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Award Writing for Dummies!

References for Army military awards?

What is an Award? A decoration, medal, badge, ribbon, or appurtenance bestowed on an individual or a unit
Complete Administrative data DA 638 in Jetform or Form Filler

1.Complete blocks 1 through 20 2.Awards need to be accurately abbreviated. (MEPAM 600-200)

Army Regulation AR 600-8-22 MILITARY AWARDS [950225] US Army Institute of Heraldry

Overview
References Why give awards? What's the current command policy on awards? What type of award should be presented? What are Troop Command's SUSPENSES then? How do I justify an award? Do you have some guides on how to write the justification? Catchy words, word combination, and phrases Phrases

Adjectives and Synonyms


Verbs

Why give awards?

Army leaders present various type of awards and decorations to recognize soldiers for valor, meritorious service, and achievement. It's our formal way of thanking them and recognizing them for their outstanding contributions to the Army's success in mission accomplishment. Awards given to deserving soldiers increase esprit de corps in the unit and provide other soldiers the necessary incentive to go above and beyond their day-to-day responsibilities thus contributing to the success of the unit.

What's the current command policy on awards?

The current policy is to ensure that all soldiers completing their tours of duty are thoroughly screened for their contribution to the organization and those that performed meritoriously are recommended for various types of awards that is commensurate with their exemplary service and contribution to their organization. The Commander, has established that all approved awards be presented before the soldier's permanent change of station (PCS)/retirement. You don't have to wait until the soldier's PCS to submit him or her for an award. If you want a soldier to be recognize for immediate significant achievement, you may recommend him/her for impact award. It will not preclude the soldier for an end of tour award, except you can no longer refer to this single act of heroism or achievement that already have been previously recognized by an impact award.

c. ARMY COMMENDATION MEDAL.

The Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States for distinguishing themselves by heroism, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service. Awards may be for acts of valor performed under circumstances described above, that are of a lesser degree than required for award of the Bronze Star Medal. These acts may involve aerial flight. An award may be made for acts of noncombatant-related heroism that do not meet the requirements for an award of the SM.

d. ARMY ACHIEVEMENT MEDAL. The Army Achievement Medal (AAM) is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving in any capacity with the Army in a noncombat area on or after 1 August 1981, distinguished themselves by meritorious service or achievement of a lesser degree than required for award of the ARCOM. The AAM will not be awarded to general officers.

CERTIFICATES OF ACHIEVEMENTS

Commanders may recognize periods of faithful service, and acts or achievements which do not meet the standards required for decorations, by issuing DA Form 2442 (Certificate of Achievement); or a Certificate of Achievement of local design to individual military personnel. The social security number (SSN) will not be entered on the CofA due to the provisions of the Privacy Act. g. MEMORANDA OF COMMENDATION/ APPRECIATION. Acts of service meeting the criteria for lesser recognition may be written for Memorandums of Commendation/ Appreciation, and typed on letterhead stationary. A Memorandum of Commendation/Appreciation is appropriate when an individual demonstrated a highly satisfactory performance of duty.

What are the Troop Command's Suspenses then?

MSMs and higher: 120 days prior to the desired presentation date ARCOMs: 60 days prior to the desired presentation date AAMs and MOVSM: 60 days prior to the desired presentation date

How do I justify an award? a. The length of time is not a primary consideration; however, speed of accomplishment of an important task can be a determining value of an act. Also, for a service award, the individual would need to have served in the position for a sustained period of time to achieve a succession of outstanding acts of achievement. And that's the challenge for the person writing the award recommendation - to be able to convince board members that the soldier has a succession of outstanding acts of achievement by succinctly elaborating those achievements in the award justification. Retirement awards will cover the last ten years of the service member's career. b. The award recommendation should reflect both the individuals level of responsibility and the manner of performance. The degree that an individual's achievement or service enhanced the readiness or effectiveness of the organization, or the degree that they made notable contributions to the morale or esprit de corps of the organization, will be the predominant factors for deciding the appropriate award.

c. To justify a military decoration, an individual should have done more than just performed his job well. Cite specific accomplishments and how they enhance the organization. For example, if an individual has rewritten a standing operating procedure (SOP) - how has this improved the readiness or effectiveness of the organization? If an individual has devoted many off-duty hours--how did this improve the organization? Be specific. List the individual accomplishments and not just sentences with adjectives, which do not elaborate on their significant achievements. d. The grade of the individual is another consideration. The higher the grade, the greater the level of responsibility. A much greater level of performance is expected from a Colonel as opposed to a First Lieutenant or Captain. Likewise, more is expected from a Master Sergeant or Sergeant Major than a Specialist or Sergeant. The grade itself is not the consideration; rather, the grade is used to determine the duty position. When a Colonel or Sergeant Major is assigned to a duty position, they are expected to perform at a level commensurate with their grade and duty position.

e. To have distinguished themselves, the individuals must be set apart from others in the same or similar military occupational specialty (MOS)/job specialty by praiseworthy accomplishment. Determination of this distinction requires careful consideration of exactly what is or was expected as the ordinary, routine, or customary behavior and accomplishment, for individuals of like rank and experience, for the circumstances involved. f. The narrative justification then is the most important section of the recommendation and the content is the basis for approval or disapproval of the award.

Do you have some guidelines on how to write the Achievements ? Here are
some tips (Item 20) of the DA Form 638. include the following standardized leading and closing sentences, as appropriate:

Example;
1. Sergeant Jeff Gordons willingness to step up to the plate and share his mechanical knowledge and experience was instrumental in the initial setup of his teams Monte Carlo, resulting to the success of the Mission of winning the Daytona 500 for the second year in a row.

2. Sergeant Jeff Gordon lead the way with a positive attitude and set a high standard as an aggressor for 250 laps and superb team member tactics. He was able to share real world experiences during the Daytona 500 with his fellow team member, SPC Terry Labonte providing him with a outstanding drafting experience.
3. Sergeant Jeff Gordons tact, professional knowledge and sound judgment, combined with his ability to work without supervision and willingness to work beyond normal duty hours, evoked many favorable comments from superiors and higher headquarters.(NASCAR) His personal commitment to the team and his exception of only the highest standards of safety, resulted in high quality of racing and winning operations. What are the standardized leading and closing sentences?

Do you have some guidelines on how to write the justification?


Here are some tips when writing the justification: a. On the proposed citation for awards higher than an MSM, leave item 21 of the DA Form 638 blank. Limit this item, when used for MSM and below, to no more than 6 lines for an award. Limit a proposed citation for an LOM/SM to no more than 9 - 12 characters per inch, and attach to DA Form 638. Proposed citations will include the following standardized leading and closing sentences, as appropriate:

Example; FOR GOING ABOVE AND BEYOND, IN YOUR ENDEAVOR


TO DEVELOP PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY, AND PHYSICALLY IN PREPARATION FOR ASSUMING FURTHER DUTIES IN THE SERVICE OF OUR GREAT NATION. YOUR DESIRE TO GAIN A GREATER UNDERSTANDING OF THE ARMY REFLECTS GREAT CREDIT UPON YOURSELF, 152d MAINTENANCE COMPANY, MEARNG AND THE UNITED STATES ARMY.

(2) Recommendation for the MSM:

(a) The beginning sentence should read, For Meritorious service/ achievement as (job title)." Next, the BODY OF CITATION, and the ENDING SENTENCE should read, "His/Her performance reflects credit on him/ her, Brooke Army Medical Center, the Army Medical Department, and the United States Army. (b) For the MSM retirement award for total service, the beginning sentence should read, "Meritorious service in positions of great responsibility ending as (job title)." Next, the BODY OF CITATION, and the ENDING SENTENCE should read, "His/Her' exemplary performance of duty was in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, reflecting great credit on him/her, 152d Maint Co, the MEARNG, and the United States Army."

(3)

Recommendation for the ARCOM:

(a) The beginning sentence should read, For Meritorious service/ achievement as (job title)." Next, the BODY OF CITATION, and the ENDING SENTENCE should read, "his/her exemplary performance reflects great credit on him/her, 152d Maint Co, the MEARNG, and the United States Army."

(4) For recommendation for the AAM

The beginning sentence should read, "For meritorious service/achievement as (job title)." b. You must be selective in your use of words, word combinations, and phrases. Use catchy words, word combinations, and phrases that will convince the board member to recommend approval of the award. Here's a collection of these catchy words, word combination, and phrases.

Lets Review

Step One

Complete Administrative data DA 638 in Jetform or Form Filler


1. 2.

Complete blocks 1 through 19 Awards need to be accurately abbreviated. (MEPAM 600-200)

Step Two

Gather performance data on the member


1.
2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Look for Counseling Statements Look for informal documentation Conduct interviews with: Chain of command Peers, subordinates Other witnesses

Step Three

Do each of the following to develop bullets:


1.

2.

State the impact on the department, division, unit, or Maine Army National Guard. Create one or two concise, simple sentence. State what was done and how it was done.

Step Four

Decide on the level of the award


1.

The higher the impact, the higher the award

Step Five
1.

2. 3. 4.

Use standard opening and closing verbiage (For Exceptional Achievement during) (reflects credit upon himself, his unit, and the Maine Army National Guard). Spell out the rank Spell out abbreviations Read the citation out loud to another to check the flow awards of the MSM, ARCOM, and AAM will be limited to bullet format in the space allowed on the DA Form 638.

Step Six

Edit the citation


1.

Read it once
1.

Match the points with support Organize into powerful, well-connected thoughts

2.

Read it a 2nd time


1.

3.

Read it a 3rd time


1.

Delete dead words (repeating or jargon)


Check grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

4.

Read it a 4th time


1.

Step Seven

Submit the award package to the appropriate Awards Board through the chain of command

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Follow local award submission policies Immediate supervisor (He/She can check for errors) Admin NCO BN TC State Unit

Performance Bullets

Performance bullets are the raw material that is needed to produce the statement of actions for which the individual is being cited.

Performance Bullets

Effective performance bullets always consist of 3 parts:


1. 2. 3.

What they did How they did it The impact or result of their action (why it was significant)

What do I Write About?


Pick 3 to 5 items that the member did best or had the greatest impact on the service or unit. Each bullet should have a number-quantified (if possible) action and a following result. For example, 100 hours of troubleshooting refrigeration casualty assistance; enhanced quality of life and enabled the generator to keep operational schedules, has the action and the result.

So for each item, be specific and ask yourself What was done?, How did they do it?, and What was the result?
Once youve completed this part of the award, the rest is simply wording.

Hints on Using Statistics


Using numbers to quantify actions is encouraged and carries more oomph! For example, Sergeant Snuffy volunteered many hours of personal time to invent a Tool that saved the Army National Guard a lot of money doesnt tell the story as well as, Sergeant Snuffy invested 100 hours of personal time to invent the tool to completer 40 component parts, that saved the National Guard $175,000. Remember not to criticize an individuals predecessor. Also, focus on items that are high profile or extend beyond a members command.

Jargon And Content


The citation is an account which will be cherished by them and a source of pride to their families. The Rewards and Recognition Handbook says, We are telling a story to everyone about what the person receiving the award has done.

Jargon And Content

For the citation, refer to the proper award manual to find the opening and closing jargon for each award and copy that part exactly. The information is found in: MEPAM 672-5-1 (See SPC Hayden) The statement is written in a single paragraph and sandwiched between the standard opening and closing sentences.

Wording and the Guts


A citation is supposed to be formalized, concise, and straightforward. Formalized means that it is written in the third person (He created...), often using the rank and surname (Sergeant Snuffy created).

Words and Phrases

Here are recommendations for choosing words and phrases:

After the standard opening, each bullet should start with an action word like these:

Displaying Exhibiting Demonstrating Showing Using Making Through

Words and Phrases

The next words should be an adjective-noun combination something like these:


superior leadership, he exceptional competence and professionalism, she expert technical skills, he highest degree of proficiency, she accomplished organizational abilities, he finely honed ... keen insight or singly powerful words like:

courageous distinguished

Words and Phrases

Adverbs work well for the next words:


quickly capably professionally skillfully proficiently adeptly effectively efficiently

Words and Phrases

Steer away from using specific jargon or acronyms or names of equipment that are not commonly used in the English language. A good rule is to use simple, everyday words that convey powerful thoughts. Also avoid being gushy or using puffed up words that seem phony or pompous.

Putting it all Together


Now, simply mix and match the words and phrases to ensure each bullet is a flowing sentence or two. Start with the accomplishment you consider to be the most significant. The body of the citation is simply 3 to 5 bullets turned into powerful, concise sentences, one after another.

Voila! Youve completed the citation.


Well, almost ...

4 Steps to Effective Editing


1.

2.

3.

4.

Read the whole citation and locate the main points. Then locate the support for each point. Points without support are suspect and should be worked on. Read the citation a second time. Once you have located the points and their support, cut, paste, and reorganize them into powerful and well-connected thoughts. Read the citation a third time. Locate and delete dead words. These are words that do not add to the meaning of what is written: overly-complicated words, antiquated words, inappropriate jargon, cliches, or colloquialisms. The fourth time you read the citation, tenaciously and relentlessly check grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

One Last Review


Before you turn it in, take the citation, stand up in form of a mirror, another person, or a microphone connected to a tape recorder and READ what you have written OUT LOUD! This is the most effective way to check grammar and see if what you have written really is concise, flowing, and powerful.

At last you have completed the award.


Lets write our awards

Thank you for your time this presentation was created by myself SSG Bear J Parker and by the help of Award writing made easy presentation by http://www.uscg.mil/hq/gw/g-wt/g-wtl/award/index.htm

152d Maintenance Company

"Service to the line, on the line, on time"