Section 8 (military)
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.
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.
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). 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.
Also the term Section 8 is employed in reference to a black-ops anti-drug unit led by Tom Hardy (who is addressed as "Colonel"). The "Section-8" insane-mercenary story is a cover to spook the cartels in the film(2003) Basic starring John Travolta.
- Blue discharge
- Section 8 (video game), a video game named after the military term due to its game mechanics of "dangerously insane" orbital flights.
- "Office of Medical History - Neuropsychiatry in WWII, Chapter 16". United States Department of the Army. 1963. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- "Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations" (PDF). United States Department of the Army. 2005-06-05. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
- "M*A*S*H Episode Guide - Radar's Report". The editors of TV.com. 1973-09-02. Retrieved 2011-02-02.