Knowing how to write effectively is an important skill that every military leader should possess. Unfortunately, many military leaders fall short in this area.
Even though you might be excellent at the leadership part of your job, you also need to master the power of the pen. You must be able to write evaluations, awards, counseling statements, reports, briefings, OPORDs and countless other things. That’s a big part of your job.
Like most things in life, military writing is a LEARNED skill. It’s something that you develop in time, through education and experience.
To be quite frank with you, during my 15 years in the Army I never had a single class on military writing. I’m sure you didn’t either. It’s as if I was supposed to figure it out entirely on my own.
In many cases, my superiors couldn’t teach me either, because many of them weren’t very good at military writing. In some ways, it was like the blind leading the blind.
I wish I would have had a class on military writing. I don’t think that class exists, BUT I can offer you a pretty darn good solution. That solution is a BOOK that explains military writing so anyone can understand it.
Several days ago, I received a review copy of “Military Writing: The New Leader’s Guide” by Colonel (ret) Jo B. Rusin.
I’ve read a couple of her other books to include “Women on Your Team” and “Move to the Front” so I assumed this book would be very good, too.
After going through her book, I can honestly say that this book is a fantastic resource for any enlisted Soldier or Officer in ANY branch of service.
Here’s what you will find in the table of contents:
- Getting Started
- Writing the Document
- Corrections and Rewrites
- Writing Tools
- Military Style Guide
- Use of Capital Letters
- Counseling Statements
- Award Recommendations
- Performance Evaluations
- Memorandum and Reports
- Personal Biography
- Request for Congressional Inquiry
- News Release
- Impressive Words
- Appendix A – Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
- Appendix B – Military Briefings
- Recommended References
- About the Author
You can search through the book and find countless examples on how to write effectively.
Here are a couple of the reviews from the back cover:
“Practical and straightforward tips to becoming a better military writer. This book provides a wealth of examples covering a broad range of military writing scenarios and should become part of your military reference library.” ~ Lieutenant Commander T.J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Navy, Retired
“In today’s age of information and efficiency accurate communication is critical to one’s mission and one’s career. This book provides the necessary tools for leaders to communicate in a clear and concise manner. This guide will assist you in creating a successful message with emphasis on communicating with military leaders.” ~ Command Sergeant Major, John J. Perry, U.S. Army Reserve, Retired
If I was going to publish a review on the back cover of the book, this is what I would say:
“Jo Rusin has hit a home run with Military Writing: The New Leader’s Guide. This book can be your one stop resource for learning how to master military writing. It covers many aspects of military writing including the big picture and the nuts and bolts. For just $23.95, it’s a steal. If you are serious about your military career, order a copy of this book for your Leader’s Library today!” ~ Charles Holmes, former Army Major, Creator of Part-Time-Commander.com
Here’s what I really like about the book:
- Lots of information
- Easy writing style to follow
- Covers all aspects of military writing
- Priced fairly
- Good for military personnel in any service
- Beneficial for enlisted and officers alike
- Covers lots of writing basics that we haven’t been taught since high school or college
- Well organized
- There is a great list of action words you can use on awards or evaluation reports
- Tons of great resources in the back of the book
My favorite part of the book personally is the part about military briefings. It talks about the different types of briefings, the format for each type of briefing and sample outlines for briefings. This is a really good section. I wish I would have had a copy of this when I was a Staff Officer.
I think the book would be most beneficial for small unit leaders (Captains and below and enlisted personnel serving at the company level). However, the information would also help the experienced officer or NCO as well.
If you’ve read “Military Writing: The New Leader’s Guide” by Jo Rusin, I would love to hear from you. What did you like about the book? Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts.