How to respond to a GOMOR
How to respond to a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand
A General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMOR) is a threat to your military career and your future. The command suspects you of committing misconduct serious enough to end your career, but probably lacks enough evidence for non-judicial punishment or courts-martial. The key question in this situation is how to respond to get a GOMOR filed locally. An effective GOMOR response could save your career or good characterization of service.
A GOMOR filed locally or permanently
You aren’t done for yet. Army Regulation 600-37 provides a Soldier with a minimum of seven calendar days to respond to the GOMOR, 30 days for U.S. Army Reservists and Army National Guard. The imposing authority uses this response in their determination on filing the GOMOR in a Soldier’s permanent or local file. The imposing authority may also order the reprimand withdrawn and destroyed. Filed permanently, the GOMOR can trigger an adverse administrative separation board (for enlisted) or a Board of Inquiry (for officers). Local GOMOR filing is a chance for rehabilitation and career renewal.
Respond effectively to a GOMOR
What’s in that GOMOR response that makes a difference? Obviously, you need to remind the commander of your selfless service and your worth to the Army. Depending upon your years of service, the Army has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in your training and years investing in your experience. You aren’t replaceable overnight. As well, the commander needs to know about that family that has moved eight times, children sacrificing friendships, spouses giving up jobs and careers in support of their Soldier. But most important of all, is the approach of your written response. Do you fall on your sword and admit fault? Do you fight back and defend your innocence? What will move the commander to decide local filing is best, or in the rare instance, withdraw the GOMOR entirely?
Admitting fault comes with its own risks. Anything you say can be used as evidence in a separation board later. If you choose to, instead, defend yourself against allegations founded in a 60-page investigation report is extremely hard to do with any nuance or believability in a two-page response letter.
The Secret to an effective GOMOR Response
Do not respond without help from an experienced military lawyer. Responding to a GOMOR is an effort best facilitated by an attorney with experience handling adverse actions. You need an attorney that understands the military, how the general officer thinks, and with many successful GOMOR responses under their belt. A lawyer with experience getting GOMORs filed locally can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case, analyze the investigation report, and highlight the characteristics of the Soldier to develop an approach that will have the most effective response.
Asserting your innocence or merely citing to your long record of service is not enough. An effective GOMOR response causes the imposing authority to want to keep you in the Army despite the allegations against you. Word choice and presentation is essential.
What can I do while waiting to receive my GOMOR?
Start by creating a list of everyone you have served with who might write you a favorable character letter. Gather their email addresses and phone numbers and give each a heads up that your attorney will be asking them for a character letter. Your lawyer will assist them in drafting a letter that presents your best self. Gather your digital records to include awards, evaluations, and civilian education. Even collect up the best pictures of your career: you at work, with colleagues, with your family. Your attorney will help you organize these documents. There are other actions your lawyer will need to take – working with your character references and with your family on how to support you in your response.
The most important part of this response is your cover memo. The cover memorandum should be short and to the point. Again, word choice is critical. For example, if you use the word “mistake,” you are likely to have a negative outcome on the filing decision. You need an experienced military lawyer, like Mr. Kageleiry, who, after analyzing your case, can chart a path with the evidence and your good service that will have the highest chance of convincing the commander to file the Army GOMOR locally.
Mr. Kageleiry oversees the building of a narrative for the Soldier with the assistance of his business manager, a retired LTC public affairs officer. When necessary, they might interview a specific character witness in depth to determine the best way to have this person support their colleague or family member in writing. With their skills and experience, they present to the commander the Soldier’s professionalism, career, family life, good service, and the Army’s need for the Soldier.
If you are under investigation for misconduct, received notice of a pending GOMOR, or have received a GOMOR and need to respond, call now at (757) 504-2815 or contact us here and let Mr. Kageleiry help you with your case.