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  #1  
Old 05 May 2009, 12:53 PM
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Ravenhull Ravenhull is offline
 
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Read This! Lottery win = honorable discharge

Back when I was serving, there was a rumor that if a servicemember won the Lottery, they would be able to get a honorable discharge shortly thereafter. The idea was that a new millionaire would be less enthusiastic about serving, or at least be completely willing to pay others to do his duties and such. (The latter is a bit understandable considering the number of times I made a quick buck pulling somebody else's guard or CQ duty.)
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  #2  
Old 05 May 2009, 02:03 PM
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JoeBentley JoeBentley is offline
 
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Not sure of any actual chiseled in stone policy, but I do have an example that backs up your statement. In March 2004 AOAN (Aviation Ordnance Airman) Don Burdette, a 23 year old sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz won 6.5 million in the California Lottery, and was issued an Honorable Discharge due to it.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m.../ai_116525442/
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  #3  
Old 05 May 2009, 02:04 PM
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CannonFodder CannonFodder is offline
 
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Well, I can't back it up with facts, but I can say that this is a Military Myth that I've heard throughout my long career as well.
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  #4  
Old 05 May 2009, 02:24 PM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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With enough money, and a willingness to put it in the right pockets, much can be achieved.

Note: This is not meant as an offense to the military, or at least not more than an offense ot any other large organization.
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  #5  
Old 05 May 2009, 02:50 PM
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JoeBentley JoeBentley is offline
 
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Well upon further research it looks like this one is at least mostly true.

CHAPTER 5-3: SECRETARIAL PLENARY AUTHORITY (“ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY”)

This provision of AR 635-200 provides for those soldiers who desire to leave active duty but who do not qualify under any other provision of AR 635-200. Recent guidance (MILPER Message NR 97-095) emphasizes that requests under this provision will not be approved unless discharge is clearly “in the best interests of the Army,” not necessarily in the best interests of the soldier. Individual requests which serve only the interest of the soldier - particularly those involving soldiers with critical military skills or bonus recipients - will not be approved except under exceptional circumstances. Requests for separation more than three months before ETS normally will be disapproved.

Unit Commanders must understand that this chapter is approved at the Secretary of the Army level and must be in writing. This chapter is requested by the soldier on a DA Form 4187 which is forwarded through the chain of command and transmitted via fax (DSN: 221-1965) to HQDA, ATTN: TAPC-PDT-S. Chain of command forwarding endorsements must indicate rationale to support determination that early separation is in the best interest of the Army as well as a statement whether the soldier has received education benefits counseling. In addition, chain of command forwarding endorsements must recommend approval or disapproval and, if recommending approval, include a recommendation concerning characterization of service (either Honorable or General, Under Honorable Conditions).

1-18 counseling Required: No (1-18a)

Medical Required: Only for involuntary separation (1-34a)

Mental Required: No (l-34b)

Approval Authority: HQDA (TAPC-PDT-S) (5-3e)

Type of discharge authorized: Honorable or General, Under Honorable Conditions (5-1)Documents Required for Chapter:

( ) DA Form 4187 from soldier (See example - Appendix I). The DA Form 4187 will be approved/disapproved by the Company Commander and forwarded through the chain of command by endorsement to the approval authority. The intermediate commander(s) will either disapprove the request or recommend approval and if recommending approval, will specify which characterization of discharge is appropriate, either Honorable, or General, Under Honorable Conditions.

( ) Statement from soldier explaining in detail why approval of request would be in "the best interest of the military".

( ) Affidavit or statement from agency substantiating soldier's stated reason for elimination (i.e. letter from employer detailing better job opportunity to include intent to hire, better salary or affidavit detailing lottery winnings).

( ) Education benefits counseling (Appendix C)

( ) Debt avoidance counseling (Appendix D)

( ) DA Form 2A

( ) DA Form 2-l or ERB

Last edited by JoeBentley; 05 May 2009 at 02:58 PM.
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  #6  
Old 05 May 2009, 05:05 PM
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Ravenhull Ravenhull is offline
 
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Interesting bit of regulations you found there, JoeBently. I wonder how often it has been used for various reasons. If I read it right, basicly it gives a service member a chance to simply ask SecArmy to get discharged for some unusual reason.
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  #7  
Old 05 May 2009, 06:17 PM
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UEL UEL is offline
 
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In the '90s, in Canada, there was a servicemember who won a $5 million jackpot in a lottery. Up until then it was rumoured that if you won the lottery then you would be forced to quit the forces. However, in this case, it never happened, the soldier finished his 20 years (he had about 4 years left when he won) and never signed on for more time. Nothing was forced and I'm certain that had he wanted to release with 16 years in, it would have been no problem.*

Similar to the regulations that JoeBentley posted, but not regulated, was a case where a young infanteer wanted to take leave for a few weeks. This occurred in the late '80s. He had been signed to the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team and wanted to go play a couple of games and feel the exhilaration of playing hockey at that level, then return to his new job as an infanteer. Once the reason for the out of season leave was known, the CF offered him an extended leave of absence to play hockey and return later, or a release from the forces with the opportunity to join back up later on if it suited him. He released to play hockey, and he never looked or came back.

* The regulations regarding release in the Canadian Forces are quite a bit different than in the US. Given ample notification (usually 6 months) you can likely release at any time in a career. Once certain criteria are met, it is down to 30 days notice.

Last edited by UEL; 05 May 2009 at 06:21 PM. Reason: Forgot to add in my bonus nugget at the end
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  #8  
Old 05 May 2009, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
Not sure of any actual chiseled in stone policy, but I do have an example that backs up your statement. In March 2004 AOAN (Aviation Ordnance Airman) Don Burdette, a 23 year old sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz won 6.5 million in the California Lottery, and was issued an Honorable Discharge due to it.
But the article doesn't actually say he was discharged due to his lottery win; it reports that he won the lottery and "will be released from the military with an honorable discharge." The article doesn't present any specific connection between those two events -- from the information presented, it could be the case that the end of his term of enlistment happened to coincide with his lottery win.
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  #9  
Old 06 May 2009, 12:34 AM
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I have heard this one for most of my career as well. The reason given, admittedly by the barracks lawyers, is that a lottery winner could be prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the unit. The winner wouldn't be worried about Article 15 punishment; why should he care if the commander takes rank or money away with NJP when he has plenty more. The winner could also be tempted to buy/bribe his way out of duties or punishments, or to get awards or into better duty station, "hey, branch manager, here's $10,000 if I can get Ft. Lee, VA."

But I do know it's not an automatic out. I have seen or heard of a few big money winners in my time in. It's been in the news (usually the Army Times, or Stars and Stripes) that Soldier so and so won X millions of dollars in the lottery and is not getting out because they love the job so much and it's not about the money.

shivaskeeper
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  #10  
Old 06 May 2009, 01:09 AM
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Ravenhull Ravenhull is offline
 
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I always figured it was an automatic offer rather than an automatic discharge. As a few have said, some are just patriotic enough to not want the discharge.
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  #11  
Old 06 May 2009, 03:34 PM
ET1 (SS)
 
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During my AD career, it was an entirely volunteer force.

Everyone volunteered to be there.

I did observe numerous times when someone developed a bad attitude, was NJP'ed and eventaully discharged.

Today if you truly do not want to be in the military, you will be discharged.

On the other hand, there are various reasonings for what makes a 'hardship'. You grew up on a farm, your father has died and nobody is left who can work the farm, so by staying in uniform it become a hardship on your family. You need to be discharged to go home and work the farm.

If you had a serious rational for why your service was creating a 'hardship', you could present that rational to your CO, or a chaplain; and it would be considered.

I fail to see why winning a lottery would be a hardship.

A 20-year pension is a massive investment, a huge asset. There is no way that I would have walked away from my pension, when I was 15 years into my career.
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  #12  
Old 07 May 2009, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ET1 (SS) View Post
On the other hand, there are various reasonings for what makes a 'hardship'. You grew up on a farm, your father has died and nobody is left who can work the farm, so by staying in uniform it become a hardship on your family. You need to be discharged to go home and work the farm.
I was told (in the early-mid 1990s) that it's very difficult to get a hardship discharge, and this was a major reasons why I did not join as I was approaching the age limit at the time.

I was told that they take into consideration whether you could have foreseen the situation when you joined. Maybe you couldn't have foreseen the situation above, but I was concerned that if you knew about the potential situation when you joined (e.g., if you knew your father was sick), it would be difficult to get the discharge.

I of course may have "been told" incorrectly.

I wouldn't feel right joining in that situation anyway even if I could be discharged for a personal situation like that because I'd feel like I'd be letting the military down by not serving the commitment I agreed to. That's also why I'd try not to leave if I won the lottery (although the earlier discussion suggests that I could be told to leave).

Thanks.

Bill
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  #13  
Old 07 May 2009, 01:37 PM
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AnglRdr AnglRdr is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill View Post
I was told (in the early-mid 1990s) that it's very difficult to get a hardship discharge,
I got one. It was exceptionally humiliating, and, to this day, I think my captain (who then went on to admiral) was a complete asshat who just saw me as a quitter, rather than taking my entire service record into account. He soured me on much of the Navy, particularly officers so driven by their ambition that they forget to remember that the forest is made up of trees.
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