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Q: How to get out of the Army? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   15 Comments )
Subject: How to get out of the Army?
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: halogenstudios-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 25 May 2003 01:23 PDT
Expires: 24 Jun 2003 01:23 PDT
Question ID: 208359
Greetings Readers & Researchers:

A good friend of mine has joined the Army and has now realized it was
the biggest mistake of his life ... and I would agree.  There are a
lot of reasons he feels he needs to quit, some having to do with a
recent illegitimate war, others having to do with lies from the
recruiter (about salary, rank, and job description) but I'm not sure
how relevant those reasons are to the question at hand .

In any case, the question is, how does my friend get out of the army? 
He is five months into it and has completed boot camp and is halfway
through AIT (Advanced Individual Training).  He signed up for four
years, but all indications show that they will keep him for the extra
four years (for a total of eight) because there are so few people in
the division.

He is willing to go through a lot to get out -- but he definitely
doesn't want jail and would prefer not to have a dishonorable
discharge and he’s not crazy on the idea of waiting a year to get out.
 Personally, I think him getting out of the army is best for him and
the army -- he hates it and has recently (in the months before going
to boot camp and now after the war) has become disillusioned by recent
government decisions.

I would love to see a list of options with their consequences,
anything you can think of, from getting injured to going crazy to
well, you name it.  I know this is probably unpatriotic, but please
understand there is a lot more to the story that I’d rather not get
into.  If it’s any consolation, I tip well -- and will especially tip
well for a good answer / way out for this question.

Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
Answered By: leep-ga on 25 May 2003 03:21 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Greetings halogenstudios!

The process for getting out of the Army depends on various factors. 
But from the information you have provided it sounds like your friend
1) is still in the first 180 days of his service and 2) is still in
advanced training.  These two elements are very good as it means he
may be eligible for an Entry Level Separation.

But first, I want to mention the GI Rights Hotline site.  Most of the
text below has been extracted from pages on their site:

They also have a 1-800 number that you or your friend can call with
questions about getting out of the Army (but they ask that you first
read through the information on their site):

If your friend is still in entry level status and *starts* the
discharge process during that time, then he may be able to get an
Entry Level Separation.  The separation/discharge does not have to be
completed during entry level status, just started in that period.  
But here is a summary of the "out":

"If you are in entry level status and cannot--or will not--adjust
socially or emotionally to military life or cannot meet the minimum
standards of your training program, you may be eligible for
separation. Entry level status is the first 180 days of active duty.
...  While there is no official way to apply for this separation, you
can bring problems to your commanding officer's attention, in the hope
that your commander will consider your separation to be in the best
interest of the military. But you'll need to act fast. In order to get
this discharge, your commanding officer must start the discharge
process while you are still in entry level status."
above text from "Entry Level Performance and Conduct":

"You will receive an Entry Level Separation if separation processing
is begun while you're still in "entry level status" (generally, the
first six months of active duty). This uncharacterized separation is
neither honorable nor less then honorable because you have not been in
the military long enough to develop a record. With an Entry Level
Separation, you are not entitled to the usual veterans benefits."
above text from "Things You Need to Know About Seeking a Discharge":

The specific/official reasons for seeking a discharge may be best
known to you and your friend, but...

"Be creative with the various criteria listed in the regulations. Some
are so broad and vague that any number of circumstances could come
under them. For example, "failure to adapt to the military
environment" or "cannot adapt socially or emotionally to military
life" could cover anything from a budding conscientious objection to
war to a strong aversion to military life."

"Unfortunately, you cannot directly request an ELS, but you can
present your problems to the command so that the process will be
initiated. A first step in approaching the command can be for you to
tell your problems to a chaplain and try to get a referral to the base
counseling center. You can also request a meeting with the commanding
officer to discuss your difficulties. You can approach your command in
the role of a patient presenting his or her problems. Encourage others
familiar with the situation (such as a clergy member or chaplain,
lawyer, doctor, or social worker) to approach the command. If
possible, find a friendly military psychiatrist, medical officer, or
chaplain to help bring the case to the command's attention."

"The military grants the greatest number of ELS discharges during
basic and advanced training. Therefore, this discharge is more likely
to be granted before training is completed -- when commanders are less
likely to be penalized for "losing" a soldier."

above paragraphs from "Fact Sheet: Entry Level Performance and

A listing of and links to the various actual Army discharge
regulations (in PDF format), can be viewed at:
"Army Discharge Regulations":

A somewhat related site:
"Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors":

You may also want to see if your local library has the following book:
"Helping Out: A Guide to Military Discharges and GI Rights" by Alex

I strongly recommend that either you or your friend call the GI Rights
Hotline so that you can fully discuss the full story that you did not
wish to get into in your question text here.

I realize that the information above does not address some of the
options you presented (i.e. getting injured, going crazy, etc.) 
Simply getting an injury is not going to automatically get him out of
the Army.  He would still have to go through the discharge steps.  But
if you would like me to further research these more creative options,
please let me know and I will be happy to investigate this further and
add to my answer.  If possible, also provide any additional
information about the story as to why he wants or should be out.

I hope this information is helpful.  If you would like for me to
clarify any part of my answer or further research your question,
please let me know before issuing a rating.  Thanks!


Request for Answer Clarification by halogenstudios-ga on 25 May 2003 11:37 PDT
Thanks leep-ga and to all the members who left comments!

This was very informative and a five-star answer!  

It seems like the ELS sounds like a best-case scenario, but if that
doesn't work out/become to easy, just up and deserting doesn't sound
that bad either.  From the comments and the Orlando Sentinal article,
it seems they just dishonorably discharge you when you get caught,
which, as far as I understand, means no chance of a Fed job, student
loans, or gov't housing grants.

Does this seem like a fair assement on my part, i.e., that going AWOL
won't be that bad after all (like, not years in the Brig, etc)?

Clarification of Answer by leep-ga on 25 May 2003 13:06 PDT
Greetings again halogenstudios!

Yes, as pointed out in the comments section below, going AWOL may be a
viable option here.   As you stated though, there are some
consequences from going AWOL, including:

-a warrant will be issued to the police/FBI and other authorities  
-his family (and possibly friends) will be contacted to ensure that he
is not with them
-if caught, the person will be fingerprinted, etc. and thus be in "the
-if caught, the person will be briefly taken to the AWOL HQ in Fort
Knox, KY.  This may disrupt whatever else may be going on in the
AWOLer's life (i.e. job, honeymoon, etc.).
-if given the standard dishonorable discharge, the deserter will be
disqualified for federal jobs, government-subsidized home loans and
tuition grants.

First, here is the link again to the news article mentioned by
"Deserters often get the boot, not the brig":,0,2872255.story?coll=orl-news-headlines

On the flip side, you may want to view the Army propaganda regarding
going AWOL, if only for some of the graphics in the booklet (the
stairway one is my favorite):
U.S. Army Manual: "AWOL And The Consequences"

At the end of last year, a young man named Wilfredo Torres turned
himself in to the Army authorities.  He had been AWOL for quite a
while.  Below are sections from a few news articles on his situation:

According to the Uniform Code For Military Justice, if a soldier goes
AWOL for 30 days, the government changes the status to desertion. Both
are violations under the code.

When the status is changed to desertion, according to the code, the
military contacts family members and issues an arrest warrant to all
of the law enforcement agencies in the United States. If police then
stop the
individual, he/she will be arrested and returned to military control.

An AWOL soldier, under article 86 of the Uniform Code For Military
Justice, faces a maximum punishment of "a dishonorable discharge,
forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement at hard labor
for 18 months."

Article 85 of the code, dealing with desertion, establishes that "the
maximum punishment is a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay
and allowances, and confinement at hard labor for three years. In
times of war, the maximum punishment for desertion is death by lethal
above text from "AWOL TORRES - Court Martial" newsgroup

According to Ensign, Torres spent five days locked-up, but an Army
spokesman said Torres spent seven days in custody before being allowed
to return home. "They didn't even give him money for a bus ticket,"
said Ensign.

As for why Torres is home and not in a military jail, Army spokesman
Lt. Col. Ryan Santis said Torres was released instead of jailed in
order "to balance good order and discipline in the service," which he
said has always been Army policy.

"In this situation," Santis said, "it was apparent that the decision
was made that the soldier had not completed his training, had been on
active duty in good standing for just a little over two months and had
been away from the Army for well over a year."

"It was in the best interests of the Army and wise use of taxpayer
dollars to separate him from the service and end his relationship with
the Army," said Santis, who added it has always been Army policy to
judge each discharge on a case-by-case basis.
above text from "AWOL GI Sent Home Instead of To Jail":

I am not certain how much of the text in the following page would
apply to his situation, but the page does contain some sample AWOL
notification letters and is a good peek at the steps the military has
to take when someone goes AWOL:
"Absence Without Leave, Desertion, and Administration of Personnel
Involved in Civilian Court Proceedings":

I mentioned them above in my original answer, but the GI Rights
Hotline may be able to provide more concrete examples of the
consequences of going AWOL.  They "keep up-to-date information on each
Service's AWOL and UA policies":
"Help for Unauthorized Absence (AWOL) Members of the Military":

So, in summary, it seems like going AWOL indeed wouldn't be "that bad"
but it does have serious consequences that your friend should consider
and discuss with others.   I hope this additional information is
helpful.  And I hope your friend is able to break free from the Army
as soon as possible with as little fallout as possible.

halogenstudios-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for a very informative answer!

Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: trueparent-ga on 25 May 2003 03:56 PDT
I remember AFTER WWII, one fellow rode an imaginary motorcycle
everywhere, making the appropriate "motor" sounds verbally. Otherwise,
he was completely normal.  They finally gave him a discharge, out of
embarrassment.  At the front gate, as he left the base for the last
time, he leaned that bike up against the guardhouse, and said, "I
won't be needing this any more."
Then, there was another fellow, who picked up any paper he would see,
off the ground.  He'd examine it closely, and throw it away. I think
he even dug through garbage cans when he could, looking for any scrap
of paper.  Otherwise, he acted completely normal.  When they finally
gave him a discarge, he said, "This is what I've been looking for."
And he never picked up another piece of paper, for the rest of his
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: probonopublico-ga on 25 May 2003 03:58 PDT
Finding religion and becoming a conscientious objector might work.

Wear white gloves, smoke a large pipe and carry a large bible around with you.

Start quoting the bible as an authority for a pacifist attitude.

You will get noticed.

But always remember Catch 22.
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: probonopublico-ga on 25 May 2003 04:00 PDT
I think the imaginary motorbike and the obsession with paper are excellent!

Much better than mine.
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: ewek1-ga on 25 May 2003 08:27 PDT
While I can't condone the following, or find the specific article
right now, here's some applicable info: There was an article this week
in one of the NY papers (Post, Daily News) that was on just this
issue.  While one would think that your friend would have understood
that joining the Army would require one to follow the orders passed
down through command, regardless of whether they agree with them or
not, the article stated that the Army no longer attempts to track down
those that have gone AWOL.  There was a source quoted that said he has
never heard of a courtmarshalling for someone who has gone missing. 
In a volunteer Army, they are not so concerned with forcing people
back into positions that they don't want to be in...I don't know what
your friend's official legal status would be if they go this route,
but if you find the article, I believe it's explained some in there.
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: ewek1-ga on 25 May 2003 08:58 PDT
Actually, I found the article in the Orlando Sentinel:,0,2872255.story?coll=orl-news-headlines
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: kjm4422-ga on 25 May 2003 17:39 PDT
Your friend cannot be made to extend his term of active service to
eight years. The maximum is 6 yrs. Also if would be extemely unlikely
for him to have only his enlistment extended, they generally extend
entire units due to some geographic consideration or all individuals
in some certain speciality. Your friend will regret quitting for the
rest of his life. Suck it up, it's only four years. k
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: factsman-ga on 27 May 2003 16:31 PDT
As a former servicemember, I would strongly advise against desertion.
If this course is chosen, he can figure on being a fugitive for the
rest of his life. The Army has its own version of the FBI, and they
WILL attempt to find him. This may not be a problem if he chooses to
relocate to another country, but for most people that's not an option.
Let's look at some of the other alternatives offered:
1. Motorcycle sounds, browsing through trash
This will undoubtedly bring about a psychological evaluation possibly
ending in an undesireable discharge.

2. Conscientious objector
What will most likely happen is the commanding officer will attempt to
transfer the individual to a line of work outside of combat
operations, which might include food, clerk, mail, etc.

What could he do?

He could claim to be a homosexual. He would probably have to lie under
oath more than once and sign a statement to the effect as well. Most
often these cases get a general discharge.

He could fail a drug test. This may or may not result in jail time. It
may not even result in a discharge for the first offense. He will
likely face some kind of punishment like k.p. or something. If
discharged, it will be dishonorable.

My advice:
First, he should examine himself closely and find out exactly what it
is about him that doesn't fit, because that's what everyone else is
going to examine. Is it fixable? Remember, if he can't do it there,
how does he expect to make it anywhere else? At his stage in his
career there are only 2 things he needs to do to get by.

1. Be on time.
2. Follow instructions.

That's it. If he can do that, he'll make it.
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: trueparent-ga on 15 Jun 2003 16:20 PDT
Factsman-ga seems down to Earth, but he doesn't know the most closely
held secret of the military; that secret is, what is the bottom line
purpose of all military? Many people guess: "To protect our country.",
or "To enforce our national interests.", or "To make real men out of
But they are all wrong.  The bottom line purpose of the military,is to
kill human beings. As ol' blood n' guts Patton put it, "We're not here
to die for our country, but to make that son-of-a-bitch die for HIS
And the Devil is in that detail. Since most of us are strongly taught
that it is "wrong" to kill, the military relies on a "secret system"
of consistent, arbitrary harassment, to make a man angry enough, at
any given moment, to pick up the "weapon", and say, with deep meaning,
"Just show me who to kill.".
Even the "Lifers" in the military, though they learn how to be pecked
on, and how to peck on those "under" them, hardly ever figure out why
this is happening.  They just allow their character to be destroyed,
and figure that's just the "way it is".
This Top Secret "inherent harassment" in the military is simply
understood, and unless it is buried deep in some secret bunker that I
could never find, there is no Army Manual of Methods of Harassment in
In times of "real war" such as WWII, the horror of all this can be
justified, but in the "small, politically motivated wars", this
reality does not set well with any aware, idealistic young man/woman. 
You do not excape the issue of killing, even if you are assigned a
"desk job", because your work still "supports" those who do the
killing, and you are still harassed by the same "secret system".
Incidentally, psychologists have recently discovered that the final
maturation of the human brain is not completed until the age of 28,
(not 21, as the polititions decided).  It is not an accident, that
military recruiters consider 28 as a cut off point.  They normally
only go after the ones younger than that.
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: defector-ga on 28 Sep 2003 00:18 PDT
After I listen to all the hooa **%^ on here I thought'd I'd put in my
two cents.

I'm awol. I have been for < 30 days. These guys (people, I know
they're guys) who talk about "suck it up, it's only four years", not
specifically attacking that guy, or his specific comment, just the
attitude, you know. It's hooa, drive on, all that...

Hey, regardless what the recruiter told this guy, or any person that
joins, they get paid to recruit. I don't falt the individual, they're
just as hypmotized (yes, It's my spelling choice) as the next
slobering sot. Join to help you're country. But, all you are is a tax
subsidy for corporations. Mobil-Exxon is having trouble in (insert
your country here) and so send in the marines to attack, the army to
'stabilize' (ha-ha, yeah right). It's not "proper" for a corporation
to publicly attack a foriegn country directly. It's far more
economically easy on the corporations and their individual corporate
director pocketbooks to pay off enough politicians (with a millions of
dollars per oil company contributing) and have you and I, the
"taxpayer", fork over the majority of the dough so AM-General and all
the other government contractors can build more machines for
destruction and domination. Relatively little money is spent on the
people. That's why, in one article I read by an -independent-
reporter/observer, they wonder "When will we get to go home". And all
the time, as one person commented in this thread, they are still
totally hypnotized. For some people, living outside the box is scarier
than living inside the box. Living inside the box means contributing
directly or indirectly to the death of innocent civilians, and your
own death, and the reputation of your country's (federal government)
as a mass-murdering, imperialist anti-humanitarian,
anti-environmental, scourge upon the face of this planet.

Well, I'm glad I got that off my chest. The article in a nutshell says
'nobody gets nothin'. "If you don't want to be here, we don't want to
keep you around". The 25 year old MP interviewed in the article puts
forth the usual ignorant attitude of "not helping the troops", and
violence of saying words which directly describe his attitude of 'I
wish I could beat these people senseless when I pick them up'. The
military today is about corporate-sanctioned violence. Virtually
nothing, save a few grassroots movements, happens in a large scale in
this country without the green light from mega-corporate interests.
What grassroots movements do gain momentum are stopped, frequently by
the federal government acting to infiltrate and break up the
movements, on behalf of corporate interests. If you are against
McDonalds, if you are against mega-media led 'patriotism' (i.e.
nationalism), if you believe the best means to conflict resolution as
a principal is cooperation, rather than violence, then you don't fit
in the military. Plain and simple.  And unless you are willing to go
along to get along, have no principals other than the condradictory
'principals' the army spoon-feeds you, you make yourself a target.
Unless you want to be nuts. Crazy. Lou-lou. Think one thing and be
another. I was that, for awhile.
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: halogenstudios-ga on 28 Sep 2003 07:26 PDT
Thank you for your insightful comments!  As an update, my friend has
ended up staying in the Army.  Not because he's afraid of a court
martial or the consequences of a dishonorable discharge, but because
his family is proud of him, and he doesn't want to upset them.  Plus,
after basic training, he says it's no so bad.
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: leep-ga on 20 Oct 2003 12:59 PDT
Current AWOL-related news story:
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: trueparent-ga on 24 Oct 2003 01:25 PDT
Well, these Comments force me to reveal the darkest, scariest "secret"
I have ever discovered, which is much worse than defector-ga's worst
possible nightmare.  This truth has been exposed by a precious
whistle-blower, named Col. Fletcher Prouty, (Retired).  It explains
how the US military is used, at times, as a simple pawn and "back up",
in the "fun and games" of the most awesome, out-of-control force on
this Earth.
You will find a small sample of this truth, at:


and all of this truth, in the complete CD-ROM, available at:

But to tell you the worst, without telling you the best, would be a
crime on my part.  Only something "new", could possibly allow this
world an opportunity to get out of the dire condition it is in.  That
something new, might be thought of as "religious", but the truth is
the truth, no matter what it is "called".  This new truth is found
and also through:
It is the teaching of the HSA-UWC, called "Divine Principle".  Like it
or not, all the problems covered in the above Comments, and all other
problems, worldwide, can only be solved through the application of the
reality of the "living truth", revealed by "Divine Principle".  This
does not mean that anyone should automatically trust anyone who is a
member of the Unification Movement.  It does mean that there is now a
source of tangible, realistic hope, that is far beyond the realm of
any "usual" analysis.
Most Sincerely, ITN,
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: jkominek-ga on 25 Nov 2003 20:45 PST
I realize that the original motivation for this question being asked
is gone, but just in case anyone else reads this, I wanted to mention
that some companies will refuse to hire people who have received a
dishonorable discharge.

(I heard of a fellow who had received a dishonorable discharge from
the navy nuclear program (he was an electrician), he left the service,
and had a job with a California(?) power company lined up. Someone
he'd worked with found out, and let the power company know the fellow
had received a dishonorable discharge. Job offer revoked.)
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: briansgirl-ga on 09 Feb 2004 20:46 PST
Hello, I'm wondering if anyone out there can give me any information?.
please. I need to know how to get someone out of the army on medical
discharge? My boyfriend has had really bad problems with his ankle
before entering the army. he had a bad accident. and had to had a skin
graph and everything, so his foot is pretty much messed up. His
graduation is March 5th. He had to go to meps three times to even get
accepted into the army. and that was because of the recruiter. He has
went to the Dr. out there because he simply thinks that he isn't fit
for the army. He didn't do the 12k march or he hasn't been able to do
any running. but he said that the sgt called him into the office and
wanted him to sign something saying that he ran those. he didn't want
to because he is really a religious person. but he said it scared him
to death and he signed them. When he went to the dr out there for the
4th time the dr finally told him that nothing was wrong with his foot
and to go back home. If you could see his foot you would know what I'm
talking about. He's only 18 years old. he really enjoys it in the army
but he can't take it any longer. he doesn't think that he was fit for
this career. We need to find some answers. Why are they doing him this
way? and how can he get out before march 5th. please let me know.
Thank-you. god-bless
Subject: Re: How to get out of the Army?
From: insertnicknamehere-ga on 27 Dec 2004 10:10 PST
I'd like to respond to factman who said who said desertion will cause
you to be a fugitive for the rest of your life. That is just silly. It
is the policy of the military to NOT actively look for deserters
unless they are a suspect in another crime. They will however issue a
warrant for your arrest.

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