U.S. Army v. SGT (Article 15)
Fort Hood, Texas
Our client contacted us after he had been giving his first reading for an Article 15. After our initial consultation, he hired us and we began diligently working on his case. Our client was charged with failure to report to duty and failure to obey a lawful order. There were some underlying circumstances that needed to be addressed to the Field Grade officer who was holding the Article 15 hearing.
The NCO had been accounted for as AWOL prior to the initial reading of his Article 15; therefore, the “second” failure to report to duty was taken to the chain of command for non-punitive action. This “AWOL” was not and should have never been defined as an AWOL. The NCO was in-processing the unit and had not met his new supervisor or had been given any information as to his place of duty. He believed his place of duty was to in-process and to take care of the administrative and housing items he needed to.
The NCO was abruptly informed that he had been accounted as AWOL and he needed to obtain some 4187s and sign some re-enlistment documentation stating that he had been AWOL. The NCO not wanting to make a big deal out of the matter did so as told. He then began reporting to his appointed place of duty until the “second” failure. The NCO’s “second” failure was his on wrongdoing and openly admitted it; however, this should have been his first, one, and only mess up throughout his time at his new unit and his entire Army career for that matter.
At the second reading, the NCO was prepared with a well written rebuttal statement from our office detailing the events that led the NCO to the Article 15. The Field Grade officer agreed with the NCO, found him guilty of the failure to report to duty and dismissed the charge of failure to obey a lawful order due to semantics.
Due to financial hardship that the AWOL had caused on the NCO, the Field Grade officer issued the following punishment: Reduction to E4, suspended for 180 days; Forfeiture of half month’s pay for two months, suspended for 180 days; and extra duty for 30 days. Since the Article 15 closing the NCO has not had any of his punishment vacated, successfully completed his extra duty, and is looking forward to honorably leaving the service to pursue other dreams. Currently he still retains his rank as an E-5.