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How can I convince my chain of command to drop an Article 15?

With the drawdown going strong, the military is looking for discriminators to ensure only Soldiers with good records can reenlist. We now have Brigade Commanders reviewing Soldier performance history to see if they should be allowed to REUP! Team, this is serious when your future is in the hands of a Colonel and not your company commander.

Now more than ever, it is apparent that reenlistment is a privilege and not a right. Negative portions of your records will be reviewed with a fine tooth comb. In the old days a Soldier who made an honest mistake and received an Article 15 usually had the ability to recover from the event. This was especially true if the mistake was brought on by a lack of judgement based on immaturity or lack of experience. Those days are gone… at least for the next 24-36 months. To make a long story short, you need to watch your step. Do you value your career? Avoid Article 15 at all costs.

What can you do to improve your chances of recovery?

If we are talking about a relatively minor offense it may be within your power to take certain measures and prevent the Article 15 from proceeding. You will probably have the greatest chance of success if you take action prior to being counseled, but you can attempt to react after the counseling session as well. I suggest you act as quickly as possible.

Step One: Assess the Situation

Try to think about the situation from an objective point of view. Answer the following questions:

  1. What happened?
  2. Why did it happen?
  3. Are you responsible for what happened?
  4. Did it happen as a result of a lack of discipline, poor judgment, lack of knowledge, etc?
  5. Why do you believe your leader recommended the Article 15?
  6. Does your leader usually recommend Article 15’s?
  7. If you were a leader in the same situation would you recommend an Article 15 if your Soldier did the same thing?

Step Two: Assess the Leader

After you have answered the questions above you need to begin planning how you will approach your leader. Everyone has quirks and tendencies. You will have better chances if you consider your audience:

  1. What type of leader is he/she?
  2. Do they appear to be taking pleasuring in recommending the Article 15?
  3. Are they trying to educate you and correct substandard performance?
  4. Do you feel you can approach the leader?
  5. What is your leader’s personality?
  6. What would be the best time to approach your leader?
  7. How could you best approach the issue with your leader?

Step Three: Consider Human Nature

You must realize that very few leaders take joy or pride in recommending an Article 15. Some may initially make the recommendation out of emotion and then feel they cannot retreat from the decision, others may recommend an Article 15 because they are young and do not know or understand other methods that may be appropriate for dealing with the issue at hand.  Sometimes you deserve to be recommended for an Article 15 because you have overstepped your bounds or have a history of ignoring your leader and he/she has had their fill.

posted on 04/30/2012 under Articles
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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training..

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    Comments

  • Anthony

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    I am getting a article 15 that has the incorrect dates on it. Is it legal for them to change that after they read it to me. Ive been told that mistakes on it is grounds to dismisse the whole thing. Is this true?

    • Eck

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      As long as the changes are made before the hearing portion and any punishment is imposed, it does not invalidate the Article 15. It is considered an administrative error only which does not affect the misconduct unless the incorrect date is based on witness statements that they observed PVT Snuffy commit a crime on Monday and Private Snuffy was no where in the area on that day. To be sure, speak with your TDS attorney. If the Article 15 is a Company or Field Grade, you are entitled to speak with a TDS attorney.

      I hope this helps.

      Eck

  • Grace

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    I was wondering my husband just had his article 15 hearing and received one but I thought it wasn’t fair because I was there my Husband didn’t speak much and I really couldn’t explain my self because I never been to one could my husband re do the hearing ?

  • Nocturno

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    Desperately and eager to have viewpoints, facts and/or opinions. I got an article 15 for saying “whatever you say senior drill seargeant” after saying “yes drill seargeant” 3 times while doing PT. I got the counseling for article 15 recommendation on October 2nd and the day before AIT graduation(family day) they tell me I need to go to JAGS because an article 15 will be read now with the commander(after 1st seargeant read it to me 3 days after article 15), went to jag, followed jags advice and said i am guilty and submitted apologies for a 2nd time even if I already apologized to the senior drill seargeant about what i said, which I already told all of them that in spanish, at least in Puerto Rico rsp or when mentioning “whatever you say senior drill seargeant” is “Lo que aea que usted diga, senior drill seargeant” which is a respectful gesture. Feedback acquired here is that some believe is disrespectful and some drill seargeants give me the benefit of the doubt. I end up appealing the case and added substantiated evidence of discrimination against him with me. A colonel now has the case with 1 additional valid verbal complaint from another graduate and 2 additional airborne holdovers that have seen him and other drill seargeants on my behind to make my life impossible as a once NSO e-4. Commander allowed me to walk and I graduated. Investigation from the discrimination case against the senior drill seargeant was finished on the 13th of November. Initially I got recycled because someone heard me say the “N” to one of my battle in a healthy discussion about a controversial topic, he didn’t get offended, however, another soldier that’s white and had it rough ratted me out in blackface, i missed one of the test and had to be recycled back in my first company to blackface, but got NSO as this issue got brouggt up. Now being graduated in the new 2nd company, I am awaiting verdict of an appeal by the liutenant colonel since October 23 and a discrimination case decision. The punishment received by the commander was “article 15 company grade” downgrading me to E-3 in family day. No, my family didn’t come, i am 32 years old. It’s november 19 and I still don’t have a decision on whether I’ll get my rank back or what happened with the discrimination case. I could’ve been at
    home October 24th as i have my tickets back to my country ready and bought, but decide to stay because it was correct. What are my chances of leeping my rank? What is the likely punishment to the senior drill seargeant e-6?(he says his an e-7 even if jis rank says e-6); if the investigation of EO for nationality discrimination ended November 13th, when would i be home, perhaps I miss thanksgiving day on the 27th? What are my options to speed up this finished process? Will appreciate any suggestions or comments. Thank you, thank you!

  • Capricorn

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    I want opinions on this case. Soldier was (17 years) recommended discharged for Misconduct. Won the Admin Board and retain to duty. Before the board , given Art. 15 and reduce rank for a threat which was overturned by the board. Now, soldier with the help of TDS trying to get her rank back. S1.. is not responding or didn’t want to give it back. Soldiar also did 45 days extra duty .We’ll appreciate suggestions/opinions. Thankyou.

    • Eck

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      S-1 does not have the authority to give rank back. They only process the personnel actions. A chapter and an Article 15 are two totally different actions that are independent from each other.

      A Soldier can get an Article 15 for for say Marijuana use and receive punishment under the UCMJ. However, a separation board may determine that the Soldiers overall duty performance outweighs the marijuana use and retain the Soldier.

      Article 15 punishment still stands, but the Soldier is retained in service by the separation board.

      In the case as you describe it, the only way for this Soldier could get their rank back would be for the imposing commander, or a superior commander in the Soldier’s chain of command, to set aside the punishment from the Article 15. Without knowing the facts of the case, I can not give an educated opinion of the chances of this happening. It is extremely rare.

      I hope this helps.

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