For the most part yes, you would owe penalties unless it's a 401K (which can be tapped without penalty at 55 for retirees). Rolling over into an IRA would avoid the tax penalties but you'd have to wait until 59 1/2 unless you used 72t.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)