Records? What records? Whose records?

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. David Wilsey
  • 45th Operations Support Squadron
Can you tell me who has the greatest responsibility for maintaining your personnel records? Is it your orderly room, the Military Personnel Flight, your first sergeant, supervisor or commander? Is it someone else? If you said "me" you're absolutely correct!

While all those others should help maintain your records, you have the ultimate responsibility for them. You are in the best position to know your career history and recognize errors. You also have the most to gain or lose if your records are inaccurate!
What is so important about these records? How can a trivial piece of duty or other information be so important?

As an example, take a junior captain or staff sergeant just moving into their first leadership position, an NCOIC or flight commander. Assume their duty title wasn't updated and they didn't correct it. Fast forward a number of years when they're meeting a promotion board or applying for a special duty position. One of the key items boards or hiring authorities review is duty history. It provides a snapshot of their career, experience and leadership roles. This small piece of missing leadership information could make the difference in their selection.

So what can you do? There are several easy actions you can take to protect your records. First, routinely visit the vMPF, AMHS and ADP sites to review your personal information. Note discrepancies and get with your Commander's Support Staff to correct them. The earlier you catch errors, the easier they are to fix!

Second, perform a records review-an actual review of the documents in your official record (performance reports, decorations, etc). The Air Force Personnel Center is working to provide all of this data online; your rank and other factors will determine the information available to you. Check with your CSS to determine the best method.
Third, keep a copy of all your records. While there are many methods, the best I've seen is a standard 6-part folder containing copies of your performance and training reports, LOEs, awards/decorations, feedbacks, SURFs and PRFs. You can customize the contents to suit you and may also want to include other documents such as training certificates, resumes, bios and acquisition or space professional info. Having your own copies will be extremely helpful when building an application or board package (OTS, AFIT, special duty assignment, etc).

Remember... many people will crosscheck information in your record, but YOU are the most qualified to verify it and have the most to gain or lose based on its accuracy. Ensure it is correct!