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What is “EAS”? An Explanation and Guide To Help You Navigate Military Separation

Separating from the military and don’t know where to start? 

We’ve got you covered!

One of the acronyms that has the biggest impact on a service members’ life is EAS, commonly confused with ETS

What does “EAS” mean in the military? 

End of Active Service

This is when you (an active duty service member) can separate from your branch of service and your active duty time will be over. 

Here’s everything you need to know about what it means to EAS from the military.

Are You Eligible for EAS?

Is your ETS date coming? 

Has your spouse put in twenty years of service and is now thinking about retirement? 

What makes a military member eligible for EAS?

Reason #1 for EAS Eligibility: Retirement

Retirement: After twenty years of serving your country, military members are eligible to retire.

Reason #2 for EAS Eligibility: End of Contract

End of contract: As long as your contract is ending and you haven’t signed a re-enlistment contract, you’re eligible to EAS.

Although there are lots of opportunities outside of the military, you must be eligible for EAS. 

Unsure if military separation is the right choice for you? 

You can find more information here to help you decide.

What Is the Difference Between EAS Marines and Other Branches of the Military?

Do EAS Marines mean something different than the EAS Army? Navy? Airforce?

Not really, but different branches do use different terms.

Although the Army refers to a soldier’s End of Active Service (EAS), the Navy, Air Force and Marine’s actually refer to it as the End of Active Obligated Service (EAOS).

During the last year of your enlistment, you’ll be required to do a number of things. 

DO NOT wait until the last minute. 

Although each branch has different requirements, some of these usually involve:

  • Separations brief
  • Separations checklist
  • Physical within 365 days  of separation
  • Final dental/vision appointments

Before you discharge from the military, you will be provided with everything you need to do in order to EAS.

Why Do People Leave The Military?

It’s not uncommon for people to leave the military. 

Outside of retirement, people leave for a number of other reasons, such as:

  • Family
  • Career Opportunities
  • Change of Lifestyle
  • Disability

Reason #1 Why People Leave the Military: Family

Deployments, TDY’s, weeks in the field, and last-minute duty calls aren’t ideal for most families. 

It’s no surprise that many military members EAS to take away some of the stress on their family that comes with being in the military.

Reason #2 Why People Leave the Military: Better Career Opportunities

Another common reason people leave the military is to pursue better career opportunities. 

For example, a Master Sergeant in the Army could make about $88,057 a year. However, a senior IT specialist outside of the military could make on average 133,700 a year. 

That’s a large salary increase.

What Would A Military Separation Look Like For You?

What does EAS mean for you, your family, and your life?  

  • No more deployments?
  • Family time every weekend? 
  • Vacations planned out a year in advance?

Can you express what you want that picture to look like?

Don’t think about what you should do or what it should look like. Think about what you want your life to look like after you EAS. 

Once you start expressing those dreams out loud or on paper, you’re ready for the next step to make them happen.

4 Steps to Help You Start Living Your Dream Life

So, how do you do it? 

First, consider your time in the military. What was your MOS? 

What skills did you learn throughout your career that you can take with you into a civilian role? 

Adaptability, communication skills, leadership roles and any occupational skills you’ve gained in the military can be a great asset for you on your journey into the civilian workplace.

We know that this can feel overwhelming.

So, we’re here to help.

To take some of the fear or stress you may be feeling away, follow these four steps to make that dream life your reality:

1. Visualize Your Ideal Future

For many, EAS  involves starting over in the workforce. 

It’s a time for dreams to become reality. Do you know what steps you need to take to them?

What would your dream job look like?  How would that dream affect your family? 

Is your spouse looking for a big career change as you change lifestyles?

Do your “big dreams” seem more attainable outside of the military? 

Take some time to think about it. 

What’s the saying?

“If you can dream it, you can do it!” 

Draw it out, write it down!  When you have a clear idea of what those dreams look like, start thinking about how you’re going to make it a reality.

Some important things to think about before your EAS are:

  • What does this transition period look like financially?
  • Have you built up a savings account to help while you transition?
  • Are you planning on going back to school?

All of these questions are important for you to answer while you transition from the military into the civilian world, but one of the biggest questions you may want to answer is this: 

How do you define success?

What Does Success Mean To You?

What does success look like in your life after EAS? 

Are you going to retire completely?

Does success mean finally having every weekend off with your family?

Want to only work three days a week? 

Does remote work sound like a dream come true? 

Everyone defines success differently, so you need to figure out what it means to you.  

Write it down; be detailed.

Define Your Dream Job

Go back to when you were little and your first-grade teacher asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up?

If you could do anything for the rest of your life, what would you do? 

Can you picture it?

Does your dream job require a degree? If you’re planning on going back to school, there are resources available to help with the costs of college.

Are you an officer, but the degree you have isn’t in the field you want to get into? Start re-assessing the skills and responsibilities you’ve gained in the military and try translating them into skills you can use in that field.

Maybe college isn’t something you’re interested in. That’s okay!

You don’t need to have a degree to live your dream life. 

Many smaller companies will overlook the fact that you don’t have a degree if you possess the skills needed to get the job done.

2. Find A Military Transition Program That Actually Works

Many veterans struggle with transitioning into civilian life. The military and it’s structure has played an integral part of their lives for many years, so starting over becomes intimidating and scary.

Resources, like the Transition Assistance Program, were created with military members in mind to help create a smooth transition into civilian life. 

In 2019, the program was revised to make it more of a personalized experience instead of a one size fits all kind of program.

Asking for help isn’t something that comes easily for some, but reaching out to find resources to help you create your dream life can make all the difference in finding success.

3. Make Connections That Will Make Finding Your Dream Job Easy

Finding the job may feel impossible, but with the proper resources, it becomes so much easier. 

An EAS doesn’t have to be stressful.

Start thinking of the companies you want to work for. Make a list, then research those companies. Find out who you need to speak to in order to get hired. Jot it down on your list.

LinkedIn offers its premium membership to veterans for one year. Look up the companies you wrote down. Do they have veterans working for them? 

Connect with those companies. Let them know your time in the military is coming to an end and that you’re interested in working for them; even if they don’t have a job opening posted somewhere.

Remember, you’re not looking for a job you’re looking for the job. 

Ask questions, learn as much about the company as you can.  You want to prove to these companies that you are the perfect candidate for their company. 

Talk with other veterans that are working in the field you want to get into.

Learn how they turned their military experience into terms that civilian employers understand.

For example, someone reading your resume may not know what it means when you say that your previous MOS was a “fire control specialist.” 

Explain what your title meant. Give examples of what responsibilities you had that relate to the job you’re trying to get. This helps them get a good grasp of what you’re capable of in their field of work.

Build your network and use resources from the military to help bridge the gap between military and civilian life.

4. Get To Work

You’ve defined what success looks like for you. 

You’ve researched transition programs and you’ve logged on to LinkedIn. 

It’s time to get to work!

Take Steps to Make Your Dream a Reality

An EAS should be exciting! 

Starting a new chapter in life; making your dream a reality, it is possible.

Connect with other veterans and learn the steps they took to successfully start over. Many times, government jobs give  preference to  veterans and their spouses, so be sure to check those out while doing your research.

If you’re struggling to figure out which steps you need to take to land that job, reach out to a transition assistance office. 

Reach out to potential employers and don’t be afraid to sell yourself to them. Be (respectfully) relentless. 

Do as much research as you possibly can on how to take your military resume and turn it into a top-notch resume that civilian employers understand.

Maybe you’re not sure which direction you want to go after the military?

ADU is here for you. We want to see you succeed and start living the life you’ve dreamed of. We strive to help veterans and their families transition smoothly into the next chapter.

What does EAS mean for you and your family? 

No matter which direction you decide to go, there are resources available to help you successfully transition out of the military.


Fill in the form below and download. It’s that easy!

Transition Guide

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