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What do I do when a Soldier refuses to sign a counseling statement?

My Soldier in my squad just refused to sign a counseling statement I gave him. I didn't realize they could do that. What do I do?

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This is a common problem. Some Soldiers think that refusing to sign a counseling means they will not have to follow the plan of action. Or that they are admitting guilt by signing the document. There are a couple of ways to handle this.

Option 1: Write the phrase “Soldier refused to sign” in the closing section of the form. Date and initial the note.

Option 2: Ask an NCO of equal or higher rank to join the counseling session. Ask the Soldier to sign the form in front of the NCO. If the Soldier refuses, ask the NCO to enter a brief statement in the closing portion of the counseling as a third-party witness. Have the NCO date and sign the note. Example:

I observed PFC Doe refuse to sign this counseling statement. –SGT Mike Dough, 1100hours/5 Nov 10.

Either solution works, but the second option gives you the added credibility of a third-party witness should the Soldier attempt to deny the validity of the session at a later date.

Read The Mentor: Everything you need to know about leadership and counseling for more information about Counseling, Leadership, Corrective Training, and Separations in the Army.

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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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    This is how it is sup­pose to work when a SM refuses to sign. The super­vi­sor needs to have two wit­nesses sign and write in the Leader Responsibilities sec­tion “SM refuses to sign the coun­sel­ing and is aware of the Plan of Action/Corrective Training”. Give the sol­dier a copy and if they refuse to do the cor­rec­tive train­ing any­way then write the rec­om­mend UCMJ one. The wit­nesses need to be senior NCO’s or the Platoon Leader just in case they have to write sworn state­ments later. Sometimes it is good to get the 1GT involved to give them one more final warning before they still make the decision not to sign the counseling. This gives you a lot of credibility and approval when the UCMJ one gets sent up.

  • jason Horton


    what will happen after an incident like this occurs?

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