Who needs awards?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Rosalind Abdulkhalik
  • 934th Airlift Wing executive officer
What better way to say thank you for your efforts than an award or decoration.  Awards are an important tool in recognizing employees for their contributions to the mission.  It's a permanent and lasting reminder that they are appreciated.
I hear weekly about individuals that haven't ever received a decoration, some of who have served nearly 20 years!  I'm not saying everyone should get an award just because they've met a certain timeline. I fully agree with the quote from Mark Twain, "It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not deserve them." However, there are many who are deserving. To find out if your member meets the basic criteria for a decoration, you can ask your Commanders' Support Staff (CSS), pull their information from the Alpha Roster, ask the member to check their record in Personnel Records Display Application (PRDA), or initiate a decoration in vPC-Gr.

When you initiate a decoration in vPC-Gr, the system displays the number of awards a member has and date they were awarded. If it has been three or more years since the closeout of their last decoration, you should consider submitting an extended tour decoration. It doesn't have to be three years since their last decoration if the member is retiring, changing units or the award condition is "outstanding achievement." If an Airman has accomplished a one time, significant act or project, you could consider a medal under "outstanding achievement" conditions. 

Although decorations typically come to mind when we talk about awards, they aren't the only type of recognition supervisors have in their toolkit.  Awards come in all shapes and sizes and aren't just for Airmen.  Award recognition applies to civilians as well and range from quarterly awards, careerfield specific awards to monetary or time off awards. We just recently completed our annual appraisal cycle which was a perfect opportunity to recognize the efforts of civilian employees by awarding time off and/or cash award to employees that exceed standards. Additionally, each quarter we have quarterly award categories that aren't filled at the wing level. It definitely takes time to write the awards package but it's only 9 lines! If you need the format for quarterly awards, search 1206 on the F:Drive/Wing Comm Hub folder and it will pop up.

Taking care of people is your number one priority as a supervisor; if you don't, it negatively impacts their future.  Awards and decorations are reviewed during vector boards, development team boards, promotion boards, during the hiring process, as well as other competitive processes. I encourage supervisors to ask their CSS to pull a decoration roster and make it a priority to take care of their Airmen. For those who supervise civilians, consider putting a special act/service award together.  CPO can assist you in the award process. As mentioned previously, quarterly award packages are also a great way to recognize both military and civilian employees. Even if they don't win at the wing or higher level, they know they are appreciated.