Section 8 (military)

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The term Section 8 refers to a former category of discharge from the United States military, that of a member judged mentally unfit for service. It also came to mean any service member given such a discharge or behaving as if deserving such a discharge, as in the expression, "he's a Section 8". The term comes from Section VIII of the World War II-era United States Army Regulation 615-360, which provided for the discharge of those deemed unfit for military service.[1]

Discharge under Section 8 is no longer practiced, as medical discharges for psychological/psychiatric reasons are now covered by a number of regulations. In the Army, such discharges are handled under the provisions of Army Regulation 635-200, Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations. Chapter 5, paragraph 13 governs the separation of personnel medically diagnosed with a personality disorder.[2]

Section 8 became a household phrase when used in the 1970s TV series M*A*S*H, in which the character Corporal Klinger was continually seeking one (until he eventually abandoned his efforts).[3] Other pop culture references to the term include the 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket, in which a recruit (Leonard Lawrence, a.k.a. "Private Gomer Pyle") becomes noticeably unstable as a result of the abuse from his drill instructor and platoon-mates.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ "Office of Medical History - Neuropsychiatry in WWII, Chapter 16". United States Department of the Army. 1963. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  2. ^ "Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations" (PDF). United States Department of the Army. 2005-06-05. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  3. ^ "M*A*S*H Episode Guide - Radar's Report". The editors of TV.com. 1973-09-02. Retrieved 2011-02-02.