Today, we’re covering a lot of topics that deal with general officer memoranda of reprimand, because we certainly field a lot of questions about them more and more with courts martial being on the decline.
That is not as many of them being charged every year. We are definitely seeing an increase in the number of administrative remedies that are being held against people. And the chief among them for folks in the Army are GOMORs, general officer memoranda of reprimand. When people ask us whether or not they can retire, there are a number of factors that we need to know before we can legitimately answer that question.
Number one, how long has that person been serving? If they’ve already achieved 20 years, then absolutely. They’re going to be able to retire despite the issuance of a general officer memorandum of reprimand, they’re essentially grandfathered in, but for those people who’ve already achieved 20 years.
And so they’ve already vested in their retirement. What they need to know and appreciate is that it’s not as though the GOMOR does not matter when that person goes to put in their retirement paperwork because that bad paper is in their official file. HRC is going to see that bad paper and that service member who’s going to retire will receive issuance of what’s known as a grade determination board, a grade determination board tells that person who is retirement eligible, that they need to justify why it is that they should get to retire at the grade at which they most recently served for many of our clients, that could be O-5, that could be O-6 and understand that the discharge, this discharge review board is analyzing whether or not this member can justify getting to retire at what they call the grade at which they last honorably served.
There is this sort of presumption that if you have bad paper at whatever rank you achieved, that you did not honorably serve at that grade. So understand that even for people who have achieved 20 years and are eligible for retirement, the issuance of a GOMOR is still very serious because it has the potential to have that person reduced administratively, which means they would be paid at the next lower grade for the course of their retirement. We’ve even seen circumstances where that person is having to defend very old misconduct and is in jeopardy of even more than one rank, two, three, however many ranks stand between that person and that bad paper for which they receive that general officer memorandum or reprimand.
For anyone else who has not yet achieved 20 years. It is still possible for that person potentially to retire, even with that GOMOR. But understand that in many cases, the issuance of a general officer memorandum of reprimand is going to cause that person to have to go to a board to decide whether or not they get to retire and they get to continue to serve really the board’s not deciding retirement, it’s deciding whether or not they can continue to possibly get to that 20 years. Many of our clients are 16 years in 17 years in 18. We’ve even had folks 19 and a half years have to go to these boards because it was founded initially based off of that GOMOR.
So can you retire with a GOMOR? Sure you can, but there are a number of impediments that stand in your way and that also potentially compromise how much you would receive at the time of your retirement.
Jocelyn Stewart is a UCMJ court-martial attorney who specializes in defense of allegations of sexual assault for all branches of the military worldwide. Contact the Law Office of Jocelyn C. Stewart at 1-888-252-0927
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