Resignation AKA "Dropping your letter"

Only with slightly less stigma... and without the helicopter.

Soon this could be you

Only with slightly less stigma… and without the helicopter.

This post is only going to be about “unqualified” resignations.  This is the technical term for your normal run of the mill resignation that 99% of Naval Officers are going to fall under if they want to resign.  First some basic definitions so the discussion below makes more sense. 


MSR – Minimum Service Obligation – the basic service obligation you incurred as part of your commission, typically 4 or 5 years active duty, plus 4 or 3 years reserves to equal 8 years.

OBLISERV – Obligated Service – Also seen as EAOS in some places although this term is usually for Enlisted members.  The date (typically a month) when you can get out of the Navy.  This can be different than your MSR calculated date if you went to advanced training (Flight School, etc), used TA, went to PGS, or another grad school program.

If you have decided that you want to resign, the first step you should do is pick the month that you would like to leave active duty.  You might see this referred to as your “Desired Detachment Month”.  I have not seen this used in acronym form, which is good, because this is all confusing enough! Here at Officer’s Farewell, we are just going to call it D-Day.  

You want to start this thinking exercise about this about 15 to 18 months out.  Realize that you can pick any month that you want; it does not have to coincide with the end of your OBLISERV.  It can fall in that month or be later, it just cannot be any earlier.  If you are new at your command, you should probably “keep your cards close to your chest” when it comes to telling people you want to get out.  Wait until you have felt out the command climate on how they will treat you on FITREPs if they know you are getting out.  I have been at commands where these people were fodder for the rest of the group as well as commands where the CO didn’t care in the least what you were going to do after this tour or even this FITREP, it was all about how hard you had worked for him during that cycle.  Between 9 and 12 months prior to your resignation month, you will send a resignation letter through your command to PERS-843F. Samples can be found here.

You may withdraw your resignation request at any time up until the SECNAV signs off on it.  You may also request an extension of the desired detachment month, but this is up to needs of the Navy.  The instruction makes this sound like there is not a high probability of success with these requests.  There are a lot of “not normally approved” thrown around in the section, but if you need to change your date and have a compelling reason, give it a whorl.  As I always say, where there’s a will there’s a waiver!

The governing documents for this post are:

MILPERSMAN 1920-190 (Types of Resignations by Officers)

MILPERSMAN 1920-200 (Officer Resignation Procedures)

moneyDepending on your career timeline, you should read through our “I got FOS’ed” articles to make sure you aren’t missing out on a very lucrative opportunity.