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How do I tell my side of the story on a counseling statement?

I am in E-5 in the Army National Guard. I recently received a counseling statement that I have not signed because I believe it does not sufficiently explain the incident. Some of the information is incorrect as well and I have documentation to support my claim of inaccuracies. Should I sign the counseling statement? How can I tell my side of the issue?

Should I sign an Army counseling statement I do not agree with?

Rather than refusing to sign your counseling statement, you can sign and write a rebuttal.

I always encourage Soldiers to sign their counselings even when they do not agree with them. If you do not agree, check the “disagree” box and make a comment in the session closing block.

With regard to your specific question I suggest the following actions:

  • Check the appropriate box in session closing box (I assume you would check disagree)
  • Write something like, “I do not believe this counseling statement accurately reflects the facts pertaining to this issue. Please see attached statement and supporting documentation.”
  • Write a memorandum for record stating your side of the issue and include your supporting documentation as an attachment.

You should also consider emailing a copy to the individual conducting the counseling so you have an electronic record as well as the physical record. You should receive a copy of the counseling statement as well.

posted on 08/31/2011 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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  • Valiant

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    Is there a regulation over barracks inspection? I have absolutely no problem that NCOs and officers inspecting my room at random time, because my room’s squared most of the time. But last week, my commander and female 1SG went into all soldiers’ room in the unit unannounced and opened up all our drawers and warlocker without us being present. I don’t think I am perfectly comfortable with it..Well I guess they could do so in basics, but this is where i live and could they just open up everything in my room without my consent? Thank you.

    • Eck

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      The command can go through the barracks unannounced at anytime they want. They also can open drawers and wall lockers that are unsecured. The key issue is that any contraband they may have found would be inadmissible for punishment/UCMJ/Court-Martial. I do not agree with commands going through personal belongings when the Soldier is not there, but it is legal.

  • Jennifer Eldridge

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    Does anyone know where I can find what ‘agree’ and ‘disagree’ means? I was flagged for weight, then given another weigh in 3 weeks later, only 2 weeks in special pops,(Since the AR says the weigh in is every month, not every 30 days…common sense, how long is a month) and I was counseled for not making satisfactory progress, I checked disagree and said I’d had insufficient time to make progress. The 1SG started yelling and swearing at me and said that agree just referred to the administrative data. I don’t believe this is true, but I can’t find anything clear in 600-22.

    • SGT NICK

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      If you exceed the Army’s body fat percentage requirements you will receive an official counseling stating that you will be placed on a weight-monitoring program. The program will require you to lose a specified number of pounds per month. You will also receive personal counseling to help you develop a fitness and nutrition routine to help you reach your weight loss goals. Losing weight requires a commitment to a healthy diet and a regular workout routine. Make it an everyday part of your lifestyle so you will not be this predicament again. If you are removed from the overweight program and get back on it again within 12 months, your unit can initiate chapter proceedings against you.

      You are right but they can counsel you weekly, daily if they wanted to. Check your ERB and make sure they have the appropriate flag “K” flag that is. You should have also been read a memorandum from the commander that looks like this:

      SUBJECT: Entry into the Weight Control/Exercise Program

      1. You have been determined to exceed U.S. Army body fat standards. IAW AR 600-9, you are hereby entered into the Weight Control Program, and flagged IAW AR 600-8-2.

      2. You will be weighed and taped on a monthly basis. You must make satisfactory progress in order to remain in the Army. Satisfactory progress is defined as losing 3 to 8 pounds each month.

      3. If you fail to make satisfactory progress after any two consecutive months, you may be administratively separated from the Army IAW AR 635-200, Chapter 18. If you are still overweight and on the Weight Control Program six months from this date, depending upon your progress, I will either initiate separation proceedings or I will initiate a bar to reenlistment as required IAW AR 635-200, Chapter 18.

      CPT, Branch
      Company Commander

      Keep in mind they can keep taping you until 60 days have passed, most likely they might wait for 90 days. If you did not lose enough weight then they will send your weight control failure packet to JAG with the following:

      Weight Control Program Docs
      □ Medical Evaluation stating that:
      “No Medical Conditions Exists”
      □ Nutrition Counseling
      □ Monthly Body Fat Worksheets –
      First Month to Current Month

      They have to set you up with an appointment with the doc to draw blood to determine if you a medical condition that prevents you from losing weight. They must also give you a nutrition counseling. If your command did not do this properly JAG will tear your chapter packet apart. If JAG signs off on an incomplete packet and you are discharged you can appeal your general discharge to an honorable one providing sufficient proof to do so.

      Stay professional and continue eating healthy and exercising. NO SODA’S!!

    • Mark Gerecht

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      You are disagreeing with anything that is incorrect on the counseling statement: Content, plan of action, leader responsibilities, key points of discussion, or any mistakes that may be contained in the administrative portion. There is no social security number on the new Counseling form.

      There is no regulation, Field Manual, or training circular at this time that describe or states what your signature on a counseling form means. Some leaders will try to tell you that agreeing simply means you are only agreeing the administrative data is correct. This is not correct and the roots of this myth can be found in AR 63-3 where the regulation states when signing your NCOER your signature verifies the administrative data and other information but does not mean you agree with the rating.

      You might also be interested in the following items on AskTop.net as well:

      Should I refuse to sign a counseling statement?

      What do I do if a Soldier checks disagree?

      What does my signature mean on my NCOER?

      Did you find this information useful?

      • tina

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        is there anything stating how much time an nco has to give a person to write their rebuttal?

      • Mark Gerecht

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        There is no specific time. You can request additional time if it is denied simply write a statement in the session closing block something like: “I requested additional time to prepare a statement and it was denied. I do not agree with the counseling because _____(cite your reasons). I will provide a written rebuttal to the counselor within 24 hours in the form of a Memorandum for Record to be attached to this counseling form.

        Then you have at least documented your concerns. Then you can consider the following options:
        1. In front of others and in a polite and professional manner Consider a statement something like: Sergeant Jones, here is my rebuttal to the counseling you gave me yesterday. if he refuses to attach it to the counseling no big deal you have a copy of the memorandum of record and you can simply make a note that states on this date at this time in front of ____(Insert witnesses who saw the event take place) I provided Sergeant Jones a copy of this memorandum to attach to the counseling statement and he refused to do so.
        2. Approach the Sergeant one on one and provide a copy of the memorandum for record in a polite and professional manner.
        3. Consider emailing a copy of the memorandum to the individual and ccing yourself so you have a record. You can request a delivery and read receipt as well on email.

        For more information you might what to read the following post:

        How do I tell my side of the story on a counseling statement?

        Hope this helps
        Did you find this information useful? I would appreciate your feedback!
        TOP

  • SGT NICK

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    I don’t know if you are a SGT getting a counseling which sounds like a Event-Oriented one then I’m sure it was something serious that warrants one from your chain of command. Sign disagree and then write “See Attachment”. Makes sure it is warranted and not something like ” I was only 10 minutes late for work and not 20 which is written in the counseling”. That really changes nothing, you were late. This also shows a lack of remorse and responsibility if you disagree about particulars and not the main event.

  • Gerald

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    After reading this discussion I would like to point out in the session closing, it states that the Soldier receiving the counseling is agreeing or disagreeing to the plan of action, not the actual key points of discussion.

    • Mark Gerecht

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      Gerald this is always a point of discussion as the doctrine can be interpreted different ways and then there is practical application.FM 6-22 states:
      B-59. When closing the counseling session, summarize the key points and ask if the subordinate understands and agrees with the proposed plan of action. With the subordinate present, establish any follow-up measures necessary to support the successful implementation of the plan of action. Follow-up measures may include providing the subordinate with specific resources and time, periodic assessments of the plan, and additional referrals. If possible, schedule future meetings before dismissing the subordinate.

      The DA Form 4856 Session Closing states: (The leader summarizes the key points of the session and checks if the subordinate understands the plan of action. The subordinate agrees/disagrees and provides remarks if appropriate.

      Notice 6-22 states: summarize the key points and ask if the subordinate understands and agrees with the proposed plan of action. While the DA Form 4856 states: leader summarizes the key points of the session and checks if the subordinate understands the plan of action. The difference between the two is that the FM states understands/agrees while the form states: understands.
      While a Soldier may understand a plan of action they in no way have to agree with it. The goal of counseling and coaching is to develop a plan of action in which the Soldier takes ownership. In many cases a Soldier may not agree or respect the counselor’s plan of action as they may deem it unfair or inappropriate for whatever reason.

      Now let’s introduce the human factor if I were to receive a counseling for something I did not do or the counseling was worded in a way that I did not agree with in that in my opinion it did not accurately reflect the issue from my perspective I doubt I would agree with the counseling. In fact I would disagree and in a professional and unemotional manner attach my memorandum of disagreement.

      In my experience the only counselors that take issue with a Soldier disagreeing are those that: one have done something in appropriate or two lead from a dictatorial position. The fact of the matter is the counselor should encourage the Soldier to disagree if they wish to do so. If the Soldier brings up a valid point adjust the counseling so that it is an accurate reflection of the counseling session.
      Remember this is the opportunity to tell your side of the issue. By simply agreeing you are providing the chain of command with a one sided view of the situation and provide them the opportunity to take your “agreement of the plan of action” as their potential understanding that everything happened just as recorded. If it was your career hanging in the balance between, corrective training, an Article 15 or a separation action…would you simply agree and sign?

      Keep in mind the final statement that appears on the DA Form 4856 states:The subordinate agrees/disagrees and provides remarks if appropriate.
      So now the question becomes who decides if remarks are appropriate? I would suggest the Soldier makes that determination as he is the one being counseled and his record is under scrutiny.

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