Posted on Apr 9, 2017
SSG(P) Instructor/Writer
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What is the Army's Policy on letters of recommendation? Specifically, for a former Soldier who is no longer your subordinate and is applying for a civilian job or college. Further, when is it appropriate to use DoD letterhead? Also, is the standard military signature block appropriate?
Posted in these groups: Leadership abstract 007 Leadership
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CAPT Kevin B.
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Although the Army seems to have a reg for everything, they don't likely have one on this except a very specific no-no. If you want to write a letter for a former SM, have at it. You better be able to write well though. If it looks like Larry the Cable Guy wrote it, the opposite effect is likely. The big no-no is using any DoD letterhead. It's only used for official stuff and only signed by those having authority to sign official correspondence. That would be the skipper or "by direction" types.

I used to write these letters pretty much in my sleep. For this one, plain paper, cite so and so was a member of blah blah between this and that date doing whatever job. His performance was marked by superior traits of this and that. Insert specific incidences if you like. Summarize and end with please give every consideration to (insert descriptor) individual. Sincerely you.

I'd tailor the letter towards the specific entity having a conclusion that targeted what they need or provide. Sometimes it's appropriate to end with "Please feel free to contact me for additional information". Those are good for job references in which they backcheck.
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LTC Peter Hartman
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I don't know whether the Army has a specific policy- I am sure that they do. However, the general "rule" on letters of recommendation are that they must be based on personal knowledge and are merited. I see no issue with using your official letterhead (vice DoD letterhead) when providing the letter of recommendation when your knowledge is based on your position. I have written letters of recommendation before and have not had an issue.
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CW2 Battalion Maintenance Officer (Bmo)
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Actually, AR 25-50 has everything you need to know.
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SSG(P) Instructor/Writer
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Strange, I didn't see this situation described there prior to posting the question, but thanks for the help. Still couldn't find it.
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CW2 Battalion Maintenance Officer (Bmo)
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Look at the formats. A letterhead merely designates from which activity the letter is originating. This does not mean it is coming from your command. Your office symbol denotes just that. Chapter 3 of 25-50 covers letters. 3-2 covers their use. Figures 3-1 and 3-3 is what you're looking for.
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SSG(P) Instructor/Writer
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It was unclear to me because it is officially coming from my current organization office. I understand you are to use for official correspondence to include when addressing public recipients. I was also unclear if when using DoD letterhead wouldn't it have to be formatted in accordance with military writting, which is different from the formal business letter format used for standard letters of recommendation. Sorry, but I did review the reg, but like I said it wasn't absolutely clear.
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*is not
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