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May 21, 2015

Commander’s Comments and Recommendations (AF Form 56, Page 6)

by airforceotsguy

Like I have said in previous posts, I strongly recommend you talk to your commander face-to-face to state your intentions of applying, and determine if he or she supports your application.  The comments from the 15OT02 board members were very clear.  Commanders SHOULD NOT endorse an application which they do not 100% support (see my post about this here.)  Here are a few thoughts I have about the commander’s bullets:

  • My supervisor (GS-13, retired O-5) wrote my bullets, and my commander made them “his”.  This is how it “should” work, but I understand every supervisor/commander is different.
  • If your supervisor isn’t available, you should write your bullets and have an officer mentor guide you.  You can also reference OPRs you can get your hands on.  I recommend you start with all of your decorations and place your best bullets on the AF 56.  From there use the “Additional Rater Comments” on the back of your EPRs and do the same.  Finally, go through the rest of your EPRs.  Your commander should go through all of your bullets, add the “O” spin, and make them say what he wants them to say.
  • Your bullets should all be duty bullets.  Place your heavy hitters first then work your way down.  The last line should also be very powerful.
  • Be sure you read the BOT guide, it explains a lot more detail I am forgetting.
  • This section is your commander’s opportunity to have a direct conversation with his peers on the board.  His or her goal should be to convince them you would make an outstanding future squadron commander.
  • My commander did 18 bullets including one two-line bullet, for a total of 19 lines.
  • My commander informed me his comments (similar to his ratings of Lt’s) were private and he asked that I respect the privacy and not share them with anyone else.
  • From my perspective reading the bullets from beginning to end tell a story of my career and future potential, and fills the reader with zeal and excitement.
  • Strats are a MUST (see my post about 15OT02 board member feedback here).
  • I believe this page and the LOR are by far the strongest influence for board members, I would estimate each about 40%, the last 20% being your presentation of the BOT Applicant Profile.  Within all 100% though, your record itself will dictate selection.  You either have it or you don’t.
    • For example, if you are a stellar troop but your commander fills his comments with bullets which are just okay, you will not get selected because the board will think there is a reason for this.  Poorly written bullets will also degrade your commander’s credibility.
    • If you are a decent troop with a few awards here or there and your commander writes amazing bullets that make you sound like an all-star, if your EPRs/record don’t support your commander’s statements your commander will also lose credibility.
    • I don’t really know where I am going with this.  The bottom line is this section is extremely important and you are more or less at the mercy of your commander’s skill with this section.  There are things you can do to make your commander’s job easier, but it is what it is.  This is perhaps something you could consider while determining if you want to apply now or later.
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