Overview | Definitions | Risk Factors | Why Marines May Not Seek Help
Prevention | Suggested Resources | Guidance | Key Terms
Separations and retirements can be either voluntary (SRB, retirement by choice, resignation by choice, non-renewal of current contract, EAS, etc.), or involuntary (administrative separation, twice passed over for promotion, mandatory retirement due to high year tenure, medical retirement, etc.). For many Marines, separation or retirement may be welcome or agreeable to them. However, for others, there may be ambivalence or outright resistance. Most Marines will get through this process without any problems, but some will not. This guide is for those Marines who are not adapting well to the separation process.
Don't treat retirement and retirement planning as a common occurrence. As we know, Marines only get one shot to make the transition a smooth process, so both Marines and their commands need to start early and massage everything along the way.
See: HQMC Separation and Retirement Branch (MMSR)
- A general term which includes dismissal, dropping from the rolls, revocation of an appointment or commission, termination of an appointment, release from active duty, release from custody and control of the Marine Corps, or transfer from active duty to the: IRR, Fleet Marine Corps Reserve, Retired List, Temporary or Permanent Disability List, or Retired Reserve and similar changes in an active or reserve status.
- The process of separating from the United States Marine Corps after at least 20 years of satisfactory service, and as a result drawing appropriate pay, allowances, and benefits. Note: Reserve retirees do not receive pay until 60 years of age.
The uncertainty involved in transition from military to civilian life can be stressful to almost anyone, but some Marines may have issues that increase the stress of that transition and their ambivalence toward separation or retirement, including:
- Marine Corps has been more of their identity than they realized.
- Difficulty finding a job as separation/retirement approaches.
- Marital problems.
- Financial problems.
- Exceptional family member.Marine Corps has been more of their identity than they realized.
Outright resistance will be more likely for Marines facing involuntary separation. Risk factors making this process worse may include all of the above plus:
Marines may not seek help on any of the above issues for a variety of reasons. The most likely reason is that they are not confident that the command will act in what they perceive to be their best interest.
Some type of command involvement can minimize most of the problems listed. For Marines who are voluntarily separating, proper adherence to the steps laid out in MCO P1900.16F will greatly ease the transition. In addition, the checklists will ensure that all milestones are hit in a timely manner. For Marines who are attempting to stay in the service against involuntary separation, it becomes more imperative that the commands are ensuring that all legislated actions are taking place and, if they are not, that the individual Marine is held accountable. (Note: There are steps and checklists in MCO P1900.16F. Marines should be contacting their commands for copies of the individual command checklists.).
Separation and Retirement Branch Homepage.
Department of Veterans Affairs
oard for Correction of Naval Records
MCO P1900.16F Marine Corps Separation
and Retirement Manual
P1741.11B Survivor Benefit Plan (in the process of being
replaced by DoD INST 1332)
1741.8D Government Life Insurance Manual
SECNAVINST 1850.4E Disability Evaluation Manual
SECNAVINST 1920.6C Administrative Separation of Officers
Navy Medical Publication P-117 Change 126 The Manual of the Medical Department
- Discharge or release from active duty upon or before expiration of enlistment, period of induction, or other required period of service, in the manner prescribed in MCO P1900.16F, by law, by the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of the Navy, but specifically excluding punitive separation by the sentence of a general or special court-martial.
Characterization of Service:
A classification of quality of service rendered, the characterization of service is recognition of the quality of a Marine's performance and conduct. Determining the proper characterization should not be underestimated. Characterization of service serves as a goal for each Marine and as a meaningful endorsement to potential employers.
- Honorable. An honorable characterization is appropriate when the quality of the Marine's service is otherwise meritorious that any other characterization would be clearly inappropriate. Enlisted Marine with average proficiency marks of 3.0 or higher and average conduct marks of 4.0 or higher, shall have his or her service characterized as Honorable.
- General (Under Honorable Conditions). A general characterization of service is appropriate when the Marine's conduct of performance of duty outweigh the positive aspects of the military record. Enlisted Marines with proficiency and conducts marks below 3.0 and 4.0, respectively, should receive a characterization of general, under honorable conditions.
- Under Other Than Honorable Conditions. This characterization is appropriate when the Marine's conduct or performance of duty, particularly the commission or omission of an act that constitutes a significant departure from that expected of a Marine.
For additional guidance concerning characterization of service for Marine Officers refer to the SECNAVINST 1920.6C. For additional guidance concerning characterization of service for enlisted Marines, refer to chapter 1 of MCO P1900.16F.
- Complete severance from all military status gained by appointment, enlistment, or induction.
- Separation of a commissioned officer, effected by sentence of a general court-martial, or in commutation of such a sentence, or, in time of war, by order of the President, or separation of a warrant officer (WO-1) who is dismissed by order of the President in time of war. A complete severance from all military status.
Expiration of Active Service (EAS):
- The day active service terminates, including voluntary extensions of enlistment, convenience of the Government legal (CofGL), or convenience of the Government medical (CofGM), for Marines voluntarily retained on active duty.
Line of Duty:
In absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, disease or injury suffered by a Marine will be considered to have been incurred in the line of duty. Disease or injury suffered by a Marine will not be considered to have been incurred in the line of duty when found under any one of the following circumstances:
- As a result of the Marine's intentional misconduct or willful neglect;
- While avoiding duty by desertion or unauthorized absence;
- While confined under sentence of court-martial that includes an unremitted dishonorable discharge;
- While confined under sentence of a civil court following conviction of an offense which is defined as a felony by the law of the jurisdiction where convicted.
MCO P1900.16 Marine Corps Separation and Retirement Manual:
- Currently, a FOIA (freedom of Information Act) redacted version of the Separation Manual is online. This version is incomplete, however, as it does not contain Change 1. A complete and searchable version of the Manual should be available online with Change 2 by early CY2007.
Mandatory Separation Processing:
A general term used to ensure the commander initiates the involuntary separation process, to the separation authority. This term does not mean that a board hearing is mandatory or that the separation of the respondent is mandatory.
MCO P1900.16F Marine Corps Separation and Retirement Manual . Currently, a FOIA (freedom of Information Act) redacted version of the Separation Manual is online. This version is incomplete, however, as it does not contain Change 1. A complete and searchable version of the Manual should be available online with Change 2 by early CY2007.
- Retirement required by law or as a result of actions by a selective early retirement board.
- A resignation for which the least favorable characterization of service allowed is general (under honorable conditions).
- The voluntary request, by an officer, to be divested of his or her commission or warrant. Such requests may be classified as "Unqualified," "Qualified," or "For the Good of the Service" as defined in MCO P1900.16F. Upon acceptance by the Secretary and completion of all administrative procedures, it may represent a complete severance from all military status.
- Processing is initiated on the date a command receives a written request for separation from a member, or on the date a command delivers a member notice of separation proceedings per MCO P1900.16F. Processing is not completed until the appropriate separation authority takes final action.
Staff Judge Advocate:
- The senior judge advocate assigned to a general officer in command. The Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) serves as the principle legal advisor to the Commanding General and subordinate commands. For more information see: http://sja.hqmc.usmc.mil
Transition Assistance Management Program (TAMP):
The Transition Assistance Management Program (TAMP) provides career/employment assistance, vocational guidance, and transition information to separating Marines and their family members. The tools and information provided enable all separating Marines and their family members to make a successful transition from military to civilian life. Separating Marines are counseled and advised of the availability of these programs and their responsibility for attending prior to leaving the military. For more information please refer to https://www.manpower.usmc.mil/portal/page/portal/M_RA_HOME/MF/D_Personal%20and%20Professional%20Development/A_Transition%20Assistance%20Management%20Program