GOMOR AppealOctober 12, 2020
Soldiers often wonder, how do I submit a GOMOR appeal?
A GOMOR is a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand. Once a GOMOR is issued to a Soldier, they have an opportunity to write a rebuttal. This rebuttal is routed back through the chain of command up to the General. If the General agrees with the Soldier's rebuttal, he/she can rescind the GOMOR or file it in a Soldier's local file (counseling packet). If a GOMOR is rescinded or filed in a Soldier's local file, it will likely have no lasting impact on a Soldier's career. If a GOMOR is filed in a Soldier's OMPF (official military personnel file), a Soldier's future career is in jeopardy. In addition to limiting promotion potential, a GOMOR in a Soldier's OMPF can trigger the Army QMP process (Enlisted Soldiers) or a the initiation of elimination (for Officers). GOMORs are explained further at this link. If a Soldier was just issued a GOMOR, it is advisable to retain an experienced military lawyer to assist with their rebuttal to avoid potential career altering effects. The GOMOR Rebuttal process is explained in more detail at this link.
Once a GOMOR is placed in a Soldier's OMPF, many give up and do not realize that they can file a GOMOR appeal. Army Regulation 600-37, chapter 7, is the governing regulation. A GOMOR appeal is first made to the Department of the Army Suitability Evaluation Board (DASEB).
Generally speaking, the DASEB will only hear appeals from E6s and above; however, those below E6 can submit an appeal if an exception to policy is made. Furthermore, the DASEB will only hear appeals from current Servicemembers; Veterans can only appeal to the Board of Corrections for Military Records utilizing DD Form 149.
A Soldier can submit a GOMOR appeal either asking for a complete removal of the GOMOR from his/her OMPF or a transfer of the GOMOR to the restricted section (as opposed to the performance section) of a Soldier's OMPF. It is generally advisable for a Soldier to request a removal and, in the alternative, a transfer.
Any GOMOR that is in a Soldiers OMPF is "...presumed to be administratively correct, and to have been filed pursuant to an objective decision by a competent authority."
In a GOMOR appeal requesting removal, a Soldier has the burden of proof, by clear and convincing evidence, to show that the GOMOR is either untrue or unjust. Supporting evidence and/or a compelling argument must be submitted as part of a GOMOR Appeal.
In order to request a transfer to the restricted section of a Soldier's OMPF, the Soldier in question must have received at least one evaluation report since the imposition of the GOMOR. Once again, Soldiers bear the burden of proof to provide "...substantial evidence that the intended purpose of the document has been served...the recipient must indicate how the transfer of the unfavorable information would be in the best interest of the Army, thereby warranting transfer of the document to the restricted file of the AMHRR." Supporting documentation, such as letters of support, must be included.
Applications to the DASEB are not all given the same priority. For Officer applicants, applications are decided in the following order:
- (First priority) Officers twice non-selected for promotion that are given a directed discharge, release, or mandatory retirement date within 6 months
- (First priority) Officers selected for release within 6 months by an HQDA elimination board or an Active Guard Reserve continuation board
- (First priority) Officers recommended for elimination within 6 months
- (Second priority) All other Officers
For NCO applicants, applications are decided in the following order:
- (First priority) NCOs twice non-selected for promotion in the primary zone of consideration and are within 6 months of discharge release from service (ETS) or mandatory retirement date
- (First priority) NCOs selected for release under the HQDA or Army National Guard QMP Program, or the USAR Qualitative Retention Program
- (First priority) NCOs selected for release from Active Guard Reserve by an Active Guard Reserve Continuation Board
- (First priority) NCOs identified for referral within 6 months to an Active Guard Reserve Continuation Board
- (Second priority) NCOs who have been non-selected for promotion in the primary zone of consideration at least once, but who do not have a mandatory release date within 6 months
- (Third priority) All other NCOs
If a Soldier's GOMOR appeal to the DASEB is denied, he/she can appeal that decision to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR), using DD Form 149, explained more at this link. AR 15-185 governs applications to the ABCMR.
Any Soldier considering a GOMOR appeal to either the DASEB or the ABCMR should consider retaining outside counsel to assist. Most bases will provide a Legal Assistance Attorney to help a Soldier prepare a GOMOR appeal; however, attorneys assigned to the Legal Assistance Offices are generally in their first JAG assignment and new to the Army. These JAGs are therefore typically inexperienced. Furthermore, most Legal Assistance JAGs will simply advise an applicant on what documents to get and that he/she will read over the application that the Soldier writes themselves. This course of action is not recommended.
Submitting an effective GOMOR appeal can save a Soldier's career.
This article was written by Attorney Matthew Barry.
To learn more, contact The Law Office of Matthew Barry today for a free consultation.