We need to look at creating a permanent counseling file for soldiers (I’m not the only one who thinks so, either). Such a file would not appear before promotion boards, but give commanders insight to a variety of high-risk activity. Previous counseling statements, evaluations, letters of reprimand, and criminal records–tagged and sorted–would be an invaluable tool in getting soldiers the help they need. And, should repeated efforts at rehabilitation fail, it would help separate problem soldiers from the service.
Food for thought.
There’s an old cliche, about a new soldier showing up and the commander or First Sergeant telling the new troop he’s got a clean sheet, and a chance at a fresh start. And there may be something to that. On the other hand, a troop who was a dirtbag at his old duty station is far more likely to be a dirtgbag at his new duty station. And unless a troop had company or field grade NJP, the gaining command really has no way of knowing if a troop is a superstar or a slug.
I’m not saying every troop has to have every minor incident in his past hung around his neck for all eternity. But if a pattern of behavior exists, and past commanders have fobbed a poor troop off on the next unit, wouldn’t it be nice if that new commander had the tools to either provide the leadership the troop needs, or evidence to support separation from the service?