How to write awards in the Army

Updated: Sep 1

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Are you struggling with writing award bullets for someone else or, more likely, yourself? Maybe you just can't think of much to write for someone or just don't have the experience to do so. I have a few tips and references for you. Let's get to it.

1. My first tip is to ask friends and leaders for copies of awards that they have processed before. This helps in a few ways. Each unit emphasizes different things or ways to fill out basic forms like putting entries in ALL CAPS or adding a period here or removing it there. Getting previous awards used in the unit allows you to see their standard of submission. You can also tell how well the achievements need to be written in order to pass.

Units also have different ways that they order the bullets. I've been in units that want the best achievement in the first block and then units that want it in the last block (not as common). I understand both ways of thinking but I default to best in the first block. You will also want previous awards to fill out administrative data and routing correctly.

2. Talk to the Service Member (SM) and ask what they have done. Even little things can be written up to sound glorious (some examples coming up). Many times there are common bullets that the unit uses like one focused on all of the training events attended, positions held, duties fulfilled, etc.. Even if there is a common standard like this, it's fine to break the mold if you have something better to write.

3. Visit Army publications that guide you on how to write and how to fill out the form. Good references for awards and military writing are AR 600-8-22 Military Awards, AR 25-50 Preparing and Managing Correspondence, and DA Pam 600-67 Effective Writing for Army Leaders.

4. Figure out what the hot topics and priorities for the Army and your unit. Right now big priorities are people first, equal opportunity, SHARP, and NCO C3 to name a few. You should have a good idea about what specific goals your unit is trying to focus on that will help you select a good topic to link the achievement to.

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