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Barred From Military Service

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I joined the Army National Guard in 2008. I thought it was the active-duty Army. I did not realize I could have changed that before I had sworn in. I also did not want to offend my recruiter and change branches after all his efforts.

I made it through the training, and after four years I got an honorable discharge. But now I have a code that does not allow me to re-enlist in any branch or participate in any of the benefits. I do not know how to obtain a copy of my discharge papers.

I was very disappointed with my choices in life. I drank a lot. As an emotional female, I chose the wrong path and am currently facing DUI charges.

I am trying to get back into something I love to do very much. Military life was the only thing that made me happy and gave me independence plus stability.

I loved being in uniform more than civilian life. I need help to get back on track.

Sincerely,
Specialist Determined

Dear Specialist,

I hope you are doing OK. It sounds like you received an honorable discharge but something happened while you were in the ARNG to bar a re-enlistment.

Servicemembers receive a bar for different reasons such as weight, alcohol abuse, substance use, mental or emotional health concerns etc.

The bar doesn’t represent a failure on your part. It could simply be that that you were not a good fit for the ARNG at the time.

Now, I have seen instances where a bar was changed. I think you should check with a recruiter for the answer to that question.

Then again, I’m not sure how favorable that would be since you have a pending DUI charge. I’m hoping the DUI charge could be dropped in exchange for an enrollment for an education program and counseling.

Honestly, it sounds like you are experiencing some emotional difficulty at this time. Your DUI charge makes me wonder if you have been using alcohol to help you cope with your problems.

For more information about your discharge and your military records, you can check with the Military Personnel Office (MILPO) at your nearest military base or post.

You can check online at the National Archives (Veterans Service Records).

Or you can check with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for information.

It’s great that you loved serving your country. Please don’t look at this as a failure on your part, but a challenge that you have to work through. Please let me know how you are doing and what you decide to do.

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, has been the Dear Abby for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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