Army Legal Knowledge Awareness

Greetings to our Micronesian men and women serving in the US armed forces:

Before we enter into a new year, I would like to equip our military servicemen/women with some Army legal knowledge designed to aid preserve their grade/rank and promotion ability, thus sustaining earning ability in the long term. It must be known to our Micronesian servicemen/women that we fall under the jurisdictions of both federal and state laws. Under the federal umbrella, the Uniform Code of Military Justice is the legal publication that governs our conduct while in and out of uniform.

Article 15 of the UCMJ, gives commanders the authority or right to impose Nonjudicial Punishment, popularly referred to as Article 15, against members of their command or under their jurisdictions. When Nonjudicial Punishment is imposed against a soldier who is in the grade/rank of E5 or above, the soldier’s original Article 15, after completion, will be forwarded to enlisted records for filing in either the soldier’s performance fiche or restricted fiche (outline in item/block 5, DA Form 2627). The imposing commander (the commander who issues the Article 15) will make this filing determination. The basic difference between these two fiches is accessibility by board members or people serving in capacity to effect favorable decisions such as promotion and selection of school; performance fiche being readily accessible and restricted fiche may only be accessed with authorization by the commander of personnel records.

It is almost impossible for one to get promoted under the centralized promotion system to the grades of Sergeant First Class/E7 and beyond with an Article 15 filing in the performance fiche. With this knowledge, it is extremely important that soldiers in the rank of E5 and above exercise rigid discipline in their engagements. The Army believes that as a Noncommissioned Officer, one is seasoned, experienced and responsible enough to remain within legal guidance and regulation at all times.

For those that have an Article 15 filed in their performance fiche, they may transmit a request to appropriate authority at enlisted records to have their Article 15 relocated or transferred to the restricted fiche, where its accessibility by board members is restricted, unless a legitimate reason surfaces for its exposure.


  • edited December 2009

    Thanks. Just a question though. I understand that the USA is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court system. What happens if non USA citizens, like the FSM soldiers serving in the army, get caught in an action subject to the International Criminal Court Justice system? Where do they stand?

    Thanks again.
  • They stand under the UCMJ......
  • Spotter:

    Because the US government is not a party to the International Criminal Court System, all US service members, whether US citizen or not, will be tried under the military courts system. The American Service-members Protection Act (ASPA) is a federal legislation that prohibits the prosecution of service members by an international criminal court. Another legal tool that work to benefit service members serving internationally is the status of forces agreement (SOFA), in which the US government and the host nation enters into an agreement, and such agreements should include a provision that clearly spells out jurisdiction of offenses committed by service members that injures the right and wellbeing of the host nation's citizens. The US government has taken steps to further protect its service members from the ICCS by seeking out countries to form bilateral agreements primarily for countries not to relinquish any of its service members to countries that recognize the ICCS for criminal prosecution purposes.

    FSM soldiers, acting as agents of the US government in advancing US interest internationally, are afforded the same protection under the ASPA. If they must be tried for offenses relating to violations of law of war as an example, the military courts system is the proper trial court.

    I hope this helps.
  • spotter,
    From what I know, it doesn't matter what citizenship you hold. As long as you're in the service you will be subjected to UCMJ. The US usually has a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the host country that delineates jurisdiction. If it's an act that's illegal under the UCMJ, but not the host country - ie: desertion of duty - the US military gets primary jurisdiction and vice versa, like hitchhiking on a freeway or being a peeping tom off base, then it's the host country's. If a soldier runs over a host citizen during the course of his military duties, investigation and prosecution is usually deferred to the base command. if he's off-duty and does the same, the local authorities have jurisdiction. In the instances of heinous crimes -- robbery, rape, murder -- the service member is usually subjected to prosecution and punishment under the host country's laws. In all cases, both sides have the option of waiving their claim to primary jurisdiction.

    you're the paralegal here so correct me ifanything I said was wrong. good looking out tho, island troops especially junior NCOs do need this knowledge.
  • Interesting Info., mai! It is very easy to get an article 15, I know of sgts. who were so strict they gave out article 15 for sun burns. *naffing* oh, yes! So it would be wise to know the do's and don'ts for GIs. My declining to go to promotion boards did not warrant an article 15. But my avoiding PT. formation for more than 1 week could have landed me in hot water, and I am thankful I did not get any. It would also be wise to understand your rights as soldiers...

    Mahalo for all your service and rock ready!

  • edited December 2009
    Thanks dolonier and Mai. So the FSM soldiers serving in the USA Army are immune from prosecution only in the countries that have treaty with the US, but not those who are parties to the ICCS, right? And what happen if they leave the military but their cases are still under investigation and thus prosecution. Will they still be subjected to the UCMJ's jurisdiction or under USA government's protection?
  • spotter:

    A soldier will be held beyond his/her term of service when under investigation with a view toward courts martial, especially for serious offenses - offenses which permits the punishments of dishonorable discharge and confinement for more than 1 year under the UCMJ. This involuntary extension of term of service retains the soldier under the jurisdiction of military courts.
  • Dolonier,

    Thanks again.

    How is that work with the FSM soldiers since they will be back to their original status as private FSM citizens in many cases. Looks like the UMCJ has a long arm over stepping its boundaries. Can the UMCJ extradite ex-soldiers ( FSM citizens ) as it has separate court system. Is there anything in the Compact that says it can do so? If not, then on what grounds?
  • spotter,

    lol...what kind of crime have you committed that's got you so worried? Like dolonier was saying, If a soldier commits a crime say the week before his ETS, the military will hold him past his ETS date while an investigation is being conducted and if he is found guilty then he'd just have "involuntarily re-enlisted" to carry out his sentence. Involuntary extension! If the soldier has ETS'd and is a private citizen once again then he falls under local and civilian jurisdiction. The matter of extraditing FSM citizens who committed crimes in the US then flee to the FSM depends on what the respective governments extradition agreements - of which I'm not familiar with at all.
  • Yes, Mai, US can bring back any FSM citizens to US to face their charges. It does not matter if they are civilian or GIs. It has happened in the past. It would also depend on the kind of crime they commitment and the budget, if that particular state would like to spend some mula on bringing back the fugitive. US law enforcement can not send in their guys to hunt down FSM fugitives but they can ask the FSM local authorities to help them find the fugitive and when they do, they will come and pick them up. The exchange of responsibility happens then the fugitive makes his first step on to the Continental airline. Yep! With the new custom system installed in every state in US airports, I would assume that the US would not be as aggressive as she was in the past to hunt down fugitive.=)

    The US ARM FORCES has gone after GIs from FSM who ran away from the service...TRUE STORY! A FSM dude was scheduled to fly to Japan for his next duty station, he probably changed his mind and flew to Chuuk, instead. This dude is a Xavier grad. so he has connections in Chuuk. He was visiting Xavier here and there...the local police were trying to hunt him down but because Chuuk is so small, everyone knows practically every state police, *lol the dude was way ahead of the police. The policemen were pretending to be plumbers at Xavier while waiting on him to arrive on that Hill, He came out from the gym saw them and laughed, he ran, caught a ride and went to town and hide with friends. With some civilian help, the dude was caught and put up in a hotel with police security who escorted him to the plane and then the Marshall/FBI took over from there. Maybe something has changed but it has happened in the passed.


  • edited December 2009
    Thanks Mai. My questions are for future reference. Let us say the person has been back to civilian life -2 yrs after the commission of the act comes to light. The person is currently living in the Philippines but still a citizen of the FSM. That is where the sticky point is re: jurisdiction and thus process to subject a civilian person back to UCMJ especially after 2 years gap whilst living in a different country.


    I understand your point...he tried whilst still serving so it makes sense. My question is outside that if you read my comments carefully.
    Thanks your ladyship.
  • Spotter:

    I apologize for the delayed response as I had pressing professional matters requiring my attention in the past two days.
    lol @ Mai's question on what crime have you committed? Mai, you need to start charging spotter some legal fee, lol.
    An involuntary extension is the lengthening of a soldier's present contract, regardless of citizenship, designed to ensure a suspect’s presence for any legal proceeding deems necessary by his/her chain of command, guaranteeing jurisdiction and application of due process of law under military jurisprudence. An involuntarily extended soldier remains a soldier, not a private citizen.

    In a case where a former US service member from the FSM who had committed a crime while in a military status is being held by an ICC-recognized country for trial, the US may use any means necessary in the realm of politics and/or economic sanction as leverage to gain extradition of the suspect. The bottom line is that the soldier will face trial under either jurisdiction (ICC or Military) and be given some form of punishment. There may be issues of impropriety raised in terms of legal procedures and/or sentencing from the party without jurisdiction, but such imbalance is expected from the lenses of parties with different values, beliefs, and priorities.

    If jurisdiction is given to the US gov’t from an ICC or non-ICC recognized country, trial will take place in a military court because the offense was committed while the accused was in military status and subject to military law.

    Mai, you are on it in your responses.

    Above is my legal OPINION to your question.
  • Dolonier,

    lol..Can I get a gold star sticker for my efforts?

    So questions, can you shed some gospel truth on the process of transmitting a formal request to have Article 15s transferred to restricted fiches? Do Soldiers have to see S1 for sample memos? Do they generate the memos themselves? Is the request endorsed by the Soldier's chain of command? Who is the request routed through and is there anywhere else besides the restricted fiche that an Article 15 can be "relocated" to (ie:expunged from records)? What are the odds of a transfer request actually being granted and what's the "normal" timeline for a response?

    I got an Article 15 as a young rocket-scientist PFC and learned my lesson then but I think this may be helpful for those of us who got Article 15s as NCOs.
  • edited December 2009

    Good to hear. Your responses are clear; it is nice to know that a Micro-soldier is around to give a hand when required.
    Have a nice Xmas and a peaceful New year. Will look you up when I have more pressing issues re: the military.
  • mai,

    the proper office in seeking assistance for transfer of Art. 15 record is Legal Assistance. Soldiers may call their servicing legal assistance to set up an appointment to talk to a legal assistance attorney. Art. 15 records for E5 and above may be transferred from the performance to the restricted fiche of a soldier's official military personnel file upon request, but such request is normally considered after one year of filing to allow its intended effect to be experienced by the affected soldier prior to its transfer.

    the restricted fiche is the only other filing option in which the file will remain throughout the NCO's military career. approval of such request depends on basis of request and articulation in one's attempt to convince the board that the intended purpose of such filing has been achieved.
  • A little off the wall piece for the legal mind in here. Do you know that as a veteran of the US military you are required by a INS mandate to be in possession of an I94 to be eligible for unemplyment assistance in the United States? Bet you didn't know that. I'm from Kosrae and I've recently moved to Honolulu from Maui in search of work. After a month here, I couldn't find anything suitable, so i went to the unemplyment office to file for assistance. That's when I found out about this post 9/11 law. It didn't matter that i served honorably for 8 years in the Army, lived and worked in Hawaii for the past 20 years, paid state taxes here or even that I graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In the 20 years, my I94 was never an issue. As you all know, this will affect some of you at one point or another later if you decide to stay in the country after leaving the service. Basically, my question is why are we, as service members being denied such a basic service such as this? Why are we being denied based on an I94? Do es anyone see my point? After risking our lives in the service and protection of this country, we are treated like some illegal immigrant. Whose rights are we protecting while in service. Everyone but ourselves, that's who.
  • fishbonez66,

    thanks for sharing the info. as a government formed to serve the broad interests of its citizenry, it is critical that governmental services are provided only to those meeting eligibility requirement in order to provide sufficient and efficient services to its intended audience within budget constraints or limitations.

    an I94 in my opinion is the only document that shows our legal entry into the US and its territories. if enlisted outside the FSM, a passport with an I94 is a enlistment requirement to show legal entry into the US. One can always submit a request to INS for a copy of his/her I94 to support such pursuits for entitlements/benefits through the various governmental aid programs.

    may i ask why you got out of the service? don't feel obliged to respond if the question excites discomfort.
  • Merry Christmas to all the soldiers !![align=right]image[/align]
  • I got out of the service because I wanted to persue an education, dolonier. I'm currently enrolled at UH Manoa in the Masters program. Now, back to the issue, I understand that an I94 serves two purposes for a legal immigrant coming into the U.S. The first one is proof that you have entered the country through legal means. The second purpose it serves is to further validate that you can seek employment while residing in the U.S. Like I mentioned above in my earlier post, the INS mandate became effective following the 911 terrorist attack. It was one many poorly thought out and hastily enacted measures that were passed to make it harder for immigrants who might have ill intentions against the country to either enter or sustain themselves through employment in this country. In essence, it was one more barrier in the fight against terrorism on the homefront.

    The problem is see with this law is it has the "net effect" on the rest of the non citizens living in this country today. Sure, i can pay 300 dollars and get a replacement copy. But i think that the issue is a lot more complex than that. Why do I have to further prove the legality of my status after living and working in Hawaii for 20 years? My employment history and the fact that I've filed taxes in Hawaii for the past two decades should be sufficient proof that I am here legally. There is a paper trail behind that history that can easily proof my case. On top of that, I have in my possession an original copy of my DD214, which clearly stated that I served six years of active duty and was released with an Honorable Discharge. Somehow, I feel that my service to this country, which i consider my home away from home is not appreciated. As a proud veteran of Micronesian descent, I take great offense in this regard. It's like saying you're good enough to offer your live as a sacrifice for the greater majority, but at the same time you're still not good enough to receive our serviced. That, my friend is the part that hurts!
  • Sri-in-Ik-66,
    Welcome to the club.Hope you have at your disposal a decade worth of vaseline cus they might come in handy.For whatever it's worth,you're not alone.From the halls of Montezuma to the dark sandy beaches of Suhnguhnkuhtah, your frustration is shared by many.Once you are no longer on the active duty roster, you are pretty much a lost cause- regardless of time in service,rank,time in the latrine,character of discharge,etc.Some have paid the ultimate price with their lives,others living vegetables,and still many are flocking the recruiters' offices all over the USA.The reason they demanded the I94 despite your 2 decades of serivce to the Aloha State was perhaps to remind you that you're only as good and legal as the COFA is in limbo.Sadly,we are continued to be looked down on as 2nd class citizens,veteran or not.What ,then,are the options?Either get a new I94 or succumb to your old lady's whim and become a US citizen...On a different note,what the heck are you doing applying for UI.What happened to DOC?
  • fishbonez66,

    first, congratulations for making the wisest decision of leaving the military to further your education. well done.

    i share your frustration of the experience. any federal or state program should be sensitive to the needs of veterans by relaxing regulatory requirements on documentary evidence to proving criterias of program eligibility. a rejection stemming primarily on the absence of an I94 of any veteran from the program is simply senseless, because there are numerous federal documentations of your service that can be used as a sustitute to meeting such a fundamental requirement. i think the problem is either the agent of the government that you dealt with directly was incompetent or lack the authority to deviate from the norm to using other elements of proof to prove your legal entry into the US and subsequent honorable military service for 8 years. this is simply ridiculous!

    i recommend you sit down with the office's head personnel to initiate a discussion to amend the requirement for non-US citizen veterans. if such avenue of redress proved unsuccessful, you may want to consult with the US embassy in PNI to see what assistance they can provide in this matter. this is a major issue that requires a minor change which, if realized, will vastly improve the lives of many non-US citizen veterans residing in HI. thanks for being passionate about this issue, and i hope that you advocate it to appropriate offices until the objective is reached.

    have a safe and pleasant holidays.
  • thank you, dol for the kind words. you know the funny part? after being my application was verbally decimated by the lead supervisor at the unemployment office, i started to walk out of the office when it suddenly occured to me to inquire about the amount of money i was being denied. i turned and asked her ( she is of japanese ancestry, by the way... go figure ) how much i was being refused. you know how much? 191 dollars and change. i smiled and told her that i will find a way to live without the amount.

    it really wasn't the amount nor the fact that i myself was denied. its the principle of the matter. i have spoken to everyone i could about this issue, hoping to enlighten myself with regards to the legality of it all. i spoke with a lawyer from the legal ad society, a retired sergeant major employed by the VA whose job deals with issues concerning veterans, i called the consulate office in honolulu, my friend who is a paralegal at schofield- bottom line is no one has ever heard of it, no one is even aware of the fact that a veteran can be denied unemployment. at this point, it's not about me anymore. i still feel that its a poorly thought out law and know that it was put in place without consideration for folks like myself. at this point my interest as far as researching the law, talking to people about it, and seeking to find redress as far as changing the law is for the benefit of all those who comes after me. because, you gotta face it, while transitioning from the military into civilian life, at some point a veteran will need to file for assistance at one point or another. sure, many will find work immediately, and still others will have a valid I94, but there will be a few who will seek unemployment insurance either immediately upon release from service or at a later point while in limbo in between jobs. to me, that's a good enough reason to seek some change in the law, perhaps to where veterans become exempted from it. i mean thats the least this country can do for you, right? the biggest sacrifice any citizen can give to his country is the one we all have in common. putting our lives on the line to protect the rights and livelihood of the citizenry. the only flaw in that logic becomes readily apparent when you find out that sacrificing yourself doesn't necessarily earn you the same rights and priviledge, the same ones you so galllantly swore to protect at all cost.
  • sorry, dol... in such a hurry i don't make granmmatical or spell checks.oops!
  • How is on Microneisa? Free counters! Free counters!
  • fishbonez,

    it's been a year now. how far along are we with this issue?
  • I want more information Free counters!Free counters!Free counters!
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