Leaving USMA

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Velociraptor, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Velociraptor

    Velociraptor Member

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    I am currently a plebe at USMA leaving the academy for personal reasons. I am in good standing as a cadet and am leaving on my own accord, with no misconduct whatsoever. What kind of discharge will I receive from the Army? I read somewhere that it could be a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions, but doesn't that have a stigma attached to it? If that's the case, why would they give a cadet in good standing a discharge that is typically warranted for bad behavior rather than an Honorable Discharge?

    Any input would be appreciated.
     
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  2. Walman888

    Walman888 Member

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    Sorry for your circumstance. It must be very difficult. My understanding through all of the orientations attended etc. was that you had up until halfway through the first day of your third year... To just walk away. No questions asked. I do not believe it will reflect negatively on you.

    It is a tough school.

    It's your life to live.
    All the best in your future endeavors.
     
  3. Walman888

    Walman888 Member

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    I must add that I feel badly for you. Have you reached out to the Counselors at the Academy? The Chaplains? Tough decision for an 18-23 year old.
    I hope you know that you are not alone as there are many Plebes struggling right now. It's a huge adjustment.
    Consider carefully and take your time with a decision like this.

    If you would like those numbers I have them ready at hand.
     
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  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    A General Discharge under Honorable Conditions is an administrative not punitive discharge, and is very typical for those who have been in a military accession program for less than a certain period of time, especially this short period of time of just a few months.

    You can research this for yourself by looking up Army discharges, but look for an Army.mil or DOD.mil current reference that relates to officer commissioning programs. You can also ask the administrative personnel who are processing your paperwork about it.

    For the heck of it, I texted someone I know at Navy OCS, my own commissioning source, and asked them what I would have gotten if I had left before the halfway point. Answer: General under Honorable Conditions, because of only a few months on AD at OCS.

    It is only unfavorable if you have been in for much longer, and there was an option to give an Honorable.

    https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/r210_26.pdf
    This may or may not be the most current; I’m not an ace at rooting out Army refs. Page 24, para 7-7. The Superintendent may give Honorable or General discharges. I suspect there is a policy related to time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  5. USMAPS76

    USMAPS76 New Member

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    Once upon a time I was in your position of having made a decision to leave my plebe year. I was prior enlisted that attended USMAPS before entering the academy. My grades were good, I had no issues militarily. Yes it was a grind but my day did not suck any more or any less than any of my classmates. I can tell you that I regretted the decision before I ever completed my out processing. So here is my bit of free advice: Do not leave. Stick it out. You can get past whatever personal issues you are facing and will be glad that you stayed.
     
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  6. 2020HD

    2020HD Member

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    I met a 40-something at a business dinner, who after hearing my son was at the USMA, mentioned he left the Naval Academy in his first year over personal reasons... in his case, a girlfriend who was flipping out about not getting enough attention. I joked and said “well, at least I hope you married her” and he grimaced and said “Nope.”
    I dropped the subject. It was obvious 20 something years later his snap decision still chapped his ***.
     
  7. Walman888

    Walman888 Member

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    Eyes on the prize and all times.
    Embrace the Suck and grind it out.
     
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  8. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    I do wish @mom3boys would chime in. She has some pat answers to this situation.
    However, these are early days--we always recommend waiting until you have a solid back up plan. An admittance somewhere else, a means to pay for it. You got into USMA because you are excellent--don't leave because it is hard, boring, stinks, you cannot talk outside, you miss home...Remember what got you there are how hard you were working a year ago to be where you are now. Every day will not be a good day and you are supposed to feel like a complete failure about 70% of the time. (And really, you may not be doing your lovely best at school and life for the first time in your life). Stay the course, finish the semester. Finish the year. No matter what--get the college credits. Whoever you are--you are headed toward a bachelors degree...GET THE CREDITS. Stay for the credits.

    Last, the marching, the company sports, the hands in fists/cannot talk outside, horrible roommates with music too loud, failing all of your classes--it passes. I promise it passes and you get back to those moments of 'Wow. I get to do this.'--like searching the horizon for the green flash. Wait for it--but definitely finish the semester--if you did Beast--and the first weeks of school--stay for the college credits--you will need them.

    Also, not loving the Army right now? Thinking it was all a mistake? Give it a few months. @mom3boys where are you?
     
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  9. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    Also, talk to someone there--about whatever it is that is going on at home. Reach out to a chaplain, any chaplain. Take Walman up on his offer to share the counselor contact information. Whatever it is, it can be worked through...
     
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  10. USMA 1994

    USMA 1994 Member

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    Listen to @DrMom, she is a wise lady. It is early in your first year. See the semester out and maybe your Plebe year. It does get better. I would suggest that you finish the entire year and see how you feel. West Point picked you so you have the ability to be successful. Reach out to the Chaplain, nothing you are facing is new and is probably encountered by many cadets.
     
  11. mom3boys

    mom3boys 10-Year Member

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    I have nothing to add that @DrMom didn't already say. Several years ago, with the help of many caring moms, I put together a book to help moms "survive" West Point. Some moms wrote chapters about their kids wanting to leave. For one it was the frustration of day to day experiences, and for another it was a girl who was begging for more attention (this is not the girl he ended up marrying). Both decided to stay and are now coincidentally both captains in the 160th. Over the 10 years that the moms' page has existed, I've seen many cadets leave for "personal" reasons. One left because he was so in love and had to get married to prove it (at 19--divorced 6 months later). Sometimes they need to get a job to help a struggling family. Sometimes it's a girlfriend (or a baby on the way). Sometimes family is sick, etc. Please go speak to someone you trust...an instructor, TAC, chaplain, counselor, etc. What seems to be so very important at 18 leaves a giant hole of regret down the road. Most situations can be worked out; you poured everything into getting in--see if there's any way to stay.
     
  12. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    Think about what you wrote in applications for nominations and admissions - no doubt your dreams and thoughts about service, leadership, holding yourself to a higher standard, working hard alongside like-minded people, becoming an Army officer. Has anything changed there? You have run smack into the reality of Service Academy life. It’s real, it sucks, it’s a grind. But it does get better, and you too can dig deep and do this.

    Is this a matter of will or skill? Are you unwilling to do what it takes to achieve the dream you talked and wrote about during the application process? Or is it that your skill set is not sufficient at this time to place you at the top of the heap, which you likely inhabited in high school, and you are struggling with being “average” (quotes because you’re in a fairly rarefied group of peers).

    Take a deep breath, try to assess if this is a transient feeling or you really, really made a mistake in going to USMA. Even if you did make a mistake, be practical and walk away with at least a semester of credits and some time to organize an alternative plan for your education. You’re a young adult now, so it’s time to create your own solutions, take responsibility for decisions and their impact on others. Having a solid plan for your next steps will show your family you are thinking about the impact on them (they thought you were well-launched and almost out of the nest) and ensure you don’t flounder on your educational path.

    Now, if it’s a family crisis at home or there is some other reason that would make us all say, “oh, of course, you must leave USMA,” that’s understandable. If it’s not you want to leave, but must leave, including if it’s a fundamental mis-match between what you thought you wanted and what you got, I wish you the best.
     
  13. CrewDad

    CrewDad Member

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    If you must leave for a good reason you should leave and attend to more urgent calling. If you are leaving for another school you placed a deposit on then I guarantee you that you will look back sometime in your life sooner or later and regret your decision for leaving so soon. Life is always greener on the other side. Everyone I know and spoke to regret their decision. Even those who left for Harvard and Yale. And everyone I know who attended an SA thought of leaving more than once or at least thought “Oh my God what did I get my self into.”

    You don’t have to feel guilty for taking someone else’s Appointment because you earned your Appointment. But if leaving the Academy will be a constant swing in your mind then you’re better off leaving now and pursue your other aspiration in life. Good luck to you.
     
  14. Velociraptor

    Velociraptor Member

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    To everyone who has responded: I appreciate your input, but my original question was about the terms of the discharge, not on my decision to leave. I have my own reasons for leaving that in no way relate to the struggles of being a plebe or USMA life in general.
     
  15. USMAPS76

    USMAPS76 New Member

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    I cannot shed any definitive light on the terms of your discharge. However, if you are leaving while in good standing, I can think of no reason why a less that Honorable Discharge would be deemed appropriate. But I am sure that somebody in Administration or JAG at West Point can provide you with the answer. TACs etc probably won't know. I do know that after I left, I did receive an Honorable Discharge but only after I had completed my inactive reserve time. When I went to USMAPS, I was required to enlist in the Army and attend Basic Training before going on to USMAPS (and eventually USMA). I believe my status was Active Reserve during this time and after separating from USMA, my status became Inactive Reserve. Total commitment was for six years with my Honorable Discharge being issued in 1981.

    Will you be successful in life if you do leave USMA? I would say definitely. The same attributes that got you into West Point will serve you well going forward. They did for me. But I guarantee that you will, at some point, regret your decision to leave. May not be anytime soon, but the day will come when you will say to yourself "I should have stayed". Your reasons for leaving will fade away. Your regret at not seeing it through when you know you are capable of doing so will not.
     
  16. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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  17. DrMom

    DrMom 5-Year Member

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    FYSA...it won't keep you from pursuing other commissioning sources either ROTC or OCS in any service.
    If that is what you are asking...
    You will not qualify for VA benefits or any veteran related benefits as you have to finish training to be considered a veteran.
     
  18. Old Navy BGO

    Old Navy BGO 5-Year Member

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    Simple answer -- talk to your chain of command. I will admit I know absolutely nothing about USMA or the Army, but suspect that its much the same as other Service Academies-- you received an Appointment for a reason, and (while I am sure it doesn't necessarily seem like it during Plebe year), no one wants to see you leave , and you will be expected to explain your decision up the chain of command and with chaplains. The question of what kind of discharge is probably the simplest and most cut and dried part of the process (FWIW, I think CAPT MJ's answer is correct).

    Your chain of command should challenge your decision, and make you think long and hard about it ...just like some of the posters are doing on this forum. This is a major life decision, but ultimately it is yours, and yours alone-- if it's truly the right decision for you , stick to your guns, explain to the chain of command , and they will respect you for your decision. If it is for the wrong reasons, they will try to talk you out of it --listen to them, I'm willing to bet there is alot of wisdom and experience up your chain of command.
     
  19. Velociraptor

    Velociraptor Member

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    To everyone trying to convince me to stay or at least think about this for a longer time: my decision has already been made for personal reasons that I am not disclosing on a public forum. I really do appreciate all of your concern, but I know what is best for my future at this time.
     
  20. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 10-Year Member

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    I am sure everyone joins me in wishing you the best. Take the skills that got you into USMA and apply them with a will elsewhere.

    Not much more, if anything, to say on this thread.
     
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