Military Reenlistment Eligibility (RE) Codes

If You've Served Before, You May Be Able to Reenlist

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Are you considering enlisting in the military again? Prior service members can seek to rejoin the military, but it depends on whether or not the branch of service is looking for your particular MOS (military occupational specialty) or rating. If your year group is full for a particular unit you want to join, it may be impossible to rejoin.

The reason why you left originally, the type of discharge, and your reenlistment code will also be taken into account by the military recruiter. 

The big question is if are you eligible to reenlist in the military. The Military Reenlistment Eligibility Code (RE) on your discharge documents (DD214) shows whether you are eligible, would need a waiver, or are ineligible. Here is how to interpret the codes.

Military Reentry Codes

The reentry codes are found on DD Form 214 in the bottom section in boxes 24, 26 and 27:

Box 24 

This box sates the character of service with the type of discharge. This may be honorable, other than honorable (OTH), bad conduct, or dishonorable. You normally only are eligible for reenlistment if you have an honorable discharge. All other discharges than honorable tend to have legal or court martial offenses attached to them.
Box 26 

This box contains the separation code, which tells the reason for discharge. There are many separation codes that prohibit you from re-entering the military, especially if you were kicked out before the completion of your enlistment contract. Separation codes are typically three-letter codes that have a meaning attached to them. Some examples of codes that would make you ineligible to return to service are the following: GKS (absent without leave or AWOL), GLF (drug use), and GMB (character or behavior disorder).

Box 27

This box will have a reentry code that differs depending on the branch of the military in which you served. In general, a code of RE-1 is good to go for all services and you are eligible to reenlist. If you have any other code you may be eligible, you may require a waiver, or you may be ineligible.

The codes used are subject to change. If you have been separated from the military for a number of years, you may find older codes on your DD-214. Refer to the military's ​Master List of Military Reenlistment Codes (RE) for further explanations. If you have an RE code that requires a waiver, you should contact the recruiting command to find out how to apply for a waiver.

Below are a few key basic differences between the reenlistment codes for each of the services.

Army Reenlistment Codes

In general, those who receive an Army RE Code of RE-1 may reenlist in the Army or another service with no problem. Individuals with an Army RE Code of RE-3 are ineligible for reenlistment unless a waiver is granted. Individuals with an Army RE Code of RE-4 or RE-4R (retired) are normally not eligible to reenlist in the Army, nor to join another service. But many retired highly skilled veterans can find high-paying work as contractors doing a similar job to what they were doing while on active duty.

The Army has simplified its RE codes, so you may see a variety of codes depending on your date of separation. Check with the recruiting command to see if you are eligible, need a waiver, or are ineligible.

Navy and Coast Guard Reenlistment Codes

As with the Army, if your code starts RE-1, you are eligible to reenlist. But it gets tricky from there, as some RE-3 codes require waivers or are ineligible, for example. Check the current list for details and discuss them with the recruiting command.

If the code of RE-4 was issued solely for homosexual conduct, it should be reviewed as you may be eligible for reenlistment.

Air Force Reenlistment Codes

Air Force RE codes can be complicated. Unless your code is a plain and simple RE-1, you will have to check the current chart. Codes beginning RE-2 may mean you need a waiver or may mean you are not eligible to reenlist.

Marine Corps Reenlistment Codes

The Corps also has a more complex set of RE codes, but if you see an A after the number (such as 1A, 2A, 3A), you are qualified to enlist provided all other criteria are met.