A “General, Under Honorable” discharge indicates that the armed services branch released a soldier from active duty for disciplinary or performance reasons. Each type of discharge carries a reenlistment code; an RE-1, for example, signifies that an individual left under honorable discharge conditions and can reenlist in the future. General, Under Honorable discharges may result in an RE-3 or an RE-4 code. Under either of these codes, a former soldier must appeal to a Discharge Review Board for a waiver that upgrades the reenlistment code before reapplying for service.
Verify that the reenlistment code printed on your DD 214 does not prohibit you from reenlisting. Certain codes make you ineligible to receive a waiver that upgrades your reenlistment code. Note that these prohibited codes vary by branch of service (i.e., Navy, Air Force), and a code that prohibits a waiver in one branch may still be eligible for upgrade in another branch.
Obtain DD Form 293, “Application for Review of Discharge or Dismissal from the Armed Forces of the United States.” You can download this form from the Department of Defense website (see Resources) or find one at the local branch of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Complete DD Form 293. Include a clear argument in Item 6 that addresses the discharge and why you believe it either “inequitable” or “improper.” An inequitable discharge “is not consistent with the policies and traditions of the service” while an improper discharge represents an error in policy or a violation of military law, according to the National Veterans Foundation.
Obtain supporting documents and witness testimony relevant to your case. Contact your direct supervisor and any superior officers with knowledge or involvement in your case. Ask them to sign statements in support of your reenlistment upgrade waiver. You must provide evidence on your own behalf because the Discharge Review Board will not seek out any evidence from witnesses, according to the National Veterans Foundation.
Check the appropriate box in Item 9 to indicate whether you or a representative (such as a lawyer) wish to appear in person before the Discharge Review Board or whether you want the board to review the records and evidence as submitted. Note that asking to appear in person may require travel to Washington, D.C., at your own expense.
Mail DD Form 293 and all supporting documents and evidence with the appropriate branch of the military at the address provided on the form. Note that you must file within 15 years of discharge if you wish to receive an upgrade for purposes of reenlistment.
Appear before the Discharge Review Board on the date and time specified and present your case. Otherwise, wait for the board to make its decision and mail you the results. The board will usually complete its review within six to eight weeks. If it decides in your favor, it will mail you an amended DD Form 214.
Take the amended DD Form 214 to a recruiter of the military branch in which you want to reenlist. The process for reenlistment varies by branch and the recruiter will give you the instructions and procedures.
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