It’s time to prepare for annual awards season

  • Published
  • By the 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
  • 39th Logistics Readiness Squadron
After 16 days of athletics, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games have come to a close.

Athletes from 203 countries came together to compete in 28 sports and more than 300 events. We heard many stories of personal sacrifice and physical triumphs made to accomplish Olympic quests. For many, simply just being there was recognition enough, and medals were not necessary.

Our annual awards recognition season is gearing up and the initial call for suspenses has gone out. We will have our functional, unit, Air Force specialty-specific, 12 Outstanding Airmen and Installation Excellence Awards again this year, along with many others.

A new Air Force award this year is the General George C. Kenney Award for Lessons Learned, recognizing the most notable contribution to the Air Force mission in a given year through the "lessons learned" process.

My intent here is not to highlight any particular award, but to emphasize there are many awards our people, teams and units can compete for.

We need to start our awards "training program" now by reviewing Air Force instructions and supplements pertaining to functional areas, selecting which awards to put our people in for and identifying who to write a package on. We should be watching for "taskers" with suspense dates and not waste time getting started.

Also, draft the package, let it sit for a day or two then go back and take a hard look at it. Do the bullets clearly show action and results? Is the package competing outside of your functional area where it can be clearly understood and not too jargon-heavy?

Many successful squadrons use the "murder board" process of gathering five or six strong writers who are working on packages in a conference room to critique and brainstorm. Some of the strongest packages come out of this approach.

It's doubtful any of us will ever feel the rush of standing on the Olympic podium receiving our eighth gold medal, but we can take pride in writing the very best award packages for our Airmen, ensuring their hard work is recognized.