Military Law

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Questions on Coast Guard Rules

The Coast Guard is a unique branch of the military which has jurisdiction in domestic and international waters. During times of peace, the Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security and can be converged with the Navy at any time, but only by the order of the President or, during war, by Congress. There are many legal questions that people often have about Coast Guard rules, and below are a few of the most commonly asked questions.

What can a person do if they feel like their command is discriminating against them due to a disability?

If you feel like your command is discriminating against you, you should request Mast. When you request Mast, you should go through your chain of command. If you are refused mast, you need to file an Art 138 Complaint which is explained her per the UCMJ;

Article 138 is one of the most powerful rights under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), but it is one of the rights least known and least used by military personnel. Under Article 138 of the UCMJ, "any member of the armed forces who believes himself (or herself) wronged by his (or her) commanding officer" may request redress. If such redress is refused, a complaint may be made and a superior officer must "examine into the complaint." Article 138 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) gives every member of the Armed Forces the right to complain that he or she was wronged by his or her commanding officer. The right even extends to those subject to the UCMJ on inactive duty for training.

Matters appropriate to address under Article 138 include discretionary acts or omissions by a commander that adversely affect the member personally and are:
  • In violation of law or regulation
  • Beyond the legitimate authority of that commander
  • Arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion, or clearly unfair (e.g., selective application of standards). ?

More info here

If someone receives an honorable discharge with a re-entry code 4 is there a way to change the discharge and can the re-enlistment code 4 be changed?

Usually, anyone can apply to upgrade their RE code on their discharge. When you apply, you need to express why you think your upgrade is needed and why you believe that an upgrade to a code 3 is more acceptable to your individual circumstances. When making the determination, the board will consider your conduct after your service as well as when you were in the service. If you want to begin the process, you can start here:

Although it is possible to gain an upgrade, there are just a small number of upgrades allowed. You should hire an attorney who is familiar with military law who can assist you with your request.

If I am legally married to a retired Coast Guard, but live apart, am I eligible to a portion of his retirement?

As a requirement, when your husband retires, you both will have to choose to either take a Survivor benefit Plan (SBP) or pass. If you elect to take the SBP, you will receive a check each month, but only after your husband is deceased. You should try to convince your husband to agree on the SBP. Once you have agreed to the SBP, you are locked in to it and it cannot be changed. If you and your husband choose not to take the benefit, it is usually interpreted that your husband will make other arrangements for you upon his death. In the event that you and your husband divorce, the portion that you will or will not receive will be decided during the divorce.

Can a person be discharged from the Coast Guard without a hearing or trial?

Depending upon what discharge command is asking for will determine the amount of due process that you will be allowed, but you should be provided a hearing, as well as an attorney who can help you with your case. However, if command is going after a general discharge or an honorable discharge, you will just be given an opportunity to submit a written plea.

Is there any way to change retirement pension papers after the death of a Coast Guard member? A husband failed to put his wife on his SBP, now she isn't receiving any benefits.

SBP is only available to the surviving spouse if the couple elected to take it prior to the service member's death. If the person did take the SBP, but died before their spouse, a portion of the pension will continue to go to the surviving spouse. However, if the couple chose not to take the SBP, there is no way to change the condition of the pension and the surviving spouse will not receive any benefits.

The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the military which patrols the waters that border the United States but also has Jurisdiction in International waters. If you would like to learn more about the Coast guard, the laws and rules that govern the coast guard, you can ask an Expert who has experience in Military law for legal insights.
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