Letters to the board

Throwback Thursday Classic Post – Should You Send a Letter to the Promotion Board?

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Assuming you are under consideration by a promotion board, the answer is yes if:

  • You have letters of recommendation you want to send in, traditionally because you are above zone and were passed over at least once. In general, you should try to get letters of recommendation from the most senior members who know you well enough to discuss your contributions to the Navy and why you should get promoted. For example, it is probably better to get a letter from an O6 who knows you well than to get a letter from an O8 who does not. Your specialty leader is always a solid choice as a letter writer if you are unsure who to get one from.
  • You are reporting to a new command before the FITREP cycle and your Commanding Officer is willing to write a positive letter about your contributions to your new command.
  • You have issues in your record or career that require explanation or amplifying information. For example, you want to tell the promotion board how promotion to the next rank will allow you to do something you can’t do at your present rank, like screen for XO. If there are any gaps in your military service or any new information not on your FITREPs, these may need explanation as well.
  • You have to make corrections/additions to your record (like missing or illegible FITREPs, awards, academic or professional achievements, etc.) but you either don’t have time to update them the standard way or your have tried without success.

THINGS TO REMEMBER

There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • After the board is finished, anything you sent is discarded. You cannot permanently update your record by sending documentation to the board.
  • By law, a letter to the board must be considered. In other words, if you don’t want the board to discuss a topic, don’t mention it in a letter. If there is adverse information in your record, sending a letter discussing it may help if you have amplifying information to add. Then again, if it is something they might not have noticed, sending a letter discussing it ensures that they will notice it!
  • Your Commanding Officer usually should not write a letter if he/she has done a FITREP on you, as his/her opinion should be reflected in the FITREP.
  • They are usually not recommended if you are in-zone unless there is a reason to send a letter listed above. Do not send one just for the fun of it.
  • Keep the length of letters to a minimum – one page or less – as boards have to read everything that is sent to them.
  • Do not send copies of publications.
  • Only the service member can send the letter on his/her behalf. In other words, if you have a letter from an admiral, you need to send it to the board. Don’t have the admiral’s aide send it because it will just get shredded and will not be briefed to the board.
  • Your letter must arrive no later than 10 calendar days before the board convenes.

I’M STILL NOT SURE IF I NEED TO WRITE A LETTER

Write the letter, but keep it brief. This way if you are not selected for promotion, you’ll at least know the board had all the info you wanted them to have.

HOW DO I WRITE/SEND THE LETTER?

See the following website for all the info you need, including a sample letter to a board:

http://www.public.navy.mil/BUPERS-NPC/BOARDS/ACTIVEDUTYOFFICER/Pages/default.aspx

Use DoD ID Number and Not Your SSN on Letters to the Board

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Live and learn…

You no longer use your social security number on letters to promotion boards. The middle of this webpage at PERS says:

Also, you MUST use your FULL 10 digit DoD identification number on your cover letter and any document that does not already contain it.

Here is the updated sample letter to a board from PERS.

The Word File of My Promo Board Letter and Other Templates

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Lots of people are asking me for templates for letters to promotion boards. Here is the exact letter in Word format that I sent to last year’s O6 board (minus my Xed out SS#):

Schofer Letter to O6 Board

You can also use these:

PERS Sample Letter to the Board

PERS Promotion Board Letter – Word Template

All the Posts About Letters to the Board in One Place

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The question most people ask me is answered in these posts:

Should You Send a Letter to the Promotion Board?

Do You Still Need to Send the Above Zone Letter?

The bottom line is:

Pretend that you did not send a letter to the board, the board is over, and you were not selected for promotion. Are you going to be kicking yourself for not sending the letter? If the answer is yes or maybe, then send the letter. As long as you keep it short and sweet, there is no real downside.

Frankly, I think that when officers send letters to promotion boards they are often just making themselves feel better, and there is nothing wrong with that. You want to make sure that when the promotion board results come out, no matter what happened, you feel like you did everything you could to get promoted.

 

Letters to promotion boards have a new due date. You can’t send them the day before the board anymore:

Letters to Promotion Boards Now Due 10 Calendar Days Before the Board

 

If you know you are getting out of the Navy and really don’t care about getting promoted, you should read this post:

What is a “Don’t Pick Me” Promotion Board Letter? Why Would You Send One?

 

Have you been on active duty for less than 1 year? Read this:

How to Be Considered for Promotion if You’ve Been on Active Duty for Less Than 1 Year

 

You now need to use your DoD ID number and not your Social Security number on letters to the board. Read this:

Use DoD ID Number and Not Your SSN on Letters to the Board

 

Happy holidays!