SHOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN THIS LONGPosted: April 27, 2021
In January 2019, roughly two years ago, I received a call from the parents of a young man in the Army Reserve. Their son, a drilling Reservist, had accepted a dream job in China, and had tried to work through his chain for permission to move OCONUS. Moreover, he believed he had done everything properly to secure that approval. However, within 3-4 months his parents were receiving letters from the Army notifying them that their son was being dinged for Unsats — unexcused absences — “U”s in the language of TPU soldiers everywhere. For months the father tried to intervene with the Army on behalf of his son for resolution short of an involuntary discharge and bad paper, but he was repeatedly met with a stony wall of silence.
I took on the case figuring it would be maybe six months tops before we could resolve things favorably for all parties. As I almost always do, I reached out to the servicing JAG office, made good connections through the lawyers, and through them with commanders involved, and was confident that we were on our way. But … and this was admittedly quite unusual in my experience — for the next 10-12 months Client’s paperwork withdrawing the elimination action and recommending transfer to the IRR bounced back and forth between command levels from the local unit, battalion, brigade — all the way up to group/division level and back several times. Things flat out got lost in the shuffle, or just sat on someone’s desk for weeks, if not months at a time. Fortunately, my JAG contacts finally came through. Client had his bad paper pulled, he was transferred to the IRR and he was able to stay and work in China. During the entire year of COVID 2020! (Better watch our what you ask for, right?)
Epilogue: Earlier this year — over a year after his transfer to the IRR, and right at two years since I took that call from his parents — Client received his DD 214 and Honorable Discharge. Everybody gets busy. And yes, deployments happen and more pressing matters take precedence, but shuffling what should have been a fairly routine admin action like this back and forth for so many months, is just plain wrong. If you’re finding yourself confronting a similar, “stony wall of silence” and inexplicable inaction, feel free to give us a call.
v/r Bill Meili 214 363-1828 office main.