The Air Force said Thursday that it is extending its testing deadlines for airmen eligible for promotion to staff sergeant — to Aug. 28 — as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Although most testing centers have resumed operations, social distancing requirements have severely limited how many airmen can take tests during a session, according to the Air Force Personnel Center. As of June 30, only 32 percent of airmen eligible for promotion to E-5 had taken their tests. To allow as many airmen as possible enough time to take the tests, AFPC said it is extending the deadline one month, to the end of August.
AFPC spokesman Mike Dickerson said that the Air Force will remain flexible and extend the deadline further if needed to ensure airmen’s safety.
Despite offering large retention bonuses to entice pilots to stay in the Air Force, the percentage of eligible pilots accepting them is plummeting.
AFPC expects to announce the E-5 promotion results in mid- to late September, and promotion increments will begin Oct. 1. Promotion selectees with a date of rank of Sept. 1 will retroactively receive backdated pay.
The technical sergeant testing window is still scheduled to end July 31. The E-6 results are expected to be released in mid- to late August, and their promotion increments are expected to begin Sept. 1. Those who have a date of rank of Aug. 1 will retroactively receive backdated pay, AFPC said.