How to fire the best bullets

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jay Ponder
  • 908th Airlift Wing
Crafting the right bullets for the construction of award, decoration and EPR packages can make all the difference to a board with numerous submissions to wade through.

A short course was recently given by Chief Master Sgt. Leon E. Alexander, 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, whose packages have met with great success at 22nd Air Force, AFRC and Air Force levels.

The class was attended by more than 40 Airmen, some who wanted to brush up on their bullet-writing skills, and those just needing to know how to get started.

Alexander said the most important thing to begin with is the gathering of facts. He explained how the evaluator has to gather the facts documenting specific information on the action performed.

"You can't build a good package without getting all of the facts. You need to have all of the information!"

Some of the other handy hints, the chief imparted was to stick with single-line bullets because once the bullet expands into more than one sentence, many of the words become 'fluff,' meaning the words are just for filler and take up space.

Alexander said that when writing a bullet, ensure you can identify its impact. There are three parts to a bullet: action, impact and result. The bullet starts with action, a strong, past-tense verb.

"This part is the most important," emphasized Alexander, "'Assist' gets you nowhere. Use words like 'led,' 'orchestrated' and 'oversaw,' especially for officers and NCOs."

Using words in the bullets like 'ensure,' such as in "ensured the logistical flow of material" was an example of utilizing impact, and the bullet should close with results, such as saving money, labor or materials.

Alexander pointed out the number of points a bullet is awarded during evaluation depends on the way it is written.

"Being a senior airman, I don't have to write EPRs yet. I didn't know it took so much detail," said Senior Airman Joseph A. Watkins of 25th APS about the bullet writing instruction, saying what he learned would help him as he advances through the ranks. "Chief Alexander went into detail about the bullet writing and was very through."

For those looking for some help, Alexander said is a good tool where you can enter any AFSC and thousands of bullets will be available. If you're struggling, it is a great resource, not only for all bullet examples but rates them by strength, one through five.

It also has package examples for different types of awards.
Chief Alexander's 'Silver Bullet' Writing Tips

  • Be sure the bullet is formatted with an action, an impact and a result. It doesn't matter how fluffy or good they sound, you have to clearly identify these three items.
  • Bullets must be single line.
  • Bullets must be formatted and transition properly.
  • Bullets must be written in past-tense
  • Pay attention to the level of leadership in the beginning. There's a difference between a master sergeant who delivered 1,300 pieces of equipment and the master sergeant who oversaw its delivery.