Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. --
Marines are taught to know themselves and seek self-improvement and with that comes the desire to take on new responsibilities and climb the ranks. To do that, senior Marines must first understand the importance of their annual fitness reports.
Fitness reports evaluate the performance of sergeants, staff noncommissioned officers and commissioned officers. The Marine Corps Performance Evaluation System provides periodic reporting and analysis of these Marines.
“Fitness reports are important and nobody should care more than you,” said Lt. Col. Daniel J. McMichael, Manpower Management Support Branch 30. “You should constantly be checking them so you’re never left wondering.”
A fitness report includes an up-to-date physical fitness score, combat fitness test score, rifle qualification, pistol qualification and swim qualification. Along with annual training updates, a fitness report includes a more in depth look on an individual’s job description
There are 14 attributes in the form of Performance Anchored Rating Scales.
These attributes are based off leadership traits and techniques. Courage, initiative and judgment are some of attributes Marines are rated on. Marines are graded on a letter scale from “A” to “H”. The “A” marking is adverse, the lowest grade a Marine can receive “B” through “G” covers the rest of the ratings with “G” being the highest. The “H” is for non observed, a Marine who hasn’t been observed by a supervisor long enough to be given an accurate rating.
Each marking is accompanied by a justification box. This justification box is where supervisors can explain why the Marine being reviewed is receiving an adverse or top rating.
In order to better prepare their fitness report, a newly promoted Marine should meet with their chain of command to see what their billet description is. The billet description portion of a fitness report is a list of the command expectations of the Marine being reviewed.
Another section of a fitness report is billet accomplishments. This section is based off of the billet description and is compromised of what the Marine has accomplished during that time frame in that particular billet.
According to Capt. Sherel Quinonez, combat center adjutant, Marines’ competitive nature reflects the Marine Corps’ competitive promotions. Marines who are hungry for the next rank should be going above and beyond their bill of requirements to get a step ahead of their competition.
Quinonez suggests volunteering for community services and enrolling in off base education which can give a Marine a leg-up in the race for promotion.
Another important factor in the Marine’s fitness report is his appearance. An up-to-date promotion photograph is a requirement to complete a fitness report package.
“Marines should make sure they have a good photo,” Mcmichael said. “You don’t want to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the guy who can’t pass up a trip to Dunkin’ Donuts.”
While a well executed fitness report can improve a Marines’ chance at career advancement, a poorly executed fitness report can do the opposite. Keep this in mind, when the next fitness report is due.