How to Manage Your Personnel Files and Military Records

Smart Soldiers actively manage their personnel files and records.  This includes evaluation reports, awards, certificates and more.  If you want to get promoted and get the jobs you want, you have to stay proactive and actively manage your career.  Remember that no one else cares as much about your career as you do.

I’ve developed a few techniques to help me stay on top of my personnel files and permanent records.  First of all, you should review your personnel records monthly (or minimum quarterly).  You should check to make sure your IPERMS file matches the documents in your “I Love Me” book.

Whenever you receive a new document you should put a copy in your “I Love Me” book first.  Once you’ve done that, you should give a copy to your S1 to process in IPERMS.  After about 2-3 weeks, you should check your IPERMS to make sure the file has been added.  If it hasn’t been added in a timely manner, follow up with your S1 or Readiness NCO until it is updated.

In addition to reviewing your records once per quarter, you should also review your official records once per year, preferably on your military service anniversary.  That way, you can stay on top of things and fix discrepancies as they arise.

The secret to success is to be proactive.  In addition to managing your file, you should also pay close attention to each document you receive.  Check it for accuracy, especially your name and SSN.  If there is an error, get it fixed immediately.

Listed below are some tips I use to manage my official documents and official file.  I hope you find them helpful.

Managing Your OER or NCOER:

It’s your responsibility to manage your OERs and NCOERs, not your rater’s responsibility.  That means you need to inform your rater when your evaluation report is due.  You need to prepare your Support Form and should even write a first draft of your evaluation report and give a copy to your rater.  This will save them time and will help you get the evaluation report you want and deserve.

If your evaluation report is overdue, it’s your job to bug your rater until it is complete and turned in.  You should follow up with them on a weekly basis (by phone, email or in person) until it is complete.  Sometimes your boss will find this annoying, but I promise you that if you don’t follow up, you will suffer.

I know several officers who have two or more YEARS worth of OERs missing from their permanent records.  These OERs were never done.  Even though the rater should have done their job better, I blame the rated officer for not staying on top of things.  I promise you that no one cares as much about your career as you do.  Therefore, you need to do your part and mange it.

You also have the responsibility to review your evaluation report to check for punctuation and validity.  Make sure it has quantifiable statements.  Make sure it is accurate too.

DA 1059s:

Whenever you graduate from a military school, you will receive either a certificate or DA 1059 (depending on the course and course length).  Normally, courses 40 hours or less will give certificates to graduates.  Most schools, such as OES and NCOES courses will give you a DA 1059.

When you get a copy of your DA 1059, make sure you put a copy in your “I Love Me” book.  Also, make sure you submit a copy to your S1 to get it processed in IPERMS.  Your evaluation reports and DA 1059s are two of your most important documents.

NGB 23:

In my opinion, your NGB 23 is THE most important document in your personnel file.  In case you don’t already know this, the NGB 23 is your retirement points print out.  It shows you how many points you’ve earned, the breakdown of your military service by year, and what your anticipated pension would be when you retire.

Your NGB 23 is updated once per year (automatically).  It is printed from RCAS and linked with DFAS (pay).  Normally, on your service anniversary (PBED) you will receive a print out of your NGB 23.  Your job is to review it for accuracy.  Believe it or not, sometimes there are mistakes on your NGB 23.  If you don’t review it, you’ll never see them.

Once you’ve checked your NGB 23 for accuracy (and it is correct) you should file it away in your “I Love Me” book and get the other copy processed in IPERMS.  You should place the new copy in your “I Love Me” book every year.

DA FORM 705: 

National Guard Soldiers are required to take an APFT once per year.  They also must weigh in twice per year.  Assuming you are doing this (you better be) you need to keep a copy of your current APFT score card and a copy of your Height/Weight Results.

After the APFT or weigh-in, make sure your Readiness NCO updates your information in RCAS, puts a copy in the Unit APFT Binder and gives you a copy for your records.  When you get a copy, place it in your “I Love Me” book and file it away.  Whenever you take your next test, don’t forget to update your records. 

Your “I Love Me Book

I’ve already mentioned this term several times throughout this website, but all Soldiers should have an “I Love Me” Book.  Your “I Love Me” book is a three ring binder with copies of EVERY military document you’ve received in your career.

You should place these documents in document protectors.  You can organize your “I Love Me” book into the following sections: Evaluation Reports, Awards, DA 1059s, Retirement Stuff, Certificates, Misc., Promotions, etc.

Whenever you get a new document, file it and forget about it.  Keep your “I Love Me” book in a safe place such as a fire proof safe or safety deposit box.  Whenever you are done resourcing it, put it away and forget about it.

Final Thoughts

In summary, it’s your responsibility to manage your own military records and military career.  You must check your records minimum once every 90 days to make sure they are accurate and updated.  To do so, review the files in your “I Love Me” book with your IPERMS file.  If anything is missing, sit down with your S1 section and get it fixed immediately.

You don’t want to miss a promotion or good job opportunity because your personnel file is messed up.  Be meticulous and keep your personnel file updated.

What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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2 thoughts on “How to Manage Your Personnel Files and Military Records”

  1. When I used to go the fitness center on Yongsan Army Base, I would sometimes hear young soldiers joking about their “I Love Me” books and the terrible states theirs were in. Reading this post makes me think about those soldiers and how their careers may have been impacted due to their irresponsibility. While the name “I Love Me book” gives a relaxed, tongue-in-cheek kind of feeling, it’s actually a very important piece of your individual development and personal history with the Army.

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