The requirements for Corrective Training are outlined in:AR 600-20, AR 27-10, FM 27-1, and FM 7-22.7.
Doctrine Tells us Corrective Training
- must not be used as punishment or appear to be punishment
- must relate directly to the observed deficiency
- specifically address the observed deficiency
- must be discontinued once the deficiency is corrected
- must no be used in place of UCMJ punishment
Professional Military Experience shows us when directing, supervising, and/or implementing Corrective Training
- the Soldier must be provided the proper resources to complete the training.
- must be conducted in a safe environment
- must not be ridiculous in nature. For example if you are directed to clean a latrine floor with a tooth brush this would be considered inappropriate as usual cleaning items would a broom and mop.
Based on the limited information you provided essays may initially have been an appropriate manner for conducting corrective training in your case. I am a big fan of essays as the goal is to get the Soldier to look at the situation, educate the Soldier, get the Soldier to see the issue from another point of view, and conduct a mental After Action Review prior to writing the essay. Each leader may be looking for difference things but I believe most are looking for one key point: Did you learn from your mistake?
You mentioned that you have received previous counseling statements for failing to meet the standard when it comes to writing essays. If this is the case, it would have been appropriate for your leader to:
- sit you and down and discuss what he was looking for
- identify if you have some difficulty in understanding the requirement or have limited writing skills.
- ensure he provided clear instructions and support to you in equipping you to do the corrective training (Leader Responsibilities on the 4856)
- I would also ask that if this type of corrective training was conducted in the past and it was not conducted to standard: Why where was the Soldier not required to redo the previous essays until he got it right?
- On the DA Form 4856 under leader responsibilities did the leader state how he would assist you? For example: provide clear direction, provide proper resources, available for questions, availability for reviewing drafts (given your inability to complete previous requirements to standard).
The questions I would most likely ask myself if I were looking at this case from the outside looking in would be:
- Did the plan of action provide clear requirements that were easy to understand?
- Was the corrective training within the Soldier’s ability or should the Soldier reasonably be expected to have the skill at their current rank?
- Did the essay require the Soldier to answer a specific question(s)?
- If this type of corrective training was not completed to standard previously why was it used again?
- Would another type of corrective training been more appropriate given your inability to complete the essay to the leaders standard in previous counselings?
FM 6.22 Appendix B, (SOON TO BE ATP 6.22-1)
is still an active FM with regard to Appendix B (see foot note in table of contents of ADP/ ADRP 6.22) and has not been superseded by ADP 6-22 or ADRP 6.22 I believe figure B-20 clearly states that for an event oriented counseling the assessment portion of the 4856 must be completed for the form to be considered complete. If this was not completed the form is considered in complete by Army Doctrine.
Now let’s look at this from the leaders point of view. At the Squad Leader level you are usually dealing with a young NCO with limited experience and most likely is using methods that were used by his previous leaders as a guide. It sounds like your leader select a good methodology for corrective training. You see it is always easy to second guess a leaders decision. The key is did the leader act appropriately given his age, maturity, and experience? Was his expectation of you realistic? Is the leader acting in a professional manner (ie factual and unemotional) Odds are he was just trying to get your attention. You state he wants to recommend you for an Article 15 because you either don’t get it or are clearly not taking the corrective training seriously.
The bottom line is your Squad Leader cannot give you an Article 15. He can recommend an Article 15 but the Commander must approve the recommendation. It is my opinion before any Platoon Sergeant, Platoon Leader, 1SG and/or Commander would recommend an Article for such an issue they would take a hard look at the counseling statements to see if you made a sincere and honest effort to complete the corrective training to standard and was the corrective training clear with regard to the requirements. If the command feels you did the best possible job you could I do not believe they will recommend an Article 15. If it appears you were not able to complete the training to standard or maybe you did not take the corrective training seriously they most likely (depending on the situation and the specifics) would likely recommend a different method for conducting corrective training or perhaps have you redo the essay after receiving corrective action on how to write an essay. For example when writing an essay for being late to formation: it might answer the following questions: What happened? What regulation, FM, or Article of the UCMJ covers the offense? What is the maximum punishment for this offense under the UCMJ? Why was it inappropriate? How did the failure impact the Soldier, the Unit, Morale? What actions will the Soldier take to prevent this type of situation from occurring in the future? What did the Soldier learn about this event
Issues like this are best resolved by using the chain of command. I know you have heard that before—but its true—99.9% of the time your leaders are trying to do what they see as just and correct.
When you approach your leaders you must be absolutely professional, remain clam, do not get emotional, concentrate on the facts. Do not focus on opinions. Have some faith in your chain of command. Usually by the time an issues get 2 levels above the leader in question you have an unemotional leader that will look at the facts. Your leader most likely truly believes what he is doing is correct. There are 3 sides to every issue 1. Their side, 2 your side, and the truth (some where in the middle).
If using your chain of command at the company level you are not satisfied consider the BN chain of command.
You must decide how you choose to handle this issue and what actions are appropriate. Only you can make that decision. Bottom-line be factual and professional.
I hope you found this information useful! We appreciate your feedback!