GOMOR RebuttalFebruary 22, 2021
A GOMOR is a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand. Essentially, it is a one-page written memorandum that is signed by a General Officer. Typically, it consists of three paragraphs. The first paragraph lists the conduct that the Soldier is being reprimanded for. The second paragraph usually consists of a couple of paragraphs about how disappointed the General is. Finally, the third paragraph has some required language from AR 600-37 (available at this link) and gives a timeline for the Soldier to submit a rebuttal.
Soldiers often think that there are two types of GOMORs: local and permanent. This is incorrect. There is only one type of GOMOR; however, it can either be filed locally (in the Soldier's counseling packet) or in the AMHRR (official military record). The process works as follows:
A GOMOR is issued to a Soldier. The Soldier is required to be given the reprimand itself and all evidence that supports the allegations listed in it. The Soldier is typically given either 7 or 14 calendar days to review all of the evidence, meet with a lawyer, and prepare a GOMOR rebuttal. In most cases, the Soldier is handed the complete packet and told to go to the post Legal Assistance Office. The Soldier will set up an appointment with a Legal Assistance Attorney who will advise him/her how to respond. Of note, most Legal Assistance Attorneys are in their first term in the Army and are very new lawyers. Furthermore, most will only ask the Soldier what questions they have and offer to review whatever the Soldier puts together on their own. For many reasons, this course of action is usually not recommended. A Soldier may also be tempted to try to find a GOMOR Rebuttal Example and use it. Each situation regarding a GOMOR is unique, and working off of a GOMOR Rebuttal Example is also not recommended.
A GOMOR rebuttal can ask the filing authority to rescind the GOMOR (unlikely), file it locally (counseling packet), or file it in the Soldier's AMHRR (worst result). While every situation is different and should be discussed with a lawyer, a good GOMOR Rebuttal addresses the allegations appropriately and provides outside evidence, if available. Relying on the character of the Soldier in question is rarely successful.
After a GOMOR Rebuttal is completed and turned in, it gets routed through the chain of command. Typically, although not required, every level of Command makes a filing recommendation (rescind, local, AMHRR). Often, each Commander will write a sentence or two explaining their decision. The Brigade Commander's Recommendation is the most important, and often carries the day.
It is important to note that ANY General Officer can issue a GOMOR to a Soldier; however, only certain ones can file it in his/her AMHRR. The following General Officers can file GOMORs in a Soldiers AMHRR:
- The Soldier's General Court-Martial Convening Authority (GCMCA)
- A General Officer delegated the authority by the Soldier's GCMCA
- A General Officer Commander over the Soldier
- The filing authority for the Soldier's losing Command in certain situations (See AR 600-37, paragraph 3-5f)
- The Commander of HRC
- Any HQDA Staff Principal
- State Adjutant General or designee
- Chief, or designee, of any designated special branch pursuant to 10 USC 3064
If the GOMOR is filed in the Soldier's local file, it will be destroyed after 18 months or after reassignment to another GCMCA, whichever occurs first. If the GOMOR is filed in the Soldier's AMHRR, the reprimand itself, supporting evidence, and the GOMOR rebuttal, will be filed in the performance section of the Soldier's record. There is not an option to file the GOMOR in the restricted section.
Once a GOMOR is filed in a Soldier or Officer's AMHRR, he/she should expect their careers to be hindered. For Officers, typically those with permanently filed GOMORs do not get selected for promotion. Furthermore, in those situations, during an Officer's first look for a promotion, HRC will typically also initiate elimination (explained at this link). For NCOs and Soldiers, permanently filed GOMORs routinely result in Separation Boards or being selection by the Army QMP Board.
These consequences make a quality GOMOR Rebuttal even more important. A good Rebuttal can persuade the filing authority to not place a GOMOR in a Soldier's OMPF. At the very least, a good GOMOR Rebuttal sets the narrative correctly to avoid the Soldier or Officer from being separated from Service at a later date.
Once a GOMOR is in a Soldier's AMHRR, there are further appeal provisions, described at this link.
This Article was written by Attorney Matthew Barry.
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