A distinguished combination of intellect and strength, Army officers must remain dedicated soldiers and proven leaders throughout their careers. Because of the vast civilian experiences and achievements they bring to the military, the Army rewards officers with specialized training and incentives not available to enlisted personnel. As a result, when an Army officer reaches the end of his service obligation, the Army may not be ready to let that soldier go. Resignation of an Army officer commission is not automatically accepted. The process is strict, and there are many considerations to keep in mind, including loss of certain benefits.
Draft a letter. Almost every request in the U.S. Army must be put into writing. Letters ensure a physical record of the process and creates a sense of serious consideration. There is also a sense of formality inherent in written requests that is absent in emails or even telephone calls. The Army prides itself on tradition, and respect for that tradition helps when an officer wishes to resign his commission.
Cite all of the relevant reasons. Just like with the discharge process, the Army officer resigning his commission must provide a valid reason. Many Army officers request their resignation at the end of a service obligation. For others, however, the desire to resign an Army officer commission precedes the term of the contractual agreement, such as in cases of poor moral standing or disagreement with current military politics. In the end, command officers do not have to approve a resignation request, so an Army officer should be diligent in proving his or her argument.
Find the correct recipient. Resignation requests do not all go to the same department or individual. While written letters provide a paper trail, that trail can quickly become a dead end if the request is delivered to the wrong desk. Army officers should be certain they direct their requests to the right place for processing.
Request a confirmation letter. Until a resignation is officially processed, an Army officer remains commissioned, so he may still be mobilized or deployed. With a confirmation letter in hand, an Army officer can be sure that the process has begun.
Await Honorable Discharge Orders. Once an Army officer receives his or her Honorable Discharge Orders, he or she is no longer commissioned. Because this process is lengthy, check on the status frequently, even after the original resignation request has been acknowledged. Once he receives discharge orders, an Army officer is no longer under any military obligations.
Army officers seeking to resign before their contractual commitments have been fulfilled may need to hire an attorney.
Army officers are commissioned for eight years regardless of time spent in active duty status. Even if an Army officer is allowed to resign, he or she will still remain in the Individual Ready Reserve as an enlisted soldier, at risk for deployment or mobilization.
Army officers who receive educational benefits through their commission may also be forced to repay those bonuses if they resign early.
Resignations and discharges are not synonymous. Army officers can fulfill their service obligations and choose not to resign their commissions. This decision can increase the likelihood of receiving future benefits.
- U.S. Army Human Resources Command: Resigning Your Commission
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