Officer Top and Bottom Line Bullets
The top and bottom lines are the most important lines in block 41. No matter how well the rest of block 41 is written it is the top and bottom bullets that really hold the weight. As an XO of four different commands I put the most focu on making sure the top and bottom lines clearly conveyed to the board my thoughts on the officer. I’ve heard it many times said that the top and bottom lines are written to the board, while the middle lines of your FITREP block 41 are written to the service member.
Generally I would write the top bullet to the statutory (promotion) and bottom bullet to the administrative (Department head, CO/XO, Lat transfer board). This allowed me to provide my recommendation with regard to an officer’s promotion and whether that officer is ready for the next career milestone.
For example, a high performing Lieutenant would receive top/bottom bullets such as:
*** ONE OF SIX DEPARTMENT HEADS ACROSS ALL DESIGNATORS! MUST SELECT NOW FOR 04 ***
*** LT SMITH IS ALREADY PERFORMING AT A XO LEVEL! SELECT ON FIRST LOOK FOR XO!!! ***
One performing at a lower level would receive (note the lack of a breakout)
*** RECOMMENDED FOR 04 ***
*** RECOMMENDED FOR XO SCREENING ***
While an officer not yet ready would receive:
*** HARD CHARGING AND OUTSTANDING OFFICER ***
*** PROGRESSING NICELY ON HIS WAY TO XO***
While an officer with problems would probably not even receive a top or bottom bullet.
He has my strongest endorsement and recommendation for becoming a Program Manager or Shore Commander.
CDR Smith has earned my strongest possible recommendation for accelerated promotion to captain.
He has my strongest endorsement and recommendation for major command.
In addition, he has earned my strongest possible recommendation for accelerated promotion to captain now
Number one of all LT’s assigned, My number one MP, Number one Platoon Commander, Number one LT in his year group, Number one LT in the Navy! Best LT I have ever worked with, Number one Division Officer, Number one SWO,
Ranked 1 of 10 hand picked active duty officers across all designators.
Ranked 1 of 20 highly competitive Ensigns at this command. Already performing at a department head level now!