The Air Force has selected 9,467 airmen for promotion to technical sergeant, or 32.28 percent of those who were eligible.
That represents the most selectees, and the highest selection rate, since 2002, when 11,571 airmen were promoted to E-6 with a 33.51 percent selection rate.
In a Wednesday release, the Air Force Personnel Center said the list of airmen selected for promotion to technical sergeant will be released the morning of July 18. Selectees will begin to be promoted Aug. 1, according to their promotion sequence number. Commanders will be notified as to which of their airmen have been selected beginning July 11.
This year’s tech sergeant promotions cap a remarkable multi-year turnaround since 2013 and 2014, immediately before and during a severe budget-driven downsizing of the Air Force that cut nearly 20,000 airmen. Selection rates for E-6 plunged to 15 percent in 2013 — the lowest point since the mid-1990s, after the Cold War’s end — and 17.4 percent in 2014.
They began to recover in 2015, and hit nearly 32 percent and 30.5 percent in 2017 and 2018.
Personnel officials said that 29,328 airmen were eligible for promotion to E-6 this year, which is higher than the previous two years. However, the eligibility number is lower than years such as 2014, when 38,344 airmen were eligible.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.