Letters of Reprimand aka GOMORS
A Letter of Reprimand or Memorandum of Reprimand is a form of adverse administrative action in the military. The process entails a Commander issuing a written warning, known as a reprimand, to a Soldier for the purpose of documenting poor duty performance or misconduct. Often times such reprimands are issued by a General Officer. Such reprimands are referred to as General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand or GOMOR.
The information contained in a reprimand is normally supported by documentation. A reprimand may be issued to a Soldier following a Command-directed inquiry or investigation into a report of misconduct. This form of administrative action is typically used to document lower forms of misconduct such as insubordination, conduct unbecoming an Officer or Non-commissioned Officer, fraternization, unethical or immoral acts, or other forms of military misconduct. They may also be issued to military personnel who receive civilian criminal convictions for domestic violence offenses, or driving while intoxicated or under the influence charges.
An administrative reprimand is required to state the reason or factual basis for which it is issued; that it is being imposed for administrative and not punitive purposes; whether the Commander issuing it intends to place the reprimand in the receiving service member’s local personnel file or Official Military Personnel File (OMPF); and that the service member has a right to respond to the reprimand in the form of a rebuttal.
A service member who receives a reprimand is encouraged to submit a rebuttal. This is the service member’s opportunity to tell his side of the story. The content of a rebuttal may address the substance and truth of the information set forth in a reprimand, as well as the issuing Commander’s filing determination (local v. OMPF). After the rebuttal is submitted, the issuing Commander makes his final filing determination. If the decision is made to file the reprimand in a service member’s OMPF, this decision may be appealed.
A service member may not be entitled to the assistance or appointment of trial defense counsel at government expense to assist with preparing a rebuttal. However, a service member seeking to hire counsel at his or her expense is both welcome and strongly encouraged to do so.
It is not advisable to prepare rebuttal findings on your own. Instead, a service member is best served to obtain the assistance of an experienced lawyer, particular one with either a military law or Judge Advocate General background like Attorney John L. Calcagni III.
The most important, yet unofficial and unspoken aspect of a reprimand is the silent consequences it may have on a service member’s career. If the issuing Commander decides to file a reprimand in a local personnel file, it may remain there for no more than three years or until the service member transfers to the authority of a new General Court-Martial Convening Authority (GCMCA). This usually occurs when a service member has a permanent change in station or duty location (PCS).
A locally filed reprimand will have little impact on a military career. Though it may impact a particular job or assignment one receives, or affects the ability to attend service schools, such consequences are limited in duration to the term for which the reprimand is locally filed or until the service member transfers to another duty station. Alternatively, reprimands filed in a Soldier’s OMPF are filed permanently and can be destructive to a military career. The specific consequences of a permanently filed reprimand may include being passed over for future promotions or denied selection for Command or other competitive assignments.
The location where a reprimand is filed is a critical determination with varying consequences on a service member’s career. Therefore, the quality and content of a service member’s rebuttal is paramount and will directly impact a Commander’s reprimand filing determination.
Attorney Calcagni has extensive experience with military reprimands. As a former active duty U.S. Army Judge Advocate (JAG) who is presently assigned to the U.S. Army Reserves, he has both drafted and responded to hundreds of reprimands throughout his military career. As a former military prosecutor, he often drafted reprimands on behalf of Commanders and provided them with legal advice and guidance regarding reprimand filing recommendations.
Similarly, he reviewed rebuttal matters submitted by reprimand recipients and thereafter provided further guidance to Commanders regarding reprimand filing. This experience has armed Attorney Calcagni the necessary insight to know what motivates and persuades Commanders when drafting reprimands and deciding how they should be filed: temporarily in a service member’s local personnel file or permanently in an OMPF. Attorney Calcagni employs this knowledge and expertise when reviewing reprimands and supporting documentation, as well as when crafting poignant rebuttals on behalf of his clients.
If you anticipate receiving a reprimand or have been issued one, call Attorney Calcagni now. You have a limited period of time by which to submit rebuttal materials and must apply for an extension of time if you are unable to submit your rebuttal within the allotted time period. Further, it is imperative that you have both the reprimand itself and supporting documentation reviewed for legal sufficiency immediately.
Lastly, you want to maximize the time you have to conduct your own investigation, if needed, of the supporting facts and circumstances and to craft an appropriate rebuttal to maximize your chances to either have the reprimand withdrawn or at the very least, locally filed. If the Commander still decides to file the reprimand in your OMPF, you may wish to exercise your right to appeal this decision. Attorney Calcagni has the experience and resources to offer these services to you in a timely, affordable and effective manner.