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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 34982
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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I was honorably discharged from the Air Force at 18 years and

Customer Question

I was honorably discharged from the Air Force at 18 years and 8 months by the interim SECAF because I could not get my abdominal circumference to 39 inches. Should that have happened? Or is "Sanctuary" a myth? And, is there any way of appealing?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Hello! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney with more than 18 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to helpAlso, if you would like to chat on the phone, let me know and I can make that happen. I am sorry for this dilemma...but not sure I understand the question. Are you pending separation (so they have provided you notice and the chance for a hearing and you are in that process)? Or did they actually separate you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was discharged October 2013.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thank youAnd prior to your separation were you given the opportunity for a hearing and provided an attorney at that hearing?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes. And it seemed that I would be allowed to stay until I hit 20. However, the interim SecAF had other plans.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
ThanksThere is a program referred to as "sanctuary". You can see the law herehttps://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/1176This law limits the ability of the service secretary to deny an enlisted member the ability to reenlist when they reach 18 years of age...and also removes the discretion for separation for members to the service secretary. So in some cases, where a member has more than 18, but less than 20 years of service, it can help protect their enlistment until they reach 20 years of age. HOWEVER, the law does allow the service secretary to separate members, according to service regulations. In your case, if the secretary of the AF approved the separation? That meets the requirements of the law.Can you appeal? IN theory...yes...if you ca prove that the service secretary's action to separate you was "unjust"...you can file an appeal with the air force board of records corrections with this formhttp://www.afpc.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-150601-144.pdfANd if the board denies your request you can file suit in federal court.But you have an uphill battle...the law allows the service secretary to separate based on failure to meet hight/weight standards. If that was the basis for your separation? It is unlikely you will be able to reverse itThis is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you that you can appeal this and win but I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you...I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.