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.

Chapter 4

Reserve Participation, Assignments, Progression, and Retirement

Section 3: Unsatisfactory Participation

1. Overview

a. Definition. A reserve Marine may determined to be 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/I-I/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/I-I/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 primary residence 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 accrues at least 9 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. 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. The 9 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.


5. Failure to Report
a. Inter-unit Transfer (IUT). An enlisted Reserve Marine failing to report to the new Reserve unit by the date designated in the orders may be classified as an unsatisfactory participant. (1) Upon IUT, if the individual does not physically report as directed, the CO/OIC/I-I of the gaining unit will contact the transferring unit and attempt to locate the Marine (IMA OpSponsors will coordinate with Dir MCIRSA).

(2) If the Marine cannot be located within 15 days of the transfer date and the orders are not modified or canceled by the issuing authority,the unit to which the Marine was ordered will report the join if they have not already done so and subsequently transfer the Marine back to the former unit at least one day after the join entry. The former unit will take appropriate administrative action.

(3) Should the Marine report to a new unit in person without appropriate orders, the Marine will not be joined until the CO/OIC/I-I of the transferring unit is contacted to determine the member's status and acquire the appropriate orders. The CO/OIC/I-I of the gaining unit can then join the Marine. The date of join will not be retroactive. IMA OpSponsors will coordinate with Dir MCIRSA.

b. Transfer to the SMCR Upon Release from Active Duty

(1) If a Marine fails to report from AD as directed, the I-I/site commander will attempt to locate the Marine and ensure the active-duty orders were not modified or canceled. When it is determined that the Marine was released from active duty but failed to report as directed, the gaining unit will join the Marine on the UD the day after the date the Marine was released from active duty as stipulated on the DD 214 and take appropriate administrative action.

(2) Unauthorized absences will be reported on the UD for all IDT periods scheduled but not performed by the Marine the day after the Marine’s last day of active duty. For example, if on 15 December 2015, a unit commander identifies a Marine who was released from active duty on 31 October 2015 but failed to report, the individual will be joined on the unit rolls on 1 November 2015 and all IDT periods scheduled by the unit from 1 November 2015 through 15 December 2015 will be reported as unauthorized absences in DMM. DMM will be corrected accordingly.

c. Transfers from the IRR to SMCR

1) Mandatory participants of the IRR directed to return to an SMCR status by the COMMARFORRES will be determined to be unsatisfactory participants if they fail to report by the date designated in their orders.

2) The COMMARFORRES will direct Dir MCIRSA to rejoin and process the Marine for separation via CLA and in accordance with reference (z).