Senior airmen at Pope Air Field, North Carolina, whose promotion test answer sheets for the most recent staff sergeant testing cycle were lost in the mail will be allowed to retake the professional development guide portion of their test this year, said an airman at the base. Those results will be compared to the promotion cutoffs.
Affected airmen also may wait until they take the test next year and compare their 2015 results to the 2014 outcomes. If they score well enough to meet the 2014 cutoffs, they will receive back pay, said the airman, who provided an update from leadership but asked that his name not be used.
Air Force Personnel Center confirmed July 17 that the answer sheets were lost for 99 Pope airmen, "a significant majority" of whom tested for staff sergeant. The sheets were mailed in a package from Pope but did not reach AFPC at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, for scoring.
AFPC, which took a week to confirm the initial report that test results had gone missing, did not respond by Friday to questions about how it intends to resolve the issue, whether all affected airmen have been notified and what other ranks were affected. AFPC spokesman Mike Dickerson said he could not confirm the information provided by the Pope airman, and that answers to the questions, submitted July 17, were being worked.
The testing window for staff sergeant closed May 16, and the Air Force said July 10 that 9,403 senior airmen were selected for promotion — 25.59 percent of those eligible and the lowest selection rate in 16 years. Senior airmen tested one month earlier than usual to make sure those selected would not have to face enlisted retention boards.
It is not clear when AFPC discovered that the answer sheets from Pope were missing. In its July 17 statement, the personnel center called it "an important issue for the Air Force because we value every airmen." It pledged "proper consideration in this unique situation."■