How to Support your Notable Fellow Soldier with DA Form 638

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DA Form 638: Recomendation for Award

In the United States Army it is common to recommend your fellow soldier for an award if you have witnessed him making an act that you are convinced is worth being commended. To do so, a special procedure must be followed, as is prescribed by Army Regulation 600-8-22. According to this regulation, the recommender must use the US Department of the Army DA Form 638 and file the requisite supporting documents. In this blog post we will go into details of this procedure.

Who needs a DA Form 638?

A military servant (regardless of rank) having personal knowledge of an outstanding act, achievement or service for which it is worth awarding a decoration has the right and obligation to submit a recommendation to military command channels for consideration. However, a soldier may not recommend themselves for an award, as the Army does not condone self-recognition.

What is the purpose of DA Form 638?

A DA 638 form is a US Army form used to recommend a soldier for an award. The form will be filled out in stages: while initiating, processing and approving the award recommendations. This form is appropriate in most cases except for recommendations for awards for heroism, valor, or wartime, which require a separate process for recommendation.

Is the DA 638 accompanied by other forms?

By the AR Regulation 638, the appropriately completed form DA-638 requires filing some additional documentation too:

  • Narrative description of meritorious service or achievement for awards including thorough details of the action;
  • Proposed citation and its supporting documents;
  • Certificates, affidavits, or sworn statements that can serve as eyewitness statements;
  • Supporting documents in the form of records, extracts, sketches, maps, diagrams, and photographs that can prove the act of heroism. (All such documents, if originally in color, should be provided in color, not as black and white photocopies);
  • Recommendations from all intermediate level commanders, if any.

When is the DA 638 due?

The time limit for recommending the award is two years following the act, achievement or service considered worth recognition.

How do I fill out the DA Form 638?

Submission of the DA 638 is initiated by the person who is aware of the act or achievement worth acknowledgement. This person has to identify the military member who would receive the award (Soldier) and himself (Recommender) and provide their contact information and data, along with an explanation of the achievements. When filled out, the form must then be delivered to the immediate commander or supervisor of the soldier for further action. All this information is followed by the documentation of approval through the chain of command. Once signed by the intermediate authorities, the form is delivered to the Approval Authority, which is the Company Commander. All stages of the form’s handling are clearly described on pages 54-56 of the Regulation AR 600-8-22.

Where do I send the DA Form 638?

The filled-out form is sent to the United States Army Department to be evaluated. In case of a positive response, the necessary actions will be taken.