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If a Trainee refuses to train how long does it take for them to be out processed from the Army?

Our son is in basic training in the army. He has refused to train, He signed his recommendation for a company grade article 15 and was going to find out his punishment this past week 19 but his commander said the paper work was incomplete. How long with they keep him?

Company Command: The Bottom Line - Army Leadership Guide

I understand the situation you are facing as a parent.  The response I will provide is one based on my experience of the Army and how things usually work.  Your Sons situation might be different.

In Basic there are several reasons why a Trainee might be separated.  Usually they are separated for Injury or medical reasons.  Basically this is no fault of the Soldier.  In these cases Trainees are usually separated rather quickly.


When a Trainee refuses to train several other issues come into play.

  1. If the Army made it easy for Soldier to stop training or get out it has the potential to cause additional problems with other Trainees that might consider refusing to train.
  2. The Army tends to view this as disobeying orders, adversely impacting the good order and discipline of the unit.
  3. As such it is a serious offense and is usually punished under the UCMJ.  Depending on the offense it could result in confinement although this is rarely the case.  Usually the punishment is reduction in rank, extra duty, loss of pay and/or some combination of these items.


While I was in Basic Training we had two individuals that refused to train.  One just decided they did not want to be in the military.  The other shot himself in the foot.  As an example to the remaining Trainees these individuals remained in the unit for our entire time through Basic and part of our Advance Training as Artillerymen.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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  • Cyndi


    My son started OSUS a little over a month ago. He was so excited and wanted to do this his whole life. He just got home for HBL and has told me everyone in his platoon hates him and is constantly harassing him. He has tried to make amends, but admits when that didn’t work, he dished it back out to them, making things worse. He feels completely alone. He has always had social issues, but I thought the military was supposed to teach teamwork, etc. He said he wants to do a Refusal to Train and leave. I am obviously upset and disheartened. I hate for him to quit and/or get a bad discharge. I do not know what advice to give him. He is very embarrassed and distraught because he feels he is letting everyone down.

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