So, there is no deficiency in my experience only in the information that I have and my inability to ascertain all the facts. The law I know. It is the specific facts of your son's case from all sides that I don't have.

Best of luck to you and your son.
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