The Air Force is pushing back a promotion board and rescheduling for June in an attempt to safeguard against the spread of COVID-19.
The service announced Friday that the Master Sergeant (20E7) promotion board scheduled for March 23 at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas is postponed until the first week of June. The Air Force is expecting that the promotion release will become public by the end of July.
“We realize the importance and impact promotion boards have on Airmen’s careers, but for health and safety it’s important we make these prudent adjustments at this time,” Maj. Gen. Andrew Toth, commander of the Air Force’s Personnel Center, said in a news release Friday.
“Given the importance of promotion boards, we are working on a number of process adjustments and facility mitigations allowing us to hold future boards while complying with health and safety guidelines,” he said. “Unfortunately, we were unable to get those measures in place for the 20E7 board which is the largest board we conduct. This is a rapidly-changing situation and we’re constantly coordinating with Headquarters Air Force to take care of our Airmen and their families the best way possible.”
The Air Force added that pushing back the promotion board will not delay the “sew-on” increment slated for August 1.
While things are changing quickly as the military adapts to the spread of the coronavirus, the Air Force said that the service is poised to put modifications in place so all other promotion boards can continue as originally scheduled.
Other services have also postponed promotion boards due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the Navy announced on Thursday all selection boards would be put on the back burner. The decision will impact approximately 160,000 sailors.
“To protect the health and safety of our force and to support geographical diversity of our selection board members, all promotion, advancement, milestone and other selection boards scheduled to convene on or after 24 March 2020 at Navy Personnel Command (NPC) are postponed until further notice,” Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John B. Nowell said in a statement.
According to the Pentagon, more than 65 service members have contracted the coronavirus. The Air Force said Friday that 16 airmen have contracted the virus, along with several other Air Force civilians, dependants, and contractors.