Separation Boards, which are also known as “chapters” are the method in which soldiers are terminated from military employment. A service member is entitled to have his/her proposed discharge considered by a panel of three officers and enlisted members if he/she has over six years of military service or if the proposed level of discharge is for an “other than honorable” characterization. If neither of these requirements is met, the commanding general for the service member may be able to separate the service member based on document submission alone.
At a separation board, the prosecutor is called a “recorder.” The service member is entitled to be represented by a civilian attorney as well as an appointed military attorney. The service member has a right at this hearing to not say anything and may cross examine any of the witnesses against him/her. The service member may also call witnesses of his/her own to testify on his/her behalf of a separation board hearing.
The issues to be resolved at a separation board hearing are whether the allegations for the separation are true; whether the service member should be retained on active duty; and, if not retained, what level of discharge the service member should receive. The levels of discharge that a service member can receive if separated at a board are: Honorable, General Under Honorable Conditions, or General Under Other Than Honorable Conditions.
If you are referred to a separation board, you should take the matter very seriously. A discharge from the military under any characterization that is not Honorable may greatly impact your ability to obtain certain employment and may result in the loss of veteran’s benefits.
At The Carlson Law Firm, our attorneys are experienced in defending cases at separation boards. Several of our attorneys have served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps and have developed the very skills and experience needed to zealously represent service members in these trials. If you are pending a separation board, or there is a pending investigation, you should call us immediately.