Teach North Korean Refugees is a Non-Profit Organization dedicated to teaching North Korean defectors English. With some help, I coordinated an event where five refugees shared their stories of escape to the Soldiers in our Battalion. If you find yourself stationed in Korea, look up this incredible organization! Also, this serves as a small example of what you can do to contribute to your unit and write on your OER Support Form
I walked into my new commander’s office for my second initial counseling.
I guess we’ll see what this one has in store…
My first initial counseling proved standard at best. The gist of it: “Be accountable. Lead. Don’t mess up too much.”
So, in my attempt at optimism, I figured my next initial counseling could only improve.
My eyes widened as my commander placed a whole packet in my hand complete with a memo outlining his expectations.
“Ive, these are my goals and expectations for you. By the end of the week, I want you to start your OER Support Form so that you can set yourself up for success when the time comes for me to write your OER.”
I nodded my head, probably a little too enthusiastically.
“Roger, Sir. On it.”
In the meantime, my mind panicked. OER Support Form? What is that? Sounds like extra work.
Time for long inquiries over wine with my long-time friend and mentor, Google.
Actually, I first relayed all my questions with my real mentor, my dad. Then…I reconfirmed with Google. Who doesn’t like a good excuse for an evening of wine and research?
So. OER support forms. They are 20 percent pain in the butt and 80 percent extremely helpful, especially as a starting point for listing goals and accomplishments in your rated time.
The Officer Evaluation Report (OER) Support Form allows you to state your personal goals in your specific job position and your accomplishments. More importantly, it empowers you to write your own evaluation so that the supervisor can simply copy, paste, and edit your writing for your OER.
Below is an example of my OER Support Form…
For platoon leaders, notice that the Company Commander, a Captain, serves as the rater, and the Battalion Commander, a Lieutenant Colonel acts as your senior rater. On the OER, the rater annotates the comments and achievements for each leadership attribute (Character, Presence, Intellect, Leads, Develops, and Achieves). The Senior rater writes a “Senior Rater comments” paragraph outlining your potential and rates you against other same ranking Officers in the same position. Note that these are not located on the OER support form. You are the sole creator and editor of the support form!
“Part IV: Rated Officer’s Duties and Responsibilities” outlines the four Ws of your specific duty. For the past year, I served as a platoon leader in a Patriot Battery. This responsibility coincides with my MOS, 14A, Air Defense Officer. Your duty description or location, however, may not necessarily align with your MOS. A Chemical Officer, for instance, may be assigned to S3. Although that Chem O may work with operations and perform tasks with S3, her rated time should describe the duties performed as a chemical officer for the battalion if assigned as the Battalion Chem O. Accordingly, Part IV must define the actual duty, not perceived duties since the OER will focus primarily on the aspects outlined in the “duties and responsibilities” portion.
Ok! Now on to the fun stuff. The “Major Performance Objectives” refer to the personal goals you desire to accomplish within your rated time. I advise that you nest these within the battalion’s and the battery’s mission to provide a reference point. At the same time, however, tailor the goals to your leadership style and personality. Under “Character,” for instance, I understood that I soon would become the senior LT in my battery. My commander and other lieutenants would look to me for guidance and direction. Although aware of this new-found responsibility, I created a habit of remaining quiet in training meetings for two reasons: (1) lack of confidence in the face of extremely competent contemporaries (2) lack of self-control. I tend to get angry over certain decision making… While I mentally noted this goal, writing it in my OER support form allowed me to create a tangible and obtainable objective. Now, I don’t shut up. Yes, I might be considerably outspoken at times, but each time I voice my suggestions (or…educated opinions) I know I tried to make a difference. More significantly, I consistently attempt to stay true to my self and my values.
In line with those personal goals lie “Significant Contributions.” These contributions answer the question, “What did you do to make yourself, platoon and battery better with regard to each leadership attribute?” Consistently scoring a 300 on the APFT, for example, is a strong bullet that would transfer onto the OER.
Since the OER Support form is a living document, update this at least every month. By the time your OER is due, translate your bullets into a small paragraph so your rater can transpose your significant contributions on to the OER.
Thus, “LT Velez earned a 300 on her APFT” becomes:
“1LT Velez carried herself with confidence and professionalism at all times. She possessed the presence of a future Battery Commander while maintaining a high level of professional bearing. Demonstrated her presence by maintaining an impressive 300 APFT score and set the example. Displayed robust resiliency in the face of pressure, certified first time gos during two Gunnery Certifications.”
Do not underestimate your contributions! You will become surprised at the incredible amount of work you accomplished in your time as a platoon leader. Whether you earn a first time “Go” on an evaluation or coordinate a battalion event, the sky is the limit. We just get so bogged down in work that nothing feels noteworthy by the end of a year. If you do not take responsibility for your achievements though, no one will. So go get started on that support form!