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Can my command stop me from going to appointments during duty hours?

Is there a regulation on Soldier appointments? When can someone tell you that you cannot go to a court date or to your wife's OB/GYN appointment? Can you be told that the number of appointments cannot exceed so many a month? Can they tell me when to schedule appointments?

To my knowledge there is no regulation governing Soldier appointments. The leader has a responsibility to manage his Soldiers’ time away from work so that it does not unfairly impact the mission or esprit de corps of the unit. You typically cannot refuse a Soldier the right to appear in court if they have been ordered to appear in court. There are some exceptions. As far as OB/GYM: the command can refuse to allow a Soldier to go to an appointment that interferes with the mission. If the appointment deals with the direct health of the Soldier, then the  Soldier should be allowed to go to the appointment. The command can direct that normal appointments must be cleared through them within a reasonable time frame (24-72 hours prior, for example).

posted on 10/26/2011 under Q&A
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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

  • Jimmy

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    I have 3 months left before I start clearing due to retiring, and being question how long when, why and how, have been counseled 2 times due to this…can they do anything to me at this point

  • Inquiring soldier

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    I have one child who requires a monthly appointment one that requires a quarterly appointment (NOT WEEKLY). I am recently out of a 2 1/2 month cast from a ligament reconstruction (which I now have to see occupational therapy). My husband is a college student and I am a soldier. I was told that I cannot leave duty hours to take my children to their appointments and that if my husband can’t help with the kids, then I am required to implement a family care plan. To my understanding, that is not something that would require me to get a family care plan for. I was also told that I cannot have any appointments before 1500 at any given time. Which is going to be difficult since specialty clinics like occupational therapy only schedule out until 1430. I have been good with scheduling appointments as late in the day as possible. Or on Saturdays. I work through lunch to make sure I don’t leave any pending work if I need to leave work early, and I try take care of things on my personal time as well. As a soldier, can I be told that I cannot receive needed care unless it’s after a specified time? Is there justification for mandating that I implement a family care plan for any possible appointments my children might have in the future?

  • Miriam Garza

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    My husband and I are dual military and I am currently 24 weeks pregnant . I had issues at the beginning of my pregnancy but I am fine now . Our chain of command has made a big deal about my husband going to the OB/GYN appointments with me regarding the circumstances. Can they deny him the right to go to the appointment ?

    • Mark Gerecht

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      Miriam,
      They have no requirement to allow him to attend. He should consider developing a professional request and present it to the platoon leadership or ask to see 1SG/CDR on open door policy. If he can put together a professional calm unemotional request and the command views the request as reasonable there should be no problem. Another option is ask if he can attend every other appointment. Most leaders what to do the right thing but they also have to balance it with mission requirements. I hope this helps alittle.

  • Jones, Deric

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    please help with this issue. I have been in the army for going on 28 TIS and 26 TIG as PFC. I am in the top 10 highest PT scores in our company. Every weapon I qualify on, I am expert in. I graduated air assault school the first week at my unit even after receiving a hernia the first day of air assault school. I have not been receiving any promotion councils nor have I received any monthly councils. I have ask if there was any issue with my promotion situation and no one will tell me anything. I am starting to give up hope as far as being an outstanding soldier goes. I have been doing way more then i should as a PFC. All new soldiers that come to our unit are placed with me. The NCO’s in the company know that I can get the individual situated with out any issue. I get their ASU’s done with all unit citations Ect. I get them in their barracks and take them to get their meal card. Heck I even do their pass and leave forms because the leadership knows that I can get things done. Their are new soldiers that are getting to our company with article 15 and getting promoted to E-4 with waver at 18 months. I am clueless to what i should be doing. I go above and beyond for everyone and feel as if the command team is just pissing on me. what should I do? Seems no one from my company will help. Thank you for your time.

    • Matt

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      You have the ability to request a meeting with the commander and 1SG on open door policy.

      I would encourage you to read AR 600-8-19, ensure you read paragraph 1-10 and put together a list of what you see as your achievements and why you believe you should be promoted.

      You have met the requirements for promotion without wavier so I do not understand why you would not be promoted unless there is an issue your chain of command is not discussing with you.

      If you do not desire to discuss the issue on open door policy you can choose the IG but usually it is best to try and solve the issue at the lowest possible level.

      If you care to discuss the issue with, Mark Gerecht, send your phone number and the best date/time to reach you to questions@asktop.net

  • Josef c

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    I need your help. Please. My commander have denied me to bring my wife as non command sponsorship. Can he/she do that. Is there a regulation that my commander can denied me to live off post with my pregnant wife that is about to deliver my s
    First born child I need help please. I can’t stop thinking on what to do. If my baby is born in my wife’s native country. I would only have 30 days to sign for paternity. Otherwise. I would loose paternity. And have to go to court. Please. I need help on what to do or who I can talk to about this

    • Mark Gerecht

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      Your commander can deny you to live off post and deny your ability to bring your spouse to a non command sponsored location. You can choose to bring her as a tourist and look for ways to extend the visa. You should consider speaking with JAG and contact the local Embassy.

  • Part-Time-Commander

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    I’ve found that most Soldiers who make appointments during the duty day tend to abuse it. They would often try and make 3, 5 or even more personal appointments during the week.

    As a leader, I understand that sometimes a Soldier has to make an appointment during the duty day. That’s okay. But in many cases Soldiers make appointments during the duty day to get out of work. Leaders need to monitor this closely, so it doesn’t get abused.

    My best Soldiers rarely if ever made appointments during the duty day! And when they did, they came in early or stayed late to make up the time they missed from work. And being a good Soldier, there isn’t much worse than seeing a slacker Soldier abuse the system.

  • Nicolas

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    If I had an appointment for wisdom teeth to be pulled and the doctor ha a family emergency, so I reschedule it to be done after gunnery but before the battalion FTX. So the problem I’m having is can my chain of command tell me to reschedule again when I’m having a lot of pain from my teeth? I’m supposed to be the colonels driver to the field but with the profile ill be on I won’t be able to.

    • SGT NICK

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      You technically do not have to reschedule an appointment, if you do not make a dental appointment it is sent to brigade who makes a big deal about it. I shouldnt tell you to lie but COC’s are always complaining about dental appointments during pt hours and training. I would not even bring it up until a day or two before the appointment, this would prevent a lot of the hassle you would get if you told them sooner.

    • david

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      Yeah i feel you on the wisdom teeth same thing; 1Sgt last second put me on a FTX and there making me cancel my appointment is their and fighting this???

  • Someone...not important...

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    There is absolutely no reason you need to go to an OB/GYN appointment with your wife. None. Zero.

    If doing that is more important to you than your job, perhaps you would be happier in another line of work and maybe the Army is not right for you. We have missions and dedication to those missions is paramount. If you are more interested in unnecessarily going to your wife’s OB/GYN appointment, then I suggest you need to take a good hard look at yourself and reevaluate your position and career choices. Maybe you should go be a teacher or an investment banker or some other occupation which DOES NOT INVOLVE THE PRESERVATION OF NATIONAL SECURITY.

    Sorry…people like this force people like me to have to take up their slack constantly and I am sick of it. YOU SIGNED A CONTRACT. DO YOUR JOB AND YOUR DUTY!!!!!

    • Turner

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      No offense, but your approach assumes that his wife is of good health. What if it is to find out if she has a serious cancer, or their child will be deformed… You can’t know. Your assumption, makes an ass out of you and the Army. You have to ask questions, and treat each person as a human being. Now, that being said, is there a limit and a line? Yes, but have some kind of human decency. Every person comes from different backgrounds. Being there for his wife may be the most important thing in his life. A soldier must be well rounded in all aspects of life to be a good soldier. Please don’t just assume or make hard-headed decisions because you are hooah-hooah and don’t care about your wife (oh look, an assumption. See how that feels?)

    • Anonymous

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      So ppl like the guy who thinks it’s any first and family second is probably a infantry/single soldier.I did sigh a contract but my family is first and mission second.if your chain of command is trying to kick you out out punish you for going to your wifes opponents then you can go to ig and they will help you.and remember there is always someone higher on the chain you can go to.warrant officers are nice just remember that.

      • Lilly

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        I have a question if I have a appt to get my tooth pulled can my husband’s sagernt tell him he can not go?

      • Mark Gerecht

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        Yes, they can tell him he must be at his place of duty. This usually does not happen unless
        1. the Soldier is not performing to standard
        2. the Soldier has been away from work frequently because of appointments for family matter
        3. there is a pressing reason the Soldier needs to be at work that day

        There is nothing that requires the Army to release a Soldier from work for family appointments. But usually there is not an issue.

        Hope this Helps.

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