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141st - Recognition Where Recognition is Due

Feb 2008 -- I'm an old guy and have been around the block a time or two. I'm not going to get any more promotions and my retirement is approaching with the airspeed of a KC-135 in flight. But I love to be appropriately recognized for my contributions.
Why? Because, along with a jolt of encouragement, it's a way to gauge my individual performance. If I'm properly recognized, I'll do a better job in the time I have left to serve my fellow Airmen.
So, if it's true for me, it's probably true for the rest of the population. Our people have so many ways to be encouraged and raised to a higher level of performance. In the military, that recognition comes in the form of: a simple "Thank You", to a written acknowledgement of thanks, to an award or decoration, all the way to a promotion in rank or responsibility (or both).
We are a busy fighting force for our citizens. We have more to do than we have time to do it and we are doing it here in the Inland Northwest or on the other side of the world in some sandy and dusty country.
Recognition should be "the truth well told" either verbally, with the written word, with awards or promotions. Recognition should be first of merited and then earned. For a lot of positive feed back, just look your fellow Airmen in the eye and tell them, "Thank You", and what they do that causes you to notice their performance. Verbal is good, written is better. Write up a Letter of Commendation and make sure the Airman receives it in as public a forum as possible. If merited, consult AFI 36-2803, Air Force Awards and Decorations.
If you have never filled out an AF1206, Nomination for Award, learn how to do -NOW! This form will be more and more required for recognition programs like Outstanding Enlisted Member, AF Outstanding Airmen of the Year, and various AFSC-related awards. Make sure you study the governing directive for each award whether it be and AF, ANG, WA ANG or 141 ARW Instruction. Get copies of well written 1206's from your First Sergeant or Command Chief if you need them.
"Narratives" are written for numerous decorations. The requirements for them are precise but they are not difficult. Make sure your spelling, punctuation, and grammar are correct. Also, make sure the narrative is written so someone unfamiliar the AF lingo can understand it: write it in plain English rather than "Air Force-ese". Make sure you explain the nominee's action and the impact of their actions clearly. Again, find a couple good examples and build on the nominee's particular contributions.
Lastly, meet the deadlines, package components, and endorsement requirements for each award. These are virtually ALWAYS explained in the governing directive or the announcement that comes soliciting the nomination. I hate to be the one to reject a package because it is late or incomplete, especially if the individual that is nominated deserves the award or decoration. It causes the individual embarrassment and reflects poorly on your leadership.
Recognizing our Great American Airmen is a privilege because we work with the very best people this country has to offer. It is also a responsibility to make sure that we tell their story clearly, proudly, and in a manner that confirms America's gratitude and leaves a legacy of excellence for those that follow us.