How to Change a Dishonorable Discharge to General

Learn how to request a change of your discharge status from the military.

When you leave the military service, your discharge status can be honorable, general or dishonorable. You earn a dishonorable discharge from military service by a court-martial conviction, resigning to avoid a court martial, desertion, treason, absence without leave (AWOL) or other actions that are characterized as unbecoming to military personnel. In order to change a dishonorable discharge to a general discharge, you have to appeal the discharge with the discharge review board in charge of the branch of service from which you received the discharge.

Download or obtain Form DD-293, which is the application for the review of discharge from the armed forces of the United States (see Resources).

Complete the form. You need to fill in the application for review as completely and accurately as possible. Incomplete information or inaccurate information can delay the processing of the form and the scheduling of the review board evaluating your dispute or request for the change in discharge status.

Request “General Discharge.” In Section 5 of the application, place an “X” in the box next to “Change to Honorable.”

Request the type of review you are seeking. In Section 9 of the application, choose how you would like the review board to proceed. You can choose to have the review board base their decision on your military record or to appear in front of them at a hearing to state your case. If you are making the request on behalf of a deceased family member, there is an option for this as well.

Sign and date the form.

Submit the completed form and supplemental documentation to the branch of service. On Page 2 of the application, identify the branch of service you need to submit the review request form. This is the address where you should mail the form.

Kristie Lorette started writing professionally in 1996. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and multinational business from Florida State University and a Master of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Her work has appeared online at Bill Savings, Money Smart Life and Mortgage Loan.