One of our most frequently asked questions here at iHateTheUSMC.com has been “I signed the contract, and now I’ve decided that that was a bad idea, is there some way that I can back out?” The quick answer to your question is “Yes”. You can still quit, and not go to boot camp, without any negative consequences.
Technically, the contract you signed is legally binding, and the Marine Corps and Dept. of Defense could force you to fulfill the terms of your enlistment; however, current DoD policy (as prescribed in DoD Directive 1332.14) is to allow any person in the Delayed Entry Program to drop out of the DEP on request.
To drop out of the DEP, all you have to do is simply not show up on your ship-out date . You do not need to fill out any paperwork to be separated from the DEP, and you do not need to contact your recruiter if you don’t wish to. However, it is recommended that you contact your recruiter simply out of courtesy, and let him/her know that you no longer intend to join the marine corps.
If you do chose to call your recruiter, your recruiter is obligated by Marine Corps Order (MCO) P1100.72C to interview you, to “counsel” you about fulfilling your contract, and to remind you that your contract is legally binding. In the course of this interview your recruiter may try to tell you that “you can’t back out”, that “it’s illegal for you to break your contract”, that “you’ll receive a Dishonorable Discharge”, or make some similar threat. These threats are Absolutely Not True. MCO P1100.72C states that “If the interview and counseling session fails, and the individual insists on being released from the enlistment, the individual will be discharged as soon as possible” (Page 273). The order also states that the discharge will be an “uncharacterized entry-level separation” NOT a Dishonorable Discharge (Page 274). This “Entry-Level Separation” will NOT show up on any civilian employment record, and will have absolutely no impact on your future employment. The only potential negative consequence of withdrawing from the DEP is that recruiters (including recruiters from other military branches) may be less willing to work with you, should you try to enlist again at a later date.
If your recruiter tries to threaten you with any sort of negative consequence, simply tell your recruiter that, according to DoD Directive 1332.14, “A person who is in the Delayed Entry Program may be separated… upon his or her request when authorized by the Secretary concerned.”, and/or that you’re aware that MCO P1100.72C states that your recruiter has to interview you, but that it also states that your recruiter has to discharge you on request.
When dealing with your recruiter, I would personally recommend having a copy of the DoD Directive (or at least pages 17-18) and/or MCO P1100.72C (or at least pages 273-274) so that you can directly quote the Directive or Order. This way you will be able to show your recruiter that you’ve done your research, and that you won’t be intimidated by his threats.
If you wish to verify this answer, the relevant information can be found on pages 17-18 of DoD Directive 1332.14 under the heading “Separation from the Delayed Entry Program”, and pages 273-274 of MCO P1100.72C under the headings: “Desire for Release or Intent Not To Report” (Page 273) and “Procedures for Discharge of Members of the DEP/SMCR Prior to IADT” (Page 274).
Additional information on withdrawing from the DEP can be found at the “GI Rights Hotline” Website.
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