A General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (GOMOR) is a Letter of Reprimand (LOR), or administrative warning, sent from a general officer to a military service member who fails to meet established standards or policies. A GOMOR may be filed in one of two ways:
- In the Military Personnel Record Jacket (MPRJ), a “local file” that remains on record for three years or upon reassignment to a new general court-martial jurisdiction, whichever is sooner.
- In the Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), or “permanent file,” which may adversely affect the service member’s military career (OMPF is also termed as Army Military Human Resource Record (AMHRR).
Learn more about GOMORs and how a military defense lawyer can help prevent them from negatively impacting your career.
Why are GOMORs Issued?
A service member may receive a GOMOR for misconduct that doesn’t meet the standards of the Armed Forces. Examples of behavior warranting a GOMOR include:
- Inappropriate sexual relationships or conduct
- Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) violations
- Equal opportunity (EO) violations
- Toxic leadership behavior
- Some civilian criminal charges
What is the Burden of Proof for a GOMOR?
For a general officer to issue a GOMOR, they must believe by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the service member committed the alleged misconduct. This is the lowest standard of proof, falling below “clear and convincing evidence” and “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.” It means there’s at least a 51% chance that the allegation is true.
What are the Consequences of a GOMOR?
No service member wants to receive a formal letter outlining their deficient conduct. In addition to the negative stigma of receiving a GOMOR, service members may face the following consequences:
- A GOMOR filed locally in the MPRJ can be seen by the service member’s chain of command but not promotion boards. The letter is also destroyed after no more than three years. Therefore, the potential for a career impact is minimal.
- A GOMOR filed permanently in the OMPF has more lasting and serious consequences. The letter can be viewed by promotion boards and stays on the service member’s record for the duration of their military career unless appealed or removed. A GOMOR in a service member’s permanent file may be grounds for denying a promotion or reenlistment, or it may trigger a later administrative separation.
How Should a Service Member Respond to Receiving a GOMOR?
If you receive a GOMOR from your general officer, you have a chance to tell your side of the story. Here are the steps to take.
Write a Formal Rebuttal
You typically have seven to 10 days to submit a response, known as “rebuttal matters.” Matters should respond to the GOMOR in one of three ways:
- Admit your actions and ask for a second chance.
- Acknowledge the misconduct but explain how extenuating circumstances minimize the severity of the act. In this case, it may be reasonable to request that the letter be filed locally instead of permanently.
- Deny the allegations giving rise to the reprimand. This is a rare argument since GOMORs are usually reviewed with great scrutiny before being issued.
Your attorney can help you understand these strategies and decide which approach to take. With this legal professional’s help, write a complete description of the events surrounding the GOMOR, addressing the facts and providing mitigating evidence in memorandum format.
In addition to your written statement, you should submit supporting documents with your rebuttal. These may include:
- Sworn statements from witnesses
- Photographic evidence
- Letters attesting to your character
- Awards you have received
- Officer Evaluation Reports (OERs) and Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Reports (NCOERs)
- Officer Record Briefs (ORBs) and Enlisted Record Briefs (ERBs)
- Court judgments
Submit your written statement and supporting documents to the general officer who initiated the GOMOR in a sealed envelope or folder. Keep a copy for yourself as well. If you can’t meet the submission deadline, request an extension from the issuing authority. Your attorney can help you draft an extension request.
Appeal the Filing Decision
Your general officer will review your rebuttal matters and determine whether to file the reprimand permanently, file it locally, or discard it. If the officer files your GOMOR in your permanent OMFP, you can appeal the decision. Here are three methods for doing so:
- Request the general officer to remove the GOMOR: There is no formal procedure for doing this, but you should make your request for removal in memorandum format. Include relevant evidence in the form of supporting documentation.
- Request the Department of Army Suitability and Evaluation Board (DASEB) to transfer the GOMOR to the restricted fiche: Every OMFP has a restricted file generally not visible to promotion or selection boards. To transfer the reprimand to this restricted file, you typically need to be a grade E6 or above. One year must also have passed from the date of filing. You’ll need to provide clear and convincing evidence that the reprimand is untrue or unjust or that the reprimand has served its purpose and transferring it is in the Armed Service’s best interest.
- Request the DASEB to remove the GOMOR from your OMPF: Once a reprimand is filed, the DASEB presumes it’s administratively correct and filed based on proper authority. Therefore, removing a GOMOR is more difficult than transferring it to the restricted fiche. The burden is on you to convince the DASEB that the allegations are wholly or partially untrue or unjust.
More information about appealing to the DASEB can be found in AR 600-37, Chapter 7.
More tips to write a rebuttal statement, request a reprimand transfer, or request a reprimand removal can be found in the Trial Defense Service Fact Sheet.
How Can a Military Defense Attorney Help?
If you receive a GOMOR, you should immediately contact a military defense attorney. This legal professional can review the underlying evidence, help you determine the best arguments for your formal rebuttal, and assist you in drafting a written statement. An attorney can also help you appeal the filing decision, if necessary.
At Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law, we have experience advising military service members who have received letters of reprimand. One of our clients, a drill sergeant at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, allegedly hit a soldier in training in the head. No sworn statements were taken, and only an informal commander’s inquiry preceded his letter of reprimand.
Knowing he needed to protect his career, family, and name, the drill sergeant called our firm to assist with his rebuttal. With Mr. Jordan’s help, the drill sergeant apologized for his actions, explained that he did so to get the soldier’s attention before committing a safety violation, and highlighted that the incident was not as dramatic as the soldier in training made it out to be. The commander filed the reprimand locally, and the drill sergeant experienced no negative impact on his later NCOER.
If this is the outcome you want in your case, Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law, is the right legal counsel for you. Call us toll-free at 800-580-8034 or 254-221-6411 to speak directly with Mr. Jordan about writing your rebuttal or appealing your letter of reprimand.