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.
Link to Official Air Force Form 56:
In order to view the form, you will need the form viewer. Link:
I consider the AF Form 56 somewhat of a formality for the application. It is something that has to be completed but most of the information in the AF Form 56 is actually “presented” to the board in the BOT Applicant Profile (from my understanding). Nonetheless, this form must be 100% error free and should be reviewed in depth by everyone in your chain of command and a few other trusted mentors.
Attachment 8 of the BOT Program Guide provides input on the AF Form 56. Reference the current guide for all information and the latest advice from AFRS. I will go block by block and also explain the stuff which stood out to me when I applied. I found Attachment 8 and the Frequently Asked Questions on the first page of the BOT guide EXTREMELY HELPFUL when completing my AF Form 56.
- “LAST, FIRST M.”
- My personal address and phone number, mirrored from vMPF.
- My Home of Record.
- Self explanatory.
- DOB and SSN self explanatory. For date available for training I was stateside with 2.5 years TOS so I put the date the board was scheduled to convene (20150216). Later after BOT class dates were being assigned, the rumor was Rose was using this date to prioritize your departure (aside from age critical or OCONUS selectees). I put the number of kids I have no number of dependents, the rest was self explanatory.
- Get these dates from vMPF. I got the servicing MPF address by calling my MPF. BESO “NA”, Home e-mail address: my personal e-mail address, BESO telephones blank, BESO email “NA”, current unit mailing address I got from my orderly room, CAFSC from vMPF, and PAS code from my EPR. Date departed CONUS “NA”, DEROS “NA”, duty phone self explanatory.
- 7A OTS, 7B blank, 7C “Space Operations, Cyberspace (Network) Operations, Intelligence” in that order. The reason I put “network” is because the AFOCD had 17D as network ops, but attachment 7 still listed it as Cyberspace Ops. 7D volunteer for flying YES even though I was non-rated.
- I LEFT AFOQT BLANK IAW the BOT Guide instructions.
- Make sure everything on the first page is 100% accurate, and everything should match your Career Data Brief (CDB) and Record Review Update (RRU). I can’t tell you how many times I reviewed my 56, and how many times I thought it was good but found something later.
- I actually received emails from AFRS (downloaded pending QC, board ready, etc) at the email I put in block 6 but I think I put the same personal email in SharePoint when I submitted my application.
- Official mailing address can be obtained from your orderly room or Commander’s Support Staff. Most of the time you can get it from the top of your squadron’s official letterhead but I would always verify this with someone “in the know.”
10. NO, NO, NA
11A NO, B blank, C NO
12. NO the rest blank
13. YES, two entries (current AFSC, previous AFSC)
15. YES, I had six offenses for Block 15. I will list the offense and my age. Driving uninsured (16), Speeding (17), Failure to yield (18), Speeding (20), Speeding (21), and Speeding (27). I made zero mention of this in my Personal Statement. My current age at application was 28 so I considered it clear it was something from my past. Last block NA
The rest of the page NO.
- As a retrainee I put my current AFSC on the top line of Block 13, and previous AFSC on the next line. I used the duty history dates in my vMPF as the from and to dates.
- Even though I was a retrainee I put one entry for “USAF, Active Duty” as my employer. “Cyber System Operations” for type of work, net annual salary from LES, and “Still on Active Duty” for reason terminated.
- My degree is in Management/Computer Information Systems with a minor in Information and Computer Science, and I graduated with cum laude honors. Everything else was NA for me.
- For block 21 I referenced every AFI mentioned so I could read straight from the source, and initialed all blocks except F which is blacked out (I did initial F. (1) and (2).) Don’t miss block E.
- All NA except K which was blacked out.
- 22A initialed, 22B blank
- Dated a few days before I submitted (20150122), FIRST MIDDLE LAST, E-6, and signature.
- I will do a separate post on the personal statement.
- CCAF, A.A.
- XYZ University, B.S.
- CCAF, A.A.
- All GPA points, hours, etc blank.
- For block 25 my supervisor validated, signature block from EPR
- 26A “X” not NES
- 27 Cmdr wet initials
- 28A Waivers required “X” NONE (see comment below on SRB waiver).
- 28B “ALC O – Enlisted Airman has approved SRB. Member has served 1/2 of the term of enlistment as of 14 December 2014.” See my post about SRB waivers.
- C Cmdr initials, but don’t forget the “X” for Does Not.
- I had all “OUTSTANDING” for interview.
- I think I’ll do a separate post about my applicable stats.
- I will also do a separate post about the commander’s bullets.
- Section IV all NA
- NA the rest completely blank.