What is an Other Than Honorable Discharge from the Military?

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[Include a captivating opening sentence to grab the reader’s attention.] Military discharges play a crucial role in determining an individual’s standing and benefits post-service. Among the various types of discharges, an honorable discharge is considered the most desirable. However, not all military personnel are fortunate enough to receive an honorable discharge. In this article, we will delve into the topic of “Other Than Honorable Discharge” (OTH) from the military, exploring its definition, reasons for its issuance, and the impact it has on the individual’s military benefits and future prospects.

Overview of Military Discharges

Before we delve into the specifics of an Other Than Honorable Discharge, let’s first gain a broad understanding of military discharges. Military discharges are categorized into different types, including honorable, general, other than honorable, bad conduct, and dishonorable discharges. An honorable discharge signifies that the service member has met or exceeded the standards of military service, while an OTH discharge is a less favorable outcome.

What is an Other Than Honorable Discharge?

An Other Than Honorable Discharge, often referred to as an OTH discharge, is a characterization of service that is less favorable than an honorable discharge but not as severe as a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge. It is typically given to service members who engaged in misconduct or violated military regulations but did not commit offenses warranting a more severe discharge.

Factors Affecting an Other Than Honorable Discharge

Several factors can contribute to the issuance of an OTH discharge. These factors may include, but are not limited to, repeated misconduct, drug abuse, insubordination, unauthorized absence, commission of a serious offense not warranting a court-martial, or patterns of behavior inconsistent with military standards. It is important to note that the severity of the misconduct and the circumstances surrounding it play a significant role in determining the type of discharge.

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Consequences and Impact of an Other Than Honorable Discharge

Receiving an Other Than Honorable Discharge carries significant consequences and can have a lasting impact on a service member’s life. The individual may lose certain military benefits, including access to the GI Bill for education, healthcare services, and other support systems provided to honorably discharged veterans. Additionally, an OTH discharge can negatively impact future employment prospects, as many employers view it as a red flag, questioning the individual’s character and reliability.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some common questions related to Other Than Honorable Discharge:

1. Can an OTH discharge be upgraded to an honorable discharge?

While it is possible to request an upgrade to an OTH discharge, it can be a complex and challenging process. The decision to upgrade a discharge is at the discretion of the relevant military authorities, and it usually requires substantial evidence and a compelling case demonstrating a clear injustice or error in the original discharge decision.

2. What benefits are lost with an OTH discharge?

With an OTH discharge, service members may lose access to various benefits, including the GI Bill, healthcare services through the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other support programs offered exclusively to honorably discharged veterans.

3. How does an OTH discharge affect future employment prospects?

An OTH discharge can significantly impact future employment prospects. Many employers conduct background checks and view an OTH discharge as a mark against a candidate’s character and reliability. It is important for individuals with an OTH discharge to be prepared to address and explain the circumstances surrounding their discharge during job interviews.

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4. Can an OTH discharge be expunged from military records?

Expunging an OTH discharge from military records is extremely rare. Military records are generally permanent, and the discharge characterization will remain on the service member’s record unless there are exceptional circumstances that warrant a change.

5. How can one appeal or challenge an OTH discharge?

Service members who believe their OTH discharge was unjust or incorrect can explore the option of appealing or challenging the decision. This typically involves gathering evidence, seeking legal advice, and submitting a formal request for reconsideration or an upgrade to the relevant military authority.


In conclusion, an Other Than Honorable Discharge from the military is a characterization of service that falls below the standards of an honorable discharge. It is important for service members to understand the implications of an OTH discharge, as it can have a lasting impact on their military benefits and future prospects. Seeking legal advice and exploring available resources is crucial for individuals with an OTH discharge to navigate the challenges of reintegrating into civilian life. By understanding the reasons behind an OTH discharge and the potential avenues for recourse, service members can take proactive steps towards rebuilding their lives and moving forward with confidence.

[Include a closing sentence that leaves a lasting impression on the reader, emphasizing the importance of understanding and addressing the implications of an OTH discharge.]

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