Counseling is a requirement for all soldiers, regardless of rank. It is no different in a Rear Detachment. Because the Rear D is now responsible for all the legal issues within the unit, counseling becomes a necessary tool to establish and maintain discipline. The goals of successful counseling include the following:
- Develop subordinates in order to achieve organizational and individual goals
- Improve performance
- Solve problems
Legal actions require documentation. Companies should provide the complete counseling packet for every Soldier assigned to the Rear D (requires the support of the command sergeant major). Meet with the chain of command, commander, and first sergeant (1SG) to conduct a battle handover. Discuss the desired end state for each soldier.
Types of counseling
Promotion. All E4s and E5s eligible for promotion without waivers but not recommended for promotion require an initial (event-oriented) counseling and periodic (performance/personal growth) counseling quarterly.
Adverse/Separation. Informs the soldier of the administrative actions available to the commander in the event substandard performance continues and of the consequences associated with those actions (see AR 635-200, Active Duty Enlisted Separations, para 1-18).
Referral. Helps subordinates work through a personal situation by identifying a root problem followed by a referral to appropriate resources such as the chaplain, Army Community Service, or an alcohol and drug counselor.
Crisis. Focused on the subordinate's immediate, short-term needs following a crisis, such as the notification of the death of a loved one.
Adverse Counseling Examples
- Lost ID card/meal card (violation of Article 108)
- Missing formation (violation of Article 86)
- Failure to obey orders (violation of Article 92)
- Disobeying an order from an NCO (violation of Article 91)
- Lying (violation of Article 107)
- Not signing in as directed by an officer (soldier on restriction) (violation of Article 90)
- Disrespect to an NCO (violation of Article 91)
- Poor work performance (violation of Article 92)
The following "magic" statement is required for any counseling that may result in further actions:
Pursuant to paragraph 1-16, AR 635-200, this constitutes a formal counseling session concerning your noted deficiencies. You will be given a reasonable period of time to correct these deficiencies and to rehabilitate yourself into a productive, satisfactory soldier. If your performance and conduct continue to be unsatisfactory, you may receive punishment under Article 15, UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) or be processed for separation under the provisions of Chapter 5, 9, 11, 13, 14, or 18, AR 635-200. If you are processed for separation under the provisions of AR 635-200, you may receive a general discharge or other than honorable discharge. Each type of discharge may have serious consequences affecting civilian employment, veteran's benefits, or future service in the Armed Forces.
- Use the plan of action and the assessment on the back of DA Form 4856, Developmental Counseling, to show lack of rehabilitation.
- Put the commander's signature block in the plan of action block when placing a soldier on restriction or pulling pass privileges.
- Always use the "magic" statement if the counseling will be used for further actions.
- Identify specific Articles of the UCMJ violated, and organize the charges if the soldier's actions require a court martial.
- Always give the Soldier a copy of DA Form 4856 at the end of the counseling session. This prevents the Soldier from claiming he did not understand the required corrective training.
Keys to Success
Get all available information on each soldier.
Establish and maintain a clear chain of command for each soldier.
Complete monthly counseling.
Counsel everyone; provide initial counseling to returnees.
Use the "magic" statement.
Sample Initial Counseling
The following is a baseline for all soldiers in this platoon to meet as a minimum. These guidelines will be the basic responsibilities that you must follow in the course of your day-to-day duties. We cannot cover what to do in every situation that might arise, but apply these general rules and you will be supported by the NCOs within the unit.
Attitude: Delta Company is the backbone of Dreadnaught forward. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you stay highly motivated at all times.
Take the initiative to do the work you know needs to be done or proactively seek guidance from the chain of command. If you are not doing anything, then you are wrong. Put 100% effort into everything you do, and be proud of what you have done. At the end of every day you should have a sense of accomplishment for that day.
Chain of command: The chain of command is here to assist and guide you. Use the chain of command at all times. The chain of command starts with your supervisor. He or she is your starting point; if they cannot help, he or she will take the issue to the next higher level. Your immediate supervisor is also your link to the NCO support channel, which, together with the chain of command, can solve almost any issue you may have. Never skip a step in the chain of command. Solve problems at the lowest level possible. If you are the senior person present, you are in charge. Take accountability for everyone under you and accomplish the mission. Always observe military customs and courtesies and show respect to those senior in rank.
Competence. You must master your job. In this company, there are many different jobs and skills. None of us can master them all. But you must strive to be the subject matter expert on your specialty at all times. Learn the company and battalion standard operating procedures (SOP) and how to use them. While training, ask as many questions as it takes to fully understand the subject being presented. Being an expert on all aspects of your military occupational specialty (MOS) is your goal. This unit has already deployed to a combat zone. Any one of us may be required to join the deployed element at any time. Ensure you are physically and mentally prepared for that task. Combat is not the time to find out you should have asked more questions.
Personal conduct. "I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals," is taken from the Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer. This is not just a job you do from 9 to 5; it is a way of life. Your personal conduct must not bring discredit to the Army, the 1st Infantry Division, this battalion, or Delta company. Comply with all Army regulations, division, battalion, and company policies and live up to Army values.
Drug and alcohol abuse/misuse will be met with UCMJ actions. If you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, help is available if you let your chain of command help you. A blotter report or failed urinalysis is not a request for help and will result in the maximum punishment allowed under the UCMJ. Drinking and driving is dangerous and irresponsible as well as illegal. Anyone in the chain of command will give you a ride home without any questions or punishment, but only if you ask.
Budget your money so you can pay all your bills on time. If you catch yourself falling behind, notify the chain of command so we can get you the help you need. Remember that haircuts, uniform maintenance, and personal equipment need to be worked into your budget, along with your other responsibilities.
Provide what is needed for your dependents. Do not abuse or mistreat your spouse, children, or your significant other. Due to the sensitive nature of our job as a deployed combat unit, repeating sensitive family business or spreading rumors or gossip will not be tolerated.
Personal appearance. Battle dress uniforms will be clean, serviceable, and present a pressed appearance. Boots will be highly brush shined, with all eyelets blackened in. All pin-on rank will also be blackened in. Haircuts will be kept in accordance with AR 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia; close high and tights or flat tops preferred. You will shave daily, before morning formation. The Kevlar helmet will have the chinstrap adjusted to stay under the chin.
Physical fitness. Physical fitness is your responsibility. The company will provide you with challenging physical training (PT), which will maintain or improve your PT score. The platoon standard is 250 points for E4 and under and 270 points for sergeants and above. If you cannot achieve the company standards with the program we use, you must do extra PT on your own. Your personal goals should be to score higher than all your peers in the company. If you are on profile or otherwise limited in performing PT, you must work within the limits of the profile. You must conduct PT to maintain the best fitness possible.
Maintenance. Maintenance is the term used to describe the care and upkeep of your personal issue gear, company collective gear, and vehicles assigned to the company. All equipment will be kept in the highest state of cleanliness and repair possible. Any faulty personal gear will be exchanged as soon as possible. Preventative maintenance checks and services will be performed to standard on all company collective gear and vehicles using the proper technical manual (TM). Any deadlined items will be brought to the attention of the chain of command immediately. All gear will be accounted for at all times. Any missing equipment (personal or company) will be reason to notify the chain of command.
Billets. Rooms and common areas will be kept livable, clean, neat, and presentable at all times. If your mother would say it needs to be cleaned up, then it is not clean enough here either. You will pay to repair any damage done to your room. The chain of command will make unannounced spot checks of your room at random times throughout the week. If your room is dirty when checked, you will receive daily room inspections for a week. Anything not covered above, ask. Ignorance is not a valid excuse.
Remember that this is the bare minimum standard. Soldiers who consistently achieve higher standards will get first priority when promotions, passes, and awards are recommended.
I have read and understand all the above standards. By signing below I am agreeing to adopt and maintain these standards as my own and assist my fellow soldiers in achieving these standards.