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How To Get Outstanding EPR’S and Be Competitive for Awards

Author: Unknown
Source: LES

 There are several ways to get the GREAT EPRs and be able to win Awards.  Working hard is the best approach.  We all know it’s a lot easier to do something when directions are specific rather than vague so read carefully. 

As in most endeavors, proper planning is a key to success.  If you want to have the EPR or awards you believe you have earned, here’s how to get it.  Every month target an area of your job, the base, in the community, and in education to tackle.  There may be an area that isn’t exactly like it should be, fix it!  Everyone has at least one day to donate on or off duty to a community activity. Take and do well in one class per quarter/year.  Get nominated and/or win Amn/NCO/SNCO of the quarter/year.  If you are an airman or NCO and working on an EPR, then 80 - 85% of your work needs to be your primary duties.  As a SNCO 50 - 55% should be primary/technical duties and the rest is taking care of your people, their advancement, recognition, training, being involved, in short the total person concept. You must show in your EPR and awards packages that you are well rounded.  The five areas that need to be addressed if you really want an extraordinary, excellent, or outstanding EPR or awards package are: leadership in primary duties, leadership qualities in the social, cultural and religious activities, significant self improvement, articulate and positive representative of the Air Force and finally other notable accomplishments (awards, plaques, trophies, certificates, letters).  Things go in “Other Accomplishments” that don’t fit into any of the other categories.  First things first, we’ll start with the following:



         What are your primary duties?

         We’re looking for quality, quantity and timeliness!  (If this isn’t clear, ask somebody who knows what it means)

         It’s not just a matter of getting things done but how well, how fast, how much money or time you saved while doing them.

         Develop, initiate, organize, direct, pursue, enhance, solve, master, hone, or create something useful.

         Delegate, supervise, manage; that’s how we show leadership potential

         Did you improve an existing process or program? Did you develop a new one?

         Is there a monetary value assigned? How many people are involved? Did you supervise or train the people that performed the task?

         How much equipment? What does the equipment support; what is its value, its mission.

         What did you do that someone else didn’t, couldn’t or just wouldn’t do?

         Was what you did the first, largest, fastest, newest or simply the best of it’s kind?

         How did what you do benefit the shop, organization, the base, MAJCOM or Air Force?

         Change things or get them changed when they’re wrong (operating procedures, policies, etc.)


Selecting one thing in each of these areas shows that you are well rounded (and busy) hopefully not too busy.  Whatever you choose to do should be something you have a love for or at least enjoy.  If you do one of these things, don’t do it just to fill a square.  If your purpose is only to fill squares, then you won’t have the commitment that goes along with what you volunteered to do.

         Start an Adopt-A-School Program, mission outreach, become part of a crisis hotline, feeding the homeless, a clothing drive, recycle program, neighborhood clean-up, coach little league, intramural or community center sports team, scouting program, orphanage or retirement/nursing home, Meals On Wheels, Toys For Tots, Operation Santa Claus, or a holiday food basket (base or organizational level)

         Volunteer for special ceremonies or projects;  seek a key position if one is available

         You don’t have to wait until these things are about to happen ask a few months in advance and give a reminder as the time draws close

         Get involved in the Airmen’s Council, Unit Advisory Council,  Booster Club, NCO Club Advisory Council, Menu Planning Board, Dormitory Council

         Unit and Base Top-3/4 Associations, Team-56, First Four Airman’s Council, Air Force Association (AFA), Air Force Sergeant’s Association (AFSA), Noncommissioned Officers Association (NCOA) or some professional association related to you job

         Organize “mock” boards for squadron or head up a mentorship program

         As for cultural, there’s the African American Heritage Council, the Latino Club, the Asian/Oriental/Polynesian Association, Native American Awareness Society, Women’s Organizations and several others too numerous to mention

NOTE:  Remember, don’t let the fact that you aren’t a part of a particular culture stop you from taking an active and in some case a leadership role in certain aspects of that culture.  Keep in mind however; some things can be sensitive when dealing with different cultures so become as familiar as possible with the culture beforehand.

         There are also civic organizations in the community: Big brother/sister, Detention Youth Services, Rotary Club, etc.

         If you attend a church, temple or synagogue you may want to get more involved in what’s going on there (i.e., teach classes, bible studies, feeding programs, electronic technician)

         Many of these things are what you would be doing anyway, the only thing now is that you will allow the Air Force to know that you have been such a positive influence for them in this different arena

         Most of the time it’s not just enough to go to something, but in order to show leadership we need to take a more active role in whatever organizations we are a part of

          For example, chair a committee or fund-raiser, become an officer (president or vice, parliamentarian, treasurer, recorder/secretary, etc.)


Here’s where you get to feel good about yourself by making those improvements you want:

         This can be something as deep as getting a degree or as simple as listening to a  tape series or reading a book and implementing some of it’s principles in your shop or unit

         Become the resident expert in something useful to your shop(self taught expert); be the one others come to for help

         Mention selections to special schools or classes normally reserved for a higher grade

         Become a certified CPR instructor, organize a unit program and train unit members

         Complete your career development Course months ahead of time, or in 40% of the allotted time or with a higher than average score of 90% or more

         If your organization doesn’t have an incentive program for such a thing, start one

         Take a college course or courses and maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better

         Attend seminars especially those that relate to your career field, or managerial skills.

         Volunteer for and attend special courses at other bases or field training detachment courses.

         When you return from school incorporate what you’ve learned, establish a better program, implement necessary changes, and enhance the existing program.

         Train or retrain others in your work section, other shops within your organization

         Train people in another organization or branch of service (get your people trained first)

         Complete a correspondence course, take college level tests (CLEP, Dantes, ACT/PEP), earn an associates, bachelors, masters, doctorate degree.

         Keep in mind, only an associated degree is required but it doesn’t hurt to have more education to better you as a person.

         Whatever degree you pursue immediately after your associates make sure it’s related to your military job (SNCO boards look at that).  It won’t increase your board score by much if at all but, if all other SNCO’s are equal in every other area with you, that may be the discriminator.

         If you pursue a masters degree I would suggest that you choose whatever you like or as a SNCO you may want to pursue a degree in some form of management (industrial, human resource, business) you’ll have to weigh and choose based on your own needs.

         Make sure these things are related to making you a more productive member of the Air Force.

         An excellent source is your senior leadership (tap into it); implement what they tell you but with your own flare or flavor added.

         Develop a continuity binder on additional or specific duties in your shop/office.

         Attend conferences that enhance you technical, personal and professional growth.

         Participate in sports (coach), aerobic/anaerobic fitness and stress management programs.

         Ask to sit on base and squadron quarterly award, BTZ, and OAY board as member.


This is an area that requires visibility; there are times when being seen is a good thing and there are other times when it’s an absolute must.

         What can you do, what gifts, talents, abilities do you have that can be used for the Air Force?

         Sing the national anthem, read the NCO Creed, Challenge, or Oath at an official function, recite a poem, paint a mural, landscape your shop area

         Volunteer to be the Mistress or Master of  Ceremony at a base function

         Give a lecture, speech, briefing, teach a class, conduct a seminar

         Entertain questions in an appropriate public forum on behalf of the Air Force when given the opportunity; join the Air Force Honor Guard

         Take on a tough project that no one else wants, get sound instruction  and run with it

         Be a part of military ceremonies, induction, promotion, retirement, assumption/change of command ceremonies, base honor guard, give military museum tours

         Call a local recruiter, ask to speak at a local elementary, junior high or high school during one of his regular visits


Things go here when they don’t fit into any of the other categories.


         How else do you spend your time in a way that will benefit yourself, others and the USAF?

         Take on the responsibility as the unit voting officer/NCO, point of contact for the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), Air Force Assistance Fund, Volunteer Income Tax Assistant  (VITA) representative for base and unit, Walk/Jogathon, Biathlon, etc.  

         Winning and being nominated for quarterly awards, Annual Awards, 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year.

         Decorations earned while on  TDY (i.e., JSCM, AFCM, JSAM, AFAM)

         Initiate and manage an organizational program

         Be the point of contact for an additional duty: bench stock, supply point, special level, corrosion control, battery monitor, training monitor, vehicle control NCO, technical order monitor. 

         Spearhead an in-house self-help project. 

         Earn the honor of being the Commandant, Levitow Award, or Distinguished Graduate in ALS, NCO or SNCO Academy

         Always show pride by wearing your uniform properly; neat, clean, safe and proper military image (IAW AFI 36-2903)

         After completing your CCAF degree you may want to become an adjunct instructor.  PME schools are always on the lookout for them.  They have a selection of subjects, choose one.

 These are the areas to beef up and keep strong as consistently as you can.  You don’t have to do them all but you must maintain a good balance.  If you follow these guidelines you will not be disappointed at the outcome.  Remember to do your best in whatever undertakings you pursue or are tasked with.  If you want the best ratings on your EPR’s or win awards then you must do the things that will get them for you.  These things will help, count on it!

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Page added on: 08 September 2006

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Revised: 12/21/08.