The information below is from a debrief after a selection board for senior URL reserve officers. Some helpful takeaways for all of us to remember. Remember, your record is YOUR responsibility, and if YOU don’t take care of it and make sure its squared away, no one will. Take time out two or three times a year to audit your record and make sure you’re not missing anything. It can pay dividends during the board.
“The Tank” has 6 large screens. They are arranged as follows:
1st screen: Full length photo. Get it updated. Be in the proper uniform. It is amazing how many people get it wrong. Its speaks volumes.
2nd screen is your Officer Summary Record
3rd screen is your history file
Good wickets to have in your history:
- DH Billet
- O-4 XO Billet
- Hardware Billet – having Navy hardware (ie. Riverine boats, testing facilities, etc.) under your care.
- OIC Billet as an O-4
- O-4 CO Billet
- O-5 Major Command Billet
- Hard tours are better than Soft Tours – boots on the ground in Afghanistan vs feet wet in Tampa-stan
Screens 4-6 have other relevant material such as:
1) Leadereship Billets
2) Record EP’s Rule – MP’s OK as long as followed by EP’s/Soft breakouts (new guys will get MPs with senior guys ahead retaining EP’s)
3) JPME – this is huge and it makes a big mark in your favor if you have it
4) Masters Degree – even if its not an NPS or War College make sure you enter that info into your record
5) Soft Breakouts – maybe you didnt get the EP because of sheer numbers, but your fitrep can explain that they just ran out of space for you.
Homesteading – staying in the same unit as an O-5 bouncing from DH to DH roles. Never progressing upward to XO/CO roles.
Your briefers are your advocate and they make you or break you. It’s up to you to provide them with the ammo to have enough positive to talk about. If they don’t have anything to say, then the silence speaks for itself.
You may be stuck in an admin unit or something totally unrelated from “the pointy end of the spear.” Don’t get frustrated. Take charge of your AOR and make it run the best it can. Take hard jobs wherever you are to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. Make your above and beyond effort impossible to ignore for the board members.
As always, you have to balance these things with your civilian job and your family. Remember you get to decide what kind of SWO your going to be, so find the stuff that you can do, and do it well. If you can’t mobilize and deploy, then work at your home unit and get the academic stuff done. Support however you can to give yourself the best chances, just realize what the impact is of the choices you’re making.