4 Tips to Rebut an Air Force Letter of Counseling

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An Air Force Letter of Counseling, or "LOC," is the lowest level of administrative punishment for Airmen. Although a LOC may not be the worst punishment possible, it can still have a large impact on your Air Force career. A LOC can affect your performance report, ability to promote, and opportunities for advancement. At Military Justice Guides, we have helped numerous clients write a LOC Rebuttal. Here are our tips on how to respond persuasively:

#1: Address the Allegations Against You

The reason you received an Air Force Letter of Counseling is that your supervision believes that you did something wrong. In your LOC Rebuttal, it is important that you confront those allegations and the evidence against you. There are three common ways to respond to claims based on our “best practices.”

First, you can accept the allegations as true and simply hope for the best outcome.  This most commonly happens when the evidence against you is clear.  (For example, you sent inappropriate text messages to someone, and your command has those text messages.)  

Second, you can dispute the allegations but not make a statement.  This most commonly happens when the evidence against you is unclear, but anything you say about what happened could make things worse.  (For example, someone claims you said something inappropriate to them, there is no hard evidence or witnesses, but you know that you actually did say the inappropriate thing.)  

Finally, you can dispute the allegations with a statement and evidence.  This most commonly happens when the evidence against you is unclear, and your statement could change things.  (For example, someone claims you said something inappropriate to them, there is no hard evidence or witnesses, and you know you did not say the inappropriate thing.)

Although the team at Military Justice Guides are not lawyers, and cannot give you legal advice, we can say from experience that these are the best ways to address the allegations you are facing in your LOC Rebuttal. There are many ways to respond to a LOC. The key is to decide on a strategy and stick to your message.  Provide information and evidence that helps your command understand your position and, hopefully, resolve your case in the most lenient way.

Air Force Letter of Counseling

#2: Show Your True Colors

When you receive an Air Force Letter of Counseling, you might think that it is all your leadership or command cares about. In our experience, however, it's important that your leadership understands all the good things you have done. You need to show them that what led to your LOC was out of character for you. You should include positive details about yourself and your career. Show them your true colors.

We always encourage our clients to detail their careers. Talk about your assignments and what you learned from them. List your training opportunities. You should definitely include lots of information about any awards you may have won or been nominated for, even if they are "small" awards. Explain your successes, including any major projects, decorations, recognitions, etc.  Explain that, because you have been successful in the past, you know you will be successful in the future.

#3: Get Support from Others

Perhaps the most powerful way to respond to an Air Force Letter of Counseling is through character letters. Character letters allow you to ask other people, like your co-workers, to stand up for you and help you show your true character. In any character letter, you want the author to talk about three things: how they know you, what they think about you, and what your best character traits are. Character letters are an excellent way for you to show your leadership how you contribute to the military community and how other people think you will succeed in the future.

When you ask for character letters from others, you should explain the allegations against you so that they understand why you need their support. You can also provide them with a Character Letter Template, which is a good way to show that you are planning to submit a professional rebuttal and need help.

Character letters are truly the best way to show that others support you and will help you in the future.

#4: Change Your Ways

Like it or not, a LOC is a wake-up call. Either you've done something wrong, or your supervisor believes you are behaving poorly. You need to change your ways to avoid further punishments.

We deal with clients every day who receive LOCs or other low-level punishment. If they fail to change their ways, they often end up coming back to us for help with more punishment (like another Letter of Admonishment or, worse, a Letter of Reprimand). After you receive a LOC, you have a target on your back. You need to make a change to avoid further punishments.

Take, for example, a failed physical fitness test. You get a LOC, and you use our Rebuttal Template to respond. A persuasive response is good. But now it's up to you to improve your fitness. Otherwise, you may receive an LOA or a LOR and be back here looking for help. Change your ways, improve your behavior, and avoid further punishment.

Writing a Persuasive LOC Rebuttal

The tips above should help you write a persuasive rebuttal to your Air Force LOC. Our products can also help. If you are interested, please feel free to read more on our website or purchase an Air Force Letter of Counseling Response Template below:

Military Justice Guides

Military Justice Guides and MilitaryJusticeGuides.com are not law firms, nor do our employees act as legal counsel. MilitaryJusticeGuides.com provides an online portal to give users a general understanding of military law and to provide an automated software solution to individuals who choose to prepare their own documents. MilitaryJusticeGuides.com Services may also include a review of your answers for completeness, spelling, grammar, and for internal consistency of names, addresses and the like. At no time do we review your answers for legal sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide legal advice, opinions or recommendations about your legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms, or strategies, or apply the law to the facts of your particular situation. We are not a law firm and may not perform services performed by an attorney. Military Justice Guides and MilitaryJusticeGuides.com, its related Services, and its forms or templates are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.

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