How to Leave the Navy Reserves

The U.S. Navy Reserves, a full commitment, service
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Joining the Navy Reserve is no different from joining any other branch of the military. The same time commitment and personal dedication is expected. For this reason, leaving the Navy Reserve is simplest if you wish to leave after fulfilling your service commitment. If you are hoping to leave before your service commitment is over, there is the possibility of being faced with mounds of paperwork, at minimal. More importantly, there is a great chance that your request to leave will be denied.

Leave the Navy Reserve after fulfilling your service requirement, ideally. The service requirement of the Navy Reserve is an eight year commitment for serving individuals that enlisted with no prior military experience.

Talk to your recruiter. Your recruiter is not only responsible for encouraging you to enlist. It is the responsibility of the recruiter to assist in your transition for civilian to Navy life. If you find that you are not adjusting well, express your concerns to your recruiter and explain that you would like to explore your options for leaving the Navy Reserve.

Investigate the possibility of leaving the Navy Reserve without fulfilling your commitment and without receiving an other than honorable discharge under the following circumstances: pregnancy, hardship, disability, conscientious objection, or mental conditions.

Contact your Naval Reserve Personnel Center to ask about the necessary paperwork that must be completed in order to properly discharge. This is especially important if you are desirous of receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy Reserve.

Inquire to your commanding officer about the procedure for obtaining and filling out the necessary information for the Defense Department Form 214, commonly referred to as the DD 214. This mandatory form will include information about your time served and the conditions of your release from active duty.

Exhaust all of your options to leave the Navy Reserve honorably. If you are unable to find a way to leave but are still determined to quit, be ready to accept the consequences if you intentionally breach your contract .


  • Be sure to communicate with your commanding officer and the necessary personnel during the process of your discharge. Any miscommunication or misunderstanding could cause a delay in the processing of your paperwork.
  • Leaving the Navy Reserve dishonorably or going AWOL could have disastrous effects on your future employment opportunities.


  • Do your research before signing up for the Navy Reserve. It is not easy to leave once you have committed yourself to years of service. Do not commit under pressure or in an attempt to avoid a stressful situation at home. Obliging yourself to the Navy Reserve should be a logical and not an emotional choice.

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