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Orange County Bar Association

Voluntary Separations in the United States Military

Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo
Active Duty Service Member

Military service members who have signed a contract and are currently on active duty in the United States Military can request a voluntary separation from their branch of service. Each service permits such a voluntary request for separation. In the Navy the individual can be separated under Section 1910-120 of the Military Personnel Manual and in the Army the separation can occur under AR 635-40 of the Army Military Personnel Manual.

The member can ask to be separated for virtually any reason. The manuals list potential reasons for separation to include sleep walking, bed wetting, pain associated from having to shave daily and anxiety. However, the servicemember is not limited to the conditions on the list; any reason may be given to request this type of discharge. Notably, if you are separated under this section you will not be medically discharged. Generally the reasons for separation under these sections may make it difficult for you to serve but do not amount to a problem that the military is responsible for causing.

The way the process works is that the service member fills out a form (or has an attorney do it for him/her) listing the reason(s) for separation and then submits it to his/her command. Discretion to discharge the individual lies with the Command. The individual should have the help of a lawyer so as to better express why the person’s condition requires a separation.

Assuming that the reason for the separation request is legitimate then the individual should be separated with an honorable discharge although that is also up to the Command. The likelihood of success for the individual depends on the needs of the Command at the time the request is made. If the Military is trying to downsize (which is the current situation) or that particular military job is already well represented in the unit then it should be easier to have a discharge request granted. On the other hand, if the unit or the military in general is struggling to retain personnel then it will be much harder to get discharged. Consult with Mr. Will Bruzzo for more information about your particular case.

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