The "magic bullet"

I have always been told that when I am writing a counseling statement that has the possibility of leading up to UCMJ action that it should always have that magic bullet in there.

Is this true? has anyone else run into an issue where they did not have that statement at the bottom and that stopped the recommendation for UCMJ action? Is this one of those urban legends like the truck, trk, whatever it is, that ball on the top of the flag pole that is not mentioned in any Army Reg or FM?
Original Post
Yes, you need the magic bullet. It says that the soldier can be chaptered out due to the conduct (whatever they were doing). It also tells them of the consequences of being chaptered, as well as the different types of chapters. If you don't have that on an adverse counseling statement that is going up for UCMJ, then JAG will kick it back. Actually, if you are newly promoted, then your supervisor should be checking those anyway. It's all part of the mentoring process. If they aren't just ask them to check it. I'm sure they will be happy to. It will help you develop into a better NCO.

You should buy or borrow the book "The Mentor". You can find it at your Clothing and Sales store. It has a lot of good info on counseling, as well as the magic statement.

I'll PM you with the Magic Statement.
You know the wierd thing about that book? The guy who wrote it left the battalion I got to in '96. Good ol' 191st Ordnance Battalion. Miesau, Germany. The perimeter we ran for PT at it's longest (when the gate at the side road was open) was about 2 miles - and the road did a 180 turn and ran parallel to itself for about 30-50 yards! That was the 2mile route out and back.
"THE MENTOR" is a great book....for Couseling / 4856 Bible....

Slight variations....to it...but basically

" Be advised that continue conduct of this nature may result in initiation of a bar to re-enlistment, administrative actin to include your seperation from the service, and/or punishment actions (ie UCMJ action).
If this conduct continues, action may be initiated to involuntarily sperate you from the service under AR 635-200, Chapter 5, 11,13, or 14. If you are involuntary seperated, you could recieve and Honorable, General Under Honorable Conditions, Under other than honorable honorable Conditions, or Uncharacterized discharge. An Honorable discharge may be awarded under Chapter 5,13, and 14. And Uncharacterized discharge may be awarded under Chapter 11. A General Under Honerable Conditions discharge may be awarded for a Chapter 5,13, and 14. An Under Other than Honerable Conditions discharge may be awarded for chapter 14. If you recieve and Honerable discharge you will be qualified for most benifits resulting from military service. If you recieve a General Under Honorable Conditions or an Uncharacterized discharge, you will be disqualified from re-enlisting in the service for some period (ie..at least 2 years) and you will be ineligible for many veterans benefits to include but not limited to the MGIB. If you recieve an Under Other than Honorable discharge, you will be ineligible for most, if not all veterans benefits to include but not limited to the MGIB, and you will be precluded from re-enlisting in the service. If either a General Under Honorable Conditions, Under Other than Honorable Conditions, or an Uncharacterized discharge is given, you may face difficulty in obtaining civilian employment as employers have a low regard for less than Honorable discharges. Lastly, although agencies exist to which you may apply to upgrade a less than honorable discharge, it is unlikely that such an applicition will be successfull"

And in PLAN OF ACTION:

--Soldier's performance will improve immediatly..

--Soldier will conduct corrective training: 500 word essay due to SGT Snuffy, NLT 18 Feb 1007, 0600 Hours

--Soldier will be recommended for article 15 or chapter initiaion on (2nd, 3rd, whatever offense)

there are some varations....but thats a majic statment.
I am seeing a common error in the posting or interpretation of the "magic statement" and that is the capitalization of the word under. I respectfully submit to all, there is no Under Other Than...there is a Other Than....

AR 635-200 - Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations does not actually provide a word for word statement. However, there are many renditions. The purpose of the statement is the ensure that somewhere in the counseling process the Soldier has been made aware of potential legal actions that can occur should she/he continue with behaviors that have been identified as criminal/inappropriate IAW UCMJ.

The statement that I have found to be the most accurate is as follows, (it is not mine I cannot take credit but again feel that it is the most accurate):

This is the “magic language” required under paragraph 1-16 of AR 635-200. Put it in the Key Points of Discussion section of PART III of the DA 4856 Counseling Form.

This counseling statement has been furnished to you, not as a punitive measure under the provisions of article 15, UCMJ, but as an administrative measure to stress that continued behavior of the same or a similar nature may result in initiation of action eliminating you from the U.S. Army for (Involuntary Separation Due To Parenthood) (Personality Disorder) (Entry Level Performance and Conduct) (Unsatisfactory Performance) (Misconduct or Minor Disciplinary Infractions) under the provisions of Chapter (5) (8) (11) (13) (14) , AR 635-200. Such action may result in the issuance of either an Honorable Discharge, General Discharge, or an Other Than Honorable (OTH) Discharge. If you receive a General or an OTH Discharge, this could result in the possible loss of some or all Veterans Benefits and substantial prejudice in obtaining civilian employment. In addition, if you have contributed money to the Montgomery G.I. Bill and you are released from active duty with a less than Honorable Discharge, you will not be eligible to receive money for educational purposes and any money already contributed for educational purposes is nonrefundable and may be forfeited.
CombatMedicSkirt: Your 1-16 counseling language is lacking the instruction of the likelihood of an individual having his discharge upgraded--see the last sentence in the language provided by OC_ipap.

Also, it is not inappropriate to refer to an OTH as under other than honorable conditions; there are two types of service characterizations authorized under AR 635-200, which are under honorable conditions, i.e., honorable and general discharges, and under other than honorable conditions, i.e., other than honorable discharge.
V3,

I believe that we agree there is no absolute or all inclusive "magic statement". There is no possible way to cover each and every possible infraction in or on the DA 4856 in one statement. Each statement should be tweaked to fit the situation, e.g. I would not include the pregnancy chapter information in the statement if I were writing a counseling for missing movement.

And, I will agree, it is not inappropriate to refer to an OTH as an under OTH, in fact that was my point. However, it is inappropriate to refer to an OTH as an Under OTH. If you look at many of the "magic statements" as provided on this site, the capitalization of the word Under indicates to many that it is an actual chapter. Whomever originally copied and pasted information from the UCMJ reference copied the title of a topic and left in capitalized; it is topic in which those infractions under OTH are discussed, not an actual chapter.
AR 635-200, para. 17-3a-d, instructs specific subjects that "must" be covered in order to meet the 1-16 counseling requirement. Para. 17-3d states, "The likelihood that the soldier will be successful in any attempt to have the character of his/her discharge changed." Therefore, an "effective" 1-16 counseling MUST contain such an instruction.
Eclaudaddy,

That is incorrect. I work in an IET environment and have personally been told by the JAG that the statement must be on the DA 4856 or it will not be valid. Call your JA office. The purpose of the statement (and articles) is to ensure the Soldier receiving the counseling is fully aware of what articles he/she has violated and the repercussions for his/her actions. Too often Soldiers reported that they were not fully of aware that their actions could or would result in any legal/disciplinary actions. In some cases, once a Soldier receives a formal counseling with the information cited, it serves as a deterrent against repeat infractions.
I believe what ecaludaddy means is that you are NOT supposed to list at top that Soldier broke "such and such # article of UCMJ."

We're not lawyers, a counseling statement shouldn't try to determine what the infractions wer which part of the UCMJ.

The counseling statement should list the facts and only the facts, plus the "magic statement" at the bottom.
quote:
Originally posted by CombatMedicSkirt:
Eclaudaddy,

That is incorrect. I work in an IET environment and have personally been told by the JAG that the statement must be on the DA 4856 or it will not be valid. Call your JA office. The purpose of the statement (and articles) is to ensure the Soldier receiving the counseling is fully aware of what articles he/she has violated and the repercussions for his/her actions. Too often Soldiers reported that they were not fully of aware that their actions could or would result in any legal/disciplinary actions. In some cases, once a Soldier receives a formal counseling with the information cited, it serves as a deterrent against repeat infractions.


I was told by Jag at my last unit the very sam thing
I can tell you now from the 27D world and the world of my attorneys, it is requested that the violation of the UCMJ the Soldier violated or is suspected of violating is NOT added to the counseling. Most NCOs when adding the UCMJ violation on the counseling have actually put the wrong violation. Disobeying an order from an NCO for instance is not an Article 92 violation as most would think, it is an Article 91 violation the same goes if they violate and order from a Commissioned Officer it is an Article 90 violation. Each JAG may be different but the truth is, unless you can meet each of the elements of the Article you are charging the Soldier for, you could potentially counsel the Soldier for the wrong thing thus TDS will view it as though the Soldier was not counseled for the misconduct he/she committed.
Until today, I used the "Magic Bullet" furnished by PA_in_2ID. I had JAG reviewing the corrective action that I ordered for a soldier, but he reviewed the entire thing. Told me that that Magic Bullet is null and void. Emailed me this one:

"You are being counseled for the above indicated misconduct and/or unsatisfactory duty performance IAW AR 635-200, 1-16b. Continued behavior of this kind may result in initiation of separation action to eliminate you from the Army or non-judicial or judicial punishment. Any further acts of misconduct or unsatisfactory performance may cause you to be eliminated without further counseling. If you are administratively separated from the Army, you could receive an Honorable (HON), General Under Honorable (GEN) or an Other Than Honorable (OTH) Conditions Discharge. Any less than Honorable discharge could deprive you of many or all military and Veterans Administration (VA) benefits including loss of both education benefits and civil service retirement credit. A negative characterization of your service can have lasting negative impacts on future civilian employment. Should you receive a discharge less favorable than Honorable you may apply to have your characterization of service upgraded by the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records and/or the Army Discharge Review Board."
It seems that just when I begin to use one format of the "magic bullet" along comes another one. I would ask why there is not a standard format published in a regulation somewhere.....but this is the Army. And undoubtedly some bean counter with too much time at their desk will jump on here quickly and point out some regulation that provides some vague guidance on "separation counseling", and admonish me for not already knowing this information. At which time I will attempt to use the information provided to me and will be provided yet another version to use by my JAG......and it goes on.
quote:
Originally posted by OTNCO:
Awesome, I guess I'll just get with JAG at every unit I PCS to because if they submit their version of the magic bullet to me and tell me that it's acceptable, when it comes time to process a Soldier for punitive action they can't deny it.


I'm gonna use that idea once I get my stripes. Can't go wrong.
quote:
Originally posted by OTNCO:
Awesome, I guess I'll just get with JAG at every unit I PCS to because if they submit their version of the magic bullet to me and tell me that it's acceptable, when it comes time to process a Soldier for punitive action they can't deny it.


That's what I do.
Everytime that I've sat down with JAG for a unit briefing or personal guidance, they tend to just stress the specificity of the action. Time/date/witnesses/length/etc. I'm glad I saw this topic because I've been using a magic counseling bullet that's at least 2-3 yrs old that I pulled from the JAG share folder. I'll definitely be checking for an update.
I have just been informed by my CSM and JAG that the magic bullet can only be used by commanders , We as NCO's only have the authority to recommend NJP( and only when it is warrented and after multiple counseling for the same thing. If anyone has a regulation or can quote a DA PAM or anything that clears this up this would be great.
quote:
Originally posted by CVUSFC:
I have just been informed by my CSM and JAG that the magic bullet can only be used by commanders , We as NCO's only have the authority to recommend NJP( and only when it is warrented and after multiple counseling for the same thing. If anyone has a regulation or can quote a DA PAM or anything that clears this up this would be great.


Of course the commander can give a court martial for whatever. Last I checked, the magic bullet was there to inform the soldier of what MIGHT happen if they continue. Yada yada.

That's what I thought it was for, anyway.
quote:
Originally posted by LBeezy:
sysalis you are correct.

I was informed by my BDE legal NCOIC to include a magic bullet in a counseling informing my Soldier of his reccomendation to be chaptered for multiple underage drinking and DUI's.


I thought I was right. Just had to clarify. That it might help someone in the future who reads this thread.
JT,

I've been in 17 and it has always been needed. I'm sure it's up to local commmand policies and varies by post or units. Sorry, but it is an NCOs responsibility to understand AR 27-10, especially the articles and put which article they are violating. If I was JAG and a packet come to me with a stack of 4856s with no annotation of what article the Soldier was in violation of, I wouldn't think too highly of the leaders in that unit.

Again, it will vary on where you are etc....

SFC D

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