Q: How is MCN different from the GI Rights Hotline in the US?

A: MCN is actually part of the umbrella organization called the GI Rights Hotline.  The Hotline includes over a dozen counseling offices, or “nodes,” throughout the US, and when someone calls the 800 number from inside the US, they are connected to the closest node.  MCN is the only such organization that is located overseas and takes calls from servicemembers stationed anywhere outside the US, including Germany, Italy, England, S. Korea, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.

Q: How is MCN funded?

A: The entire operating budget of MCN comes from donations from individuals, churches, and organizations in the US and Europe.  In 2006, donations from the US made up just under 50 percent, with the rest coming from European sources.  The services of MCN are entirely free, although some servicemembers choose to make a donation.  Information on how to give a tax-deductible contribution is at “Donations.”

Q: If the US has a volunteer military, why should anyone be let out before their term is up?

A: In the same way that the Pentagon has the right according to military regulations to extend a servicemember’s active-duty term indefinitely during a time of war via “stop-loss,” so too do servicemembers have the right to get out early under certain circumstances.  These circumstances are laid out in military regulations.  By signing the enlistment contract, servicemembers are saying they will be subject to military regulations, and it is these same regulations that allow for an early discharge.

Q: You say I can get out of the DEP but my recruiter says that you don’t know what you’re talking about or you’re lying. Why should I believe you?

A: We do know what we’re talking about and we’re not lying, but you can see for yourself: just click on the DEP box for your branch of service on the regulations page to see the military’s own regulations. (Page links to GI Rights Hotline Regs page)

Q:What does MCN do?

A: MCN is set up to provide information to servicemembers about their rights that the UCMJ (Universal Code for Military Justice) and military regulations afford them.  Most military personnel know very little about what their options are when they have some sort of problem, and it’s often very difficult to ask about discharges, for example, with their chain of command.  After the servicemembers have the information, it is up to them how they want to proceed or if they want to seek a discharge.  MCN is also available throughout the process of applying for a discharge as questions or problems arise.

Q: In what kind of situation do servicemembers get out early?

A: The military recognizes that it’s not always in its own best interest to keep a servicemember on active duty.  If there is a serious physical or psychological problem, for example, that keeps a soldier from doing his or her job, it’s better for both parties involved if that soldier is discharged.  Other discharges are available in situations of hardship, pregnancy, or parenthood, and many of the discharges are explained in “Discharge Overviews.” The rule of thumb is that it may be possible to seek a discharge if: (1) the problem is severe; (2) it is permanent; (3) it began after entering the military; (4) other attempts to remedy the situation have failed; and (5) separation is the only remedy.
This page is based on information from the GI Rights Hotline, 877-447-4487 or girights@girightshotline.org