Malmstrom Airmen teach bullet writing seminars

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson
  • 120th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Office
Airmen assigned to the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base conducted three bullet writing classes for members of the 120th Airlift Wing of the Montana Air National Guard Oct. 22, 2015.

Bullets are short and to-the-point sentences describing the outstanding acts of an individual Airman, how they did the act and the resulting impact of the act on the Air Force mission, resources or personnel.

Many official Air Force documents require properly written bullets such as the EPR (Enlisted Performance Report) and quarterly and annual awards packages.

Bullet writing has become an important part of the appraisal process for guardsmen. EPRs have been written annually for Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) members, but biennial EPRs are now being written on all enlisted members of the MTANG.

120th Airlift Wing Tech. Sgt. Rosheila Haggard recognized the guard needed training in this Air Force writing technique and located a member of the active duty Air Force willing to help teach bullet writing seminars.

Tech. Sgt. Jared Lingle, 341st MW NCO in charge of the operations engineering section, has served as an Air Force supervisor since 2007 and has extensive experience in writing EPRs and serving on awards boards.

Lingle said the one who rates an Airman may not always fully know their accomplishments as well as the Airman's supervisor. That's why it's so important to correctly document that individual's accomplishments.

"Basically, a bullet is a word picture," Lingle said. "You want to make that word picture appropriate for the Airman. It's about making what they have done show up on paper. That way anybody who does not know this Airman or NCO is able to look at this piece of paper and be able to evaluate their career effectively."

Lingle said that occasionally a two-part bullet can be written, but the most effective bullet for official documents is a three-part bullet. 

"A good three-part bullet is what you did, how you did it, and the impact of what you did," Lingle said. "If you can capture that with the right amount of validation and numbers to back it up, that's a pretty perfect bullet that anybody can read universally."

Meaningless adjectives should never be used, uncommon abbreviations should always be avoided and there are specific rules to follow when using punctuation when writing bullets.

"We don't use a whole lot of commas or periods or exclamation points-you'll want to avoid that," Lingle said. "You break up what they did and how they did it with a semicolon, and then you use a dash-dash between that and the impact."

Leaving some white space at the end of the bullet or filling the line completely with characters can be a subjective matter to bullet writers.

"The best bullet is obviously going to go all the way to the end of the line," Lingle said. "I do not think it's a career-killer to have a little bit of white space, less than two characters at the end of the line."

Lingle said learning how to construct proper bullets can even benefit a guardsman while they are working in their civilian career. 
"Basically, writing a bullet is getting a lot of information into a very short sentence," When your boss asks you for information, it's always good to be able to keep it short, to the point, easy and anytime you're working with anything on paper it's going to help you in your civilian life."

Lingle plans to leave Malmstrom on a PCS (Permanent Change of Station) soon and will turn future bullet writing seminars taught at the MTANG over to 341st Civil Engineering Squadron Operations Manager Staff Sgt. Rodney Bradley to conduct.