I. WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR A CHAPTER 18? Soldiers who fail to meet the body fat composition/weight control standards set forth in AR.600-9. Separation action may not be initiated under this chapter until the soldier has been given a reasonable opportunity to comply with reduction goals set for him by health care personnel.
Action will be taken to separate a member when it is clearly established that: 1) Despite attempts to reduce weight or body fat composition the soldier has failed to meet the goals AND 2) The soldier has NOT been diagnosed by health care personnel as having a medical condition which precludes them from participating in the Army body fat composition/weight control program. NOTE: If it has been determined that a soldier is over weight due to a medical problem, the soldier will not be separated under Chapter 18.
II. WHAT MUST THE COMMAND DO BEFORE THEY CAN INITIATE A CHAPTER 18 FOR FAILURE TO MEET ARMY BODY FAT COMPOSITION/WEIGHT CONTROL STANDARDS?
The following must take place, unless waived:
a. You must be weighed and shown to exceed the screening table weight. If so, you must be taped in order to determine if you exceed the body fat standard.
b. If you fail the tape test, your commander will then initiate a flag. After initiating the flag, your commander must enroll you into an overweight program. Your commander informs you of this fact by memorandum. Once you acknowledge receipt of this memorandum, the clock starts for the purposes of the possible chapter action.
c. Your commander must refer you to a nutritionist for nutritional counseling and proper weight-loss counseling. This is also done by memorandum and must take place as soon as you are enrolled into the program.
d. Your commander must also refer you to the TMC for medical screening to ensure that you do not have a medical condition which would precluded you from losing weight. This is also done by memorandum and also must take place when you are enrolled into the program.
e. After being enrolled in the program, you will be tracked on a monthly basis. The command will conduct monthly weigh-ins. If you fail to show improvement in any two consecutive monthly weigh-ins, the command will initiate separation. If after six months, the commander determines that you have not shown adequate improvement, the commander can either impose a bar to reenlistment or can initiate separation action.
f. If you meet the body fat standard or the screening weight table as prescribed in AR 600-9, you will be removed from the overweight program. This removal is done by memorandum and will be kept on file in the unit for the following 36 months.
III. WHAT ARE YOUR RIGHTS?
a. You have the right to consult with counsel within a reasonable time.
b. You have a right to submit statements on your own behalf.
c. You have a right to obtain copies of documents which your commander will forward in support of his separation recommendation.
d. If you have six or more years in the active service, you have a right to an Administrative separation Board.
e. You have a right to waive the above rights in writing. Failure to respond in seven days (not signing the form) means you give up all your rights.
IV. TYPE OF DISCHARGE. Members separated under this program will be given an Honorable Discharge Certificate.
V. EFFECT OF DISCHARGE ON EDUCATIONAL BENEFITS. As long as you completed your first term of service, the fact that you are discharged under this Chapter will not impact your educational benefits.
VII. HOW TO FIGHT BACK IF YOU DID NOT WANT THE DISCHARGE. The main way of opposing the discharge is to ensure that all of the proper steps have been taken. If the unit has followed all of the correct steps, you may also try requesting a personal interview with the separation authority, but he does not have to grant you one. Statements from supervisors and co-workers are also very important. Hopefully, your supervisors will recommend that you be retained on active duty. When you meet with the separation authority, tell him or her that you understand the Army is downsizing, however, you want to remain in the service. Explain what you have to offer the service and why retaining you, despite being slightly overweight, is the right outcome.
VIII. OBTAIN A PEACE OF MIND LEGAL REVIEW. Our office can conduct a thorough review of your chapter paperwork and assist you with your submissions to the the command. You can look here for more on the peace of mind legal review.