The term commonly used to describe the response to a Memorandum of Reprimand or Counseling statement is the rebuttal. A rebuttal is a written reply that may agree or disagree with the reprimand or present information not previously known that may mitigate any punishment.
Memorandums of Reprimand can have a negative effect on your career and serve as justification for more serious punitive action. If you received one unfairly or without justification, don't waste time. You should challenge it with a rebuttal as soon as possible.
A written response must be submitted in a timely manner, generally within 10 days of receipt of the Memorandum of Reprimand.
Below are examples of rebuttals. The overall tone should be civil and considerate. Not only will your supervisor read it but the Commander and his staff and your future supervisors may read it as well. The goal is to be conciliatory and persuasive. The first paragraph should be positive. Start off with a positive statement such as "I appreciate the opportunity to respond to the letter of reprimand that I received on 20 April 19 and would like to demonstrate my sincere support of the Unit by providing clarification of the conduct described" or some other positive remark.
In the second paragraph, explain the situation in detail but as briefly as possible. No one has time to read two or three type-written pages. Maintain a neutral tone and state the facts that led up to the situation. Don't ramble. Describe the event in a logical, chronological order and get right to the point. Then explain why you think the Memorandum of Reprimand wasn't completely justified or provide previously unknown information that may mitigate your actions.
In the final paragraph, call attention to your positive record. If you've been in the Army for five years without receiving any kind of disciplinary action, say so. If you have been in trouble in the past, avoid mentioning that and concentrate on positive accomplishments such as your involvement in the Honor Guard or Selection as Maintainer of the Quarter, etc.
It may help your case to mention the IG. Don't threaten to go to the IG if the reprimand isn't withdrawn. That will only make management dig in their heels and make damn sure it stays in your records forever. Instead, mention the IG in a polite way to let the reader know that you're aware of your options and resources. Write something like:
"I appreciate my supervisor's guidance and faith in my potential and am more committed to my career and the Army than ever before. I will make every effort to adhere to standards and improve my performance. To that end, I will make an appointment with the Inspector General's Office to ensure I understand my responsibilities on and off-duty and fulfill my responsibilities".
When management thinks that the situation will be reviewed by unbiased people outside the organization, they will take another look and make sure the reprimand is deserved, justified, and supportable. And they may quietly withdraw it without even telling you.
Use the last paragraph for closing comments. This will likely be the only time that you'll be invited to state your opinion on this matter so make sure everything you want to say is addressed. Let a friend proofread it to make sure it's readable. Make a copy and keep it for your records. Give the original to the person who gave you the reprimand.
It's your right to go to the Inspector General's office on base if you feel that you've been unfairly treated. If you intend to visit the IG, you should make every effort to let your supervisor know and give him or her a chance to withdraw the reprimand before you go. Normally, if you indicate in your answer that you intend to visit the IG, the memo will receive serious review and be withdrawn if it isn't fully supportable.
MEMORANDUM FOR XXX
FROM: SGT Young, (UNIT)
SUBJECT: Response to Letter of Reprimand
1. I am writing in response to the reprimand I received on 10 April 2019 for unauthorized cellular device use on post. My actions were in direct contrast to the training received and I admit my fault in doing so. I understand that there is no excuse for having done this and do not wish to make any for myself.
2. I have served honorably in the Army for over two years with this being the first incident of disciplinary action. I bear sole responsibility for my career and wish to convey my contrition for the lack in judgement on my part. I fully intend to continue with my career, with this isolated incident as a lesson learned, with professionalism and to comply with all standards.
3. In conclusion, I appreciate the opportunity to respond and explain my actions. In the future, I will make a greater effort to comply with all regulations.
MEMO FOR (UNIT)
SUBJECT: Counseling Statement Response, SGT Sullivan
1. My name is SGT Sullivan and I work in the Logistics section. I would like to address a counseling that I received on 20 March 2019. I appreciate the opportunity to present my side of the story and would like to express my thanks for the consideration shown me by my supervisor and the Unit.
2. On 18 March 2019, when I reported to work as scheduled, MSG Auble called me into his office and presented me with a Letter of Counseling for Failure to Go. He believed that I was scheduled to work on 17 March and that I did not show up for work. On the schedule I had, dated 12 March 2019, I was not scheduled to work that day. The schedule was changed while I was on leave and no one gave me a copy or notified me that the schedule had changed and that I was scheduled to work. For that reason, I don't believe I should receive a Letter of Counseling.
3. I have been a Soldier for over 4 years and have always worked hard to comply with all regulations and support my unit. I have a good record and this is the first disciplinary action I have ever received. I request that the decision to present this counseling be reconsidered based on the fact that I did not willfully violate any order or instruction. Further, I request an audience with the First Sergeant to determine if this situation warrants attention by the Inspector General's office.
SGT Sullivan, USA
My name is SGT Kamel and I am an avionics specialist with the XXXXXXX and would like to discuss the written counseling that I received for an incident that occurred on 22 February 2019. I am grateful for the opportunity to explain my actions and my opinion on the counseling I was given for them.
On 22 Feb 2019, I missed a dental appointment scheduled for 0900. I did actually go to the appointment but I went at the wrong time because I mistakenly read the wrong appointment receipt and went at 1330 instead of 0900.
I made two appointments two months earlier and one was for 22 Feb 2019 at 0900 and the other was for 25 Feb 2019 at 1330. I regret missing the appointment but I had every intention of being there. The appointments were not mandatory and I scheduled them myself to take care of pre-existing issues in preparation for deployment.
I understand why the counseling was given but I don't believe it is an honest reflection of my behavior and attitude or justified because:
I was upfront and honest with my supervisor and notified him before anyone else did.
This is my first infraction of this or any kind since entering the Army over 3 years ago.
I received no prior counseling concerning this issue before I was given the written counseling.
In addition, until this incident occurred, my record was flawless. I'm an AIT honor graduate. I earned distinguished graduate at Fort Eustis. In addition, I have nearly completed all my qualification training and am three months ahead of schedule. Since my arrival here, I also participated in volunteer opportunities and spent a weekend cleaning and painting a school and I spent my Thanksgiving serving the less fortunate. Since arriving here, I have become a respectable technician, team member, and Soldier. I welcome anyone who reads this to talk to the Soldiers and supervisors I work with about my behavior and attitude towards work and the Army before using this counseling statement as a reference.
SGT Kamel, USA
MEMORANDUM FOR (PERSON WHO ISSUED REPRIMAND)
FROM: (Your rank and name)
SUBJECT: Response to (Letter of Reprimand, etc)
1. I have consulted with my appointed defense counsel, Capt ____________, concerning the (reprimand, counseling) dated ____________ and ask that you consider the following response when making your decision to maintain locally, file, or withdraw the reprimand.
2. (Facts and circumstances surrounding the incident: what happened, how it happened, why it happened. Discuss all the relevant facts and be as detailed as possible).
3. (Explanation of your guilt or innocence. If you're guilty explain why you did it and apologize for your mistake. Also explain what you can do to resolve the behavior so it does not happen in the future. If you're innocent, explain why there's a misunderstanding).
4. (Duty performance. Summarize your contributions to the unit and the Army. If you've received any awards or outstanding evaluations, list and attach them for the commander's review. If you have any character statements from fellow employees or supervisors, attach them also. Review you official record and personal files for any positive information and include it).
5. Thank the person who gave you the paperwork for their time and the consideration given to your response. Ask that your response be filed along with the reprimand if it is ultimately filed in your personnel record.
YOUR NAME, Rank, USA