Typical military codes on the U.S. Department of Defense Record of Discharge are those for separation and reenlistment eligibility. A separation code represents the discharge reason, while a reenlistment eligibility code signifies any circumstances under which a particular service branch authorizes reenlistment.
Separation codes combine letters and numbers to label a broad range of discharge types. While various publications list specific identifiers, there is no guarantee of accuracy. The government changes the designations at-will and prohibits military branches from releasing them to the public. Some discharge types include early release, retirement and scheduled release at the end of an obligated service period. The military grants advanced releases for teachers, parents whose dependent is newly unavailable and servicemen returning from overseas duties near the end of an enlistment period. It also discharges for criminal activity, inability to perform assigned duties and other unsuitability issues.
Reenlistment eligibility codes differ along service lines, categorized as Army, Air Force, and the combined Navy, Coast Guard and Marine branches. All use four numeric classifications with variations for distinct circumstances. A prefix of 01 means eligible to reenlist, sometimes after a waiting period. A prefix of 02 indicates eligibility with some restrictions or after restricting conditions no longer apply. A prefix of 03 requires a waiver, and 04 designates ineligibility.