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Old 07-03-2005, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Scranton PA
Posts: 6,478
Dishonerable Discharge- Can you re-enlist in another service branch?

Imagine I was dishonorably discharged from the Army. Can I enlist in the Air Force, Navy or Marines?

I haven't been (I've never been in the service), I'm just curious.
Old 07-04-2005, 05:48 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 87
Generally, the answer is no. A dishonorable discharge renders you ineligible for all benefits and except in the most unusual circumstances would indicate to the other services your unfitness for duty.
Old 07-04-2005, 05:50 AM
Straight Dope Science Advisory Board
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Between the Moon and NYC
Posts: 13,023
Heck, I've got a general under honorable discharge, and I can't re-enlist, not that I'd want to. I have a code on my DD-214 that won't let me.

So re-enlistment is a privilege, not an automatic right.

Old 07-04-2005, 08:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,998
I saw "Dishonorable Discharge" in the Thread title and I just popped in to see if there were any Onanism jokes.

Seems there aren't.

Carry on.
Old 07-04-2005, 10:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Akron, OH
Posts: 5,484
Have you seen the list of things you get a dishonorable discharge for?
It's long, and all of the stuff on it is basically "criminal" as far as the Department of Defense is concerned, although some of the items on there wouldn't get a civillian in any trouble. (I can back-talk my boss all I want... I just get escorted out of the building. Do that in the Marines and see what happens.)
Most discharges for things that aren't morally repugnant or cowardly won't be labelled "dishonorable", they'll be in other categories. The other categories sound like "Undesirable" and "Unqualified".

By the way, this quote may explain the answer to the OP's question:
"The biggest hurdle (for many) prior service is the re-enlistment eligibility code (RE Code) that the service placed on their DD Form 214 (Record of Discharge) at the time of their separation. In general, if the RE Code is "1," there are no bars to enlistment. If the RE Code is "2" for the Air Force, that person is ineligible to re-enlist in the Air Force, but might be allowed to enlist in another branch of the military, with restrictions. If the RE Code is "2" for any of the other services, the person might be eligible to enlist in either the same service or another service, with restrictions. If the RE Code is "3," the individual might be able to re-join their service or enlist in another service with a waiver (depending on the reason for the discharge). If the RE Code is "4," the individual is ineligible for re-enlistment or enlistment in another service."
Old 07-04-2005, 03:35 PM
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Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Beijing, China
Posts: 21,715
The reason that "all of the stuff [for which one may get a dishonorable discharge] is criminal" is that the DD may only be awarded (yeah, I love the military's terminology for certain things) as part of a sentence at a court-martial. You can check the Manuals for Courts-Martial, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the MILPERSMAN for more info.

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