What's the difference between a military Dishonorable Discharge and a Bad Conduct Discharge?

See query. The Texas Church shooter scumbag received the latter, apparently.

A Bad Conduct discharge and a Dishonorable Discharge is sort of the difference between being convicted of a misdemeanor, and being convicted of a felony.

A Bad Conduct discharge is very serious, but Dishonorable is even more serious. They both involve the soldier having been convicted by a court martial of a crime, but BC includes various forms of insubordination, as well as adultery, a crime in the military. Dishonorable means the soldier was convicted of rape, or what in the civilian world would amount to felony assault, or something like grand theft auto, as well as crimes like desertion.

There are other kinds of discharges besides Honorable, BC and Dishonorable. There is a “General Discharge.” If you get that, you still get veteran’s benefits, but you don’t have the prestige of an Honorable discharge, and in most cases, are not eligible for re-enlistment. Honorable and General are the only two kinds that can get benefits. (General may be restricted benefits, but I’m not sure-- my own discharge is Honorable :D.)

There is also something called “Other than Honorable.” Soldiers with this kind are not eligible for benefits, but were usually not convicted at court martial, and never served time in a military prison. I’m not really sure what gets you “OTH.”

People who get “General,” were the screw ups who never really did anything criminal, but made a lot of work for everyone else, and maybe occasionally did things that were dangerous, just not intentionally. If you had a pile of counseling statements for mishandling firearms, plus, you’d been caught asleep on duty, and the list went on, you were maybe headed for a General discharge.

I have an Honorable discharge, and I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to throw yourself on a grenade. You just have to do what you’re told to do, on time, without complaining, and you get an Honorable discharge. Just make sure your little cog has no nicks. So people with General discharges aren’t unlucky-- they are serious screw-ups.

Anyway, I don’t know what the Texas shooter did, but I can tell you that the Army, at any rate (don’t know about the other branches) is pretty clear about what will get you in trouble. It’s pretty hard to do something court martialable, and claim you didn’t know it was a court martialable offense. Unless you slept through training, and that is an offense in itself.

This guy effed up pretty bad somewhere.

DD = felony in the civilian world. Longer jail time/prison equivalent.
BCD = bad misdemeanor, with added non-civilian crimes like the mentioned adultery. Jail time.
OTHD = big screw up/being a dick, some benefits may not be affected depending. No criminal charges necessary, though it might’ve been criminal in nature.
GD = screw up.

BC wouldn’t affect your second amendment rights I don’t think, but this guy would’ve still been disqualified because domestic violence is a special disqualifying event on form 4473.

I was a general discharge, but I believe most general discharges are entry level separations, as mine was, and so no benefits. However, I was not barred from reenlistment and was actually in the IRR for the following eight years.

I wasn’t a screwup, so much as older and out of shape and it turned out my knees had arthritis which was not known at the time. I also had mild Tourette’s which had not previously been diagnosed, but apparently they want you to be totally still in ranks. Who knew?

What happens to a commissioned officer if he’s done for petty theft? (it must happen sometimes…)

He had a long history of domestic violence. I believe that I read that that was his issue with the DD.

No, BC does, in fact, disqualify you from owning a firearm.

You should have gotten a medical discharge. Did you know you can apply to have your discharge revised? Also, was this a long time ago? When I was in (1990s) they had something called Entry Level Separation, which was no kind of discharge. It was like getting your enlistment annulled.

Yeah. You have to be totally still in the ranks. They will drop you for coughing or sneezing. They will wake you up at 2am, and make you stand in formation for an hour, perfectly still. At Basic.

They get an Officer’s Discharge. It’s the same idea, different name.

It was ELS. I was told it was a general discharge. Gotta find my paperwork and see. It definitely didn’t annul my enlistment though, because I signed an addendum that I was part of the IRR for the duration of my original enlistment. I dutifully informed the Army where I lived whenever I moved after 9/11 just in case. Although I’m not sure what they would have used me for. Cleaning pots in the Green Zone?

This was in January 2000 BTW.

Do you have a link? I don’t get a clear answer, except people speculating both ways, but the 4473 wording says “Have you been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions?” No further explanation in the instructions, but I don’t think they’d use the same term for two things.

Again, domestic violence is often disqualifying by itself regardless of the punishment.

Hmmm. Looks like the answer may be “It depends” after all. Mostly, it depends, it seems, on whether you spent time in a military prison, which nearly all people with BC discharges did, but a few did not. If you had a borderline offense that could have been handled without a trial, but you were such a dick, they tried you anyway (kinda comparable in the civilian world to someone guilty as sin, who refused a plea, and demanded his day in court, because he over-estimated his ability to charm the jury), but then sentenced you simply to separation, with a BC discharge, you might get to keep your firearm rights. Or, the officer in charge of your court martial could decide that you were such a dick, that depriving you of firearm rights would be just the thing to write into the decision.

But as has been said, the specific shooter in question had a domestic disturbance conviction on his record, and that alone should have prevented him from possessing a firearm.

@RivkahChaya it sounds like @adaher did not make it past boot camp and hence his ELS. You have to be in the military (boot-camp time included) for a certain amount of days (which I don’t recall) in order to receive benefits. So, he possibly was separated before said amount of time and got that GD, which makes sense.

As far as IIR time is concerned, I don’t know when adaher enlisted, but, that’s something that the MEPS guys have you sign right off the bat, even before other paperwork, and even if you decide not to enlist, you have those eight years of IRR.

Which, coincidently is why I troll forums in regards to military stuff and when newbies or people who are looking to enlist, I give them instruction to not sign anything at all, nothing, until they are certain they want to join. As one who spend eight years in the Navy, it really sucks when you have someone who not just thinks of “alternate” timelines, but, literally refuses to do anything and smears paint on walls or walks on a floor with two-part epoxy paint and then tracks foot prints for a 100’ and laughs about it. It’s not worth it for anyone at that point.

A bad conduct discharge as you mentioned later does not mean you can’t own a firearm. A DD does mean you can’t own a firearm. A separate issue has to do with domestic violence and is not part of the UCMJ. The Lautenberg Amendment prohibits people convicted of misdemeanor assault from possessing firearms. That’s federal law that covers everyone.

A dishonorable discharge can only be given as a sentence in a General Court Martial. All indications are that the shooter was given a Special Court Martial and received its maximum penalties which are 1 year confinement, reduction to E1 and a Bad Conduct Discharge.

If you are hurt in Basic Training even on day 1 you will get a medical discharge and VA benefits to treat it. If they find a pre-existing condition that will keep you from continuing but was not caused by training they will give a entry level separation.

IIRC, Officers cannot get a Dishonorable or a Bad Conduct Discharged. The get "cashiered., though I think these days its called a dismissal in the US Military. Traditionally, of course officers would be expected to resign if they did something worthy of a Bad Conduct Discharge or be given a pistol, some port, and privacy if it was equivalent to a Dishonourable Discharge, so actual dismissals were rare. David Twiggs was one such officer dismissed for treachery, ironically the officer who signed his dismissal order also committed treachery and resigned about 5 minutes later..

No idea what applies to Warrant Officers.

ELS is an uncharacterized discharge. ‘Character’ here refers to your military conduct, and ‘general’ is a character of conduct that isn’t great. If you were in less than 180 days and didn’t do anything horrible, you should have been uncharacterized.

This quick reference sheet shows the effect of each type of discharge on a service member’s military benefits and entitlements. With a DD, you get nothing. With anything else, you get varying degrees of benefits. Some might surprise you.

More info re shooter’s AF history:

A 2012 police report says that the Texas church gunman had made death threats against his military superiors and had been caught trying to sneak firearms onto an Air Force base in New Mexico where he had been stationed.

The information was contained in a police incident report after Devin Kelley briefly escaped in June 2012 from a mental health facility in New Mexico where he had been committed. KVIA television in El Paso first reported about the escape. It was also reported by KPRC.

Police in El Paso, Texas, where Kelley was caught after the escape, said in the report that an official of the mental health facility told them that Kelley “was a danger to himself and others.”

The report says that Kelley had already been caught sneaking firearms onto Holloman Air Force base. It also says that he "was attempting to carry out death threats that (Kelley) had made on his military chain of command.

In the US Army they are now considered to be commissioned officers. The oath is the same and they receive a commission in the rank of warrant officer. If there are no other commissioned officers around they can be put in command.

He’s given a revolver and a note to “do the decent thing.”

A bad conduct discharge needs penicillin.

A dishonorable discharge is a nekkid airman running from an angry husband with a shotgun.