I have never seen anybody actually sent to Leavenworth. Even soldiers I’ve seen put in confinement for months at a time were not actually sent to Leavenworth. There are many different military prisons, and on the few occasions I’ve seen people actually get sentenced to confinement they just put them up in the county prison for a few months. Seriously, you really have to piss somebody off to get Leavenworth or a Dishonorable Discharge. The DD is reserved for the very worst criminals. Keep in mind that even the military has a sense of priorities and proportion. There is no way some General is going to convene a General Courts-Martial just to send some idiot private to prison for years. It’s just dumb.
The correct answer is that there are no minimum or mandatory sentences in the military. There are maximum sentencing restrictions based on the level of UCMJ you are receiving. The easiest possible solution to the scenario OP presented is Entry Level Discharge with Uncharacterized service. Translation: “You are such a loser that you couldn’t even finish six months, so we’re sending you home to your Mommy.”
I’ve seen several people get out in situations very similar to what OP describes. What happens is the Commander takes them aside and tells them, in no uncertain terms, that they are going to have a very rough time of it if they just refuse to participate. If the person still doesn’t comply (not showing up for work, not performing his duties, etc) then they are treated as a disciplinary problem and given an Article 15 (a few weeks of reduced pay and extra work). If they still refuse to do their jobs, they get confined to the barracks and the separation process begins.
There are a couple of different UCMJ Chapters for kicking people out depending on the nature of the malfunction. The most likely candidate is Chapter 14 - Misconduct (for failing to perform their duties). They can get a General or Other-Than-Honorable characterization. (Bad Conduct and Dishonorable can only be levied by a Courts-Martial.) Both are bad news and can impact your eligibility for VA benefits. They can also result in things like forfeiture of any enlistment bonuses and other incentives (like college repayment).
Whether it impacts your life after the military really depends on who you are dealing with. Many employers will ask for a DD214 so they can verify your service record. If I saw a job applicant show up with anything but “Honorable” in Block 24, that resume would go straight in the shredder. Every business manager I know would do the same. But you never know… If you applied for a job with the ACLU or Al Jazeera or something, they’d probably consider it a positive.
Thank you, Chihuahua, your post is very close to what my understanding was back 30 years ago. I was told in no uncertain terms if I wanted out, just ask, it would be arranged. Just please don’t break any rules or regulations, it wasn’t necessary.
If you did break a rule, most likely you’d be offered an Article 15 discharge, either a General or Other Than Honorable. For clarity, Article 15 allows what is called “non-judicial punishment”, you admit neither guilt nor innocence, you simply accept punishment without any kind of conviction or trial. That’s handy since it’s very quickly done and it won’t follow you into the civilian world.
The alternative is a Courts Marshall, roughly the same thing as a criminal trial. If found guilty, this is a conviction and it is a felony conviction, it will follow you the rest of your life. Only a Courts Marshall can issue a Dishonorable or Bad Conduct discharge, and so such discharges are in fact felony convictions.
Any new recruit to the military will be given a general discharge, not an honorable one, if they decide they wish to quit within 6 months of entry. I wouldn’t suggest trying to quit during basic training though, they’ll make sure the “paperwork” takes a lot longer than it would have taken to get out of basic.
I understand a man in their early twenties may think a few years enlistment is an eternity. But the time will pass quickly and then a new chapter of life begins. Military service looks good on a resume too.
The alternative of living with a poor decision for decades would be much more difficult.
FWIW, I have seen a lot of privates who said they wanted out and got it, but it was always accompanied by disciplinary issues, substance abuse, failure to meet standards, and psychiatric problems. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone who was a motivated straight shooter just decide to quit one day.
Any civilian that thinks the VA provides “the best possible” to every former DoD member hasn’t paid the slightest attention to any VA-related news for the last 30 years.
As best I can tell from my distance, it’s got about 1/4th the resources it needs to do even a half-ass job compared to the total demand from disabled former service members, much less folks like me that just worked for DoD for a few years and graduated still intact.
Massive waiting for inadequate indifferent care delivered with widespread corruption and sloth is more like the impression I get. And that’s in its better parts.
I admit that’s second- and third-hand info since I don’t use their services and AFAIK I’m not eligible to.
VA, but yeah, that BA you blew off wouldn’t hurt either.
Yes, I know about the atrocious VA scandal-with-no-repercussions the least few years; and I know a few vets who thought they were in some god-forsaken line, and turns up they were the ones God-forsaken, because the joke was on them and their never even was a line the VA told them they were on.
The idea is what I was hoping for you, of whatever the country owes you, payable in VA currency.
The only thing good about the VA hole is it’s a good example of a test run of what single-payer (“national”) health insurance would look like.
all he has to do is wait to see what if anything there going to do to bowe bergdahl (or how ever you spell it ) I mean he just walked off because he thought he could fight the war better than the military
although I wonder who thought a lone wolf/survivalist type would fit in the military …
In my 20 years of Navy experience, I actually had a hand in putting people out who just wanted out. They found a non-violent offense which they could commit which had administrative separation as the automatic penalty, and committed the offense. The first was back in the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” days. He walked into the Command Master Chief’s office and told her he was gay and wanted out of the Navy. The fact was, he actually was gay, but he was tired of hiding it. The command could have brought him up on charges of fraudulent enlistment, since he joined before 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell". All they did was move him to a job where he had no responsibility, set up an Admin Separation board, and he was out with either a General or an Other-Than-Honorable Discharge.
The second was a female Sailor who worked directly for me. She was a recently divorced single mom. We were in a Helicopter Squadron which deployed detachments to Amphibious Warfare and Supply ships. We had a short detachment coming up when she first checked into the squadron, and i had no one else to send. It was a two week detachment, and i informed that i needed her to fill out a dependent’s care certificate, informing the command of who would care for her children when she was gone. At first she was amenable to it, but then she told me she could not do it, and wanted to get out. We talked to the Chain of command, and she was told that the Navy’s policy was that a single parent had to fill out a certificate within a certain amount of time after checking into a deployable command. I can’t remember how long the deadline was, it could have been 30 or 45 days. The day after the deadline, I wrote her up for failure to obey a lawful order. She went to Captain’s Mast (Article 15), CO recommended Admin Sep, convened a board, and she was out a couple months later.
Easiest ways out right now in the order of increasing difficulty and lasting effects:
Fail two consecutive physical fitness tests.
Roughly a month or two between tests, then a couple more to complete the discharge process. You’re out in about 5 months from the time you “quit”. If you were otherwise a good soldier, you will leave with an Honorable Discharge.
Get fat. This one can take while. Up to a year or more. But you will likely get out early with an Honorable Discharge.
Smoke marijuana. You’ll be out in about 90 days, probably with an other than honorable. You will lose all of your benefits, but it most likely will not otherwise affect your future. Most people who have done this have actually had a job already lined up. Something like working the oil fields or construction somewhere. But I’ve seen about a half dozen people do this in the past 3 years.