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View Diary: Democratic bill would undo the dishonorable discharge stigma many gay veterans still carry (40 comments)

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  •  Other than Honorable is not a Dishonorable... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, trumpeter, ksuwildkat, Mokurai

    A Dishonorable Discharge can only be given to an enlisted Soldier after a General Court Marshal.  This can only be part of a conviction for the most serious of offenses. (Desertion, rape, murder, etc) and is considered a felony conviction.  Under the 1968 Gun Control act this is a bar to owning a firearm.

    Other than Honorable is an Administrative discharge.  It is for people who have failed to uphold their duties, had conduct not appropriate for the military. It can be for conduct that results in conviction in a civil court (theft, assault, etc) or from civil hearing - such as divorce due to adultery.  The OTH discharge is seen as equivalent to a DD, but with out the restrictions a felony conviction would have.  It can be legally used to discriminate against in hiring though.

    An OTHD will bar you from employment with most governments, any contract work with the Fed Gov, deny you a security clearance, and removes all your benefits. (GI Bill, pension, VA "help", funeral honors, etc)

    It is very unlikely that homosexual conduct resulted in a DD without their being some other event happening.  (not imposable, but very unlikely)  It should not be hard for someone given an OTH specifically for violation of Art. 133/134 to have that removed and be reissued a new DD214.

    Where the cost will be is if the law allows the newly General Discharged (Honorable) to be able to claim benefits as if they had served the full 20 years.  Someone put out at 18.5 years might make a great argument for that, but someone put out at 5 years...can of worms.

    Some times to avoid problems, OTHD's were used but did not list homosexual conduct as the reason.  It would be fore non-compliance with directives, failed APFT's, fighting, etc.  General issues that everyone knew was because the Soldier was gay but no one wanted to admit that was the case and found other reasons to put them out.  That is going to be the real challenge.

    I can see someone with an OTHD for fighting, who got into fights because they were being harassed for being gay.  But that is not what is on the DD214, fighting is.

    Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

    by DrillSgtK on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 11:52:11 AM PDT

    •  Good information, thanks. (0+ / 0-)

      I'm sure OTH discharges are really what we're talking about reversing here.  And yes, the cost issues are where the rubber meets the road.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:16:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent Post (0+ / 0-)

      thank you!

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:44:27 PM PDT

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    •  On the OTH (0+ / 0-)

      in 26+ years of service I have never seen an OTH given except as part of a Courts Martial.  Going the purely administrative route for an OTH is pretty extreme.  Not saying it isnt down, just that it is rare.

      I know the Air Force has had a pretty bad record in the witch hunt area with gays so I dont doubt that someone has received an OTH for being gay but Im willing to bet there were other charges too.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:48:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We use OTH's all the time. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ksuwildkat

        My reserve unit has been using OTH for five years.  Failure to show up to Battle Assembly, failing to pass two APFT's in one year after a reduction in rank for failing two APFT's (4 total), drug use, getting convicted for DWI for the third time.

        On Active Duty we used it for a Soldier who was working off post and stealing from his employer and got caught, about the time he came out of county lock up we put him out.

        I've processed OTH's while on AD for AWOL, repeated theft, drug possession, vandalism, and sexual harassment.

        On Active Duty you have more tools so you don't use OTH as much, but in the Reserves you have a small selection of corrective tools.  I can't confine a Soldier to quarters with a three times a day report requirement when they only put on the uniform two days a month.

        Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

        by DrillSgtK on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:02:54 PM PDT

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        •  Roger all (0+ / 0-)

          Kinda sad that Reserves can have that many issues.

          Yes, we have MANY more tools.  And I will admit its been a long times since I was in a line unit.  I only had one of my soldiers OTH and that was for selling LSD.  But we took him to Court Martial first.  Most of the other problem children got General Discharges as long as it was a military specific crime.  Got to say I think an OTH for PT failure is a bit extreme but that is the true nature of the UCMJ - one commander can be completely different than another and they are both right.

          It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

          by ksuwildkat on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:53:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  OTH for PT failure is guidance from USARC (0+ / 0-)

            United States Army Reserve Command has directed us to enforce the AR 190 standards and put people out who won't pass a PT test in two years.  

            Your first failure will result in a counseling to pass in six months or be reduced in rank one grade.  If you fail that next APFT, you are reduced in rank and counseled that you have six months to pass or initial discharge proceedings will be started, you fail that one and the OTH is prepared and six months later you have to pass the APFT or you are discharged.

            Reserves are hard to deal with.  Most Soldiers would do fine on AD, pass the APFT, stay out of trouble because you have them working every day.  But with the RC and i'm sure the NG, you are not their main pay check except in rare -sad- cases.  (I've had people who were unemployed and the weekend pay was half their take home each month.)

            They spend 28 days "on the block" and two days at BA.  Unless they really focus, it is too easy to not do PT on your own, to not do the mandatory training, or even prepare for the weekend.  Add in that the average take home for an E-4 is $200 and they can make that in one night delivering pizzas.  They start to resent coming to BA and doing "grunt work" or boring training.

            Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

            by DrillSgtK on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:05:20 AM PDT

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            •  Command Influence? (0+ / 0-)

              Goodness USARC is walking the very edge of the illegal command influence line from what you describe.  All of those are administrative actions but they come soooo close to de facto punishment that I am surprised no one has challenged them.  

              All of the Reserve/Guard guys I have worked with have been pretty senior so they have figured out how to stay in shape.  I dont envy anyone trying to keep junior kids in shape just on drill weekends.  

              It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

              by ksuwildkat on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 01:20:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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