GI Rights Hotline

Military Discharges and Military Counseling

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Absences from the Reserves


After you read this fact sheet, please call the Hotline (877-447-4487) to talk over your options with a counselor.

There are many different kinds of duty to which a reservist might be ordered to appear, including active duty for training, drills, annual training, muster, and mobilization and deployment. Members of the national guard can also be ordered to duty in state emergencies without ever coming under orders from the federal government (that is, under Title 10, Armed Forces, of the US Code). GI Rights Hotline counselors are available for a free, confidential consultation on any of these issues.

Any reservist called to active duty under Title 10 U.S.C is subject to the UCMJ from the date that orders indicate they are to report for duty and any absence on or after that date is punishable by the UCMJ. Nevertheless, many absence offenses that could be punished under the UCMJ are never referred to court-martial or non judicial punishment. GI Rights Hotline counselors can help assess possible and likely consequences for absent reservists. There are some special categories mentioned below.

MCRCO 1100.2A Enlistment Processing Manual (EPM) (11 JAN 2016)

MCRCO 1100.2A Enlistment Processing Manual (EPM) (11 JAN 2016) (700 KB)

Comments: To view or download the complete regulation, click on the link to it in the box above these comments.


2. Disqualified Enlistees

c. When an individual is qualified, properly enlisted, and sworn in, but refuses to execute the order to recruit training or to the assigned command, the recruiting station commander will immediately notify the gaining command of the same. The gaining command will join the enlistee by service record only and make an appropriate unit diary entry reflecting "unauthorized absence", and process for discharge.

3. Other Situations Involving Members of the DEP and SMCR Awaiting IADT Where Discharge is Appropriate

Comments: "DEP" is Delayed Entry (or Enlistment) Program.

d. Desire for Release or Intent Not to Report. Cases will arise in which members express a desire to be released from their enlistment contract. This may have been expressed through letters to a congressional representative via chain of command. Their intention is to not report to the MEPS for enlistment in the Marine Corps, or to not execute their IADT orders. Whenever commanding officers of recruiting stations are confronted with the above situation, the following action will be taken:

Comments: "MEPS" is Military Entrance Processing Station.   "IADT" is Initial Active Duty for Training.

(1) The individual will be interviewed and counseled about fulfilling the contract. Individuals will be reminded that their enlistment contract is legally and morally binding.

(2) If the interview and counseling session fails, and the individual insists on being released from the enlistment, the individual will be discharged as soon as possible.

(3) Letters advising individuals of their discharge from the DEP should not chastise or degrade the individual. Rather, we should offer our best wishes for success in their future endeavors so as to maintain a cordial relationship.

4. Procedures for Discharge of Members of the DEP/SMCR Prior to IADT


b. District commanding officers may effect discharges for members of the DEP and members of the SMCR awaiting IADT under the provisions contained in the current edition of MCO P1900.16 (Short Title MARCORSEPMAN). They may authorize recruiting station commanding officers to effect the requested discharges. Reserve component entry-level status begins upon enlisting and terminates 180 days after the beginning of entry-level active duty training. Therefore, these discharges will be categorized as "uncharacterized entry-level separations." Under normal circumstances, these discharges do not require a DD 214, or discharge certificate (DD Form 256). The letter format in figure 4-3, page 4-65, will be the only correspondence used to effect an "uncharacterized entry-level separation."

MCO 1900.16 (MARCORSEPMAN) (15 FEB 2019)

MCO 1900.16 (MARCORSEPMAN) (15 FEB 2019) (1.8 mb)

Comments: To view or download the complete regulation, click on the link to it in the box above these comments.


A Marine may be separated for unsatisfactory participation in the Ready Reserve under criteria established in reference (r) DoDI 1215.13, (x) DoDI 1332.14, and reference (bg) MCO 1001R.1L W/CH 1 (MCRAMM), and the Commander, Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES). The separation authority is the GCMCA. Characterization of service will conform to paragraph 1004 and the rules of Table 6-1.


Table 6-1. Guide for Characterization of Service



Unsat Part in Ready ReserveX 2X 1,4XX



1. Authorized unless Marine is in an entry level status.

2. Not authorized unless Marine's record is otherwise so meritorious that any other characterization clearly would be inappropriate.


4. Authorized in accordance with the guidance in paragraph 1004.



Comments: To view or download the complete regulation, click on the link to it in the box above these comments.

Reserve Participation, Assignments, Progression, and Retirement

Section 3: Unsatisfactory Participation

1. Overview

a. Definition. A reserve Marine may be termed an unsatisfactory participant when one or more of the following occurs:

(1) Unsatisfactory IDT attendance or participation to include:

(a) Tardiness at IDT periods not excused by the CO/OIC/OpSponsor;

(b) Absence from an IDT period after muster without proper authority;

(c) Failure to meet minimum standards of performance as determined by the CO/OIC/OpSponsor and applicable Marine Corps regulations;

(d) Unsatisfactory personal or military appearance as determined by the CO/OIC/OpSponsor;

(e) Any unexcused absence from an IDT period; or \

(f) Failure to resume drilling obligation when terminated from a Temporarily Not Physically Qualified/Not Physically Qualified (TNPQ/NPQ) status for noncompliance.

(2) Failure to attend scheduled AT or any other ADT requirement.

(3) Failure to complete the required administrative action in conjunction with absences from the Continental United States (CONUS) and visits to foreign countries under the provisions of chapter 5, section 5 of this Order.

(4) Failure of the mandatory participant to join an SMCR unit from the IRR on return to CONUS.

(5) Failure to report to the SMCR unit to which transferred within the time specified on transfer orders.

(6) Failure to keep the CO/OIC/Dir MCIRSA informed of current mailing address and telephone number.

(7) Commission of an offense under the UCMJ during an IDT period. Only the IDT at which the offense occurred may be declared unsatisfactory regardless of any subsequent Non Judicial Punishment (NJP) or trial by courts-martial. The fact an IDT period was declared unsatisfactory does not in itself
affect the individual's pay status for the IDT period in question.

(8) Failure to comply with the participation requirements of a SOU.

(9) Failure to comply with the provisions of reference (u).

Comments: "AT" is Annual Training; "ADT" is Active Duty (for) Training.  "SOU" is Statement of Understanding.

2. Members Serving Pursuant to an Initial Agreement.

When a Marine with a mandatory participation requirement acquires at least nine unexcused absences from scheduled training within the preceding 12-month period, or is categorized as an unsatisfactory participant for reasons other than excessive
absences, the unit commander must pursue one of the following actions:

a. Retain the Marine and authorize EDPs to regain satisfactory participation status.

b. Extend the SMCR Marine’s MDPSD by a period of time commensurate to the accumulated unsatisfactory participation time. Of note, Commands must request to have a Marine’s MDPSD adjusted only if the Marine returns to a good drilling status...

c. Initiate separation proceedings via CLA and per reference (v).

d. Of note, the nine unexcused absences do not have to be missed consecutively; however in the event a Marine accumulates nine consecutive unexcused absences, actions to terminate the Marine’s SGLI must be initiated per reference (bt).

Comments: "EDP" is Equivalent Duty Period.  "MDPSD” is Mandatory Drill Participation Stop Date. Reference (v) is MCO 1900.16 W/CH 1. Reference (bt) is MCO 1741.8.


3. Jurisdiction Over Members on Active Duty or Active Duty Training

a. Members of the Marine Corps Reserve lawfully called or ordered to AD or ADT are subject to reference (ao) beginning with the effective date of such orders.

Comments: Reference (ao) is the Uniform Code of Military Justice.



1. Article 2A(3) of reference (z) extends court-martial jurisdiction over reservists while on IDT (including telecommuting per chapter 5). As defined in paragraph 4701.3 of this Order, a reservist shall be considered in an IDT status beginning at the time of arrival at the designated IDT location or while at government furnished quarters when remaining overnight for the purpose of commencing one or more consecutive IDT periods. Such status shall continue until the member completes the final IDT period on the last day of such periods.