Army Failure to Report Counseling Example

In today’s post, I want to share an example Army Failure to Report Counseling.  This is a generic counseling example that you can use if you have to counsel one of your Soldiers for failing to report to duty.  Just modify the information as needed to meet your specific situation.  Each category is taken from DA Form 4856.

Purpose of Counseling

Event Oriented: Failure to Report for Duty on 15 November 2010 (Violation of Article 86)

Summary of Counseling

The purpose of this counseling is to inform you SPC Edwards that you failed to report for duty at 0700 hours on 15 November 2010.  This was the “first formation” for our unit.  You did not show up to work until 0800 hours.

The previous day, 14 November 2010, you were reminded of the formation twice.  We talked about it at lunch and I reminded you again before you went home for the day.

When I asked you why you were late for formation you told me that your alarm clock did not go off and you slept in on accident.  Since this is the second time you were late for work during the past 90 days, I am going to have you do the following things:

(1)    Show up for formation 30-minutes early every day for the next week

(2)    Write a three page typed report on the importance of being on time

In the event you are late again, during the next 90 days, I will recommend to the Company Commander that you be reduced in rank from E4 to E3.

Failing to report for duty is a direct violation of Article 86 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Pursuant to 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. Your conduct will be monitored during this time and you will be given an opportunity to prove yourself. If your performance and conduct continues to be unsatisfactory, you could be processed for separation under Chapter 5-13 or 5-17 AR 635-200. You could also be chapter under Chapter 9, 13, or 14. If you are processed for separation under Chapters 9 or 13 you could receive a general discharge and if processed under Chapter 14, Section III, you may receive up to an Other Than Honorable Discharge. Regardless of the type of discharge that you may receive it may have serious consequences effecting civilian, veteran’s benefits, or future service.

Plan of Action

SPC Edwards will show up for formation 30 minutes prior to each formation for the next seven days.  He will report to the Staff Duty NCO and sign in starting 16 Nov 2010 and ending 23 Nov 2010.  He will sign in NLT 0630 hours each day.  I will collect the information from the Staff Duty NCO to make sure you showed up on time.

You will write a three page, typed report on the importance of showing up on time.  The paper will be single spaced, sized 12 Arial Font, with 1 inch margins.  It will have minimum 1,000 words.  You will use at least three sources and cite them in your paper.  This report is due on 19 Nov 2010 at 1700 hours.  I will read and grade the report.  If it is not to standard, I will have you rewrite it.

Session Closing

SPC Edwards, you are a good Soldier.  Although you made a bad decision to show up late for formation, I know you have the potential to do great things.  I hope you will let this be a “learning lesson” that helps mold you into the Soldier you are capable of becoming.  If you have any questions about this counseling or plan of action, you can call me to clarify it.

Leader Responsibilities

My responsibility is to make sure SPC Edwards signs in on time each morning and that the paper is submitted on time.  If he has questions, he can contact me directly.  I will do a follow-up counseling with him in two weeks.


Now that I’ve provided you an example Army Failure to Report Counseling, I would like to share some tips for success with you.

Tips for Success

First and foremost, your job is to collect the facts before you do the counseling.  Make sure you talk with the Soldier and find out what happened (from their perspective).  There might be more to the story than you know about.  I’m not telling you to let the Soldier off the hook, but I am telling you to get all the information before you put anything in writing. After all, there is always at least two sides to every story.

My next tip for success is to do the counseling immediately.  Don’t wait a few days or a few weeks to do the counseling.  The sooner you do it the better. You want to set a good example and do it quickly.  Don’t leave the Soldier wondering what is going to happen and when.

Another good tip for success is to put some thought into the punishment.  Before you recommend UCMJ or a demotion, think about the best way to fix the problem without ruining your Soldier’s career at the same time.  You might want to get some input from your supervisor, or even a trusted peer.  You should also take into consideration the Soldiers’ past performance and future potential.

My next tip for success is to have someone review your counseling statement BEFORE you sit down with your Soldier.  The last thing you want to do is to put something into writing that comes back and haunts you.  If you can’t get input from anyone else, at least take a few hour break from the time you first write the counseling statement until you sit down with the Soldier.  Look over the document one last time with a fresh set of eyes.

My final tip is to make sure you put it in writing.  A verbal counseling is not good enough, especially for a failure to report infraction.  If you don’t put it in writing, it’s as if the counseling never happened.  Do your job and put it in writing.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading my Army Failure to Report Counseling Example and tips.  I hope you find the information helpful.  I’d love to know what you think.  Do you have any tips for doing a Failure to Report Counseling?  If so, leave a comment below to share your thoughts. You can also ask questions here, and I will do my best to provide an answer.

13 thoughts on “Army Failure to Report Counseling Example”

  1. Do you know anything in regards to counseling Reserve soldiers for missing “drill” on multiple occasions and not staying in contact with leadership. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. This switching from active to reserve is a pain in the butt.

  2. Sir, thanks for the advice. This is something that I am actually working on for myself. I am working on trying to collect the facts to determine whether or not a need for counseling is a must. As you stated, there are two sides to a story, there might be more to the story than I know. I had a minor issue like this with a NCO, my first thought was to write him up, then I decided to find out what was going on, on the other hand, that does not mean he should keep doing it because i spoke to him off line, after all, he does have a duty to be at formation( Especially, first formation) again sir, thanks.

  3. Theresa Williams

    This is a fantastic resource. Neil below said that having a complete record of all failing to report counselings may make it easier to process a dismissal, and I agree mostly. Sometimes, for whatever reason (since I cannot peer into minds– although I wish I could!), command just will not dismiss or discharge a soldier. It has happened in our company several times. Perhaps they see something in the soldiers no one else does? The Battalion commander even went so far as to “give a clean slate” to a repeat offender after he had another failing to report counseling given to him! But, again, perhaps they saw something in those soldiers the rest of us did not.

    1. As a first line leader, all you can do is do your job and document the counselings. You can issue some punishment, but most of the “big decisions” are reserved for the Company Commander or Battalion Commander. Ultimately, if you’ve done your job right, most of the time they will side with you and get rid of the Soldier. However, sometimes they make a different decision than what you recommend. It is what it is.

  4. This is a great post. I have one soldier who has a habit of not coming to drill. I’ve counseled him in the past and even had our Readiness NCO send out certified letters. I’m in the process of trying to discharge him right now, but even that is tough to do.

  5. This is a great resource, Chuck. I had one of my soldiers not show up for drill weekend last weekend and I used this information to do the counseling. It really helped a lot. Thanks.

  6. You cannot have a Soldier do corrective action with the CQ, SD and also you cannot have the soldier arrive 30 prior to the prescribe formation time.

  7. Give the late guy a job such as taking roll at the beginning of formation. Have a backup soldier in case the late guy is still late. Your example for failure to report counseling of expecting them to be there not only on time, but be 30 minutes early is a good idea in my opinion. I take it that the NCO is 30 minutes early or earlier? Maybe the writing task is not the best idea. I say this because I taught English for 15 years or so. I wish that writing was never given as a punishment. Does that make sense?

  8. Neil O'Donnell

    Documenting the meeting completely is key. Record notes during the counseling session and then document actions taken by you and your subordinate (everything said and done). It might help to write a comprehensive draft and then input information into the official counseling form afterwards. The key to a good counseling report is detail, because the details may be needed later on if the soldier challenges later punishments. Furthermore, if the soldier continues to repeat the behavior, having complete records for all instances of faling to report may make it easier to process his/her dismissal.

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