Annual award rant

In my mind, having your boss ask you to write your own personal award and FITNESS Report is akin to her telling you to write yourself your own ‘thank you’ note for your good deed or after your two/three year assignment.  It makes no sense at all to me; don’t do it.  If you are a leader and you can’t write your immediate subordinate’s award/fitness report, shame on you.

 This is something that is getting some attention in Congressional sub-committees of the Senate/House Armed Services Committees (SASC/HASC).  With the attention given to the Stolen Valor Act and similar issues – the Congress is paying much more attention to military awards – who gets them, how they get them, why they get them and how many get them.

11 thoughts on “Annual award rant

  1. When I was in charge (as the SEA), I required everyone in my unit to prepare the basic evaluation verbage for those who worked for them who were one grade junior. The Chiefs did the First Class, First Class did 2nd's and so on down. It worked, four of my CT1's made Chief!But nobody ever wrote up a subordinate for an award! The only guy who ever got a NAM asked the skipper if he could, then wrote himself up. He did it several times and got several awards for doing his job – did it well but….After I left the unit, a group that had spent a year analyzing data for a project, I realized the way to get recognition for what you do is to write yourself up because most people are too busy to do the \”recognition thing.\”


  2. Even worse is when you follow through on being asked to write up your own award and then a year later it still hasn't shown up at your new unit. I'm not salty about that at all!


  3. This to me is a completely negative way to view the process. What about going in thinking that you’re leadership needs the assistance. We all have jobs, priorities, etc. Wouldn’t writing about yourself, which most abhore be in everyone’s benefit. Must we assume it’s because our leadership is lazy or incompetent. Everyone needs to open their eyes and realize that we are all in it together.


  4. Does anonymous \”desire\” an end of tour award?…I guess that is a personal choice. I don't think it will matter to your career bit…unless the discussion devolves into a failure to obey a \”write your award\” order situation. Let us know how this turns out! Disclaimer: no snarkieness implied here…😂


  5. My units were large enough to qualify for CO TO AWARD UP TO 4 NAMs per year and all did. We were some of the hardest working sailors around. We held all hands muster and awards ceremony. Very few awards followed a good sailor to his new command since we made it a rule to award them in front of their shipmates. The local base commander asked me how we did this year after year. His command hadn’t held an awards ceremony with all hands ever, as far as anyone could recall. Our ISIC was pretty good about signing off our guys for NCMs and with a decent justification and write up the turnaround on those usually not more than a month.


  6. If I had a nickel for every command that told me to write my own eval or put myself in for an award, I'd be richer than Jeff Bezos…or at least his ex-wife. I caved in my early years and did as told, but once I was somewhat crotchety (around the 9 or 10 year point) I would give it a gruff \”No, do your job\”…regardless of their rank. Bottom line…at least for the award part of it…if it isn't worth your time to write it up, then its probably not 'award' worthy. For evals and fitreps…shame on you for being lazy and forcing subordinates to do your job. And that 'well, it gives them practice' excuse is BS…do your job and take care of your people.


  7. To add to my last comment, effective leaders plan ahead. I know we all have a lot on our plates, but eval/fitreps…and even EOTs, post-deployment, and spot awards…are a known commodity on a known schedule. Have a 92% filled out 'spot' award template handy to recognize your folks that go above and beyond. If the command's schedule was so demanding that you couldn't help but wait until the last second for evals/fitreps/awards…then stay late or come in on your lone day off. In my younger days, I was enrolled in Army ROTC…there was a quotation on the wall that sticks with me to this day…\”Mission First, People Always\”.


  8. I wrote my guys up all the time for awards. I wrote up zero guys for njp but was the legal officer for several commands so I did spend time at co's mast. My nominees always won the quarterly awards and sailor of the year and when we deployed the irt to Kuwait I wrote up 4 of my guys for the NAMs available and let the SEA argue me into giving away 'my' awardees medals to other really deserving sailors whose bosses didn't bother to write up an award form. It's the easiest thing in the world. Ditto evals. I looked at some of the evals in the service records of my best men and they looked like they'd been written by children or idiots and the lack of effort showed and it obviously hadn't mattered to previous div officers that their crappy writeups were keeping outstanding leaders from advancing to CPO.I suspect it has only gotten worse since the level of writing I saw from most of my LTs when I was a captain was abyssmal.


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