The first board to select new master sergeants has chosen 22.44 percent of eligible technical sergeants for promotion — the highest selection rate in three years.

Out of 23,619 eligible E-6s, the board chose 5,301 for promotion.

In comparison, last year's selection rate was 17.96 percent.

The Air Force Personnel Center said Thursday that the selection list will be posted the morning of July 16, along with individual score notices.

AFPC will contact all eligible tech sergeants July 14 to tell them how to check their scores and board information.

The new promotion board — which is in most ways identical to boards selecting new senior and chief master sergeants — is one of the key elements of the Air Force's overhaul of how enlisted airmen are evaluated and promoted.

The only way it differs from the E-8 and E-9 boards is that only the top 60 percent of promotion-eligible tech sergeants can meet the board, to keep the process from getting overwhelmed. That meant the E-7 board considered a little more than 14,000 airmen for promotion.

First master sergeant board scheduled to begin today

Under the first phase of the board process — which selected the top 60 percent to proceed to the second phase — the Air Force combined specialty knowledge test and promotion fitness examination scores with time in grade, time in service, decorations and enlisted performance reports to set initial scores. Those scores were then sorted by Air Force Specialty Code to decide who would make the cut.

The board then reviewed the selection folder containing each airman's evaluation brief, enlisted performance reports closing out within 10 years of the promotion eligibility cutoff date, and all decorations received over the airman's entire career. Any Article 15 received within two years of the cutoff date and recommended for placement in the selection folder by a commander were also considered. The board then calculated a score for each airman's record, which replaced the weighted EPR points from the first phase in the process.

The board score was then combined with the remaining Weighted Airman Promotion System scores from the first phase to create a final overall score. Those overall scores were then racked and stacked by AFSC to create an order of merit that determined who got promoted to master sergeant.

Selectees will begin to be promoted Aug. 1, AFPC said.

Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.

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