Rating Our Troops


Active member
For all of you Vets out there, I know you understand what I’m about to say. For you guys/gals that haven’t joined the Armed Forces yet, you’ll eventually know what I’m going to talk about.
My leave expired yesterday so you guessed it; I had to go back in today. To my amazement, I was given three new troops to supervise! I convinced myself I would manage. After all, it is my job as a Staff Sergeant. But the real shocker came later in the day. I received an email from the Commanders Support Staff (CSS) saying there is an EPR due next week on one of my new troops. I don’t know what they call it in the other services, but an EPR in the Air Force is your annual “report card”.
Now here’s the problem. The new troop is currently somewhere in Iraq. I’ve never meet him before so I have no idea what kind of person he is. Does he have good supervisor/leadership qualities? How is his work ethic? Should I recommend him for promotion? These are all questions you must know the answer in order to write an effective EPR.
I approached a senior NCO in my unit with the dilemma. The NCO told me to BS my way through the EPR and rate him a “5”. (AF EPR’s are ranked from 1-5, 5 being the highest score)
This brings up my next point. Inflation! If I give him a “5” and he doesn’t deserve it, not only does it make me look bad, it gives him advantages in the future he may not deserve. However, you see this kind of thing everyday. Someone gets a “5” but in reality, deserve a “3”. A “3” isn’t bad. It’s just “complying with the standards” and nothing more. EPR’s are important when testing for rank. He could make rank faster than someone who really deserves it, all because his supervisor “doctored” his EPR.
What’s a man to do? There has to be a better system somewhere out there. A system that can’t be abused. Any suggestions?
Is there anybody around that had any dealings with this troop? If not, in my opinion a 3 would have to work only for the fact I would have no clue about the guy. I have seen several people just get by and get promotions only because they are there. You are right in some people get them with no merit for it. Tough spot for you to be thrown into right after leave. Good luck.
Giving him a 3 by default would be as wrong as giving him a 5.
I can turn the argument around to prove it to you:
- This brings up my next point. deflation! If I give him a “3” and he doesn’t deserve it, not only does it make me look bad, it screws its future. However, you see this kind of thing everyday. Someone gets a “3” but in reality, deserve a “5”. A “3” isn’t bad. It’s just “complying with the standards” and nothing more. -
But "just complying with standards" is not good at all if you are an outstanding guy making sure you just not comply with standards but go beyond them...
I would go to my direct boss and share my dilema while emphasizing the fact that it is not right to be stuck in that situation and that you don't want to boldly lie on an important evaluation. I would also approach HR with the same statement.
If I were the poor guy back there in Iraq, I would feel fairly disgusted to know that the Military I trust and serve is dealing in such a way with my futur I n the Military I serve, we get an evaluation from the direct supervisor in the field. We attach it word for word in the evaluation sheet and comment it using our own knowledge of the person or using what its file shows. Some traits of character should transpire through other evaluations.
If stuck, I would write an evaluation that states that you don't know the person besides what is in his files and give him a 3, a 4 or a 5 according to its PREVIOUS performance history because you have no mean to judge the current one.
Another word of advice: "don't do to other what you would not want them to do to you!"
Your moral dilemna is commendable and as a famous doctor says, "go do the right thing!!!!"
Eric has a good point check and see what is in his file, that is what I failed to think of, that will give you an idea on what the troop has done up to this point. Also, you do need to confront your senior (whom ever that might be) and discuss this situation with them. They may have been in this situation before.
Wow! I only created this post to vent a little. I didn’t expect people to actually reply. Thanks for the advice.
I’ve had no luck at all trying to get in contact with my new troop. I found his email address on the global, but he hasn’t answered yet. As far as I know, he could have forward deployed. His old supervisor is out of the military now.
Mark, you bring up a very, very good point. That was the first thing I asked my supervisor and CSS. You Mark, of all people, know that this kind of thing happens all the time, at least in my squadron anyway. How many times did you rate a troop a “3” or a “4” but your chain of command sent it back saying, “You will give him a “5” or else.”
To be honest with you, I’ve only been an NCO for six months. I’m trying not to step on any toes on the way. I’m trying to make everyone happy. As sappy as that sounds, we’ve all gone through that stage. This is new territory for me. I’ll be the first to tell you I have a lot to learn. I’m hoping all you vets here will help me along the way.
Yes i can sympathise. Yep, it was the inflated 5. No matter how many times the command Chief came to us, and tols us to be absolutely honest with the ratings...our commanders always said to award the 5s to prevent the loss of potential points in testing. At least the changed it so airman got a grace period of 24 months before performance was officially evaluated. I always had to write the EPR to actually reflect the 5 rating though. It often took a bit of effort to tell the "truth" about a subordinate to rate the five. If I would have had more than 2 to actually supervise I would have been lost.

I think most of the time most of the NCO's were trying to convince themselves that the safety net of the promotion test would be the answer to the inadvertant rise of a inflated performer, or that they could really turn them into fives with a lot of work. Yeah right.

Good luck with him by the way..make sure do what your asked to do, then argue. :D