Chapter Elimination Information
The topic of chapter eliminations covers both favorable and unfavorable separations. Examples of favorable separations include retirement and honorable discharge separations when as Solder ETSs. Examples of unfavorable separations include separation due to misconduct or unsatisfactory service.
Characterization of DischargeIf you commander has recommended that you be administratively separated from the service under the provisions of AR 635-200, this guide will answer some general questions about your administrative separation (also called a chapter).
If separated, you could receive one of the following types of discharges, depending on your type of chapter: Honorable, General (Under Honorable Conditions), also called just a General discharge, or a discharge Under Other Than Honorable Conditions, also called an "OTH." An Honorable discharge is the best discharge you can receive from the service. A General discharge is the second best discharge that the Army gives, but it is also "good paper." An OTH discharge will deprive you of most of the benefits you would receive with an Honorable discharge and may cause you substantial prejudice in civilian life.
The Separation Authority (your Battalion/Brigade Commander or the Commanding General, depending on your type of chapter) decides whether or not you should be separated and, if so, what type of discharge you should receive. You can, however, take steps to influence the decision of your command.
a. If you have less than six years of active and reserve military service, and you are not being considered for an OTH discharge, the only way you can fight this action (or at least have some input into what sort of discharge you receive) is to submit statements in your own behalf. The statements you submit can be your own, from people with or for whom you work, or family and friends. The statements you submit should talk about your duty performance, potential, and ability for retention, as well as any significant past contributions you have made. The statements can ask that you either be retained in the service or be given an Honorable discharge. You should submit any statements to your immediate commander, who in turn will forward them to the Separation Authority.
b. If you have six years or more of active and reserve military service, or you are being considered for an OTH discharge, you have these two additional options:
(1) You have the right to have your case heard before an Administrative Separation Board (Chapter Board). This Board would normally consist of three people; two officers and one senior enlisted soldier. The Board's job is to decide whether you should be separated, and if so, with what type of discharge. The Board then makes a recommendation to the Separation Authority.
(2) You also have the right to submit a Conditional Waiver. A Conditional Waiver is a document you send to the Separation Authority telling him that you will agree to give up your right to a Board hearing if he promises to give you a better type of discharge (usually a General discharge).
In any case, you also have the right to consult with a military lawyer or your civilian lawyer to decide what option is best for you.
Procedural StepsWhen your command starts the chapter action, you are going to be escorted to Trial Defense Services (TDS). When you arrive at TDS, you will be sat down with other Soldiers facing a chapter action. In most cases, all of you will watch a video that discusses chapter actions. The video will cover basic information about the chapter process.
After you finish watching the video, an enlisted member will come in and answer questions that you may have about your individual chapter action. The enlisted member is trying to screen those going through the chapter process to limit the number of individuals that need to speak to an actual attorney. In most cases, they do a good job of looking at your chapter packet. However, you should always insist on speaking with a TDS attorney. You want to make sure that an attorney has reviewed your chapter packet as opposed to just a legal assistant.
During the attorney review, you may ask any questions that you have about the packet or the process. Your military attorney should be able to answer all your questions. You will want to ask your military attorney to review the chapter packet to ensure that your file contains all of the required documentation.