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How to Get Out of the Army Part 1
I DON'T WANT ANYONE TO LEAVE THE MILITARY UNTIL THEY'VE FINISHED THEIR COMMITMENT. However the only thing worse than turning your back on your country is doing so in the most destructive, disgraceful and disruptive ways possible.
There is no reason to make things difficult when the Army already has a set of procedures in place designed to let you go. I've served in the Army so what I know applies to this branch only. Similar policies may be in place throughout the Armed Forces but I just don't know them.
So, what do I know? I was a medic in the US Army. I've seen recruits and trainees shaking with excitement and fear. Most take this and make something of themselves. Some don't. Those who don't think they can get discharged by "being crazy." Don't even think about it because nothing can be further from the truth.
How to get out of the Army
So you just signed up but you decided it's not for you. That's OK. Some people just won't cut it. Moving forward will only embarrass yourself, your family, your country, your dog and everyone who ever shook your hand. Who needs that? This doesn't mean you're weak or spineless, it just means that you don't belong in the Army.
Leaving the Army is easier than you think. Instead of doing something dangerous to yourself and others, keep reading and you'll be back home playing Skyrim before you know it!
Step 1: Do you really want out?
Do you really want out?
Why else would you be reading this? Fair enough. Everyone has asked you this and now I'm asking you. Seriously think it over for a minute. This is the most important decision of your life. Adjusting to a new culture, building character and seeing new things will be part of the human experience wherever you go. That's why it's tough.
There are countless of reasons to stay. Your recruiter and friends have told you some. Then there are the reasons that nobody tells you. These reasons are still valid. So think it over because once you start the discharge process there's no turning back.
If you're not sure, if you're on the fence, give it another day. And then another. Why not stick around? You won't regret it!
Step 2: Still reading?
OK, let's get started. There are many places a potential trainee might reconsider. Each scenario requires different procedures. For example...
If you are reading this you have internet access. This means there's a good chance you are still a civilian and haven't shipped off. That's good. If you haven't signed anything then you're fine. Tell your recruiter that you changed your mind. He will feel a sting but he'll understand. He gets this all the time.
With the economy the way it is he has more people to sign up than he knows what to do with. Even when the economy picks up he'll still have others to sign up. After all, some folks always have it tough. He might follow up with you later on just to make sure your decision is final. If so, take a break from the Xbox and tell him you've made up your mind.
Or maybe you already signed something. That's fine also. It's not the end of the world. Again just tell your recruiter you changed your mind. He'll be annoyed but he knows it's better than you jumping ship after you shipped off.
Oh, wait! You signed something, didn't you? Your recruiter will bring that up. He'll call you again and again. He'll come to your house and spray you with a lot of legalese and military regulations.
He might bring another, higher-ranking person to do the same. He might even bring a JAG (judge advocate general or military lawyer). He might get loud. He might threaten you with jail or to sue you or all kinds of things.
Don't sweat it because he can't. Think about it. You didn't violate any Army regulation because you're not in the Army! The Army doesn't own you until you ship out. See, once you ship out there is a lot more stuff to sign that basically means you're in. If you didn't ship off then you haven't signed it!
In the very, very worst case scenario there might be a breach of contract but the recruiter won't sue you. Why?
First, court is a headache. He has to get a lawyer, you have to get a lawyer, and on and on. He doesn't have the time for this. He has a job to do. He's not going to ask his commander for tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to ask a civilian judge to uphold a contract some kid signed. In fact, in the time takes your recruiter to give this idea a second thought, he could have enlisted three or four people.
Second, it would be a massive PR headache. The media will jump all over this. The Internets will be abuzz. The entire military will be demonized. Every young person thinking about enlisting will suddenly run for the hills. Every recruiter in the country will have it 100x times worse. This disaster can last for decades. Nobody needs that, not in a time of never-ending war. He knows this and so does his entire chain of command.
Either way, be polite and stand your ground. Don't panic. If you're parents and loved ones support your decision then it will be much easier.
Step 3: Congratulations! You're free!
And that's it. You're finished. The dust has settled and you're still a civilian. Don't feel any guilt and don't look back. Move on with your life. And don't ever, ever talk to another recruiter again!
What? You want more?
You're a civilian, remember? It doesn't apply to you. If you want to know more, then that means you're either curious about the Army or you want to know the way out once you're a trainee. Wait, are you a trainee? You want to know how to get out once you're completely in-processed and started training? For real? OK, then click here.
To everyone else: Thanks for reading! Go Army!
This is what you missed...
Not everyone who joins the Army goes Airborne (I didn't) but this is just one of the awesome things you'll miss as a civilian.
Hey High Speed! Cheer up!
Just because you didn't join the Army doesn't mean you can't have a laugh. Take a look at the book here
For more information...
- The Delayed Entry Program (DEP) Discharge
For the nitty-gritty about getting out of your contract before you ship off, click on the link above.