William C. Meili's Blog, Military Law Attorney
Welcome to the Meili Law Blog where we provide current information on the firm's successes and challenges as well as news and trends related to our practice areas.
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. Read his testimonial here.
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: email@example.com Thanks.
Published Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2023
DES Case Update
A few months ago we had a good result with an active duty client who was navigating the Disability Evaluation System (DES). At that time he was entered into the track but had not had the PEB (Physical Evaluation Board) act on the MEB (Medical Evaluation Board)'s decision.
Happy to report that the PEB came back recently with an Unfit finding and a ratings evaluation which the Client approved. And just this week our client has completed the clearing process and begun his terminal leave. Proud of this officer and the work he put in over the course of the past 10 months to reach this point in his journey.
If you need help navigating the military's DES process, we're here to help. 214 363-1828 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Published Date: Thursday, October 6, 2022
Possible Career Ending 15-6 Investigation from an Anonymous "Hotline" Allegation Closed Without Adverse Action Taken
Back a few years I had the privilege to guide a gifted Army Doc through a Show Cause action. That case resolved with a unanimous vote to retain, together with a well deserved follow on selection for promotion for our client. Some three years later and after being hand picked to fill a tough Brigade level assignment, this same client asked for guidance after becoming the subject of an anonymous phone complaint on a CG's 24 hotline.
The client has written a thorough testimonial on point. Suffice to say that the Investigating Officer assigned was outstanding to work with. That's not always the case, but credit to the IO and to our client in this instance. Defending yourself against an anonymous "tip line" complaint is next to impossible. Even with expert guidance today, it can be daunting . . . and when the allegations sound in toxic work environment, to include sexual harassment, the ante's upped exponentially. I can't tell you how proud I am of this client. And I'm glad - as I've said before in this space and elsewhere - it's always a good day when the Army gets it right.
If you or someone you care about is staring down a 15-6 Investigation or an anonymous complaint which could end your career, give us a call. We can help. 214 363-1828 or email@example.com
Published Date: Tuesday, August 30, 2022
Some Good Results Recently
We've had several UQR approvals come down from HRC the past several months, and grateful for those. Additionally, a client who was struggling and feeling "trapped" in his situation has been moved into the DES (Disability Evaluation System) track. This officer's testimonial is up on this site, and is up as of this morning on my Avvo.com site. Additionally, happy to report that 3 new clients - whose cases (one exemption from Mobilization, one IRR transfer, and one COVID Vax refusal UQR) were all frustratingly stalled - have seen significant relief just in the past week/ten days. That's a good news story any time.
If you, or someone you know, is facing an increasingly frustrating or career threatening situation, give us a call. We'd be happy to discuss whatever's going on.
Thank you for your continued support, trust and confidence in what we do.
Bill Meili, 214 363-1828 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Published Date: Monday, May 23, 2022
UQR Approved For An Active Duty Army Officer with an HPSP Interface
We heard this past Monday that our Client's UQR request had been approved. And want to relay that a lot of folks had a hand in this, and also want to acknowledge that assistance and expertise up front. What was special about this case was the speed of the process. There were certain factors at play with client's HPSP scholarship, his seat in medical school, the start of the academic year, funding (i.e. tuition being paid from HPSP) in order to keep that seat, not to mention the timing of terminal leave and final clearing. Many plates up in the air spinning, and all contingent on the cutting of discharge orders and an effective separation date.
Process usually takes - under "normal" circumstances 4 months or more. But in this case, it took only about 30 days from the time Client contracted for services to the UQR being approved. And I have to say, it couldn't have happened to a more worthy, deserving candidate/Client. Not that it should take anywhere near 4 months for a UQR to make its way through the bureaucracies of HRC, and then G1 Pentagon, followed by ASA (M&RA) and then back down to HRC where the orders are actually cut . . . but that is unfortunately more or less par for the course. To its credit, HRC is working to streamline and simplify the process, but it might well take a change in the governing regulation.
All to say, it was a bit of a challenge in this case to get things in place and the right people, in the right positions all pulling oars in the same direction. But it happened, and now the Army gets to have the opportunity to have a remarkable young officer direct his energies in becoming a medical doctor who will someday wear the nation's uniform to serve his fellow Soldiers as an AMEDD officer. Read his testimonial here.
As we've said before, it's really nice when the Army gets it right!
If you're facing a situation where you need some help guiding a UQR through the bureaucratic maze, give us a call, or shoot an email. Office: 214 363-1828; Cell: 214 536-3888; email: email@example.com
Published Date: Wednesday, August 4, 2021
SHOULD NOT HAVE TAKEN THIS LONG
In January 2019, roughly two years ago, I received a call from the parents of a young man in the Army Reserve. Their son, a drilling Reservist, had accepted a dream job in China, and had tried to work through his chain for permission to move OCONUS. Moreover, he believed he had done everything properly to secure that approval. However, within 3-4 months his parents were receiving letters from the Army notifying them that their son was being dinged for Unsats - unexcused absences - "U's" in the language of TPU soldiers everywhere. For months the father tried to intervene with the Army on behalf of his son for resolution short of an involuntary discharge and bad paper, but he was repeatedly met with a stony wall of silence.
I took on the case figuring it would be maybe six months tops before we could resolve things favorably for all parties. As I almost always do, I reached out to the servicing JAG office, made good connections through the lawyers, and through them with commanders involved, and was confident that we were on our way. But . . . and this was admittedly quite unusual in my experience - for the next 10-12 months Client's paperwork withdrawing the elimination action and recommending transfer to the IRR bounced back and forth between command levels from the local unit, battalion, brigade - all the way up to group/division level and back several times. Things flat out got lost in the shuffle, or just sat on someone's desk for weeks, if not months at a time. Fortunately, my JAG contacts finally came through. Client had his bad paper pulled, he was transferred to the IRR and he was able to stay and work in China. During the entire year of COVID 2020! (Better watch our what you ask for, right?)
Epilogue: Earlier this year - over a year after his transfer to the IRR, and right at two years since I took that call from his parents - Client received his DD 214 and Honorable Discharge. Everybody gets busy. And yes, deployments happen and more pressing matters take precedence, but shuffling what should have been a fairly routine admin action like this back and forth for so many months, is just plain wrong. If you're finding yourself confronting a similar, "stony wall of silence" and inexplicable inaction, feel free to give us a call.
v/r Bill Meili 214 363-1828 office main.
Published Date: Tuesday, April 27, 2021
I contacted Col. Meili as a fellow practitioner to gain some context and perspective on a pretty complex set of issues. Because I practice in a different field of law, Col. Meili's extensive expertise was invaluable and he was more than generous with his time. A skilled and dedicated professional who cares deeply about obtaining the best possible outcome for his clients, Bill's a leader in this field.
- Steffen Chapin
After an exhaustive search of military attorneys, I came across the name of Bill Meili. From my first email exchange and telephone call, I knew that Bill was the right person to handle my case. I had discussed my unique circumstance with a handful of other attorneys who felt it may be too difficult to achieve the outcome that I was seeking - but Bill was interested in me and my case, and wholeheartedly believed that we had the ball in our court. I could tell that Bill cared about me as a person and soldier, not just viewing me as a paycheck.
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