Military Recommendation Letter


Whether it’s the display of courage under fire or the exemplary performance of duty, awarding or promoting your men is the least you can do as an officer. Aside from that, endorsing them to leadership courses to further develop their talents is one way of doing that as well. But before doing so, it first needs to be communicated in writing through the use of a military recommendation letter. Read More

What Is a Military Recommendation Letter?

A military recommendation letter is a document recommending an enlisted, non commissioned, or commissioned officer to a certain rank or to a course that they’re applying for. This recommendation letter is usually written by an officer of higher rank, and in some cases, by anyone credible and closely related to the applicant. A certain number of military recommendation letters are required depending on the course or rank they’re applying for.

How To Write a Military Recommendation Letter

Depending on whether you’re are endorsing someone for a certain rank or school, the number of military recommendation letters needed will also vary. And like that of an eagle scout, a military recommendation letter should come from each of his character references, such as his NCO, CO, unit mates, and family. Listed below are the steps on how to write a military recommendation letter.

1. Indicate Your Office, Unit, or Outfit

Indicating your office, unit, or outfit will add credibility to the military recommendation letter that you are writing. And, it also strengthens or increases the chance of the person that you’re endorsing to a certain school or promotion as well. You can do this step in three ways, you can either indicate them in words, by printing its logo or symbol on its face or do both.

2. Address the Letter to the Relevant Personnel and Office

Next, always address the recommendation letter to its recipient in the following order; rank, name, and office or department of the recipient. This prevents your recommendation letter from being lost and returned to you, as well as waste all of your effort to do good for your men. Furthermore, this also helps speed up the process of your endorsee’s application.

3. Always Mention the Rank and Name of the Applicant

Writing a recommendation letter aims to justify the applicant’s eligibility for the rank or course that they applied for. So it’s always important to mention the name and affiliation of the applicant. In this case, you should mention the rank, name, and number of the applicant. Military recommendation letters are usually written by high ranking officers from the same unit as that of the applicant, and if space permits, you can also include the unit and outfit as well.

4. Justify the Applicant’s Qualifications and Character

Military recommendation letters aim to justify the applicant’s eligibility by vouching for their qualifications and character as a soldier. So it’s always important to detail them as much as possible. It’s also best to attach any documents that support the applicant’s case and application, such as certificates and after-action reports. Sworn testimonies from the applicant’s teammates will greatly help as well.

5. Indicate Your Rank and Unit Upon Signing

After completing all the previous steps, the last thing left to do is close and sign the military recommendation letter. So always remember to indicate your rank and unit when signing the recommendation letter. This will help add more credibility to the facts regarding the applicant’s qualifications and eligibility, therefore increasing the chances for the rank or course they’re applying for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who writes a military recommendation letter?

A military recommendation letter is written by someone credible enough to attest to the applicant’s eligibility and qualifications for a promotion or endorsement to a certain program. These people are usually someone who has a close working relationship with them, such as his NCO, CO, teammates, and other members of his unit or outfit. One recommendation letter should come from each of the applicant’s references.

Is a military recommendation letter valid even if the applicant is no longer in active duty?

Yes, especially in cases where awards or medals to the applicant are not given upon discharge. This can also apply to veterans who deserve to be posthumously awarded for their bravery in battle. However, a VA Benefits Summary Letter will be needed, instead of a military recommendation letter, if applying for benefits from the veteran’s affairs office.

How long can a military recommendation letter remain valid?

A military recommendation letter should be no more than 6 months old, as with the application package attached to it. Anything longer than that will deem the letter and the package invalid. This is applicable in cases where recruits are trying to enlist in any branch of the military, such as the army, the navy, and the airforce.

Can anyone outside the military write a military recommendation letter for an applicant?

Yes. An applicant can have anyone outside the military write a military recommendation letter if they can’t find someone on the inside to write one for them. They can be the applicant’s teacher, religious official, previous employer, coach, mentor, or anyone, as long they can speak and attest to the applicant’s character. And keep in mind that only one recommendation letter should come from each of these references.

Can enlisted personnel from the same unit and outfit write a military recommendation letter?

Yes, As they can attest and prove the applicant’s character, qualifications, and eligibility more than anyone else. What they’ll need to do is indicate their rank, unit, and outfit when writing a military recommendation letter for the applicant. They can also attach sworn statements of the applicant’s character and performance in the field in their recommendation letters, as well. Always keep in mind that only one recommendation letter should come from each of them.


A good officer makes a good soldier. And it’s always a mark of a good officer to look after the welfare of his men, as well as reward them accordingly for their exceptional performance. Awards, medals, and endorsements to military programs and courses are ways of how a good officer does it. And before anything of that could happen, such endorsements should be communicated to by way of a military recommendation letter.