Five Phases of an Army GOMOR
A General Officer Memorandum of Record, or GOMOR, is an Army tool that lets the Army enforce good order and discipline among the force. It’s effectively a threat to all the troops to deter misconduct. Also a way to maintain the strength of the force short term. It puts a person on notice that their career is at risk and the commander can avoid outright firing someone they need. There are consequences of a GOMOR, however. The following explains the Army GOMOR process.
What are the consequences of a GOMOR?
An Army GOMOR, however, is only Phase I of the disciplinary action. From there, as part of Phase II, the commander has to decide whether to file the Army GOMOR locally or in the Soldier’s permanent record. Filed locally, the Soldier has an opportunity for redemption. They can clean up their act and continue on with their career. How far that career goes from there can depend upon several factors. That GOMOR probably will affect that NCO’s or Officer’s annual evaluation. As part of the Army GOMOR process, a promotion board may see that evaluation or the investigation findings that launched the GOMOR. If HRC makes this information available during the promotion board, the Soldier likely won’t get promoted. Does that matter? It does if the Soldier is too far out from retirement for the Army to retain that Soldier. And it matters if the Soldier has to retire at their current rank, but had the potential to earn more by retiring at a higher rank. If the GOMOR happens right after a Soldier gets promoted and it will be more than five years before the next promotion board, it’s possible that eval won’t be considered as part of the last five evals. That would be a very rare scenario. These are all very possible consequences of a GOMOR.
What is my risk of separation with a permanent filed Army GOMOR?
Phase III of the Army GOMOR process is filing the Army GOMOR in the Soldier’s record at the Army Human Resources Command. HRC routinely reviews files as part of regular personnel management. HRC may see the GOMOR during a routine scan or in preparation for a promotion board. Then HRC may direct the Soldier’s current command to initiate a separation board. This is likely the most damaging consequence of a GOMOR and is part of the Army GOMOR process.
What happens when the Army GOMOR process initiates a separation board?
Phase IV is when the command initiates a separation board. The command is usually given about 60 days to execute this action from when they select the board members. At this point the Soldier has the opportunity to consult with detailed military counsel at the Army’s expense or a private attorney at their own expense.
Phase V is the execution of the separation board. This is usually a one-day event, but it’s a day that can effectively end careers and take away a Soldier’s benefits regardless of time served. Several different things can happen. A Soldier can be acquitted of the charges founded in the investigation that led to the board and continue on with their career. The panel could find the Soldier guilty of the charges and recommend separation. The panel would also make a recommendation on characterization of service. That could span between an Honorable, General, or Other Than Honorable or OTH discharge. This is where the real danger lies to a Soldier’s good character and maintenance of their benefits. Anything less than an Honorable Discharge and a Soldier begins to lose the GI Bill and possibly their VA medical benefits.
What should I do if I have been notified of a pending GOMOR?
Having an experienced attorney to assist in responding to an Army GOMOR can make all the difference. An excellent attorney can help mitigate the damage that an Army GOMOR can do to a Soldier’s career. An exceptional response to a GOMOR can help influence the legal staff’s recommendation and the general officer’s decision to file locally and avoid an HRC-initiated separation action. If this effort fails, there is a second opportunity to save careers and benefits with hiring the right attorney for a potential separation board. An experienced private military attorney will likely have many more years of experience than the detailed Captain or Major assigned to defend a Soldier at their separation board.