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Needanswers

I created a throwaway account for help with this situation as I haven't found a good answer elsewhere and could use some help.

I am currently a 2nd year Internal Medicine resident in the process of being discharged from the national guard and being told there is potential that it will be an other than honorable discharge.

My background is this. My national guard obligation started via ROTC scholarship in college. I was lucky enough to get accepted to a US allopathic med school immediately following college and chose to go into the guard as a non-deployable medical student rather than pursue ed delay or hpsp based on advice from peers as well as this forum. My ROTC experience was complicated by a diagnosis of major depression and being prescribed an SSRI for 6 months. I did report this to my unit and a medical waiver was sent, which eventually got approved but with the caveat that my commissioning to be an officer would be delayed by 6 months following graduation from college so that I would be off the medication long enough. Due to this, I did not attend BOLC the summer following 1st year of medical school as by the time I had commissioned all summer spots had filled, and ultimately did not find a block of time to complete BOLC during the rest of medical school due to step exams and rotations. I had seen other med students and residents put off BOLC indefinitely so I thought it would not be an issue.

Drilling with the guard during medical school was mostly uncomplicated, but issues started following the start of my intern year. I matched into a program in a neighboring state from where I did medical school. I was coded AWOL for missing 2 consecutive drills in early fall without notifying leadership at my old unit. This caught me off guard, as I and other students had missed drill due to weekend call without necessarily notifying the guard leadership and did not get any violations. I spoke with the leadership about this and it was agreed that in the event I could not make drill in the future I could either submit CME credits or split drill with a unit in the state and that we would work on officially transferring me to an in state unit which I had intended to do but residency obligation caught up with me. Did not get further AWOL codes.

Unfortunately, when my unit submitted the paperwork for inter state transfer, someone from state reviewed my case and determined that based on not completing BOLC within 36 months of commissioning and not producing paperwork to start the timer on BOLC over (honestly wasn't even aware I was expected to do this) that I should be discharged. It is apparently too late to just submit that paperwork now. I have been in close contact with my leadership and the character of the discharge is still to be determined by higher but that most soldiers with this situation get an OTH discharge.

Just to clarify, no criminal charges whatsoever, no positive drug screens, no accusations of misconduct. Not attending BOLC is the only reason for the discharge with the 2 AWOL drill periods as secondary, though I was told even if the AWOLs had not happened I would still be discharged. They also say they can help transfer me to the IRR to complete my ROTC obligation after the discharge is final.

I am very confused by all this and my main concern is how I can expect this to affect me going forward when it comes to further work as a physician. I have the opportunity to draft a memo to submit to state describing my side of the situation but was told the likelihood of affecting things is limited, though I still plan to submit anyway.
If it is relevant at all, I am at a decent academic program and I have performed above average on residency evaluations so far and my ambition is to do a fellowship in pulm/critical care following residency or be a hospitalist.

I realize this whole situation is partly my fault for not communicating more frequently with my unit on what I was required to do, but I honestly never dreamed it would lead to being discharged prematurely. Any input you have would be appreciated.
 

xffan624

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I created a throwaway account for help with this situation as I haven't found a good answer elsewhere and could use some help.

I am currently a 2nd year Internal Medicine resident in the process of being discharged from the national guard and being told there is potential that it will be an other than honorable discharge.

My background is this. My national guard obligation started via ROTC scholarship in college. I was lucky enough to get accepted to a US allopathic med school immediately following college and chose to go into the guard as a non-deployable medical student rather than pursue ed delay or hpsp based on advice from peers as well as this forum. My ROTC experience was complicated by a diagnosis of major depression and being prescribed an SSRI for 6 months. I did report this to my unit and a medical waiver was sent, which eventually got approved but with the caveat that my commissioning to be an officer would be delayed by 6 months following graduation from college so that I would be off the medication long enough. Due to this, I did not attend BOLC the summer following 1st year of medical school as by the time I had commissioned all summer spots had filled, and ultimately did not find a block of time to complete BOLC during the rest of medical school due to step exams and rotations. I had seen other med students and residents put off BOLC indefinitely so I thought it would not be an issue.

Drilling with the guard during medical school was mostly uncomplicated, but issues started following the start of my intern year. I matched into a program in a neighboring state from where I did medical school. I was coded AWOL for missing 2 consecutive drills in early fall without notifying leadership at my old unit. This caught me off guard, as I and other students had missed drill due to weekend call without necessarily notifying the guard leadership and did not get any violations. I spoke with the leadership about this and it was agreed that in the event I could not make drill in the future I could either submit CME credits or split drill with a unit in the state and that we would work on officially transferring me to an in state unit which I had intended to do but residency obligation caught up with me. Did not get further AWOL codes.

Unfortunately, when my unit submitted the paperwork for inter state transfer, someone from state reviewed my case and determined that based on not completing BOLC within 36 months of commissioning and not producing paperwork to start the timer on BOLC over (honestly wasn't even aware I was expected to do this) that I should be discharged. It is apparently too late to just submit that paperwork now. I have been in close contact with my leadership and the character of the discharge is still to be determined by higher but that most soldiers with this situation get an OTH discharge.

Just to clarify, no criminal charges whatsoever, no positive drug screens, no accusations of misconduct. Not attending BOLC is the only reason for the discharge with the 2 AWOL drill periods as secondary, though I was told even if the AWOLs had not happened I would still be discharged. They also say they can help transfer me to the IRR to complete my ROTC obligation after the discharge is final.

I am very confused by all this and my main concern is how I can expect this to affect me going forward when it comes to further work as a physician. I have the opportunity to draft a memo to submit to state describing my side of the situation but was told the likelihood of affecting things is limited, though I still plan to submit anyway.
If it is relevant at all, I am at a decent academic program and I have performed above average on residency evaluations so far and my ambition is to do a fellowship in pulm/critical care following residency or be a hospitalist.

I realize this whole situation is partly my fault for not communicating more frequently with my unit on what I was required to do, but I honestly never dreamed it would lead to being discharged prematurely. Any input you have would be appreciated.
I have no idea about physician impact regarding OTH, but have you spoken military legal regarding this? They are there to help soldiers with problems and you want to make sure that there's not some more lenient option that could be available to you.
 

DeadCactus

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One big factor that isn't clear from your post is if you actually want to be in the Guard and go through the interstate transfer. Either way, go talk to the military lawyers. If you want to be in, talk to the medical leadership in your state.
 

sb247

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As I'm reasonably aware of someone who faced a similar situation. A waiver exists but requires someone really high up (sec army? I'm not sure). Again talk to your jag folks if you want to stay in...I would suggest really trying to avoid a dishonorable

On a side note, it doesn't necessarily sound like you want to be in or that you've really been "all about" this....that may be the impression you've relayed to your local leadership as well
 
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As I'm reasonably aware of someone who faced a similar situation. A waiver exists but requires someone really high up (sec army? I'm not sure). Again talk to your jag folks if you want to stay in...I would suggest really trying to avoid a dishonorable

On a side note, it doesn't necessarily sound like you want to be in or that you've really been "all about" this....that may be the impression you've relayed to your local leadership as well
You got me. I was burnt out on the idea of being a doc in the guard for various reasons long before this situation happened.
My leadership has told me while the character of the discharge is still up in the air the likelihood that it will be full on dishonorable is very low given that is usually for soldiers guilty of felonies and the like, especially since I've been timely with submitting CMEs and split training since the initial AWOL. From what I've read OTH and general discharge don't show up on background checks and most medical license forms ask about dishonorable discharge from military service but not other types of discharge, and I honestly wouldn't be particularly upset if I were limited from military medicine in the future.
I am mostly curious how I can expect civilian fellowships and jobs to respond to this and how I should phrase it in the memo I submit. If it would be unlikely to impact my medical career going forward, I honestly don't see myself fighting hard to stay in.
 

d2305

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The only time that one gets a dishonorable d/c is as a result of a court martial. An OTH or general d/c is possible, and not something one would want on one's DD 214.
 
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61November

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You got me. I was burnt out on the idea of being a doc in the guard for various reasons long before this situation happened.
My leadership has told me while the character of the discharge is still up in the air the likelihood that it will be full on dishonorable is very low given that is usually for soldiers guilty of felonies and the like, especially since I've been timely with submitting CMEs and split training since the initial AWOL. From what I've read OTH and general discharge don't show up on background checks and most medical license forms ask about dishonorable discharge from military service but not other types of discharge, and I honestly wouldn't be particularly upset if I were limited from military medicine in the future.
I am mostly curious how I can expect civilian fellowships and jobs to respond to this and how I should phrase it in the memo I submit. If it would be unlikely to impact my medical career going forward, I honestly don't see myself fighting hard to stay in.
You'll probably get a General under honorable conditions.

I hope that you have a plan to pay back every cent of the taxpayer's dollars you received.

ex 61N
 
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Needanswers

You'll probably get a General under honorable conditions.

I hope that you have a plan to pay back every cent of the taxpayer's dollars you received.

ex 61N
I have talked with an officer in cadet command about this. I have technically fulfilled over 5 years of my old ROTC obligation since I never took additional benefits other than basic drill pay, so I don't have to pay any of that back. If I can get transitioned to IRR I can complete my ROTC obligation without paying back money either. If I'm not able to do that I'd owe about $30k, which I could actually cover fairly safely in time. (I managed debt carefully in med school and my wife has a high paying job).

I'd like to thank everyone here who took the time to reply. This process has been kind of emotional for me and I have a lot of mixed feelings over my whole experience with the military dating back to when I first signed that contract.
 

xffan624

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I have talked with an officer in cadet command about this. I have technically fulfilled over 5 years of my old ROTC obligation since I never took additional benefits other than basic drill pay, so I don't have to pay any of that back. If I can get transitioned to IRR I can complete my ROTC obligation without paying back money either. If I'm not able to do that I'd owe about $30k, which I could actually cover fairly safely in time. (I managed debt carefully in med school and my wife has a high paying job).

I'd like to thank everyone here who took the time to reply. This process has been kind of emotional for me and I have a lot of mixed feelings over my whole experience with the military dating back to when I first signed that contract.
Even if you're getting out, you would prefer to do this with a straight honorable (general under honorable is ok, but not the best outcome). That's why I say talk to some military lawyers. Perhaps you can resign your commission in exchange for an honorable discharge to save the unit the hassle of booting you out.
 

Vandalia

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I still think it is a good idea to talk with military defense counsel about this. I wouldn't talk with the chain of command lawyers first without running it past ADC (what the AF calls it), they (normal JAG) don't work for you and the old thing "anything you say can and will be used against you..." applies. Sort of. It isn't worth taking risks and the first visit to ADC is free... If it isn't something they can handle, they would at least give you a good idea whether it was worth pursuing a civil lawyer with experience in these matters. There are a lot of moving parts and complicated questions like this are much more fun for them than the 1000th E3 facing an Article 15.
 
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sb247

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I have talked with an officer in cadet command about this. I have technically fulfilled over 5 years of my old ROTC obligation since I never took additional benefits other than basic drill pay, so I don't have to pay any of that back. If I can get transitioned to IRR I can complete my ROTC obligation without paying back money either. If I'm not able to do that I'd owe about $30k, which I could actually cover fairly safely in time. (I managed debt carefully in med school and my wife has a high paying job).

I'd like to thank everyone here who took the time to reply. This process has been kind of emotional for me and I have a lot of mixed feelings over my whole experience with the military dating back to when I first signed that contract.
Why are you emotional toward them? You are the one who got off easy on the deal. You got paid a bunch of money on promise of being a .mil officer and are getting out of it after not even showing up to all of your drills while keeping yourself safely nondeployable or even bothering with bolc.....

I see no reason for your implied dissappointment with the mil on this one
 
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notdeadyet

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Avoid anything other than Honorable like the plague. I've done a bunch of doctor jobs in which either the application, credentialing, or privileges asked if I had been discharged from the military under any classification except Honorable.
 

Gastrapathy

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Seems like a textbook general discharge to me.

My company's HR does not allow us to ask about type of discharge or reasons for discharge based on state employment law.