The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and the United Kingdom and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.(June 2016)
A military discharge is given when a member of the armed forces is released from their obligation to serve. Each country's military has different types of discharge. They are generally based on whether the person completed their training and then fully and satisfactorily completed their term of service. Other types of discharge are based on factors such as the quality of the person's service, whether their service had to be ended prematurely due to humanitarian or medical reasons, whether the person had been found to have drug or alcohol dependency issues and whether they were complying with treatment and counseling, or whether the person had demerits or punishments for infractions or were convicted of any crimes. These factors affect whether they will be asked or allowed to re-enlist and whether they qualify for benefits after their discharge.
There are several reasons why someone may be discharged from the military, including expiration of enlistment, disability, dependency and hardship.
Members of the British Armed Forces are to complete their service obligations before they may be considered for discharge. Service personnel who attempt to leave before completing their length of service, without going through the appropriate channels, may be subject to criminal conviction.
At the end of service in the Regular Forces, personnel normally have a compulsory reserve liability. The length of this liability depends on the Service, rank and type of commission or engagement in which they entered and whether they are subject to the Reserve Forces Act 1980or 1996.
Army officers and other ranks must be interviewed by at least one of the following:
Individuals in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines who are not due for compulsory retirement but who wish to leave the Service, for whatever reason, before reaching the end of their Commission/Career/Engagement may apply for Early Termination, provided the conditions outlined in Chapter 54 of BR 3 - Naval Personnel Management are met. Within the Naval Service, the term "retirement" applies to officers who complete the period of service required by their respective commissions. For officers of the trained strength, recommendations for termination of a commission must generally be reviewed by the Admiralty Board.
Other types of discharges include:
Enlisting in the US military generally entails an eight-year commitment, served with a combination of active and reserve service.Individuals who voluntarily separate from active duty with fewer than eight years normally fulfill the balance of their term in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). In the U.S., discharge or separation is not military retirement; personnel who serve for 20 years or longer are retired, and are transferred to the Retired Reserve. Members who are seriously disabled are also retired, referred to as a Medical Retirement, rather than discharged.
Typical reasons for discharge:
If discharged administratively for any of the above reasons, the service member normally receives an honorable discharge, a general (under honorable conditions) discharge, or an Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharge service characterization.
To receive an honorable discharge, a service member must have received a rating from good to excellent for their service. Service members who meet or exceed the required standards of duty performance and personal conduct, and who complete their tours of duty, normally receive honorable discharges. A dishonorable discharge (DD) is handed down for an offense the military considers the most reprehensible conduct. This type of discharge may be rendered only by conviction at a general court-martial for serious offenses (e.g., desertion, sexual assault, murder, etc.) that call for dishonorable discharge as part of the sentence.
Career U.S. military members who retire are not separated or discharged. Upon retirement, officers and enlisted personnel are transferred to the Retired Reserve. Until they reach age 60, they are subject to recall to active duty by order of the president. In addition, a military member who becomes disabled due to an injury or illness is medically retired if: 1) The member is determined to be unfit "... to perform duties of the member's office, grade, rank or rating ..."; 2) Whose disability is determined to be permanent and stable; 3) Is either rated at a minimum of 30% disabled, or the member has 20 years of military service. Medical retirees are transferred to the Retired Reserve with the same retired pay and benefits as 20+ year retirees. Medically retired personnel are not subject to recall to active duty.
Entry level separations, which are accompanied by an uncharacterized discharge, are given to individuals who separate prior to completing 180 days of military service or when discharge action was initiated prior to 180 days of service. The vast majority of these administrative separations occur during Recruit training or "boot camp". This type of discharge (over 19,000 in 2019) does not attempt to characterize service as good or bad. Rather, an uncharacterized discharge is the absence of a characterization of service, as the individual being discharged does not have sufficient time in service in order to fairly characterize the individual's service. However, this type of discharge often attaches a reason such as pregnancy, performance in training, or medical issues. An individual with an ELS may, under certain conditions, be allowed to re-enlist in the military.
In the past decade, the military services have been misusing uncharacterized discharges to administratively separate tenured junior enlisted military members (those with more than 180 days of service) in order to bypass Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)-sanctioned legal due process such as non-judicial punishment and court martial.[ citation needed ] As an uncharacterized discharge comes with no Veterans' benefits (to include the GI Bill), the administrative separation of a military member in this manner (nearly 600 in 2019) amounts to extrajudicial punishment, which is counter to the United States Bill of Rights, the UCMJ, and a host of State laws.[ citation needed ] The only other discharge that results in the loss of all benefits is a Dishonorable Discharge, administered following a court martial. Thus, a tenured junior military member (one to eight years of active service) administratively separated with an uncharacterized discharge in the absence of legal due process places the member in the same post-military benefits category as service members convicted of only the most serious crimes including murder, rape, and treason.[ citation needed ]
This practice is reminiscent of the Blue discharge that was used during World Wars I and II to selectively separate Black and gay members of the armed forces. The use of the Blue discharge was discontinued in 1947 following a campaign led by the Pittsburgh Courier .
During the drafting of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, the House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Elaine Luria's amendment to accompany H.R.6395 that required the United States Armed Forces to report on the number of service members subject to the misuse of the uncharacterized discharge since 2001.However, the amendment was removed by the Senate.
To receive an honorable discharge, a service member must have received a rating from good to excellent for their service. Service members who meet or exceed the required standards of duty performance and personal conduct, and who complete their tours of duty, normally receive honorable discharges. However, one need not complete a term of service to receive an honorable discharge, provided the reason for involuntary discharge is not due to misconduct. For instance, service members rendered physically or psychologically incapable of performing assigned duties normally have their service characterized as honorable, regardless of whether they incurred the condition or disability in the line of duty, provided they otherwise met or exceeded standards. Similarly, service members selected for involuntary discharge due to a Reduction in Force (RIF) typically receive an honorable discharge, assuming their conduct while on active duty met or exceeded standards. Individuals with honorable discharges may, under certain circumstances, be allowed to re-enter military service.
AR 635-200, para 9–4. "Characterization of service or description of separation The service of Soldiers discharged under this section will be characterized as honorable or under honorable conditions unless the Soldier is in entry-level status and an uncharacterized description of service is required. An honorable discharge is mandated in any case in which the Government initially introduces into the final discharge process limited use evidence as defined by AR 600–85, paragraph 6–4. (See para 2–6h for procedures for reinitiation or rehearing, if appropriate.)"
General discharges are given to service members whose performance is satisfactory but is marked by a slight departure in duty performance and conduct expected of military members. Reasons for such a characterization of service vary, from medical discharges to misconduct, and are utilized by the unit commander as a means to correct unacceptable behavior prior to initiating discharge action (unless the reason is drug abuse, in which case discharge is mandatory). A commander must disclose the reasons for the discharge action in writing to the service member, and must explain reasons for recommending the service be characterized as General (Under Honorable Conditions). The service member is normally required to sign a statement acknowledging receipt and understanding of the notification of pending discharge memorandum. The person is also advised of the right to seek counsel and present supporting statements.
In addition, service members are required to sign documents acknowledging that "substantial prejudice in civilian life" may be encountered under a general discharge.A general discharge may or may not preclude a veteran's participation in the GI Bill, service on veterans' commissions, and other programs for which an honorable discharge is required, but is eligible for VA disability and most other benefits. Illinois prohibits discrimination against a veteran from housing or employment on the basis of unfavorable discharge from military service per the Human Rights Act of 1970. This Illinois protection does not apply to lower types of discharge.
An Other Than Honorable Discharge represents a significant departure from the conduct and performance expected of all military members.
Generally, in order to receive VA benefits and services, the veteran’s character of discharge or service must be under "other than dishonorable" conditions (i.e., honorable, under honorable conditions, or general) as stated by law (Title 38, United States Code). However, individuals receiving an other-than-honorable or bad conduct discharge will have their service reviewed and if certain statutory and regulatory bars do not apply they will be allowed access to VA benefits and services. See 32 C.F.R. 3.12. The VA adjudication of a person's service characterization, including examination of these bars, is called a "Character of Discharge" (COD) review (sometimes referred to as a "Character of Service Determination (CSD)"), as defined by 38 USC 5305B.
Veterans with an OTH discharge and considered Honorable for VA purposes may apply for the full enrollment in the VA. Assuming other eligibility criteria are met, they will receive the medical package, disability benefits, vocational programs, and other wrap-around services. Once the VA has deemed an OTH "Honorable for VA Purposes" it is similar to having a General discharge in terms of benefits and services.
Veterans must have an Honorable discharge from the Department of Defense in order to use the GI Bill. "Honorable for VA Purposes" is not the same and does not qualify for education benefits. However, even if someone has a less-than-fully honorable discharge, they may have other periods of service that qualify them for the education benefits.
Veterans with Other Than Honorable discharges who are deemed "Dishonorable for VA Purposes" because of a regulatory bar may still qualify for health care for a service-connected condition or injury only. If the veteran is barred due to a statutory condition, this limited health care is not available.
(Veterans with a Bad Conduct Discharge will not be eligible for health care, even with a positive Character of Discharge review; they will only be eligible for disability benefits. They are barred by statute from receiving VA health care. Further, veterans with a Bad Conduct Discharge received by a general court-martial are not eligible for a COD review.)
By Presidential Proclamation 4313,President Gerald Ford created a procedure for those military personnel who resisted the Vietnam War to receive a Presidential Pardon and have their punitive discharges changed to a Clemency Discharge. It also provided a path for those who left the country to return. If the military personnel fulfilled certain requirements of alternative service, they would also receive a Certificate of Completion from the Selective Service System.
Punitive discharges constitute conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.
A Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD), colloquially referred to as a "big chicken dinner", from the initialism,(it is also referred to as "Big Crazy Duck") can only be given by a court-martial (either special or general) as a punishment for an enlisted service member. Bad conduct discharges are often preceded by a period of confinement in a military prison. The discharge itself is not executed until completion of both confinement and the appellate review process.
Virtually all veterans' benefits are forfeited by a Bad Conduct Discharge; BCD recipients are not eligible for VA disability compensation unless they were discharged via special court-martial and the VA determines that their service was "Honorable for VA Purposes" in accordance with 38 CFR 3.12. Even then, these veterans are barred from health care by law.
A dishonorable discharge (DD) can only be handed down to a military member by a general court-martial. Dishonorable discharges are handed down for what the military considers the most reprehensible conduct. This type of discharge may be rendered only by conviction at a general court-martial for very serious offenses (e.g., treason, espionage, desertion, sexual assault, murder) that call for dishonorable discharge as part of the sentence.
With this characterization of service, all veterans' benefits are lost, regardless of any past honorable service, and this type of discharge is regarded as shameful in the military. In many states a dishonorable discharge is deemed the equivalent of a felony conviction, with attendant loss of civil rights. In some states, those who have been dishonorably discharged may also be barred from voting, holding office or doing jury service because they were discharged as the result of a felony conviction.Additionally, US federal law prohibits possession of firearms or ammunition by those who have been dishonorably discharged per the Gun Control Act of 1968, and being dishonorably discharged is as well a disqualifying question on the Form 4473, which must be completed and signed to purchase a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) and will result in a denial by the Brady background check that must be performed and passed to allow a sale.
According to the Department of Defense, of 207,000 service members that were discharged in 2014, more than 18,000 (9%) were issued less-than-honorable paperwork, including 4,143 (2.0%) other-than-honorable discharges, 637 (0.31%) bad conduct discharges, and 157 (0.08%) dishonorable discharges. Between 2000 and 2014, 352,000 people in all were handed similar papers, ranging from general discharge to bad conduct and dishonorable discharge.
Commissioned officers cannot be reduced in rank by a court-martial, nor can they be given a bad conduct discharge or a dishonorable discharge. If an officer is convicted by a general court-martial, then that officer's sentence can include a "dismissal", a separation carrying the same consequences as a dishonorable discharge for an enlisted person and a reduction in rank to the last rank at which the officer served satisfactorily. A US Treasury decision states that even though an officer is dismissed rather than dishonorably discharged, the phrase "discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions" is broad enough to include a dismissal rendered for an officer by a general court-martial, and thus a dismissed officer is also prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law, in the same manner as a dishonorably discharged enlisted person. [ verification needed ]
If a court-martial convicts an officer but imposes a sentence that does not include a dismissal, the secretary of the officer's service branch may drop that officer from the roll (official list) of officers in that branch. Such a separation is characterized as administrative rather than punitive.
After discharge, a service member (or their next-of-kin, if the service member is deceased) can appeal the type of discharge that was given.
The member must file form DD-293 if discharged within 15 years, or form DD-149 if over 15 years ago. The forms are significantly different and go to the Discharge Review Board (DRB) and the Board for correction of military records (BCMR) respectively. [ citation needed ] 10 U.S.C. §§ 1552 – 1553 provide the law for this action.
The service member (or their next of kin if the service member is deceased) must submit evidence for error, impropriety or inequity in discharge. Most requests are rejected,with a change authorized only if it can be proven the service member was unfairly denied an honorable characterization.
Any punitive discharge adjudged by a Court-Martial is automatically reviewed by a military appellate court for each respective branch. These are the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA), Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA), Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCCA), and the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals (CGCCA). These courts are staffed by appellate military judges and function as an intermediate appellate court and have the power to review de novo both any questions of legal error and the factual basis of the conviction. If either the government or the accused is dissatisfied with the results of this appeal, the conviction or the sentence can be appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF). This court has the power of discretionary review, in that it can in some cases deny a petition to grant a review. This court however must hear any death penalty cases or cases certified by the Judge Advocate General of each respective service for appellate review. Litigants before the CAAF can appeal to the United States Supreme Court. However, this right only applies to any case that the CAAF has reviewed. Therefore, in most military justice cases, the CAAF is the court of last resort since a denial of a petition of review by that court prevents higher appeal.
Servicemembers who are given a punitive discharge and have completed any adjudged confinement are normally placed on appellate leave pending final review of their cases by the appellate courts. This includes members who plead guilty at their courts-martial since all cases are automatically reviewed. The member is considered on active duty and is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice while on appellate leave. While the member is entitled to full health care benefits and other privileges of being on active duty, the member receives no pay or allowances and is relieved of any military duties.
A service member who was adjudged a punitive discharge at a court martial and then dies before the appellate review process is complete is considered to have died on active duty under honorable conditions. Their next-of-kin is then entitled to any rights and benefits to which any other service member's family would be entitled.
Once discharge is finalized, General, Entry-Level/Uncharacterized, and Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (UOTHC or OTH) discharges may be appealed for upgrade through the Discharge Review Board of the respective service; however, the appeal must be filed within 15 years of the date of separation, and it must be shown that the characterization of service was the result of an error or injustice. Bad Conduct Discharges handed down by a Special Court-Martial may be upgraded only as an act of clemency. Discharge Review Boards may also consider appeals for a change to the Narrative Reason for Discharge (in Block 28 of DD 214). The DRB does not consider a request for the change of a Reenlistment Eligibility (RE) or Separation Designator (SPD) Code by itself, but they are often changed to correspond with the new characterization of service and/or narrative reason for discharge if a discharge is upgraded.
If more than 15 years have passed since discharge, appeals must be directed to the Board For Correction of Military/Naval Records of the respective service. The BCM/NR hears a wide array of appeals and correction requests, and can be utilized by Active Duty, Reserve, National Guard, retired and discharged veterans alike. Normally, an appeal must be filed within three years of the occurrence of an error or injustice; however, exceptions are often made.
In the United States, every service member who is discharged or released from active duty is issued a DD Form 214 and a military discharge certificate (denoting the discharge type, such as Honorable). A reservist who is called to active duty is given a DD 214 when he or she is deactivated and returned to the reserves. Those who are discharged before completing 8 years of active duty or reserve duty in an active drilling status are transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) for the remainder of their military service obligations (MSO). The Individual Ready Reserve does not drill or receive pay; however, a member in IRR status can be recalled to active duty during time of war or national emergency until the 8 years have expired. Most members separating with an honorable discharge after completing a single term of service (typically 3–6 years) are transferred to the IRR for the remainder of the 8-year MSO. Retirees are furnished with the DD 214, though a U.S. military retirement is not characterized as a discharge as retirees may be recalled to active duty, under certain circumstances, until they have achieved a total of 30 years of service.
The DD 214 is a complete documentation of military service. It contains everything from total time in service, dates of entry and discharge, dates of rank, documentation of foreign service, ribbons, medals and badges awarded, professional military education completed, characterization of service, and reason for discharge (among other things). In responses to job applications, many employers request a copy of the DD 214. There are two DD 214 types: the edited (or "short") version, and the unedited (or "long") version. The edited version omits certain information, including the reason for discharge.
Employers often request the unedited version, but the legality of this is debatable in certain situations. It can be denied, especially if the "long" version references facts that violate the right to privacy or could be used in a discriminatory fashion (such as non-relevant psychological, medical, or disability issues) explicitly cited as illegal by federal or state hiring laws. For example, the Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination due to unfavorable discharge. A service member may request the edited, unedited, or both versions on separation.
Since the 1970s, an honorably discharged veteran receives a frameable certificate (DD 256). A similar one is issued to someone granted a general discharge (DD 257). For each certificate, one or more letters after the number indicate the branch of service that issued it. For example, a "256A" is awarded by the Army. Other certificates for long service, or to eligible spouses of veterans, may also be presented.
The Freedom of Information Act has made (limited) records of military service available to the public, on request. However, information protected by the Privacy Act of 1974 can be released only with the veteran's consent.
During wartime the American military have often issued special insignia to honorably discharged veterans to wear on their uniforms to distinguish them from local service personnel or deserters.
The Army issued red Discharge Chevrons during and after World War One (1917–1919) that were worn point-up on the lower right sleeve of the tunic or overcoat. Just before and just after World War Two (September 1939 – December 1946) the Army issued the Honorable Discharge Insignia (or "Ruptured Duck"). It was an eagle in a circle badge sewn in yellow thread on an olive drab diamond that was worn over the right breast pocket on the "Class A" dress tunic.
The Marine Corps issued an Honorable Discharge Lapel Button from 1916 to the present that was meant to be worn with civilian clothes. During World War II from 1941 to 1945 a contrasting diamond worn on the lower right sleeve with the Dress Blues or Dress Whites (a white diamond on the Dress Blues and a blue diamond on the Dress Whites) by retired Marines. A white diamond was worn on the upper right shoulder (like a Distinctive Unit Insignia) on the Service Green or Service Khaki "Alphas" and the overcoat by discharged Marines.
In 1945 the Navy and Marine Corps adopted the Army's "Ruptured Duck" insignia to handle the large number of discharged service people at the end of the war.[ citation needed ]
Another important aspect is the RE (Reenlistment Eligibility) Code. This specifies under what conditions the member can reenlist in the armed forces. The definition of each RE Code may vary from Service to Service, as currently it is the responsibility of each branch of the Armed Forces to establish reenlistment eligibility criteria. As a general rule, however, an RE Code in the "1" series allows reenlistment into any component of the Armed Forces, and an RE Code in the "3" series usually lets the veteran reenlist with a waiver. RE Codes in the "2" series often place restrictions on reenlistment: this is especially true in the Air Force, which has a policy permanently barring airmen separated from the Air Force with an RE Code 2 from reenlisting in the Air Force (though reenlistment into other components of the Armed Forces may be possible with a waiver). An RE Code in the "4" series typically bars reenlistment into any component of the Armed Forces. (It is possible for a person with an RE Code of 4 to enlist in the Navy or Air Force if the SPD Code and the Narrative Reasoning is waivable.) A veteran issued an RE Code in the "4" series usually requires an Exception to Policy waiver to reenlist.
The Department of Veterans Affairs uses different criteria from the Departments of the Air Force, Army, and Navy when establishing veteran status. VA benefits can sometimes be enjoyed if the veteran's service was under "other than dishonorable" conditions. An example of this would be the VA's health care and home loan programs.
The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the G.I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for some of the returning World War II veterans. The original G.I. Bill expired in 1956, but the term "G.I. Bill" is still used to refer to programs created to assist some of the U.S. military veterans.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice is the foundation of military law in the United States. It was established by the United States Congress in accordance with the authority given by the United States Constitution in Article I, Section 8, which provides that "The Congress shall have Power....To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces".
The National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) is a service award of the United States Armed Forces established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. It is awarded to every member of the US Armed Forces who has served during any one of four specified periods of armed conflict or national emergency from 1950 to the present. Combat or "in theater" service is not a requirement for the award.
The Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) is a category of the Ready Reserve of the Reserve Component of the Armed Forces of the United States composed of former active duty or reserve military personnel. Its governing statute is codified at 10 U.S.C. § 10144. For soldiers in the National Guard of the United States, its counterpart is the Inactive National Guard (ING). As of 22 June 2004, the IRR had approximately 112,000 members composed of enlisted personnel and officers, with more than 200 Military Occupational Specialties are represented, including combat arms, combat support, and combat service support.
The Good Conduct Medal is one of the oldest military awards of the United States Armed Forces. The U.S. Navy's variant of the Good Conduct Medal was established in 1869, the Marine Corps version in 1896, the Coast Guard version in 1923, the Army version in 1941, and the Air Force version in 1963; the Air Force Good Conduct Medal was temporarily discontinued from February 2006 to February 2009, followed by its subsequent reinstatement.
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), headquartered at Fort Lee (Virginia), is an agency of the United States Department of Defense (DoD) that operates nearly 240 commissaries worldwide. American military commissaries sell groceries and household goods to active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and retired members of all eight uniformed services of the United States and eligible members of their families at cost plus surcharge, saving authorized patrons thousands of dollars compared to civilian supermarkets.
In the U.S. armed forces, separation means that a person is leaving active duty, but not necessarily leaving the service entirely. Separation typically occurs when someone reaches the date of their Expiration of Term of Service (ETS) and are released from active duty, but still must complete their military reserve obligations. Upon separation, they receive form DD214, which verifies their military service.
Courts-martial of the United States are trials conducted by the U.S. military or by state militaries. Most commonly, courts-martial are convened to try members of the U.S. military for criminal violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which is the U.S. military's criminal code. However, they can also be convened for other purposes, including military tribunals and the enforcement of martial law in an occupied territory. Federal courts-martial are governed by the rules of procedure and evidence laid out in the Manual for Courts-Martial, which contains the Rules for Courts-Martial, Military Rules of Evidence, and other guidance. State courts-martial are governed according to the laws of the state concerned. The American Bar Association has issued a Model State Code of Military Justice, which has influenced the relevant laws and procedures in some states.
The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It is responsible for administering the Department's programs that provide financial and other forms of assistance to veterans, their dependents, and survivors. Major benefits include Veterans' compensation, Veterans' pension, survivors' benefits, rehabilitation and employment assistance, education assistance, home loan guaranties, and life insurance coverage.
The Officer Qualification Record (OQR), NAVMC 123a, is one of the best sources of information concerning US Marine officers. It is similar to the enlisted Service Record Book (SRB) with only minor differences. This "record presents a cumulative and concise summary of basic events in the officer's career from the time of acceptance of appointment to separation. The OQR also serves as the basis for reporting information into the Marine Corps Total Force System and provides commanders with background information to assist them in officer personnel planning and assignment."
The DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, generally referred to as a "DD 214", is a document of the United States Department of Defense, issued upon a military service member's retirement, separation, or discharge from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Armed Forces Recreation Centers (AFRCs) are a chain of Joint Service Facility resorts hotels owned by the United States Department of Defense to provide rest and relaxation in the form of lodging and outdoor recreation for United States military service members, US military retirees and other authorized patrons.
A blue discharge was a form of administrative military discharge formerly issued by the United States beginning in 1916. It was neither honorable nor dishonorable. The blue ticket became the discharge of choice for commanders seeking to remove homosexual service members from the ranks. They were also issued disproportionately to African Americans.
The United States military formerly excluded gay men, bisexuals, and lesbians from service. In 1993, the United States Congress passed, and President William "Bill" Clinton signed a law instituting the policy commonly referred to as "Don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) which allowed gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to serve as long as they did not reveal their sexual orientation. Although there were isolated instances in which service personnel were met with limited success through lawsuits, efforts to end the ban on openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual people serving either legislatively, or through the courts initially proved unsuccessful.
The Physical Evaluation Board ("PEB") is a board within each military service that "determine[s] the fitness of Service members with medical conditions to perform their military duties and, for members determined unfit because of duty-related impairments, their eligibility for benefits pursuant to chapter 61 of Reference (c) [10 USC Chapter 61]...Service members may appeal the decision of the PEB. The PEB process includes the informal physical evaluation board, formal physical evaluation board and appellate review of PEB results."
In July 2008 the Post-9/11 GI Bill was signed into law, creating a new robust education benefits program rivaling the WWII Era GI Bill of Rights. The new Post 9/11 GI Bill, which went into effect on August 1, 2009, provides education benefits for service members who served on active duty for 90 or more days since September 10, 2001. These benefits are tiered based on the number of days served on active duty, creating a benefit package that gives current and previously activated National Guard and Reserve members the same benefits as active duty servicemembers.
American Armed Forces Mutual Aid Association (AAFMAA) is a Virginia-based not-for-profit, tax-exempt, member-owned association that provides diversified financial services, including life insurance, investing and trust services, mortgage services, and survivor services to the U.S. Armed Forces communities. At the end of 2019, membership exceeded 85,000
The Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) is an identification card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for eligible veterans to receive medical care at VA Medical Facilities. The VHIC protects the privacy of veterans' sensitive information, as it no longer displays the Social Security number or date of birth on the front of the card. The VHIC will only display the veteran's name, picture, and special eligibility indicators—Service Connected, Purple Heart and former POW, if applicable, on the front of the card. Only veterans who are eligible for VA medical benefits will receive the card. Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, the Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act allows Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war and veterans with service-connected disabilities entry onto military installations to use the AAFES Exchange; commissary and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities.
A military funeral in the United States is a memorial or burial rite conducted by the United States Armed Forces for a Soldier, Marine, Sailor, Coast Guardsman, or Airman who died in battle, a veteran, or other prominent military figures or a president. A military funeral may feature guards of honor, the firing of volley shots as a salute, drumming and other military elements, with a flag draping over the coffin.
The Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is an identification card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to former military personnel as part of the Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015. The VIC allows veterans to demonstrate proof of service without the need for carrying their DD214, namely for discounts on goods and services offered by private individuals or organizations to veterans.