GOMOR Rebuttal Lawyers
General Officer Memorandum Of Reprimand (GOMOR) Rebuttals
GOMORs are often more about command perception than factual accuracy. Bilecki challenges these reprimands with incisive rebuttals aimed at getting them locally filed or entirely destroyed. Our objective is to ensure your record reflects the truth, not command assumptions, thus preserving your service integrity.
Champions in Military Defense
How To Appeal and Win Back Your Career in 7 Days
The word reprimand is ubiquitous within military culture and there is not an enlisted personnel or officer who has not found themselves on the wrong end of a reprimand in their career. Whether that is your good old fashioned ass-chewing by a grizzled First Sergeant or an official documented incident, a reprimand by any other name is still a reprimand. Yet, all reprimands are not created equal and in the case of a General Officer Memorandum Of Reprimand (GOMOR) it starts a 7 day clock that could very well spell the end of your military career. Because reprimands in many forms are so common in the military, many good men and women in uniform find themselves content to take it like many that have come before them. That’s a career ending mistake because a GOMOR is not your average reprimand. It is a tool that when wielded flippantly by a vindictive command can change your life forever.
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What A GOMOR Is And What It Is Not
While the GOMOR is unique to the Army, other service branches have similar reprimand letters. For consistency, we primarily address GOMORs. If you’re from another service branch and need assistance with a similar letter, please reach out; we can help.
The GOMOR in the Army, originally meant for reprimanding misconduct not warranting a court martial, has sadly become a career-ending reprimand from General Officers. These are typically issued when a JAG recommends it due to insufficient evidence for a court martial or out of vindictiveness.
Recently, a Non-Commissioned Officer faced a sexual assault investigation with evidence disproving the allegations. Despite the need for evidence, a GOMOR was issued, likely as a means of extrajudicial punishment, potentially impacting the Soldier’s future employment. This raises concerns about justice and the moral stance within military justice.
What Happens When The 7 Day Clock Runs Out?
When issued a GOMOR, you’re given just 7 days to file a rebuttal, a seemingly short window that can catch even experienced Soldiers off guard. It’s easy to underestimate the impact of a GOMOR, but failing to respond within this timeframe can lead to the Commanding General assuming its accuracy. Therefore, it’s crucial to always offer a rebuttal to a GOMOR without hesitation.
The Commanding General has three choices regarding a reprimand. Firstly, they can discard it, but this rarely happens when no rebuttal is submitted. Secondly, they may file it locally in your service record, which can be framed and displayed as a reminder. The third, and most severe option, is to permanently file the GOMOR, which follows you wherever you go, except in cases involving serious allegations like sexual assault or SHARP, where there are limited options. Regardless of the outcome, your rebuttal will accompany the GOMOR, helping present your side of the story and potentially influencing future appeals to DASEB and ABCMR, as well as aiding in disassociating from CODIS, DBIRS, and FBI background checks.
Reprimand to Career End
What’s The Worst That Can Happen With a GOMOR?
The GOMOR was designed to be a simple letter of reprimand, but it has morphed into something more heinous. If you have a GOMOR permanently filed, your career is over. It’s done. They couldn’t meet the burden of proof required for a court martial, even in a system designed to efficiently convict Soldiers. So, with the signature of the Commanding General, your career is over. Doesn’t matter if you have 15, 17, or even 19 years of service.
Next, they’ll administratively separate you or send you to a board of inquiry or show cause board where you’ll have to show cause for retention. This becomes a difficult task when a Commanding General just gave you a GOMOR for sexual assault and you couldn’t find the time to at least put forward a rebuttal. There is a good chance you’ll be pressured into resigning your commission as an officer and that would be an unqualified resignation, which means there is no guarantee of an honorable discharge. Both officer and enlisted may be offered the chance to retire, but that is only if you have your 20 years. Most of the Soldiers we see with GOMORs are senior enlisted or officers with 10 to 19 years of service. The financial impact of being booted out of the Army at this point is significant.
Urgent Rebuttal Needed
The Most Important Rebuttal Of Your Life
When most Soldiers receive a GOMOR, it never passes through their heads that their Army career could effectively be over in 7 days. Again, we believe the ubiquitous nature of the reprimand is partly to blame for this dilemma. How many times have you been asked a question by senior personnel during a verbal reprimand, and it is quite clear that the question was rhetorical in nature. So many times, it is your job to sit there and take it for the good order and discipline of the military. Not so with a GOMOR.
This is your career on the line, and perhaps a damning letter will be added to your permanent record, which will follow you where you may go. So, of course, the Army only gives you 7 days to put together a rebuttal. Now, when civilian counsel is retained, we are typically able to get an additional 7-day extension, but that’s it. As good as we are, you’ll rarely get more than that – and the extension is in no way guaranteed. So, the clock starts ticking and we have to get to work, immediately.
We’ll get the file and go through a discovery process with the records and with you as the client. It is true that 99 times out of 100, your version of the story didn’t make its way into the GOMOR. Think back to the example we spoke about earlier. The GOMOR didn’t say, “You are receiving a reprimand for sexual assault of a junior enlisted member, though CCTV evidence speaks to the contrary.” No, the reprimand said, and this an authorized release of a quote from that very GOMOR, “Your behavior is abhorrent. You chose to sexually assault a fellow Soldier who trusted you and considered you a friend.”
Rebuttal Strategy: Amplify Your Voice
Your Rebuttal Must Be Heard
Can you see why it is important to get your voice into the rebuttal? We’ll often interview witnesses to get their version of the story as well. If an actual incident did take place, we’ll make sure we get extenuating and mitigating circumstances. We’ll fill the holes in the investigation because we already know there were substantial reasons why they went with a GOMOR instead of a court martial. There are holes in the investigation, and we are going to make sure everyone in the chain of command knows about it.
We’ll also put together character witnesses for you and we go for quality over quantity. That’s not the 200 plus Soldiers who love you because you dismissed them early for weekend leave. Rather, we’ll go for the First Sergeant who remembers what you did in the Korengal valley of Afghanistan or the streets of Ramadi. Those that can speak to your character with authority, and we put it all on the line. These are big projects, sometimes 30 to 40 hours’ worth of work and that 7 to 14 day clock is ticking the whole time.
GOMOR: Career-Ending Threat
Right Decision or Wrong Decision, No Decision Is The End Of Your Career
For those of you who have stepped outside of the wire, you know that decisions made under duress in combat are complex. However, you also know that no decision is deadly. You might make the right decision or the wrong decision during an ambush, but no decision ensures the death of everyone around you. The Army GOMOR as it is currently being utilized is an ambush on your honorable career. No decision or no rebuttal, is the end of it all.
There is a good chance that if you are reading this page today, the clock has already started ticking for you. You are a good Soldier and you’ve taken your prior reprimands on the chin and continued to serve with honor. We are just pleading with you to understand that this GOMOR is not your average reprimand. This can be a career killer and you won’t realize that until the clock is up. Reach out to us and we’ll shoot you straight as to exactly what you are facing. You have fought for this country and for your career this long, but this is one more fight worth picking up. Best of luck to those of you facing a GOMOR who don’t reach out, to those of you who don’t want to rely on luck, give us a call or send us a message. We’ll take it to the streets and fight alongside you.
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