GI Rights Hotline

Military Discharges and Military Counseling

Call 1-877-447-4487

Air Force

Airmen [sic]...are required to maintain, both on and off duty, the high standards of personal conduct set for Air Force members. They occupy a unique position in society, representing the military establishment 24 hours a day. This special status carries with it a permanent obligation to uphold and maintain the dignity and good reputation of the Air Force at all times and in all places. Therefore, unacceptable conduct any time adversely affects military duty performance.

Minor Disciplinary Infractions

Minor disciplinary infractions may involve failure to comply with nonpunitive regulations or minor offenses under the UCMJ…[that result] in informal (reduced to writing) or formal counselings, letters of reprimand or Article 15 nonjudicial punishments.

Pattern of Misconduct

The pattern may consist of:

  • Discreditable involvement with military or civil authorities.
  • Conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline.
  • Failure to support dependents.
  • Dishonorable failure to pay just debts. Civilian Conviction

The Air Force follows the DoD guidelines except for one curious quirk: the possibility of a constructive waiver. Air Force commanders are urged to act promptly in processing a separation based on a civilian conviction to avoid a constructive waiver. Failure to exercise the option to discharge when the facts are known tends to show intent to retain the airman [sic]. However, the mere passage of time, standing alone, is not sufficient for a constructive waiver. The determination as to whether or not there is a constructive waiver is made by the commander having express waiver authority.

Commission of a Serious Offense

In addition to the DoD guidelines, the Air Force includes sexual perversion and unauthorized absence of one year or more as serious offenses. If a servicemember in the Air Force tests positive for HIV they may be discharged for misconduct if he or she is found not to have complied with lawfully ordered preventive medicine procedures. (While mentioned specifically in Air Force regulations, the above grounds would also be grounds for misconduct in all the Services.)

Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is incompatible with military service and airmen [sic] who abuse drugs one or more times are subject to discharge for misconduct. An Air Force member found to have used drugs will be discharged unless the member meets all seven of the following criteria:

  • Drug abuse is a departure from the member’s usual and customary behavior.
  • Drug abuse occurred as the result of drug experimentation (a drug experimenter is defined as one who has illegally or improperly used a drug for reasons of curiosity, peer pressure, or other similar reasons).
  • Drug abuse does not involve recurring incidents, other than drug experimentation as defined above.
  • The member does not desire to engage in or intend to engage in drug abuse in the future.
  • Drug abuse under all the circumstances is not likely to recur.
  • Under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the Air Force is consistent with the interest of the Air Force in maintaining proper discipline, good order, leadership, and morale…
  • Drug abuse did not involve drug distribution…