Writing Awards Policy by SupremeLord

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									Writing Awards Policy
   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
•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
•Adjectives and Synonyms
            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
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.

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 non-
combat 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

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.
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
     What are the Troop Command's
     Suspense’s 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:
1. Sergeant Jeff Gordon’s 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 Gordon’s 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:

           (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
                    Lets Review

         Step One

    Complete Administrative data “DA 638 in
     Jetform or Form Filler”
    1.   Complete blocks 1 through 19
    2.   Awards need to be accurately abbreviated.
         (MEPAM 600-200)
Step Two
    Gather performance data on the member
    1.   Look for Counseling Statements
    2.   Look for informal documentation
    3.   Conduct interviews with:
    4.   Chain of command
    5.   Peers, subordinates
    6.   Other witnesses
Step Three

    Do each of the following to develop bullets:
    1.   State the impact on the department, division,
         unit, or Maine Army National Guard.
    2.   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.   Use standard opening and closing verbiage (For
     Exceptional Achievement during) (reflects credit
     upon himself, his unit, and the Maine Army
     National Guard).
2.   Spell out the rank
3.   Spell out abbreviations Read the citation out loud to
     another to check the “flow”
4.   awards of the MSM, ARCOM, and AAM will be limited
     to bullet format in the space allowed on the DA Form
Step Six

    Edit the citation
    1.   Read it once …
         1.   Match the points with support
    2.   Read it a 2nd time …
         1.   Organize into powerful, well-connected thoughts
    3.   Read it a 3rd time …
         1.   Delete dead words (repeating or jargon)
    4.   Read it a 4th time …
         1.   Check grammar, spelling, punctuation, and
           Step Seven

   Submit the award package to the
    appropriate Awards Board through the chain
    of command
    –    Follow local award submission policies
    1.   Immediate supervisor (He/She can check for
    2.   Admin NCO
    3.   BN
    4.   TC
    5.   State
    6.   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.   What they did
    2.   How they did it
    3.   The impact or result of their action (why it was
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
 So for each item, be specific and ask yourself “What
 was done?,” “How did they do it?,” and “What was the
 Once you’ve 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…” doesn’t 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 individual’s
predecessor. Also, focus on items that are high
profile or extend beyond a member’s 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
    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
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! You’ve completed the citation.
                                   Well, almost ...
     4 Steps to Effective Editing
1.   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.
2.   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.
3.   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.
4.   The fourth time you read the citation, tenaciously and
     relentlessly check grammar, spelling, punctuation, and
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
At last you have completed the

   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/g-

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