I Need AF Commanders Letter Example

Jofa234

PEB Forum Regular Member
#1
Hi,

I was referred to a medical board six weeks ago and my commander, after being emailed 3 different times by my peblo, has still not written my letter.

I would like to walk into his office with a finished letter that all he needs to do is sign, because this is just ridiculous. I have been on a profile since April07 and all six of my doctors said I am as good as out, but my lazy commander won't do his job.

Any Commander's Letter Examples would be great. Ive seen the few army ones online, but not sure how different they need to be.

Thanks
Joe
 

robs42

PEB Forum Veteran
#3
hey guys, i have a few formats for you to use. they are for the individual, one for a co-worker/supervisor and ond for a spouse/family member. maybe you can piece something together w/these. just shoot me an e-mail and i'll get them out. good luck!
 

Texan1003

PEB Forum Veteran
#4
I recieved this letter. Hope it helps. If anyone can post as to if it is good or not I would also be greatful. I think it is good but don;t know what they would look for.
MEMORANDUM FOR HQ AFPC/DPPDS (Physical Evaluation Board)

FROM:

SUBJECT: Input to Medical Evaluation Board for

1. The purpose of this letter is to offer my observations and recommendations concerning_____________, currently assigned to the______________________.
2._____________ suffers from______________________________This
medical condition has significantly affected his in-garrison military duties, His work schedule has been modified down to six hours per day and he has regularly missed additional duty due to doctor’s appointments and mandated rest. Additionally, his doctors have recommended he not wear Air Force uniforms (neither Air Force blues nor Airman Battlefield Uniform) for the long term, which has impacted his duties as member the last five months. Finally, his inability to perform fitness activities greatly impacts his ability to meet the physical requirements of an airman both now and in the future.

3. Because of medical conditions, he is not eligible for AEF tasking at this time. I cannot see this restriction being lifted due to the chronic nature of his condition.

4. Member’s medical condition impacts my ability to perform my unit’s in-garrison mission only in the fact that his regular missed duty requires me to place additional work on other squadron members.

5. There are no pending administrative or disciplinary actions against —_____________________________ Member has no plans to separate from the Air Force at this time.

6. OVERALL RECOMMENDATIO: Because of the chronic nature of his condition that Significantly impacts his ability to perform his duties as an Air Force noncommissioned Officer, I recommend that------------------- be medically retired with a disability rating. ----------has served the Air Force honorably for more than ___years. He has been an outstanding member of this squadron and deserves every consideration during this MEB process.

7. If you have any questions, I can be reached at__________ ext.___or by email at_____________.
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#5
Texan,

Some quick comments about your sample and what I like to see in Commander's letters.

I like to see at least 3 things in a letter (so long as they support the member's position).

First, I like to see a statement of introduction and basis for the observations. Example. "I am Airman Smith's Commander and she has served under me since her assignment to this Flight 18 months ago. In that time, I have observed her duty performance while deployed to Afghanistan for 9 months, and in garrison the remainder of the time. Normally, I observe her directly 2-3 times per week."

Second, a good letter will focus on each medical condition and the impact of them on specific duty tasks. This is very important information that the PEB needs to make a correct decision. Absence of this is also one of the most common deficiencies in letters that I see, especially when the member has more than one condition. In many cases, it is helpful if the Commander addresses symptoms rather than conditions.
Take this example: "SGT Smith's back condition prevents him from adequate performance of his daily duties as a Senior Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic." Seems pretty good, right? But, if SGT Smith has both Thoracolumbar and C-Spine issues, this may actually hurt when compared to something like this: "SGT Smith's neck condition severely limits his range of motion to the point where he cannot effectively work on or under military vehicles. His persistent lower back pain and spasms make it impossible for him to lift tool boxes and to remain in a fixed position while working on engines as is required on a daily basis as a Senior Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic." The first statement only addressed the "generic" back condition and made a conclusory statement of the Commander's opinion. In most cases, this might lead to a rating for thoracolumbar issues (especially if the medical documentation is clear). But it does nothing to address the C-spine condition. The second statement gave specifics as to what the symptoms were and how they impact duty performance. On the basis of this statement, both low back and neck conditions may be rated. I think that letters like the first statement is often a result of a member having one main condition that bothers them the most. If I have both bad shoulder pain that is constant and a knee that sometimes locks on me, I may tend to focus on my shoulder more than the knee (perhaps because of keeping the explanation simple, because pain oftentimes is more bothersome than occasional orthopedic problems, etc.). My supervisor may excuse me from organized Physical Training due to the Shoulder that I have often complained about and s/he may not be aware that I have a knee problem. If I did not have a shoulder problem, I would probably need to be excused from Physical Training as well. But, the point is, the Commander, when writing the letter, may remember me as the Soldier with the "bad shoulder" and not even think of the knee.

Very helpful is if the Commander can state things that you have failed at performing. Example, "SGT Smith's limited Range of Motion has made him unable to check under vehicles and rendered him useless as a member of the Mobile Maintenance Team. I relieved him of these duties last quarter after the number of annual vehicle services he performed fell to a point to make him more of a hindrance than a help." Contrast that with sort of general statements like, "I cannot see how he can possibly perform his duties due to his limitations." This does not help the PEB in coming to a decision and is the sort of opinion statement that may not receive much credit. Also, note that it is not helpful to comment on administrative limitations. In the previous example, instead stating, "SGT Smith's physical profile keeps him from duty on the Mobile Maintenance Team," only tells the PEB that someone thinks he can't do something. It is not clear that were he allowed to, he could not. And the PEBs view themselves (quite correctly, legally, prior to approval of the case) as the ultimate arbiters of these matters.

Finally, I like to see the administrative matters addressed, and reconciled if there are inconsistencies with the previous sections of the letter. For example, if the narrative is clear that the member is unable to perform, but the member's last evaluation states how well he performed during an exercise, the Commander might address this by saying, "Though LCpl Davis' evaluation reports indicate superior performance over the last rating period, his physical condition has deteriorated rapidly over the past six months. The awards he earned and his performance at the Battalion Field Training Exercise were within the first two months of the rating period. Unfortunately, he is not able to perform like he did before his conditions worsened."

Things I don't particularly care to see are recommendations as to unfit/ retirement outcomes unless the Commander is an General/Flag Officer. Fitness determinations are the province of the PEB and they often view recommendations that someone be retired in close cases with skepticism. If the nature and severity of the conditions are so clear, then the recommendation is unnecessary. Plus the letter should support the conclusion in the first place. Note that I did not include recommendations as to fit findings. I tend to think these are okay, relatively speaking. This is my opinion, some may disagree. I also think it is counter-productive in many cases to talk about the long and great career the member has had, that they have dreamed of wearing the uniform since grade school, and are otherwise "great performers" (the last, especially). This is not to mock anyone, I think that the PEB already has your service records and reviews them prior to making a decision. If you have a notable career, they already know it. If you do not, the letter will be discounted. Mention of your desires (except for retention in close cases) generally carries no weight. And great performers may be more likely to be found fit on some conditions. All in all, I see little to be gained with these types of statements and some risk.

Remember, the idea is to provide the PEB with information they can use to make a better decision in your case. If the letter is weak on details, based solely on opinion, or inconsistent with the other admin data provided to the PEB, it may be not given much weight. It is not always possible to get a helpful letter. Having a good one can be a great help. Having one that hurts your case needs to be addressed by providing evidence that counters the letter (objective medical evidence, statements from other leaders, and personal testimony, for example).

Questions?
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#6
Texan,

I wanted to add, my reply was not to shred the example you posted. It looks in line with many letters I have seen and is much better than some of the ones I have come across. My thoughts/examples were to give my view of what commander's would ideally address or document in a "perfect letter." Those are pretty rare to come by.
 

Texan1003

PEB Forum Veteran
#7
Jason,

No offense taken at all. I unfortunatly was unaware that it had been requested and was not around when he wrote it. We had spoke of it so he did know my wishes. The letter and probably the MEB is already completed so I don't have a choice in that matter. But I will make sure my supervisor and Chief know what to put and also my wife. They might not hold as much weight but it does help. I know the input will help many in the future.
 

VAJumper

PEB Forum Veteran
#8
GUIDANCE/INFORMATION MEMORANDUM
FOR COMMANDERS

SUBJECT: Considerations in Completing Commander Input for Medical/Physical Evaluation
Boards

Your current involvement with the Disability Evaluation System (DES) may well be the very first time you've even heard of this process. Because commanders have such rare contact with this system, we want to help you understand what it is and what your role is.

Background:

The DES exists to maintain a fit and vital force to accomplish the Air Force mission. Your Airman is meeting a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) for one of two reasons: He/She was diagnosed with a condition listed in medical directives for which an MEB is mandatory or they've been on a profile for over one year. For those Airmen that are found "not fit" to continue their career with the Air Force, the system also provides a reasonable severance or retirement pay.

The MEB, which includes a medical summary, key specialty consults, any comments by the member, and your letter, is what the next level (the Informal Physical Evaluation Board or IPEB) sees and evaluates. While the IPEB needs the medical information to evaluate the member's fitness, your input on how well he/she can do their job, in both the home station and deployed setting, with the limits and restrictions of their condition, is incredibly important. We realize you're probably not a doctor and we don't expect you to provide a prognosis for your Airman, but you see them work -- you see what they can and can not do.

Let’s briefly review the DES process. Once the medical group treating the member finishes the MEB, it comes to AFPC and the IPEB. If we do anything other than return the member to duty, they can appeal our decision to the Formal Physical Evaluation Board (FPEB). The member can appeal any decision of the FPEB to the AF Personnel Council. Their decision is final and not subject to appeal.

A few key points you and your Airman should know and understand:

- We are not the VA. They rate and potentially compensate any service-connected conditions. We rate and compensate only for the specific condition(s) that keeps the member from performing their military job.

- An MEB doesn't automatically mean we'll find someone unfit for further duty. In fact, we return almost half of the people who meet a Physical Evaluation Board to duty.




ATTACHMENT 2





- It is very important that you understand someone found unfit for further duty is not guaranteed a retirement, even with 18 or 19 years of service. The individual must have a 30% disability rating for their specific condition(s) OR have at least 20 years of active duty service with any percentage of disability. This includes Guard or Reserve members, regardless of the number of years of "sat service".

- If the Airman in question doesn't meet the 20 years or 30% level of disability, they are discharged with severance pay but they receive NO LONG TERM BENEFITS! This is especially important to consider when making recommendations on your people with extensive years of service.

- The Disability process also affects many other Personnel issues. Your Airman will not be eligible to reenlist or go PCS until the case is finalized. If he/she is found not fit and they don’t appeal the separation or retirement, they can’t be promoted, even if the time for their line number comes up before they separate/retire. All promotion actions stop the date the Secretary of the Air Force memorandum is signed. However, if eligible, members with line numbers will be paid at the higher grade upon separation or retirement.

- One final issue -- your "bad apples" need to be handled via disciplinary/administrative channels or a court-martial, NOT the DES. Our system may be quicker, but it sends the wrong signal to your other troops when you let problem children get out with money rather than take the time for appropriate disciplinary action. If administrative discharge is appropriate, do it! Both the administrative case and the disability case will go forward to the AF Personnel Council and they'll decide which one should take precedence.

Your Input:

You need to consider the effect the member's medical condition has on him or her doing their job and supporting the mission (both your unit's specific mission and the Air Force's broader one) as you answer the five questions on the attached commander input format. We are not looking for pages of EPR/OPR-style comments, but your evaluation of how the member can perform his duties, despite or because of their condition. While a simple "Yes" or "No" may be appropriate for some parts of this input, in many cases it is absolutely essential that you give us a full word picture of your troop's capabilities. If you need more medical information to make your recommendation or have medical questions, it is NOT inappropriate for you to talk with the doctor caring for your person meeting a board. We need you to make an informed recommendation!

Personnel issues can have a great effect on DES eligibility and decisions, and both you and the PEBs need to be aware of what's going on in that arena. For example, someone who has been charged in a court-martial is not even eligible for the DES! Remember, the DES is not a quick solution for disciplinary problems.

Your final recommendation must consider both the member and the Air Force and take into account not just your unit's mission but the normal duties expected of the member in the broader Air Force context. We often see recommendations to "cross train into a less physically demanding career field" or "a career field without a deployment tasking." In our current


2



environment, almost ALL career fields have significant deployment requirements with physically demanding tasks. Do not assume that career fields frequently perceived as "soft," such as Personnel, Computers, or Information Management have no such requirements or are even open for retraining. Also consider your Airman may not qualify to retrain into another field.

Again, you may not be a doctor or have in-depth knowledge of the medical condition your service member suffers from, but you and the supervisory chain should be aware of what the individual can or can't do with that condition. The Air Force expects you to take care of your people, but it also expects you to get the mission done, no matter the circumstances. Your intimate knowledge of your unit's and the Air Force's missions and how the member helps or hinders getting those missions accomplished are essential considerations in the DES. Because of the impact your recommendation will have on all parties (the member, your unit, and the Air Force), we ask you to carefully evaluate the situation/ circumstances and provide a comprehensive input to the Physical Evaluation Board.

If you have any questions regarding your input, you can contact the IPEB President at DSN 665-3232 or the FPEB President at DSN 473-1931.




















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Format for Commander Input to
Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)/Physical evaluation board (peb)

Information provided using this format allows commanders to offer their insight about a member’s condition(s) to the Disability Evaluation System. The following items will assist Physical Evaluation Boards in their assessment of the member’s overall functionality and fitness for continued military service. You may also provide additional information beyond the scope of these questions if you believe it is important for the boards to consider.

Effect on Unit Mission


1. Does the member’s medical condition allow him/her to perform all primary in-garrison military duties without restrictions, limitations or work-arounds?
2. If the member is not able to perform his/her primary military duties:
a. What duty-related restrictions or limitations are in effect and for how long?
b. Describe the specific duties the member is unable to do because of his/her medical condition.
c. Do you believe the member’s condition(s) will prevent him/her from serving in their primary AFSC in future assignments? If so, how?
3 Has the member’s duty schedule been modified due to his/her medical condition(s) (i.e., limited duty, half days, no shift work, etc.)? If so, how and for how long?
4. Other than medical appointments, approximately how many days of work has the member missed over the past 90 days due to this condition? How much of this time was physician-directed?
5. Have you spoken with the Primary Care Manager (PCM) regarding the member’s medical condition (including profile recommendation/restrictions, if required)? Do you agree with the PCM’s assessment of the member’s condition(s)? If not, why not?
6. Can the member be assigned against an AEF tasking? Do you believe the member could perform his/her primary duties in an OCONUS deployed environment without restrictions, limitations, or work-arounds?
7. Does the member’s medical condition impact your ability to perform your in-garrison/deployed mission? If so, how?


Personnel Input


1. Is the member pending administrative action or judicial/non-judicial punishment that could result in his/her demotion/dismissal?
2. Is the member planning to separate/retire or has he/she applied to do so?

Commander Recommendation


In your opinion, what would be the optimal outcome for the member, your organization and the needs of the Air Force regarding his/her continued military service? NOTE: Recommending retraining should only be made after the Military Personnel Flight has, in fact, confirmed the member is eligible to retrain.


(22 Jan 07) ATTACHMENT 3
 

Chief

PEB Forum Veteran
#9
Jason,
Great comments and points. Your 3 points are in line with what I am preparing. I am taking the time to list each item and why it reduces/eliminates my "effective military performance".

I am going to be as clear, concise and unbiased as I can in the letter.

Note that I did not include recommendations as to fit findings. I tend to think these are okay, relatively speaking.

However,
I'm not going to add the items that don't have a chance at being medically unacceptable or "unfit". Why state that these things do not keep me from doing my job? Let the PEB make up their own minds on those without my commander's input. Maybe their on the fence on those? Why push them to the "dark side" Luke?

Anyway,
I'll post my letter once I am finished with it. I'm going to add our Doc as intermediate signer just so my commander will not have to "worry" about what I am telling him. Chances are if Doc signs it, he will sign it.

Thanks again.
 

poisonpanik

PEB Forum Veteran
#12
Thanks AFPEBLO! I did a search in google for that and wasn't able to come up with a copy but I did find this...

www.pdhealth.mil/hss/downloads/AFPC_DES.pptx

Even more useful info that I can smack my doc in the head with and tell him to get his stuff together. I'll have to go talk to my soon to be assigned PEBLO and see if she can give me a copy of that guide. I am going to have to write my own CC recommendation letter because leadership is playing the "shell game" right now because of our OPS tempo.
 
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