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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 34996
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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My son is 18 and just signed for National Guard this year.

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My son is 18 and just signed for National Guard this year. He's been doing his weekend/month for a few months now and is supposed to ship to basic tomorrow but is now questioning his decision because they gave him an MOS that he doesn't want...bomb squad, basically. I don't think he understood what he was agreeing to. He wants to be a doctor and was hoping to have an MOS related to that. So he's thinking about just not showing up for basic. What happens if he doesn't show up? How likely is he to end up getting arrested or having a criminal record?
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.

It is not likely he will be arrested or have a criminal record if he does not go to bootcamp. In fact, the possibility is just about zero. While in theory his unit could charge him under state law, in practice this does not happen.

So criminal conviction is not an issue.

HOWEVER, if he does not go to bootcamp? That is not good. Since his national guard unit can (and likely will) use that as a basis to separate him from the national guard for misconduct (for not following the order to go to bootcamp). If this happens he would most likely receive an "other than honorable" discharge. This is not good. In fact, it is would show up on his applications for employment as an "other than honorable" (OTH) discharge. It would disqualify him for most state and federal jobs and can make employment with private employers difficult. Particularly if the person doing the hiring has military background.

So he can refuse to show up, they will discharge him. He will not be convicted of any crime or spend time in jail...but he will also likely receive an OTH discharge.

I must get 10 calls a week requesting assistance from folks who received an OTH discharge in the past and are willing to pay any amount to change that. In the vast majority of the cases, I can not take the case...since for most cases you can not upgrade the discharge.

P. Simmons and other Military Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Do you have any suggestions for his best course of action to handle this, if there is anything he can do to mitigate repercussions if he doesn't show up? Or to fix the MOS situation?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What about an ELS? Is that a possibility?

ELS is possible...but it has to come from the command.

So he can request this through his chain of command. IF they approve the ELS? THen he is set (he gets the ELS). THe request would need to specify the reasons why he is no longer interested in the guard.

IF he can get one of his supervisors (like his squad leader or platoon sergeant) to support this request he stands a better chance of getting the commander to approve it.

The real problem he faces he is joined the guard.

Had he joined the regular army and not gone to bootcamp they would give him an ELS for policy reasons.

But the national guard is not bound by policy. ANd they generally do not grant ELS separations unless there is a good reason to support.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok, so this is my last question and I didn't really want to "go there" but my son's dad (my ex-husband) is a doctor and a US Army Major who did National Guard while going to medical school. I don't know how politics works in the National Guard and Army but would it be helpful to get my ex involved? What, if anything, could he possibly do to help? I know he would be willing.

Not likely going to help much UNLESS he knows the battalion commander (your son's battalion commander) personally.

This is a decision for the battalion commander.

I can not speak for this particular commander, I do not know him...but I can tell you most commanders are reluctant to take "advice" from others on how to make decisions relating to their soldiers, particularly if they do not know them.

That said, if your ex knows this particular commander?

Well, it may be he can use the personal relationship to help show the commander the merits of your son's request to be discharged early.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Gotcha. Thanks! At this point, I think my advice to my son is to suck it up and go, and don't get blown up. :/

Yes Ma'am...that is good advice!

Best of luck in this fight