19 October 2009

Reserve Chapter Separation for Unsatisfactory Participation

CHAPTER 13, AR 135-178

Pursuant to Chapter 13, AR 135-178, soldiers will be processed for discharge in the event that they are determined:

1. To be an unsatisfactory participant defined in Chapter 4, AR 135-91; and,

2. Attempts to have the soldier respond or comply with orders or correspondence have resulted in:

a. The soldier’s refusal to obey either verbally or in writing; or,
b. Second notice sent by certified mail refused, unclaimed or otherwise undelivered; or,
c. Verification of failure to notify of change of address.

What is an unsatisfactory participant under Chapter 4, AR 135-91? Definitions are important in this chapter: unsatisfactory participant, unexcused absence, and proper documentation of unexcused absences.

Soldiers who accrue more than 9 unexcused IDTs of the required 48 in any 12 month period are deemed to be unsatisfactory participants; or,

Soldiers who fail to complete the entire period of AT; or,

Soldiers who fail to report a change of address within 45 days of such change; or,

Soldiers who fail to comply with a second notice to complete and return official military correspondence within 45 days of the second notice.

Remember that an IDT is one four-hour drill period. If a soldier misses one day of drill, that is the equivalent of two IDTs.

Soldiers must be notified properly of their absences, notice sent after the fourth unexcused absence. At that point, the commander is required to determine why the soldier is missing drill and to take steps to resolve the problems.


An “Other Than Honorable” characterization of service is presumed, unless good reasons exist for a “General (under honorable conditions)”. The reasons to support a General discharge are outlined in Chapter 2, Section III, AR 135-178. Characterization of the discharge as “Honorable” will not be allowed unless recommended by board and record exceptionally meritorious.

Board procedures are required. However, notification procedure allowed if soldier has less than 18 years or more than 20 years AND that soldier’s service will be characterized by a general discharge.

Questions to be Aware of:

Was proper notice provided?
Does the chapter packet reflect the necessary documentation of the absences?
Did the commander become actively involved in resolving the soldier’s conflict that led to unsatisfactory participation?


  1. Sir,

    Thank you very much for the enlightening information for unsatisfactory participants. Regarding Entry Level Performance and Conduct, what would be the counseling form appropriate when it is Soldiers who never went to AIT or BCT and have not attended the unit's BA's in 2 years or more!

    Paralegal SGT

    1. OMG SGT Gutierrez,

      It is a small world! Greetings from the 7th CSC in Kaiserslautern, Germany

      SSG Burford

  2. OK if u have one of these discharge will this hurt you from getting a weapon permit

  3. "2 years or more!" This Soldier would already be processed for discharge, narrative reason would be: Failure to attend IET within 24 months.

  4. Upon discharge from AD I was assigned to a unit in MD even though they knew I would be moving to FL. Everyone said, "Oh, just put in a transfer." As if it would be easy. I have been trying for 10 months to get a transfer, however, the medical unit in Mobile "Doesn't just accept anybody. We have to meet you, see if we like you." The other unit is 5-6 hours away in Jacksonville. The CO in MD will not approve my RST with a recruiting station and sent down a message to me that I "either make the transfer happen or travel to MD to do BA and get reimbursed." If they discharge me I will have to pay back my affiliation bonus. What are my options here? It doesn't seem as if the CO cares about my situation. Expecting me to travel from FL to MD once a month? Get real. I'm not an officer, just a SPC.


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