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SPECWAR - XO’s Enlisted EVAL Writing Guidance

Ranking Recommendations:
With only a few exceptions, what the chiefs give
me for rankings is what I will use.  However, the board and supervisors need to
ensure the grades match the rankings so our top performers are broken out above
average, and those middle/lower pack are at or slightly below the average.  The
poor performers usually bring the average down if they are marked accordingly.  I
should not have to adjust/change the grades to match the ranking.

Format and Style:  Certain formatting standards should be adhered to while
drafting fitness reports and evaluations.  These include:

Block 29 (Primary/Collateral/Watch Standing Duties):  This block should include
both duty titles (followed by the number of months that the individual performed this
duty) and job scope description.  This is an important part of the form because it
determines what billet will be listed on the Enlisted Summary Record reviewed at
boards.

Duty Titles:  These should be listed in order of precedence from the most important
down followed by the number of months that the individual performed that duty.  The
first duty title (primary duty) should match the abbreviation in the title box.  Duty titles
should show progression in leadership assignments recognized as “prerequisites”
for promotion to next pay grade (LPO, LCPO, etc.).

Job scope descriptions:  These should include number of individuals supervised
and significant job descriptors such as budget responsibilities or material
management.  This block can be continued into block 43.  Avoid repeating
acronyms that appear in the duty title.  Attempt to use common acronyms, such as
LCPO vice Leading Chief Petty Officer, etc., in order to save space in this block.  
Job scope descriptions should be standard for similar billets in different divisions.  
If someone is a new SEAL and not assigned a departmental duty within the TU or
Plt, then his primary responsibility is “SDV PILOT.”  The following are examples (in
10-Pitch New Courier):

[PLT LPO]  XXXX PLT LPO-12.  Enlisted leader for a XX-man SDV platoon
including SDV, MS, and SDV support elements.  Supervised SEALs, Navy Divers
and Fleet Technicians including five E-5's.  Mission Specialist-12, Platoon
Corpsman-12, Platoon Sniper-12, Combat Swimmer-12.  COLL:  Small Boat
Coxswain-12.  TAD:  XXX days.

[LIFE SUP]  Task Unit XXXXX Life Support Dept Rep-8. Responsible for
operation  and maintenance of $9M of open and closed circuit UBAs and two MK8
MOD 1A  SDVs. SDV Pilot/Navigator/Combat Swimmer (NEC 5323)-12. SEC:
SDV Platoon LPO-8. TAD: XXX days.

[SR TRNG LPO]  Special Reconnaissance Training LPO-5. Enlisted leader for a
XX-man cell responsible for training XX MS Platoons in Land Warfare tactics,
techniques and procedures. Supervised XX personnel including XX E-5’s.  SDV
Pilot/ Navigator/Combat Swimmer (NEC 5323)-12. SEC: Task Unit XXXX
Communications Representative-7.  COLL: Range Safety Officer-5.  TAD: XXX
days.

[PLT COMMS]  XXXX Plt Comm Rep-12.  Responsible for maintenance,
operational readiness, and tactical employment of 228 pieces of specialized
communications equipment worth $1.5M.  Combat Swimmer-12, Static Line
Parachute-12, and MS Operator-12.  COLL:  Small Boat Coxswain-12.  TAD: XXX
days.

[PLT ORD]  Task Unit XXXX Platoon Ordnance Dept Rep-12. Responsable for
operational readiness and tactical employment of 371 weapons and optics worth
$1M. SDV Pilot/Navigator/Combat Swimmer (NEC 5323)-12. Duties include
diving, parachuting, use of explosives and piloting a mini-submersible valued at
$3.5M. TAD: XXX days.

[PLT AIR]  XXXX Plt Air Rep-12.  Responsible for accountability and operational
readiness of 1032 pieces of specialized Air Ops equipment worth $250K. Combat
Swimmer-12, SDV Pilot/Navigator-12, and Platoon Rigger-12.  COLL:  Demolition
Driver-12, and Small Boat Coxswain-12.  TAD:  XXX days.

[SDV PILOT]  SDV Pilot/Navigator/Combat Swimmer (NEC 5323)-12. Duties
include diving, parachuting, use of explosives and piloting a mini-submersible
valued at $3.5M. COLL: Demolition Driver-12. TAD: XX days.

[MS SEAL]  Task Unit XXXX Platoon Mission Specialist-4.  SDV
Pilot/Navigator/Combat Swimmer (NEC 5323). Duties include diving, parachuting,
use of explosives and piloting a mini-submersible valued at $3.5M  COLL:  Plt
Comm Dept Rep-04. WATCH:  DPO-12.  TAD: XX days.

[2ND CLASS DV]   Second Class Diver-12.  Dry Deck Shelter Diver (DDS)
/Operator XXXX Platoon-3.  Responsible for the operation, maintenance, and
repair of a submarine based deep submergence diving systems.  COLL:  QA
Craftsman-12, WCS-3, CMPO-2, and Assistant Supply Petty Officer-3.  WATCH:  
DPO-12.   TAD: XX days.

[OBM MECHANIC] Engineering Department Outboard Motor Mechanic-12, Small
Boat Coxswain-12.  COLL: Command Coxswain Course POIC-9, Division Hazmat
Program Coordinator-6, Division Safety Petty Officer-6, Division Training Petty
Officer-6. WATCH: Duty Petty Officer-11.  TAD: XX Days. TEMADD/TT/LV:
XXJANXX-XXFEBXX.      

[SDV TECH]  SDV Technician-8. Responsible for the upkeep and repair of two
classified NSW combat mini-submersibles and their associated handling
equipment. COLL: XXXX Platoon 3-M Coordinator-6, Hull Shop 3-M WCS-5,
Gage Calibration PO-5, Hull Shop Supply Petty Officer-5 and Small Boat Coxswain-
12.  WATCH:  DPO-12.

[C4I AIS TECH]  Automated Information Systems Technician-12.  Provides
support  for 220 SEALS, Divers and Technicians.  COLL: Command CESE
Coordinator-12, Duty Gateguard Coordinator-12, C4I Assistant Supply Petty
Officer-12 and Small Boat Coxswain-12. WATCH: Duty Gateguard-12. TAD: XX
days.

Collateral duties:  Collateral duties that display leadership, responsibility or
technical skill should be emphasized.  Examples include:  Diving Supervisor, Jump
Master, Diving Medical Technician, etc.

Block 43 (Comments on Performance):  This block should follow a standard
formula for all Evaluations and Fitness Reports.  It should consist of three parts:  an
opening comment, bullets describing accomplishments, and a summary statement.






Opening Comment:  This section should consist of two parts.  

First, a short and sharp opening statement should start this block.  It should be one
or two phrases that contain a comparative statement or a numerical comparison.  In
general, we will highlight the specific breakout of all the EPs and the top MPs in a
Summary Group.  The opener can be used to explain why an individual is not
ranked if such a comment is justified.

Second, the opening comment should finish with a complete sentence/phrase that
describes the individual’s most significant, overarching attributes or
accomplishment during the reporting period.

I like to use ALL CAPS for the opening comment, but if there is more amplifying
information that requires a longer sentence, regular sentence case in fine.  Opening
comment examples:

#1 of 23 COMPETITIVE SEALS!  ONE OF NAVAL SPECIAL WARFARE'S
SUPERSTARS! XX2 XXXXXXXX's superb professionalism, leadership, and
performance are unmatched among his peers.  

#2 OF 28 HIGHLY COMPETITIVE E-5 TECHS AND DIVERS; #1 DIVER!
CONSUMMATE PROFESSIONAL, INVALUABLE ASSET TO MY COMMAND.

#3 OF 28 HIGHLY COMPETITIVE E-5 TECHS AND DIVERS!  THE IDEAL
SAILOR, MECHANIC, AND PEER; NEVER GIVES LESS THAN 100%.
INVALUABLE ASSET TO MY COMMAND AND THE U.S. NAVY!

#4 OF 23 HIGHLY COMPETITIVE E-5 SEALS. SDVT-2'S JUNIOR SEAL SAILOR
OF THE YEAR (FY-05)!

#1 MP IN A GROUP OF HIGHLY COMPETITIVE SEALS.  

#2 MP IN A GROUP OF HIGHLY COMPETITIVE SEALS. SUPERB ABOVE
PAYGRADE PERFORMANCE!

BREAKOUT PERFORMER-- #6 OF 17 HIGHLY COMPETITIVE MP E-5 TECHS
AND DIVERS. UNLIMITED POTENTIAL!   

ROCK-SOLID PERFORMER.  SEALS LIKE XX2 XXXXX ARE THE BACKBONE
OF NSW!  
HIGHLY DEDICATED AND PROFESSIONAL YOUNG SEAL.  Although junior in
experience, XX2 XXXXXX routinely displays the maturity and potential to become
one of SDV Team TWO's most valuable assets.

HARD WORKER WITH OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL!

BACKBONE PERFORMER-- INVALUABLE TO THIS COMMAND!!
METHODICAL, CONSCIENTIOUS AND HIGHLY MOTIVATED PROFESSIONAL.

Example opening statement for someone who has stumbled but who is on the road
to recovery:

KNOWLEDGEABLE, CAPABLE AND AGGRESSIVE. XX2 XXXXXX is working
his way back up after lapsing but correcting minor deficiencies in the areas of
judgment and personal conduct.

UNLIMITED GROWTH POTENTIAL, POISED TO ACCEPT NEW LEADERSHIP
OPPORTUNITIES.

Example opening statement for someone with adverse marks:

ROCK-SOLID PERFORMER-- MISSION FOCUSED OPERATOR!  Ranked in 'P'
category due to prodding required to achieve mandatory DSWS qualification,
belying otherwise excellent performance.

*33, 34, 37, 38 and 39: FAILED TO MEET SEAL STANDARDS.  Poor
performance in basic SEAL skills this reporting period resulted in Disciplinary
Review Board.  Despite opportunity to correct deficiencies and additional mid-term
counseling, he was unable to meet the following standards:

Bullets:  Following the opening statements, specific accomplishments should be
outlined in a bullet format.  

I like to open the bullet with an ALL CAPS phrase that describes what you are
about to say about the individual.  Bullets should start with action words….
Developed, Led, Supervised, Managed, etc., and describe what was done, how
well, and results.  Specifics are very important!  Instead of "Always volunteers for
the hard jobs"  --  “Volunteered as PRT Coordinator for an 800 member command.  
Implemented a strong PRT program, ensured 100% participation and improved
overall command physical readiness by 20%."    

Use past tense for bullets; these should be past accomplishments during the
reporting period.

Use specific, verifiable accomplishments and place the most impressive
accomplishments first.  

Back up superlative comments with facts.  Describe not only what someone did but
also how he did it.  Specific details of the actual performance should appear
immediately and compromise the greatest part of the bullet.

Accomplishments that directly affect the command’s primary missions are most
significant.  Leadership accomplishments should be listed first.  This is especially
important if they involve combat experience, participation in major exercises or in
hazardous duties.  

Technical expertise (superior performance in the individual’s job) that had a direct
contribution to the command’s success, especially in the aforementioned
circumstances, should also be emphasized.

Qualifications, while important, should be listed behind bullets emphasizing
leadership or superior performance within the individual’s primary duties.  
Qualifications outside of the individual’s rate should be highlighted.

Use quantitative terms if possible.  Figures, numbers, percentages, ratios, grades,
etc. can carry more weight than descriptive statements.

Some bullet examples are:

COMBAT PROVEN.  While attached to NSWRON 10 and deployed to
Afghanistan, conducted 13 Direct Action, Cordon/Search, Time Sensitive Target,
and Special Reconnaissance (SR) missions resulting in the capture of 1 MVT, 33
confirmed Enemy Killed In Action (EKIA), 52 detained Anti-Coalition Militia (ACM),
and an estimated additional 89 EKIA.  Provided security overwatch during the
emplacement of an unmanned surveillance system providing early warning of
RPG/rocket attacks, greatly enhancing Coalition Force Protection capabilities.
Engaged ACM to provide cover fire for his teammate who was pinned down by
enemy fire.  Significant and heroic efforts aided in the disruption of ACM activity
and ensured the safe conduct of the landmark Afghanistan Parliamentary Elections.

EXCELLENT SDV PILOT. Stand-out performance while achieving 80-hours of dive
time with 100% success rate and zero mishaps.  Flawless SDV piloting during an
SDV/DDS/SSN exercise resulted in the Independent Certification of the USS
PHILADELPHIA.  Participated in 7 ground-breaking proof-of-concept SDV dives in
CENTCOM.  

HIGHLY MOTIVATED.  Aggressively pursued qualification as Hyperbaric Chamber
Supervisor, a watch station normally held by more senior divers.  Additionally, he
qualified at three DDS watch stations that allowed the USS PHILADELPHIA (SSN
690) and SDVT-2 to successfully complete COMSUBLANT's directed Independent
Operation Certification (ICERT).  Totally overhauled the Command's HAZMAT
program, which ensured strict compliance of Navy Regulations.

IMPECCABLE MANAGER.  Flawlessly managed a medical readiness system
which ensured 100% deployability of 225 personnel.  Superbly maintained $100K
in gas analyzing equipment and life-saving medical allowance loadouts.

UNPARALLELED LEADERSHIP.  As LPO and Communications Representative
for SDVT-2's Training Department, maintained 100% accountability of a CCI
communications and controlled equipment inventory valued at over $200K.  While
attending the rigorous 5-week NSW Communications COI, recognized for his
superb leadership potential by being named LPO of his class over three more
senior students.    

MISSION CRITICAL.  Magnificent performance as Primary SEAL Delivery Vehicle
Pilot for 25 high-risk and multi-level full-scale SDV Training Operations.  
Additionally, he expertly trained two other SEALs in navigation, emergency and
evasive actions, control of surface and subsurface mission support platforms, and
served as Logistical Support representative.

UNSURPASSED TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE. While working in Tech Support,
maintained six rotating SDV's under his direction and was personally responsible
for their flawless operational record.  Trained and developed ten SDV technicians
for independent operations, resulting in 100% operational readiness for forward
deployed platoons.

UNYIELDING SUPPORT.  Worked tirelessly 36 straight hours conducting pre-
operational checks, testing, and loading of 20 Zodiac F-470's, 16 35HP Outboard
Motors, and other essential gear to meet a short-notice, rapid deployment order for
Task Unit KATRINA.

TALENTED INSTRUCTOR.  Instructed 30 foreign personnel during bilateral
exercise with the Bahraini Special Forces.  Planned and coordinated 14
marksmanship and close-quarters combat training evolutions.  Skilled oversight as
RSO during 15 high-risk combat training evolutions ensured the 100% safety of US
and foreign personnel with zero mishaps.

OUTSTANDING INITIATIVE.  Volunteered for and successfully conducted
departmental test/calibration equipment inventory for 2200 pieces of equipment.  
Ensured an accurate accounting of Engineering Department assets, timely
calibration of equipment, and contributed to 100% equipment readiness for
forward-deployed platoons.

PROVEN LEADER.  Selected as LPO of his Advanced Operator Training (AOT)
class.  Led six SEALs during 20+ high-risk SDV dives.  Mentorship thoroughly
prepared AOT students for positions in SEAL Plts.  Amassed 80+ hours of dive
time on Open Circuit, MK-16, and LAR-V.

Closing (Summary) Statement:  A strong summary statement should be used to
tie together the bullets and make specific recommendations about the individual.  It
can restate recommendations already marked on the evaluation form and note
comparative rankings and specific duty recommendations.  Statements should
match promotion recommendations made on the evaluation form.  Particular
attention should be given to future potential and recommendations for the next
higher pay grade if warranted.  Again, I like to use ALL CAPS for the closing
statement.  Some examples are:  

EMBODIES THE SEAL ETHOS!  READY NOW FOR INCREASED
RESPONSIBILITY.

STANDOUT LEADING PETTY OFFICER.  PROMOTE TO E-6 NOW!

ALWAYS SEEKS EXTRA RESPONSIBILITY-- PERFORMS LIKE A SEASONED
E-6!  PROMOTE SOONEST TO HM1!!

A BACKBONE DIVER, INVALUABLE MEMBER OF THE COMMAND!!

TOP PERFOMER!! DEVOTES EVERYTHING TO COMPLETING THE MISSION.  
ADVANCE TO E-6 NOW!

Example closing statement for someone who has stumbled but who is on the road
to recovery:

HAS PROVEN HIMSELF PREVIOUSLY; WITH HARD WORK HAS UNLIMITED
POTENTIAL TO SUCCEED!

Example closing remarks/explanation for someone with adverse marks:

*36, 39: Displays lack of maturity and focus.  Was counseled on poor judgment and
decision-making abilities.  Due to his level of potential talent, improvement is
expected immediately.

*36 Awarded NJP on XX July XXXX for Failure To Obey A Lawful Order (Article
92); has since made significant progress and is considered a valuable member of
the command.

General Style/Substance Recommendations:  The following recommendations are
included as a general writing guide.

Utilize plain English.  Do not use overly flowery adjectives or adverbs when
describing and individual or his performance.

Avoid technical jargon and abbreviations.  If it is an important item, use a sentence
or two to explain it further detail.

Describe unfamiliar aspects of the command.  Especially describe how the
individual’s contribution to the command’s mission is unique within his rate.

Comment heavily on demonstrated leadership.

Capture TAD time.  Even though TAD time is listed in Block 29 it should be re-
emphasized in Block 43 if the individual has been deployed for significant periods
of time and/or in support of combat operations or operational contingencies.

If a SEAL deployed during the reporting period, or in the hazy area between the last
eval period and this one, we MUST capture this and make sure it is in his eval.  
This will be especially important when all SEALs have the same rating, and during
boards members have to pick through their evals to find out who really did what,
especially for combat deployments.  It is also important to capture all this info if a
SEAL wants to pursue commissioning programs, or include his evals in his resume
when he gets out, or wants to show his eval to his parents, or whatever.  We all
know that the combat awards process is slow and in many instances broken and
we have no other way (within our immediate control) to immediately and formally
recognize our guys for going into harm’s way.
Along the same lines, if someone was submitted for a combat award, especially
something with a “V” on it, we should spell that out when we mention their
deployment.  I see nothing wrong with saying, for instance: “Submitted by
NSWRON X (or whoever) for formal recognition of valor in combat due to X action
in support of X operations in X”, etc.

Prioritize collateral duties.  Command collateral duties should have priority over
department/division collateral duties.

Show increased responsibility.  Especially if an individual is filling the same billet
that he was during the previous evaluation period.

Attempt to break an individual out of his peer group.  Show specific reasons why
the individual stands out.

Be judicious in using member’s name in the narrative; it’s already on the form and
takes up space if you re-write it multiple times.  Also instead of saying “First Class
Petty Officer” say simply “E-6.”  And for numbers, when you are saying “over,”
“more than,” or “in excess of”, etc., just add a “+” behind the number (ie: supervised
60+ hours of incident-free diving).

It is now mandatory in reports on CO's, Officers, CPO's and LPO's who are
responsible for officer and enlisted personnel to comment on “efforts and quality of
results in fostering a command and workplace environment conducive to the growth
and development of personnel.”  This means that if you supervise, you must put a
blurb that talks about how your Sailors are blossoming under your leadership (i.e.,
“Exceptional mentor of Sailors.  Under his leadership, his/her division maintained a
95% retention rate and an overall advancement rate of 60%, well above Navy
averages.  Additionally, the last two Sailor of the Quarter selections were from his
division.  His/her troops excel!”  

Don’t waste a lot of words on community service and/or PRT results.

When we say “Formally recognized at the Group level,” which was in a few of these
evals, what do we mean?  Did the individual get an award, a letter, an e-mail, a
verbal attaboy, what, and by whom?  If the Commodore singled and individual out
for performance, we need to spell it out.

Don’t use “manage” when describing “leadership.”  People lead people, and
manage things.  Use “awarded” rather than “received” when discussing awards.

For E-5’s and above, we will not mark “NOB’s” for block 39 (Leadership).

Use “served” or “performed” rather than “acted” in describing assignments (“actors”
pretend).

Don’t use “participated” or “contributed” if you can honestly say “planned,”
“coordinated,” “led,” or “supervised.”

Don’t use “classified” or “sensitive” unless you really have to; feedback from
previous boards indicated that such terms are perceived as deceptive.  If you do
need to use them, provide as much amplifying info as OPSEC will allow.

Don’t use the term “Department Head” unless it corresponds to the Fleet
understanding of a “Department Head, otherwise we will just confuse board
members from the fleet reading our reports.  Use “LPO” or “Dept Representative”
instead.

If you have room, leave a blank line btwn the opening and the bullets and another
btwn the bullets and the closing; this makes the Eval/FITREP easier to read.  Don’t
cut substance, however, for this formatting recommendation.  

We need to come up with a single standard of abbreviations and designations for
block 41 recommendations.  For instance, “OCS,” “COMMISSION PROGRAM,” or
“OFFICER PROGRAM”?   

We also need to come up with standards of naming conventions for our elements.  
Task Units, Platoons, etc. should be named and abbreviated the same across the
board.  

Read the last Evals/FITREPs and ensure the current one isn’t simply a slightly
modified version of them.

Final Thoughts:  Before submitting a Fitness Report or an Evaluation ensure that
you perform three final steps:

ONE - proofread Fitness Report/Evaluation for spelling and grammar errors.  A
good way to do this is copy/paste the comments into MS Word.  Make sure your
settings are set up to proofread ALL CAPS (un-check the “Ignore Words in
UPPERCASE” under “Tools,” “Options,” “Spelling & Grammar” Tab).  Then simply
paste it back into the eval.

TWO - reread the final draft to see if it still accurately describes the individual that
you have evaluated.

THREE - print out a final draft and have the senior drafter in the Department sign it
at the bottom indicating they believe the draft incorporates above guidance and
represents their best effort, and include this signed draft in the submission to
Admin.  Bottom line—Department Heads need to QA all of their subordinates’
evals!

Very Last Thought:  Good Evals and FITREPs are the key mechanism through
which we take care of our folks within the big-Navy organization; nothing is more
important than this task except operational missions.  You should expend
significant effort on the Evals and FITREPs you are responsible for; as leaders, we
should and will have a very high standard for what we put on paper.  Our people
should be able to show their evals to their moms or their future employers and
should stand on their own as official documentation of their performance—they
MUST be well written and error-free!

If anyone has ANY questions please come see me.
Online guide to completing and improving your US Navy FITREPs and Evals
NavyFITREP.com