157th Offers Legal Boot Camp

  • Published
  • By Airman Victoria Nelson
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing
A legal boot camp seminar was held for supervisors and junior officers in the Bapp Auditorium, here, March 10, 2018.

The seminar prepared supervisors to document verbal and written progressive disciplinary actions. The participants drafted a memorandum for record (MFR), a letter of counseling (LOC), and a letter of reprimand (LOR) in a pamphlet they will keep for future reference.    

Major Natalie Friedenthal, deputy staff judge advocate with the 157th Judge Advocates General Office, said the goal of legal boot camp is to educate all of the supervisors at Pease about composing verbal and written progressive discipline. 

“It would be unfair of leadership not to give feedback and counseling to our Airmen at the beginning of their careers,” said Friedenthal.   Airmen end up receiving harsher punishments later on in their careers, without the gradual documentation of the corrective process, explained Friedenthal. This does a disservice to them as well as to their organizations.

Tech. Sgt. Andrew S. Morrison, an aircraft structural maintenance craftsman with the 157 Maintenance Group, said he believed the workshop was an excellent refresher and offered new approaches for supervisors to consider in progressive discipline. 

“I feel like this course should be a requirement for all supervisors to better prepare for progressive discipline,” said Morrison. 
The seminar challenged the Airmen to consider the foundations of effective discipline.

“Going from hero to zero is not an effective way of supervising airmen and it is not an effective way of administrating discipline,” said Brig. Gen. Jed J. French, chief of staff New Hampshire Air National Guard. “Progressive discipline starts with two important concepts, expectations and consequences; making sure the Airmen know what the rules are and making sure they know the consequences for violating those rules.”

French explained that expectations and consequences need to be implemented with action and documentation for the discipline to be effective.

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” he said. “When you, as a supervisor, see that a rule has been broken or an expectation has not been followed, you need to act immediately because if you don’t act, there is a perception that it could be ok, there’s a perception that you don’t care about the rules and there’s a perception that the rules don’t need to be followed. Other Airmen will then misperceive what your expectations are.”

Friedenthal said the seminar is designed to give supervisors the tools they need to enforce discipline at all levels as efficiently as possible.

During the workshop, Airmen were chosen to act out real-life scenarios that required disciplinary action. 

The students were able to analyze the scenarios for behavioral patterns and complete the proper documentation following the incident. 
Staff Sgt. Jason T. Cunha, a sheet metal technician with the 157 MXG, said progressive boot camp taught him how to document progressive discipline unlike any other classes he has taken. 

“This course actually helped me put an AFI to an action,” said Cunha. “It gave me the foundation on how to write an LOC and LOR and now I feel like I know what appropriate actions to take.” 

Both Morrison and Cunha said the whole wing could benefit from the exposure to the seminar. 

“The course would be beneficial if it could be implemented on a grander scale and to Airmen as well,” said Morrison. “There is something to be said when both supervisors and their Airmen are informed.” 

Friedenthal explained the value of the seminar lies in promoting the small corrections and disciplinary actions supervisors take now.

“You are not only doing your Airmen a disservice by failing to correct them but it is your duty and responsibility as a supervisor to give them the tools and regulations they need to succeed,” said Friedenthal.