Applicant's leadership needs to do a better job of screening applicants before submitting to the board. Competition is extremely tough and candidates with mark downs, no awards, no stratifications, low GPAs, and lackluster push from their command chain does not work out well for the individual and lessens the credibility of the endorser's signature.
Encourage truthful feedback to ensure applicant understands the likelihood of selection. If the member is not competitive for the upper tier of our enlisted corps, why would he or she be competitive for the officer corps. The college degree is only the invitation to apply but proven leadership, performance and potential makes the applicant highly competitive.
Board members spent too much time doing the commander's or supervisor's job. That took away from truly assessing our best and brightest.
1.) Make the tough call at your level. This is a very competitive board. Applicants with mark downs on EPRs, little/no achievements or awards will not fare well. If the member is not competitive, give them feedback on why you will not submit them. Don't take the easy road out.
2.) If you are taking the time to submit an applicant, stratify them on the Form 56. "My #1 OTS/BOT applicant" is nebulous comment to the board (Do you have only one applicant?). If they would not receive a stratification within rank in your squadron, why should they be an officer in our Air Force?
3.) The words you use on a Form 56 or Endorsement Letter matter to the board just like they would on an EPR or OPR. Don't confuse the message with poorly chosen words.
4.) Ensure applicants are capturing their significant achievements in the package or on the Form 56. Several times, I found NCOYs or Amn OTY awards in the EPRs which were not listed earlier on. Leave no chance of a significant award being missed.
Commanders need to do a better job of screening applicants prior to submission. The competition is fierce! Help your Airman understand the environment and please don't pass mediocre records to the board. Develop your Airman through thoughtful feedback. Not everyone with a degree should be an officer. The applicant should d SQ/CC recommendations are great and certainly you need the SQ/CC endorsement BUT if this is the #1 Amn in the Wing, then it should be easy to get the Wing/CCs endorsement. Stratification is important in the memos. IF you send 5 letters from a Wing then please tell us your #1/5 through your #5/5. Recommend all forms 56 go through the SQ/CC and endorsed by the first O-6 in the chain of command.
Recommend getting the highest recommendation letter for the applicant. Not all should go to the Wing/CC or GO but those that should will resonate with the board. Suggest brevity in the letter of recommendation. NO more than 1 page