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Army Compassionate Assignments


Continued from Military Humanitarian Assignments Introduction

The Army calls their Humanitarian Assignment Program "Compassionate Action Requests."

Compassionate actions are requests from individual soldiers when personal problems exist. The two types of compassionate requests are when personal problems are

  • Temporary (resolvable within a year).
  • Not expected to be resolved within a year.

Soldiers may be authorized a reassignment when extreme family problems are a factor and are temporary in nature (to be resolved in less than one year) and when illness, death, or extreme and unusual circumstances necessitate the soldier's presence with his/her family and no other possibility exists for resolution of family difficulties.

Soldiers may be authorized a deletion or deferment from an overseas assignment when extreme or unusual problems require the presence of the soldier in the U.S. for a relatively short period of time. Approval normally is not granted if the problem is chronic in nature and cannot be resolved within a reasonable period of time. In those cases, compassionate discharge procedures is generally the most appropriate action.

Further, based on the needs of the Army, consideration for reassignment may be afforded those soldiers who have extreme family problems that are not expected to be resolved within a year.

To be considered for a compassionate reassignment/ deletion/deferment, soldiers must submit their requests through their chain of command on a DA Form 3739, Application for Assignment/Deletion/Deferment for Extreme Family Problems. Other individuals cannot initiate such action on behalf of the soldier.

Commanders having general court martial convening authority (GCMCA) authority have been delegated the authority to disapprove compassionate requests when they clearly do not meet the prerequisites. Approval authority for compassionate reassignment rests with PERSCOM (Army Personnel Command).


  • The problem cannot be resolved through the use of leave, correspondence, power of attorney, or the help of family members or other parties.

  • If the problem involves a family member, the soldier must be related. A family member includes spouse, child, parent, minor brother or sister, person in loco parentis, or the only living blood relative of the soldier. Other persons, including parents-in-law, may also be considered, provided they are documented as authorized family members (dependents). If the problem is based on conditions of the parents-in-law, there must be no other family members of the spouse's family to help solve the problem.

  • There must be a valid MOS (job) and grade (rank) authorization at the requested installation or activity.

  • Soldiers' pending assignment orders be deferred, pending the results of their compassionate request. However, soldiers in basic training will not be deferred from AIT pending the results.

  • The problem must be temporary and resolvable within 1 year (longer deferments are sometimes approved).

  • The problem neither existed nor was foreseen at the time of the latest entry on active duty. Reenlistment without a break in service is not considered to be the latest entry on active duty.

Examples of Requests that are Normally Approved

  • The spouse or minor child is deceased.

  • There has been a documented rape of spouse or minor child, and the soldier's presence is essential to resolve related problems.

  • Terminal illness with less than 12 months life expectancy of an immediate family member documented by attending physician.

  • Scheduled major surgery of soldier's spouse or minor child with 12 months or less recovery/rehabilitation documented by attending physician.

  • A recent severe psychotic episode involving a spouse or child.

  • Soldiers' minor children are being made wards of the court or placed in an orphanage or foster home as a result of family separation. Separation must be the result of military service and not because of neglect or misconduct on part of the soldier.

  • Adoption cases in which the home study (deciding if a child is to be placed) has been completed and a child is scheduled to be placed in soldiers' home within 90 days. Additionally, if soldiers are pending reassignment action, the soldiers must have initiated the adoption proceedings before notification of reassignment.

  • Soldiers en route from an accompanied OCONUS tour to an unaccompanied OCONUS tour may be deferred for up to 30 days. The deferment is for settlement of family when the soldier's presence is required for unforeseen problems.

  • A recent death in the soldier's family other than spouse or minor child and extenuating circumstances exist.

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