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Congressional Investigation?
Old 10-23-2008, 11:44 PM   #1
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Congressional Investigation?

Has anyone here or someone you personally know contacted their congressman regarding wrong doing in the military? What happened? A friend of mine was improperly processed out out of the military (I can attest to this) yesterday. (of course I tried to intervene with instructions in hand, but that battle was not to be won by little 'ol me) She has been advised by numerous people to "file a congressional"...other than writing a letter to one's local congressman (ours is a pro-military good guy, and well known in the military/veteran circles in NJ.) I just want to give her GOOD advice...

Thanks!
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:50 AM   #2
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I've seen many people file congressionals. SOmetimes it helps. Usually the person gets a bad rep, even if they "win." But in your case, if the person is already out, she has nothing to lose.

Usually you have to go thru any other processes available first (IG complaints, etc). But that is not always necessary.

I worked with a woman who always threatened to file a congressional over just about everything. PITA.

Heck, my little brother called his congressman after the Army Reserves lost his student loan repayment packet 9 times. Within one week, he started receiving payments!
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:53 AM   #3
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I can't answer your question specifically for the military but "Congressionals" do get serious and relatively quick attention from the executive branch. They insure that the matter at least gets a response. She should be detailed and should write her House Rep and both Senators. She could also write the head of the Veteran's Affairs Committee.
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Fireup2025 View Post
Has anyone here or someone you personally know contacted their congressman regarding wrong doing in the military? What happened? A friend of mine was improperly processed out out of the military (I can attest to this) yesterday. (of course I tried to intervene with instructions in hand, but that battle was not to be won by little 'ol me) She has been advised by numerous people to "file a congressional"...other than writing a letter to one's local congressman (ours is a pro-military good guy, and well known in the military/veteran circles in NJ.) I just want to give her GOOD advice...
I used to be a point-paper guy at COMSUBPAC who drafted responses to Congressional. (BRAC '93 still evokes miserable memories.) My experience started with my boss, who was written up by one of his sailors for not awarding the guy a retirement Navy Achievement Medal. Of course simply giving the guy the award would have consumed far less time & effort than we spent on documenting why he didn't deserve it, but I digress.

Your friend was improperly processed out, got it. What does she want to make things right? Does she want to return to her former status, to be properly processed out, to be properly awarded benefits, or to wreak vengeance & collect damages?

If she hasn't already, she could fax a letter to the CO (or decision-making authority) explaning what happened, why it's a violation, and what has to be done to correct it. Then she can include that letter (and any response) in her letter to her representative. Then the rep can ask the military "What are you doing about this injustice?" or "Why are your violating the regs?" instead of appearing to be exerting undue personal influence.

I've written/filed an Article 138. Even though it was ultimately disapproved, the speed with which various "bureaucratic oversights" and "database inaccuracies" were corrected only strengthened our convictions that the system (and its people) were not working on the plaintiff's behalf. Depending on the severity of the wrongs in your friend's case, this may be the way to go.

As for vengeance: There are a few dozen pit-bull lawyers that the military's legal community just does not want to deal with. (Around here it's Charles Gittins & Eric Seitz.) These JAGs, knowing what the pit-bull lawyers are capable of doing to the military's image, are able to either talk sense into obstreperous commanders or to have their bosses straighten them out. In these situations, it's usually cheaper for the military to make things right for your friend than to have to explain to the legal (and media) communities why it just can't possibly be done. Whether or not your friend is able to pay for such legal services, she may want to find out who's the top dog in her area. She could fax them a summary of the issues and ask for an appointment to discuss her solutions. Then if the lawyer can smell blood find a way to work her case into his agenda, he may be willing to write letters or even pursue action.

But I think resolution is likely to prove far more fruitful (and timely) than retribution.
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:13 PM   #5
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Just to add to Nord's response. Depending on what she wants to say was done wrong she could apply to the ABCMR - Army Board for Correction of Military Records. I am assuming it is something that they could "correct" as it applies to her. Here is a link for more information: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/mil...g-records.html
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Old 10-27-2008, 12:25 PM   #6
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Nords & OAG,

Even the JAG reps here in Norfolk recommended she "file a congressional!" I'd like to see her get the RE-4 re-enlistment code revised to "N/A" with an Entry Level Separation (exempt from the Honorable, etc) As a former recruiter, Congressionals were not a big deal, but we played by the rules, and that is why those filing usually did not get the decisions overturned. Because she was worn down to the point of "just let me go home after all this" - she does not want back in at this time. No one knows what will happen several years down the road, and I don't want to see that particular door (coming back to the military) slammed shut after 4 mos and 20 days. She did not even get to show her true colors yet!
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:02 PM   #7
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Get the DD 149 from the site I put in my post. Take some time to fully document her case. If she can get it corrected (either via the Congressional or the ABCMR) she may really regret it later in life. Those things can impact a lot of jobs especially if the company has Government contracts that require security clearances for the workers. Frankly, I suspect the JAG's were quick to tell her to "file a congressional" just to get rid of her. They know fully well that many people will never file them and most are ultimately not approved (at least in any meaningful way). The RECORDS have been RE code is now a part of history - IMHO if she merits a change the ABCMR is the only entity at this point that will be able to change it (they can virturally change anything).
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:42 PM   #8
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I should file something with the board too. I was supposed to be promoted while in the IRR, but transfered back into drilling status during the process. When I called, the IRR folks said "you are the national guards problem now" and wouldn't help. Maybe I'm due some back pay...
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Old 10-27-2008, 01:49 PM   #9
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I should file something with the board too. I was supposed to be promoted while in the IRR, but transfered back into drilling status during the process. When I called, the IRR folks said "you are the national guards problem now" and wouldn't help. Maybe I'm due some back pay...
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:26 PM   #10
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Great advice already posted. In responding to Congressionals both from in command and as an action officer, I always found the truth to be somewhere between the service member and the party that the service member disagreed with.

Perhaps a better route is if she files a complaint directly against her Commanding Officer (the Art. 138 complaint that Nords referred to) that will be reviewed by her command's (former command's) immediate superior, the Legal Services Office, and probably others. If nothing else hers may be one of multiple complaints against this CO, or she may be the first.

Unfortunately, based on 27 years experience, I don't think your friend will prevail via the Congressional route. You omitted the reason for sep, and that's a crucial detail. To not afford an ELS with less than 6 months in implies misconduct or some other more serious infraction than seasickness, or an inability to adjust to the military.
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