Can my squad leader give me a backdated counseling statement? | – Leader Development for Army Professionals

Can my squad leader give me a backdated counseling statement?

My squad leader just gave me a counseling statement for something that happened three weeks ago. The counseling was dated as if it occurred on the day of the incident. Can he do that?

backdated counseling statement

Can my squad leader give me a backdated counseling statement

No, your squad leader cannot do this. An incorrect date on a counseling form could be considered a false official statement or possibly an act of fraud. This may be an innocent mistake made by an inexperienced leader or the act of a leader who lacks integrity. Either way, this counseling statement will have your name and signature on it. You want to make sure it is correct.


Your options:

  • Although I do not recommend it, you could refuse to sign the counseling statement. See Should I refuse to sign counseling statements I don’t agree with?
  • Tell your squad leader that you are uncomfortable signing the DA 4856 because of the inappropriate date and request that he change the date.
  • Simply line through the date and insert the correct date (the actual date of the counseling). Place your initials beside your correction.

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posted on 04/25/2011 under Q&A
Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

Disclaimer: Though all content posted on is reviewed by our qualified subject matter experts, you should not make decisions based solely on the information contained in this post. Use information from multiple sources when making important professional decisions. This is not an official government website.

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  • Sheldon Mullen

    I was wondering how to go about a backdated counseling that I have received from my SSG. She had me sign and date a backdated counseling from January 2016 in the moth of May of 2016. The SSG also filled in the date for both of us and just had me sign and agree to the counseling. The SSG had me to believe that I had no choice of disagreeing with the counseling and that I am only agreeing and signing the counseling to adhere that my name and rank is right on the counseling.

    • Mark Gerecht

      Consider writing a memorandum for record telling your side of the story and everything that happened. Be factual, unemotional, and professional. Request a meeting with the commander and 1SG on open door policy to discuss the issue. You may also want to consider sending the MFR via email to your supervisor, platoon sergeant and platoon leader, and if the situation dictates the Commander and 1SG. Just be aware you need to be careful how you handle this so it does not back fire.

  • gabriel orduna

    Hi, i had a question regarding the overweight program. I just got off the program but i notice thats theirs a lot of paperwork missing from my packet including the initial counseling. Is it legal for them to try to make me sign another initial counseling due to them loosing the original one ?

    • Mark Gerecht

      You can find your answer on the following post: Backdating a Counseling Statement
      Bottoline they can reconstruct the counseling but it should be dated for the day the counseling actually takes place and the body of the counseling should explain that they lost the original. Then you have the option to agree/disagree and/or write a statement
      My apologies for the late reply.

      • gabriel orduna

        Thank you very much for the reply. I had one last question to ask, i understand that there are time limits that each counseling has to be done and if it doesnt then according to the program the whole packet is not valid. If they where to reconstruct the counseling statement and i where to sign with current date would that still count towards my army body composition packet or would they have to start all over again since they have fail to meet the requirements on paper due to them loosing it sir?

  • Morales

    My ncoic fail to give me my quarterly counseling. Now my NCOER is due and he wants to give me all my counseling in one day but with different days. Can he do that?

  • Gary Shafer

    I have a question. I have been gone to ALC for 7 weeks and when I got back to my unit was told I needed to do there monthly counseling for the time I was gone. Im wondering is there a regulation regarding this issue. And they want me to back date it. I just feel that the soldier get screwed because poor NCO’s not wanting to do a 4856. Any insight would be great thanks.

    • Mark Gerecht

      I get it, the Chain of Command just wants to ensure continuity and have the paper trail. You could consider a couple of options. 1. Talk to an NCO or an individual that supervised the Soldier during this period and then complete a counseling for the time frame based on input from the supervisor and make sure you annotate that this information came from another source. For example: Do a Feb 2014 counse3ling and state something like: Since I was away at ALC during this period, I spoke with SGT Rock and he stated you did this well and might consider improving in this area. The key is to mention that you were at ALC and the information is from another source. Have the Soldier sign the counseling statement on the date they receive it. It is illegal in my opinion to force a Soldier to sign the document as if the counseling took place while you were in school. 2. Consider doing an all inclusive counseling from Feb-Mar 2014. In the counseling you state that this counseling includes a time period that you were away for ALC and that you spoke with SGT Rock and he provided the following information concerning your performance during the specified period. Then go on to counsel the Soldier for the period of time that you did observe their work. Specifically call this out in the counseling statement. For Example: Upon my return from ALC on 23 Feb. I observed the following performance and then go on to complete the counseling. Have the Soldier sign the counseling as of the date they actually sign the counseling statement. In the session closing block the Soldier can stated that this counseling includes time in which you were in ALC and you could not observe them. It would be appropriate to speak with your chain of command regarding your concerns and offer a few solutions so that hopefully everyone is in agreement. Hope this helps!
      Did you find this information useful? I appreciate your feedback!

  • Murphy

    I am currently stationed in Korea with my wife who is also in the military. My wife recently had a c-section in the hospital and I have been staying with her and just calling and reporting to my NCO’s that I would be at the hospital which they were fine with. On the 4th day I get a call saying I need to come in and do my leave form and date it 4 days ago otherwise they will have to report me as being AWOL. Are they allowed to do that? Also I was told I was supposed to start my 10 day paternity leave the day my child is born.

    • Mark Gerecht

      To my knowledge this is absolutely legal. The unit could chose to give you a 3-4 pass if the birth occurred close to a weekend but this is the commander’s decision. So back dating your leave is legal.

      Did you find this information useful? We appreciate your feedback!


    • SGT NICK

      The paternity leave is not chargeable, that happens after the child is born. In that case if the child was born on day 1 of the c section and your on day 4 then you have 6 days left of FREE leave, afterwards you can take chargeable leave if you think your spouse needs extra help. No other job would let you just call in for four days in a row without putting in some sort of leave after birth.

  • PFC

    How long does a squad leader have to write a canceling statement after a tardy

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