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Good news for 5,900 staff sergeants moving up

Thousands more screened for separation

Apr. 20, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
The Army Service Uniform.
The Army Service Uniform. (Army)
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The Army Service Uniform. (Army)

Nearly 5,900 staff sergeants have been recommended for promotion by the 2014 Regular Army and Active Guard and Reserve (Army Reserve) sergeant first class boards that met in February and March.

About one quarter of the 22,276 Regular Army candidates made the cut for promotion, while the select rate for AGR soldiers was 48 percent, with 410 of the 848 eligible staff sergeants getting the nod for advancement.

The same boards also screened several thousand NCOs for possible involuntary separation under the Qualitative Service Program and Qualitative Management Program. While the specific results of these screenings will not be announced, most soldiers selected for separation and early retirement will be released in fiscal 2015, which begins Oct. 1.

The primary-zone select rate for the RA promotion board was 19.5 percent (16,434 considered, 3,218 selected), and the secondary-zone rate was 38.1 percent.

The overall select rate was 24.4 percent, an improvement over last year’s rate of 22.5 percent, when 6,320 soldiers were selected.

Promotions off the new RA list can begin as soon as scheduled by the Army, as only 138 names remain on the 2013 list.

The Army is transitioning to a new NCO career timeline that will see, on average, staff sergeants promoted to sergeant first class at 14 years of service, which is about 18 months longer than E-7 pin-on points in the past.

The new career template is designed so that soldiers who elect to voluntarily retire at 20 years of service will do so as sergeants first class. Soldiers who remain, and who are promoted to sergeant major, will have an opportunity to serve at least one tour as a battalion command sergeant major before retiring at 32 years of service.

Tips for getting promoted

The promotion boards had some advice for NCOs, and other observations, in their after-action reports:

From the RA board

■ Wear the blues: The official photograph is the board’s first impression of a candidate, and when soldiers appear in the Class A green uniform, although authorized until Sept. 30, instead of the Army Service Uniform, they are sending a message that they do not care about promotion or their profession of arms.

“It is absolutely essential that any NCO who wants to be considered a viable candidate for promotion have a board photo in the ASU with all appropriate and authorized awards, badges and insignia.”

■ Get squared away: Photos of soldiers wearing uniforms that are poor-fitting, disheveled or that have awards and decorations improperly displayed send a negative impression to the board.

“When a soldier takes an (official) photo, he or she should ensure the uniform is properly assembled, cleaned and pressed, and properly fitted. This is most often accomplished by having a trusted leader to a ‘pre-combat check’ before the photo appointment, complete with a check of the uniform regulation to ensure proper display of awards, badges.”

From the
AGR Board

■Write a letter: Fewer than 2 percent of the soldiers considered for promotion submitted a letter to the board president regarding the contents of their personnel file.

“Well-written letters made a positive contribution to the soldier’s file, as they helped board members understand missing or conflicting information. Appropriate attachments documenting (corrections) were of great value. Undocumented claims were of little impact.”

■Comments up front: The senior rater section of the NCO Evaluation Report should place comments on promotion, schooling and future jobs up front. A first bullet of “promote ahead of peers,” when supported by the soldier’s file, are the right words to use.

■Units should act first: A promotion board should not be used as a venue for involuntary separation actions.

“Units must initiate Uniform Code of Military Justice or separation proceedings as appropriate at the time of infraction, not just write derogatory information in an NCO-ER bullet and expect the promotion board to act.”

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