Separation Program Numbers

Remember when you came home and they said “Son, your brain is bent. You need to go.” and they came up with some flimsy reason to 86 you? You were glad to get out of the shit show and signed the 214, not knowing that your SPN, or SDN in the Air Force code, was going to plumb screw up all your plans for decades if you applied to get a good job. No siree, Bob. It would secretly condemn you to inferior, lower paying jobs because that DD 214 was telling them you were a born loser. Some got the Gold (DD-256 Honorable). I didn’t. 

I fixed that. I stopped telling folks I was a two-tour Vietnam Vet. Not because of the SDN code, either. Seems most employers thought we came back with bent brains if we went to ARPAC. Besides, two tours was two too many. I always wondered why I got such a ration of shit over my VA mortgage three years later down at the VA Regional Office. SDN codes.

Here’s the codes from another Vietnam Vet’s site. Scroll down to get to them but read the preface. I note he says only the Navy used SDN as a prefix but I note both my friend’s and my 214 both use SDN.


I’m helping another Vet get his SC for Hepatitis C. I happened to notice he got the same SDN 265 but he managed an Honorable discharge.

Anyway, it’s an interesting bit of folklore explained.