UQR Journey Ends Successfully — Finally!

In August 2021 we started work for an obligated Army officer who wanted to file a religious accommodation request for the COVID vaccine mandate. Guiding that request through a number of command channels was difficult as the services were coming to grips with a logistical nightmare on several fronts. The packet went up, only to be kicked back for “more information.” This went on for several iterations before it finally made it to a group or division level. And once there we learned that it would take many more months before the request even made it to the Surgeon General’s office making the final call.

Meantime, our client remained educationally unqualified and non-deployable because without the vaccine — and/or without a special authorization from the SECARM — he wasn’t going to any schoolhouse anywhere. Frustrating to say the least for this outstanding officer and performer, who only wanted to serve and use his professional talents for the benefit of all parties. After more than a year of being in limbo — with no end in site — we decided to morph representation into an Unqualified Resignation (UQR) request. And still there was pushback — and further packet send backs — from his command chain; all of which further added to the frustration and the lack of any meaningful service opportunities. As a friend and colleague said to me along the way, “we’re shooting ourselves in the foot with this whole COVID thing.” Amen!

It took discussions with a brigade commander, and a final buy in and support from that level, to get the action moving past division and on to US Army Reserve Command (USARC) for further processing and ultimately a final approval — nearly a year and a half after my first phone call with our client. And still there were several back and forths of the packet from USARC to the client’s local unit, due to the recent complete overhaul and migration of the Army’s digital personnel system.

It shouldn’t be this way. It shouldn’t take this much effort. This client had the wherewithal and resources to bring a team like ours on board to shepherd the process, but what about so many others who didn’t or couldn’t? Don’t get me wrong. I’ve spent a career in and around the U.S. military, and I’m a big fan for many reasons. But this latest case left me wondering how we can ever engage with and defeat enemy threats if we treat our own — our best and brightest human resources — the way my client was treated.

As I’ve said before in this space, if you or someone you know needs help navigating a UQR or a BOI/Show Cause action, give us a shout: Phone: 214 363-1828 or shoot an email: info@meililaw.com Thanks.