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VSPChannel (VSPC) has learned that during the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, various actions and wars in our U.S. history thereafter, men and women who served in the U.S. Military may have had their lives negatively impacted by what could be arbitrary SECRET CODES that may have been inconspicuously placed in those Service Members official Department of Defense Form 214 (DD 214). This DD 214 is a separation from service form presented to all separating Service Members. VSPC has learned that Veterans lives have been adversely impacted and certainly affected by, these Secret Codes. VSPC has also learned these separating Service Members didn’t even know the Secret Codes existed, yet, those Secret Codes are present in their respective DD214. Too often, these Secret Codes turn an Honorable Discharge into a badge of shame, not honor.

VSPC initial research has disclosed these DD 214 Secret Codes could have been used in many areas that may impact Veterans and the very outcome of their lives. The outcome can include but are not limited to seeking VA benefits, acquiring gainful employment, gaining entrance into Universities or Colleges, and even Veterans seeking Public Sector Loans.

The Secret Codes appear to be a product of the Department of Defense (DOD). The Secret Codes appear to wind up on discharged military Service Members DD 214 in the form of Separation Program Numbers (SPN) codes or a Military Re-Enlistment (RE) Code. These SPN codes appear on the DD 214 as numbers. Over the years mentioned above, deciphers to these codes appear to have been widely circulated to institutions of a wide variety throughout the U.S. Research finds that it appears the codes are often used to determine the discharged Service Members’ acceptance into those employers, institutions or programs.

The most egregious aspect of the use of these Secret Codes is the former Service Member may have no idea that his/her record has been coded. Added to this absence of information is, there is no identified process made available to the separating Service Member to know what code the discharging command intends to place on the respective separating Service Member’s DD 214. There is also no process a separating Service Member may use to defend his/her self. No hearing, no board and no Service Member participation in the selection and use of various Secret Codes.

The reader of this Blog must understand that every U.S. Service Member has access to rights accorded to all members of the U.S. Military under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). As the VSPC board currently understands, if Secret Codes are used, the application of such codes does not comply with those rights. Especially when VSPC research discloses there were no Service Member opportunities to know about the codes or the reason for application of such codes.

VSPC research discloses it is not even clear who is responsible for the issuance of these Secret Codes. Citizens have a right to face their accuser. This is also true for Service Members who are afforded access to the UCMJ. In the instance of application of a Secret Code, to who may the former Service Member address a grievance regarding such Secret Codes?
Across this great Nation, the citizens make it very clear Veterans must have employment, they must have access to suitable medical care and they must have confidence that the population supports them and their plans for the remainder of their lives. Application of such codes as these without the full knowledge and consent of the person who may have been harmed by the application of such codes is a clear violation of individual rights. Why isn’t there a process afforded Service Members?

The VSPC Board of Directors review and concern about the use of Secret Codes begs the question whether such Codes could potentially be a cause for the increase of mental and emotional health incidents among former Service Members. The VSPC Board is calling for a study to be initiated by the VA and the US Military Services. The objective must discern whether such codes as these are in use? The study must also answer the question, when such codes are used, what is the purpose? The study must also answer the question, with the use of the UCMJ and its rights afforded service members, what is the purpose of these codes? The VSPC Board of Directors recommends such a study include all major US Military Commands as well as the various foreign Theaters within which our US Military serves. VPSC Board is also calling for an immediate review and determination for cessation of the use of Secret Codes on DD 214s. VSPC Board also requests all military services consider re-issuing all DD 214s. The VSPC Board believes a comprehensive study of this problem could also include the following:

  1. Corporate Employment – Do Secret Codes on DD 214 hinder Veterans from acquiring employment? How seriously do these codes affect the considerations of potential employers? How does the use of the Secret Codes impact employers who also have so-called Veteran Preference in hiring?
  2. Healthcare and Veterans Administration (VA) claims: Study participants can determine if such codes are in use. If so, how do DD 214 Secret Codes impact the overall Healthy Mental Attitude environment? Review the impact of the Secret Codes regarding attitude of doctors and claim processors? Are claims processors at the VA aware of these Secret Codes? Are those processors aware of code deciphers? If so, is discrimination against Veterans with negative DD 214 Secret Codes possible? Study the impact of such Codes on DD 214 when a Veteran is unable to gain suitable employment. What percentages of Veterans who cannot gain suitable employment find themselves impacted by depression, anxiety, hyper vigilance that may spawn suicide ideation?
  3. Ethics: Is it ethical to issue any Veteran an Honorable Discharge or a Discharge Under Honorable conditions and then apply such a code? Answer the question whether such a code can prejudice a Veteran with such an honorable discharge when he/she applies for jobs, loans, and educational opportunities when that opportunity requires the use of a DD 214.
  4. Government Jobs: Does the government job require a DD 214? If the Secret Code is applied to that DD 214, what is the impact? If such a code is present on the DD 214, Do persons harbor prejudice for Veterans whose DD 214 reflect a negative secret code? What is the impact to the Veteran who applies to a Government Contractor or Subcontractor?
  5. VSPC core Mission – Prevention of Veteran Suicide: Study should determine if the rise of veteran suicides correlates with the use of Secret Codes on DD 214s? How does the study determine how many Veterans with Secret Codes versus Veterans without Secret Codes have actually committed suicide in the preceding 20 years?


Glenn R. Towery, Chairman & Founder
Veterans Suicide Prevention Channel (VSPChannel)

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Mr. Gary Ray Bugnacki, Mr. Charles Eggelston, Mr. Wilbert Forbes, Mr. Derrick Jones, Mrs. Juanita Cole-Towery, Mr. Calvin Turner