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What’s the “magic statement”?

So what is the Magic Statement and what does it say? Where can I find it? We always referred to it as the "magic bullet." Bullet being one of the items listed on a counseling statement. The one I always provided for use was: You are being formally counseled IAW AR 635-200, paragraph 1-16, concerning the above noted deficiencies.  You will be given a reasonable period of time to correct these deficiencies and to rehabilitate yourself to meet acceptable standards of conduct and duty performance.  Your conduct will be monitored during this period of time and you will be given opportunity to prove yourself.  Continued unsatisfactory conduct/duty performance will result in your involuntary separation under the provisions of AR 635-200 Chapter 5-8, 5-13, 13, 14-12a, or 14-12b, and you may receive a Honorable Discharge (Chapters 5-8, 5-13, 13, 14-12a, or 14-12b), General Discharge (Chapters 5-8, 5-13, 13, 14-12a, or 14-12b), or Other Than Honorable discharge (Chapters 14-12a or 14-12b only).  An involuntary Honorable discharge will qualify you for most benefits resulting from military service except eligibility for immediate enlistment and eligibility for benefits requiring you to have served a certain portion of your period of enlistment, e.g. Post 9/11 Education Benefits.  If you receive a General discharge, you may be ineligible for some veteran's benefits, you may experience difficulty in getting preferred civilian employment, and you will be ineligible for enlistment for a period of two years.  If you receive an Other Than Honorable discharge, you may be ineligible for many or all benefits as a veteran under both federal and state laws, and you may expect to encounter substantial prejudice in civilian life including prejudice in obtaining civilian employment.  You will also be ineligible for enlistment. Eck

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The magic statement is a notification leaders give to subordinates to let them know that continued poor performance could result in separation from the military.  It is also known as the Standard Derogatory Statement. There are many ways to write this statement. It usually lists the types of discharges you could receive, the impact of separation on veterans benefits, employment, and education benefits.  It also often addresses the fact that it is difficult to change the type of discharge you receive once you are out.  Your local JAG may have a statement available for you, or you can find a good example in the book entitled the Mentor.

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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 Mentor - A Comprehensive Guide to Army Counseling and Leadership

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