Military Discharges come in 5 forms:
2 General under Honorable Conditions
3. General under Other than Honorable Conditions
4. Bad Conduct
Which discharge a service member gets depends on several factors: completion of a full term or service, medical status, pre-existing conditions, and good conduct.
Honorable Discharge: Given to service members who successfully complete their enlistment contracts without disciplinary infractions and are fully eligible for all benefits and bonuses entitled to them. These service members, depending on age, health and other circumstances should receive a RE 1 (Re-entry code for reenlistment)
General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions: This does not mean a service member has an honorable discharge and should not be related to others or employers as such. In this case a service member has completed their enlistment but does not have a spotless record but the infractions do not warrant judicial punishment, or, more commonly, is discharged medically for an injury or pre-existing condition. Usually, this type of discharge is upgradable 6 months after enlistment to honorable and all receiving it should contact that VA to move the process forward.
General Discharge Under other than Honorable: The service member has committed an act against his oath and is being discharged without receiving a trial or court martial. This is the most serious administrative discharge and carriers with it no benefits.
Bad Conduct Discharge: This is a non administrative, punitive discharge that carries with it no benefits and no chance of re-enlistment or upgrading of the discharge.
Dishonorable: This is the most extreme discharge and can only be granted as a judicial action by full court martial, and is usually due to an extreme violation of the UCMJ such as desertion, rape, attempted murder etc…
All service members should know and fully understand their type of discharge and how it will effect them in their civilian life and particularly, their search for employment. While honorable is always welcome, and a General UHC can be explained, particularly is a medical discharge, Other than Honorable and Bad Conduct Discharges carry a significant burden in seeking employment and benefits.
A Dishonorable Discharge is the worst case scenario and every effort should be made to avoid it, as it carries a similar stigma to being being a felon and most employers will not consider a Dishonorable Discharge for any reason.