Separated Midshipman: Please Help

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by FormerMid2014, Aug 22, 2014.

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  1. FormerMid2014

    FormerMid2014 New Member

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    Hi Everybody,
    I'll try to make this brief, and I know I suck on many different levels, but I'm asking for a moment of forgiveness in trying to correct past wrongs.
    I was given a General Discharge (Honorable) in years back from USNA at the beginning of my second class year for failed urinalysis (marijuana). I knew I screwed up big time (such idiocy) before coming back to school, and did not sign the 2 for 7 contract, voluntarily separated, and enrolled in another university.
    Weeks later (I'm not sure why the delay) I received a call about my failed test (which I predicted), and was informed I could go back for a court martial to fight it or have my discharge downgraded to General (UHC). I chose the latter (of course).

    I refuse to accept that I ruined my life, and would stop here to ask if anyone has resources I can contact for counseling before I continue.

    At the USNA, I had a spotless record up til this incident, maintained a 3.24 GPA (top third of my class), and my last 2 peer review rankings I was ranked 6/41 and 13/~40, respectively, in my company (is there any way I can pull these records to show that I wasn't a complete scumbag and did more than just study?).


    Questions and recap of previous concerns:
    Resources for counceling?
    Can I get my records showing that I was a good midshipman in non-academic matters?
    Is a discharge upgrade worth applying for given the following?:
    I consider my citizenship to have been excellent since my discharge (no arrests, etc...).

    I am applying for law school, have scored in the 90th percentile (looking at Berkely) on the LSAT, and I believe the discharge will negatively impact my chances of admittance.
    I have maintained a 3.85 at my new University.
    I have learned enough Mandarin Chinese to have earned a full semester scholarship at a prestigious Chinese University (Hangzhou).
    -Qualified for Nationals in swimming
    -Top speaker award in regional law school competition

    I'm very nervous, and I don't want my work since separation to have been for nothing. Direction, discussion, and references will be much appreciated

    -Former Mid
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2014
  2. Maplerock

    Maplerock Proud to be an American

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    I can't answer any of your questions, but want to applaud your turnaround and wish you the very best. Everyone makes mistakes, and you made a dandy. Not everyone gets refocused like you did. Keep your eye on the prize and i'd bet you will do just fine. Good luck.
     
  3. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Good for you on getting up from this fall and getting on with your life. "Good mids do bad things sometimes" is a phrase often heard in private conversations among Academy leadership. You can and will recover to go on and lead a successful life - it's in your hands.

    If you have received a General under Honorable conditions, that is a solid, neutral discharge that shouldn't raise any eyebrows. That level of discharge is often given to those who were discharged under a certain number of years of service, were disenrolled from a program for medical reasons, etc., as well as to mids with an overall good record who did one boneheaded thing. It's a neutral catch all. Law schools would have no access to internal USNA records.

    If you are ever asked about why you didn't receive an Honorable discharge, you should have a candid, thoughtful reply prepared, along the lines of "I made a mistake that caused me to leave USNA early, and the regret I have over that led to my focus on (fill in the blank)."

    Do the research on what makes a successful law school candidate and focus on that. My guess would be that any records of USNA time would not be significant.

    Good luck to you. During my time as a USNA BattO, I saw many good mids leave after their "bonehead" moment, and was always pleased to hear they picked themselves up, developed a Plan B and went on to success.


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  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Here is a good general description of your discharge. The overall tone is "honest and faithful service." Yes, there is acknowledgement of a negative element which would impact further military service or GI Bill benefits, but it is by far not the worst administrative discharge out there, such as "other than honorable." Think broadly - how many law school students used marijuana during their civilian college days and got some kind of blot on their record? Take this lemon and make it into lemonade, the catalyst for your turnaround and subsequent achievements.

    General (Under Honorable Conditions). If a member's service has been honest and faithful, it is appropriate to characterize that service under honorable conditions. Characterization of service as General (under honorable conditions) is warranted when significant negative aspects of the member's conduct or performance of duty outweigh positive aspects of the member's military conduct or performance of duty outweigh positive aspects of the record. A General (under honorable conditions) characterization of discharge may jeopardize a member's ability to benefit from the Montgomery G.I. Bill if they, in fact, had contributed. Moreover, the member will not normally be allowed to reenlist or enter a different military service.


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  5. FormerMid2014

    FormerMid2014 New Member

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    Thanks so much for the replies; it's very much appreciated moving forward.
    Another quick question, and thanks again for your time:

    "General (under honorable conditions) is warranted when significant negative aspects of the member's conduct or performance of duty outweigh positive aspects of the member's military conduct or performance of duty outweigh positive aspects of the record."

    Am I completely mistaken to believe that one idiot mistake while on leave shouldn't outweigh two years of good service? Would an appeal for an upgrade be likely?

    I began studying Chinese at the Academy in hopes of one day engaging in foreign diplomacy, bettering relations, working for peace etc... From what I understand that avenue of government work is essentially hopeless with anything other than honorable discharge.
    Thanks again
     
  6. Spud

    Spud BGO

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    The way I understand this is that your discharge is a done deal and you are wanting to go back and unscrew the pooch, no? If so, you need a lawyer very familiar with the military and follow his advice on initiating an appeal. I would not try to do this yourself if it is that important to you. Expect to pay him very generously as it will be a long drawn out affair as it is hardly of high priority of the Navy.

    Having said that, I agree with the good CaptMJ. It is not bad and consider it a "B" grade instead of an "A" and move on with your life. Unless you have a burning goal to need an HD, such as another commissioning source, set it down on the road of life and keep rolling on. There will be many more events in your life like this that you will have to walk on from---unfair firings, undeserved injuries and diseases, destroyed relationships---you name it, it will come. It is called life and every man goes through it. Welcome to the club and you will do fine.

    There's another reason for dropping this. If you continue the effort to change the discharge, it will go on for years, easily, and the whole time it will eat your good attitude up and you will make decisions based on the past rather than the future. Ever get dropped by a girlfriend (I am assuming you are male) and you just couldn't let go and it ate you hollow inside? Finally, it was a HUGE load gone and the sun finally began to shine again? Good luck to you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2014
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I am not qualified to advise on chances for an appeal. USNA has had years of experience in separations, and probably relied on past precedent in your case, given the offense, your class year and overall record. They have to think about consistency in characterizing the separation.

    If you want to spend the money, there are retired/former JAGs in the DC Metro area, major Fleet home ports and other military population centers who specialize in dismissals, separations, conduct cases, courts martial, etc. Perhaps you could get a consultation for a small fee.




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  8. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Search on "military law firms near Amnapolis, MD (or wherever)." Ones near Service Academies would be the most well-versed on Academy separation policy and appeals.

    Do this only if you feel you have to take your shot.


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  9. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Double ditto on Spud point of view.


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  10. FormerMid2014

    FormerMid2014 New Member

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    Very sound advice from both Spud and Capt MJ. The more I read on the upgrade process the less likely it seems, and it will likely just drag me down rather than allow me to forget the whole ordeal. Again, thanks for the feedback, and let me know if you have anything else to add.
     
  11. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Thread is being closed because it is a duplicate of a thread in the Life After the Academy Forum. Please go there to reply to this thread.
     
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