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The Types and Impacts of a Marine Corps ADSEP

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You signed up to serve, but now your command is trying to administratively separate you. You have a lot on the line. The benefits you earned, from the G.I. Bill to disability compensation, may all depend on the type of Marine Corps administrative separation (ADSEP) you receive. At Military Justice Guides, we have helped countless clients deal with a potential military separation, and we’re here to help you understand the types and impacts of a Marine Corps ADSEP.

Types of Marine Corps ADSEP

For enlisted members, Marine Corps administrative separations are governed by the Marine Corps Separation and Retirement Manual (MARCORSEPMAN). Most commonly, a Marine may be involuntarily separated for:

  • Misconduct (Paragraph 6201): This is the most common cause of involuntary separation. Whenever a Marine is involved in misconduct, the command is likely to explore separation. There are a variety of types of misconduct that can warrant separation, including minor disciplinary infractions, a pattern of misconduct, drug abuse, commission of a serious offense, civilian conviction, sexual harassment, and participation in supremacist or extremist organizations or activities, and driving under the influence. Separation processing for a series of minor disciplinary infractions or a pattern of misconduct, the most common cause of ADSEP, may not be initiated until the member has been appropriately counseled.
  • Unsatisfactory Performance (Paragraph 6206): A Marine may be separated if he or she is unqualified for further service for reasons of unsatisfactory performance.
  • Alcohol Rehabilitation Failure (Paragraph 6209): A Marine who has been referred to a program of rehabilitation for personal alcohol abuse and/or dependency may be separated for failure through inability or refusal to participate in or successfully complete such a program when (1) there is a lack of potential for continued naval service; or (2) long term rehabilitation is determined necessary and the Marine is transferred to a civilian medical facility for rehabilitation.

The “type” of Marine Corps ADSEP will be reflected on your DD214 upon discharge. This is commonly referred to as your “Separation Code.” Depending on the type of Marine Corps ADSEP you receive, you may be limited in your future plans. For instance, Marines separated for drug abuse may be unable to re-enlist or serve in federal government positions.

Marine Corps ADSEP

Impacts of Marine Corps ADSEP

The immediate impacts of a Marine Corps ADSEP are obvious — you lose your paycheck, your active duty benefits, and your career as a Marine. But the future impacts almost always depend on the “characterization” of your service. How your service is characterized is different than the type of ADSEP you receive. Upon discharge, your service may be characterized in the following manners:

  • Honorable. An honorable discharge is only appropriate if the Marine’s service is otherwise so meritorious that any other characterization would be clearly inappropriate.
  • Under Honorable Conditions (General). A general discharge is awarded when the quality of the member’s service has been honest and faithful; however, significant negative aspects of the member’s conduct or performance of duty outweighed the positive aspects of the member’s service record.
  • Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (OTH). A discharge under other than honorable conditions (OTH) occurs when the separation involves conduct involving one or more acts of omissions that constitute a significant departure from the conduct expected of members of Marines.

The “characterization” of your service determines how the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide you benefits. Although every case is different, the following rules generally apply:

  • If your service is characterized as Honorable, you are entitled to all VA benefits.
  • If your service is characterized as Under Honorable Conditions (General), you are not eligible for the GI Bill. However, you are likely to be eligible for all other VA benefits (disability compensation, hospital care, etc.).
  • If your service is characterized as Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (OTH), you are likely to lose all VA benefits, including the GI Bill, disability compensation, and medical care.

For more information about characterization of service and VA benefits, check out our FREE PAMPHLET – “Benefits by Discharge Characterization.”

How to Rebut a Marine Corps ADSEP

If you are facing a Marine Corps ADSEP, our guides and products can help. If you are interested, please feel free to read more on our website or purchase a Marine Corps ADSEP Response Template below:

Military Justice Guides

Military Justice Guides and are not law firms, nor do our employees act as legal counsel. provides an online portal to give users a general understanding of military law and to provide an automated software solution to individuals who choose to prepare their own documents. Services may also include a review of your answers for completeness, spelling, grammar, and for internal consistency of names, addresses and the like. At no time do we review your answers for legal sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide legal advice, opinions or recommendations about your legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms, or strategies, or apply the law to the facts of your particular situation. We are not a law firm and may not perform services performed by an attorney. Military Justice Guides and, its related Services, and its forms or templates are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.

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