How can I get out of the Military?

Resigning From The Military

Gang Activity in the Military
An unidentified military member flashes gang signs.. FBI Investigative Photo

Resigning honorably from the military is typically reserved for those members who have fulfilled their contract or paid back their obligations of service.  Officers typically have obligations of service (OBLISERV) as many receive scholarships and free college at a variety of ROTC schools or Service Academies (Naval Academy, Air Force Academy, Military Academy (West Point), Coast Guard Academy) or other officer / college tuition programs.

So simply getting out of the military after you have signed a contract to serve, is unlikely unless you are medically disqualified, injured, commit a felony, or other actions that bring discredit to the military.  In other words, most of the time it is not a good thing to get out of your contract to serve.  

Here is a common question however about the process of getting out of the military earlier than your commitment:

Question: How can I get out of the Military?

Answer: Quite simply, you can't (honorably) in most cases. When you joined the military, you signed a contract that committed you for a certain amount of time (usually 4 years of active duty, followed by 4 years of inactive duty). It's not a regular job where you simply quit anytime you want to.

There are some programs that allow early separation, but they are very specific. Such programs are early separation to join a commissioning program, valid hardship reasons (such as a member of your family is dying), early separation (up to a year early) to join the Guard or the Reserves, early separation (usually up to six months early) to enter a college program.

For details, see the article links below

There are some ways one can be discharged from active duty, but none of them involve "just quitting:"

While you can't just quit anytime you want, the military can throw you out, if you fail to meet or maintain standards. This is called an "involuntary administrative discharge." Everything from felony crime, poor performance, failing fitness tests, failing academic job qualifications tests, major illness, long term unauthorized absence, and many other things can get you kicked out of the military.  Many may bring an Other Than Honorable or Dishonorable Discharge to your record and this can affect you for many years to come.  

The best advice is to do your time.  Try an inter-service transfer if you think you would be more interested in another service, but in the end it is up to you to fulfill your end of the contract as the military is to fulfill its end by providing your work, health care, dental, meals and lodging for the term of time you enlisted.


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