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Can my initial counseling statement come in the form of a memorandum for record format?

I was recently appointed as a squad leader and my initial counseling was given to me in the form of a memorandum for record. The counseling was neither positive or negative, just a plain statement of duties and expectations. I can't seem to find a regulation or a precedence, is there a reason why a PSG would do that and is this a common practice?

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Short Answer



Nothing prevents the use of a Memorandum for Record format.  However I encourage Leaders to use the DA FORM 4856 and then state see attached document or use a continuation of counseling form.


The only doctrine that previously discussed the DA FORM 4856 was FM 6.22 Appendix B.  It was replaced by ATP 6.22-1, FM 6-22, ADP/ADRP 6-22

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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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The comprehensive guide to the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP)

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  • MSgt Dale Day, US Army - Retired


    Top, I guess I’m old-fashioned. I find all this filling out forms and legal stuff a far cry from the days when you could simply sit down with one of your soldiers and tell them what things were all about.

    In my 23 years, I only took judicial or administrative action against one soldier – and that was because she was determine to leave the service.

    Truly a sad state.

    • Mark Gerecht


      MSG Day,
      As I am sure you are aware formal counseling/coaching is a requirement in some situations such as reception/integration (within 30 days of Arrival), adverse actions, overweight, APFT failure, quarterly evaluation counseling, etc.

      However I concur with you that sitting down with your Soldiers and having professional discussions is the most productive way to get to know your Soldiers and assist them with professional development. If leaders would spend more time getting to know their Soldiers and developing a trusting relationship many misunderstandings and perceptions would disappear.

      Thanks for Stopping by and I look forward to hearing from you again.

      • Anonymous


        Nice response.

        The one thing I miss most about the Army was the feeling of family I experienced.

        Working close together for long periods of time gave us a feeling of sharing that often put us at odds with our personal lives.

        As in any service where people put their lives on the line together, it is hard to make others understand.

        Any leader who doesn’t realize this and take the time to strengthen that bonding doesn’t deserve toi be a leader.

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