Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A military discharge is given when a member of the armed forces is released from their obligation to serve.
Typically, an honorable discharge is given when a servicemember meets one or more of several requirements.
- The contracted period of service is finished;
- An order of a superior or military court decides the term of service is over;
- The conflict is finished and the military unit is being released from active duty.
- Being passed up twice in a row for promotion when eligible, though this varies by branch of service;
- Certain other circumstances, including (in some countries) homosexuality, though in the United States this was replaced by the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in 1993.
A medical discharge is given when the service member has a medical condition that makes them unfit for military service. This may be an injury sustained in combat.
A less than honorable discharge refers to a discharge that occurs under other than honorable conditions. This can be due to generally improper conduct, conviction of a crime either in a military court martial or a civilian court, or some other inappropriate action on the part of a soldier or someone associated with that soldier.
The United States military subdivides less-than-honorable discharges into four categories, in increasing order of severity:
- general discharge;
- other than honorable discharge;
- bad conduct discharge; and
- dishonorable discharge.
Bad conduct discharges and dishonorable discharges are only given by special (bad conduct only) and general courts martial.
Other than honorable discharges or worse typically disqualify the soldier from receiving veterans' benefits, and any less-than-honorable discharge — even a general discharge — usually renders the discharged soldier ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits, because such a discharge is considered tantamount to having been "fired" from the most recently-held job.
In addition, those given dishonorable discharges may permanently forfeit certain citizenship rights, including the right to legally possess a firearm (under the federal Gun Control Act passed in 1968), and the right to vote in some states.
- Bureau of Naval Personnel. Frequently Asked Questions. BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF NAVAL RECORDS. Retrieved January 8, 2004.
- U.S. Airforce. Involuntary Discharges. Grand Forks Air Force Base Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. Retrieved January 8, 2004.
- U.S. Army (1985). Instruction in Benefits of an Honorable Discharge. Retrieved January 8, 2004.
- U.S. Marines. Frequently Asked Questions. Manpower and Reserve Affairs Personnel Management Division. Retrieved January 8, 2004.
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