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Does a general discharge turn into a honorable discharge after you get out of the military? if so how long is the waiting period

Fayetteville, NC |

i need details on this because one of my soldiers is being chaptered out on a Chapter 14-12c and im making sure he gets whats best for him. He also has a mental condition and was undergoing a MEDBOARD before this incident occured. If you can get back to me i would appreciate it, thank you.

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Attorney answers 4


No, a general discharge is NOT automatically changed to an Honorable Discharge. There are people who WRONGLY say that there is an automatic upgrade after six months -- that's not true.

A Soldier discharged with something less than HD or a RE code less than 1 can apply to the Army Discharge Review Board. Here is a link to their website. It is not automatic. The person has up to 15 years from the date of discharge to apply.

He should make an appointment with TDS and discuss with them what he can say in his rebuttal to a discharge package that might convince people to give him an HD or let him continue the med board.


Absolutely not. This is an urban myth. Once discharged, the soldier will have 15 years to apply to the Army Discharge Review Board for review of his discharge and service characterization. Unless there is error in the process or the service characterization is clearly unwarranted under the circumstances of the case, it is unlikely that the discharge will be upgraded. Under some circumstances, after a number of years, and where the member has established him/herself in the civilian community, the DRB or Board for Correction of Military Records might decide that the service characterization no longer serves a useful purpose and decide to upgrade it. However, this is a very rare occurrence and very case specific. The best opportunity a member has to challenge a discharge and recommended service characterization is either though a board of officers, if eligible, or by submitting compelling matters to the separation authority, if a notification procedure is used.

Answers to posted questions are for general interest only and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by virtue of any answer posted by the attorney.



Concur with attorney's Kelly and Cave.

READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. Addressing your issue does not create an attorney-client relationship and I AM providing you educational information NOT legal advice. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.


A General Discharge does not Automatically entitle you to an "Upgrade" to Honorbly Discharged. There are Boards and Regulations which allow you to apply for an Honorable Discharge. Each service has a procedure and a Service Regulation guiding the procedure.
If you believe that there are Meritiorious Grounds for changing your discharge such as New Evidence or Changed Circumstances you should contact the Military Service proponent either on line or in person for the necessary applications. Many Attorneys who handle such claims are listed and advertise in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine TIMES Publications usually available ON LINE or at your nearest Post Exchange/Navy Exchange.

Legal issues are serious matters and deserve consultation with a Competent Attorney in your city or state. The information provided here is for Public Information only to encourage consumers of the Complexity and Need for Consultation with a Legal Professional and is not intended to be Legal Advice or a substitute thereof.

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