There is no regulation that states you can be forced to attend a board. However it is definitely in your best interest to attend for several reasons.
As an individual who was in this specific situation let me share with you my experience. First if given the order to attend and it is your place of duty then yes it is a requirement to attend. My BDE CSM gave me a counseling statement directing me to attend the Sergeant Audie Murphy board. So I told him you can make me show up but you can’t make me successful. I went to the board without studying then pride took over. I did well and passed. The Lesson I learned was that my senior NCOs knew what was best for me when I did not. Yes they got a feather in their cap but we all do when a Soldier that works with us does well.
Now let’s address this from a different perspective. Is it ethical to force a Soldier go before a board? Probably not if you want the letter of the law but what if your chain of command sees you as a high speed Soldier, worthy of recognition, and a standard bearer for the unit; should they force you to appear before a board? I would say “YES”. In my opinion it is ethical to make you appear. Your NCO support channel is being ethical in trying to mentor and grow the you.
You should in my opinion attend and do the best job possible. Represent yourself and the unit well. You reap benefits whether you win or not. You obtain experience, promotion points, a comment on your evaluation report, and potentially set yourself up for promotion in the secondary zone. I believe had I not gone to the board I may have regretted it and my NCO support channel may have remembered it when I needed someone to stand up and fight hard for me. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Leaders must be willing to build and grow leaders. This is the challenge now laid before you because the command believes in you. Your Soldiers are watching your actions and the example you set.
We obey orders unless they violate what I call the four unforgivable sins of leadership ILLEGAL, UNETHICAL, IMMORAL, UNSAFE. Just my two cents from a Soldier that has been there. Who knows one day in the near future you might see a high speed NCO or Soldier that you know needs to be recognized and represent the unit.
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This response is based on the information you provide. My comments do not represent the US Army or US government positions. Furthermore my comments should be used for information purposes only.