T Nation

Military Promotion Conundrum

Hi,
I have quite a conundrum in my lap. The following is a synopsis of my issue. The issue which I will present here is regarding a promotion and the barriers which I have encountered and have yet to overcome. I enlisted in the United States Air Force Reserve on: 10 SEPT. 2004. My first duty station was the 433rd Maintenance Squadron, Lackland AFB, Texas.

While assigned to Lackland, I was presented with an Air Force Achievement Medal, several Certificates of Appreciation and coins for my exemplary service. While assigned to Lackland, I had progressed in military rank up to Senior Airman (SrA) with every requirement completed to place on the next rank in accordance with AFI 36-2502 with exception of my time in service requirement.

I transferred to the Air National Guard in August of 2008 to the 150th Fighter Support Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. I was assigned as a traditional guardsman and when October rolled around which was the first month marking the 48-Months TIS requirement in accordance with AFI 36-2502 to place on the next rank of Staff Sergeant; my promotion was not even brought up by my supervisor or commander.

I inquired and my supervisor told me that the Commander’s policy is to with-hold promotions from all new members until assigned to the Unit for a minimum of 6- Months. I was baffled when I was told this due to the fact I already accomplished all of the requirements that are stated in black and white with-in AFI 36-2502 for promotion to the next higher grade. My supervisor told me that I am subject to the discretionary promotion policies of my Commander which I completely understand.

It is now mid-June and I remain un-promoted, I am unable to progress with my skill level upgrade from a 5-Level to a 7-Level until I hold Staff Sergeant due to not being promoted. My training manager stated to me that this is creating a barrier for furthering my career progression. I have escalated this issue through my chain-of- command with no avail. I have provided honorable service to my country, service before self and now I feel I have no options available at my disposal other than getting out of the Military or transferring to another unit.

Keep in mind, I escalated this same issue up to the Pentagon level and was told that the Pentagon will refuse to step on the NGBs (National Guard Burieaus) toes in-regards to my issue. All this being said, is there any advice or recommendations that anyone feels might be helpful?

I’m sorry to have no possible useful advice, but I’m confused on a point which also may confuse anyone could have useful advice.

The above text reads “It is now mid-June.”

And the transfer reads as having occurred in August of 2008.

Was this written back in mid-June but the situation still the same and questions still the same now in 2010?

Yes! I am actually addressing the Pentagon with my paragraph and it was June 2009 when I wrote to them.

Gotcha. So actually the problem is now much worse. You are way way past where you should have been promoted. I certainly hope someone experienced can give you some good advice.

You are right on the money! I do appreciate your understanding either way.

Haha if only it were possible to make staff sergeant in the corps in only 2 years…

In all seriousness, it’s the military…they don’t care about you as a person, you’ve gotta convince them it’s to their advantage to promote you. What will they gain from it?

As former active Army with an understanding of reserves and Guard I will offer my opinion. Correct me if I am wrong but each guard unit is afforded only a certain amount of e-1, e-2, e-3 so on and so forth. If there is no room for an e-6 they can not just make this promotion whether you feel you deserve it or not.

To further my understanding, you have since cried to the federal government that your state government is not promoting you? If you are so worried why not go active Air Force? There is plenty of room for promotion there I’d bet. Why are you so worried about something that only affects you one weekend a month and 2 weeks a year?

It is simply not that easy. I have already escalated this issue to the Pentagon and argued my point as tactfully as possible with no results.

Well, you are correct in respect to the Guard being afforded an “X” amount of vacancies to be filled in all the ranks. Although, I am in an open vacancie/slot and my elligibility for being promoted is 100%. Plus, the active Air Force is not taking my career field right now in the status I am in which is considered Prior Service.

If they don’t feel you are ready for promotion what’s wrong with that? Prove your leadership capabilities and they will get you pushed through. The Navy at least can mark on your evaluation that you are not recommended for advancement and you can’t take the test that cycle.

I wouldn’t burn too many bridges which it sounds like you already did. Don’t you air force peeps stay in the same duty station your entire career unless you request to transfer?

Have you consulted with a JAG in your Squadron or Wing? It might be an option just to see what policies, if any, they may (or may not) be violating.

I really appreciate your response about the JAG. I actually went to my JAG already and asked them what if anything they would recommend; the answer I received was that it is a chain of command issue and they will not step on any ones toes. Of course, the Guard is a very intrinsicly cronyistic organization meaning if you are not playing the “Political Game” and friends with certain people; the promotion will never happen.

[quote]mrclean85 wrote:
Hi,
I have quite a conundrum in my lap. The following is a synopsis of my issue. The issue which I will present here is regarding a promotion and the barriers which I have encountered and have yet to overcome. I enlisted in the United States Air Force Reserve on: 10 SEPT. 2004. My first duty station was the 433rd Maintenance Squadron, Lackland AFB, Texas.

While assigned to Lackland, I was presented with an Air Force Achievement Medal, several Certificates of Appreciation and coins for my exemplary service. While assigned to Lackland, I had progressed in military rank up to Senior Airman (SrA) with every requirement completed to place on the next rank in accordance with AFI 36-2502 with exception of my time in service requirement.

I transferred to the Air National Guard in August of 2008 to the 150th Fighter Support Squadron, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. I was assigned as a traditional guardsman and when October rolled around which was the first month marking the 48-Months TIS requirement in accordance with AFI 36-2502 to place on the next rank of Staff Sergeant; my promotion was not even brought up by my supervisor or commander.

I inquired and my supervisor told me that the Commander’s policy is to with-hold promotions from all new members until assigned to the Unit for a minimum of 6- Months. I was baffled when I was told this due to the fact I already accomplished all of the requirements that are stated in black and white with-in AFI 36-2502 for promotion to the next higher grade. My supervisor told me that I am subject to the discretionary promotion policies of my Commander which I completely understand.

It is now mid-June and I remain un-promoted, I am unable to progress with my skill level upgrade from a 5-Level to a 7-Level until I hold Staff Sergeant due to not being promoted. My training manager stated to me that this is creating a barrier for furthering my career progression. I have escalated this issue through my chain-of- command with no avail. I have provided honorable service to my country, service before self and now I feel I have no options available at my disposal other than getting out of the Military or transferring to another unit.

Keep in mind, I escalated this same issue up to the Pentagon level and was told that the Pentagon will refuse to step on the NGBs (National Guard Burieaus) toes in-regards to my issue. All this being said, is there any advice or recommendations that anyone feels might be helpful?[/quote]

hkinurface and Snipeout have given you good advice. I was active duty Army for 4 years and have been in the Reserves since June of this year. I think Snipeout might be correct in the delay in your promotion is due to there being no empty slots available. I know that you said that there are open slots, but It sounds like maybe there isn’t. I say this because, if you are meeting all requirements according to regulation, then there is no reason why they can’t promote you.

Have you had any negative counselings or an article 15? If you have gotten into trouble and your chain of command has a paper trail they can use this to postpone your promotion. And I know it can be done because I have done it myself to prevent an NCO from being promoted.

Not saying you’re a shit-bag or anything, but there are some parts to this that don’t make sense.

Lastly, I would say that if everything you are saying is correct, then I would notify a state rep. Unless that is what you meant by notifying the Pentagon.

First off, I have never had UCMJ or negative actions/paperwork done on myself my entire career. I am in an open slot/vacancy with 100% certainty. You are correct on one point and that is if I am in compliance of all requirements according to regulation, then with-holding or deferring a promotion would require a legitimate reason. The fact is I am in compliance with all regs and everything I have stated is correct. I am facing a very subjective organization and in a very ambiguous situation. I have actually contacted my state senator and there was an inquiry made into why the NGB(National Guard Burieau) is with-holding my promotion and the Adjutant General for the State told the Senator’s office that it is not any of his business. I also contacted the Pentagon and received a response I already posted. Bottom line, I did not originally post to be questioned by someone who is not knowledgable on Air Force Regs. specifically someone from another branch of service. Thanks for wasting your time criticizing me anyway.

[quote]mrclean85 wrote:
I really appreciate your response about the JAG. I actually went to my JAG already and asked them what if anything they would recommend; the answer I received was that it is a chain of command issue and they will not step on any ones toes. Of course, the Guard is a very intrinsicly cronyistic organization meaning if you are not playing the “Political Game” and friends with certain people; the promotion will never happen.[/quote]

There is your answer. It is not politics, how can someone blindly promote you if they do not trust you or know and trust the people that recommend your promotion.

[quote]mrclean85 wrote:
Bottom line, I did not originally post to be questioned by someone who is not knowledgable on Air Force Regs. specifically someone from another branch of service. Thanks for wasting your time criticizing me anyway.[/quote]

Well, Airman, I wasn’t criticizing you, but you knew that right? You just wanted reason to mouth off.

The military is the military, no matter what branch. Your chain of command can not prevent you from being promoted unless they have a paper trail of you fucking up or there is no open slots for that specific MOS. Even if your chain of command thinks you are not ready, they still must provide reasons (via quarterly counselings) why and give you the opportunity (through corrective training) to improve any short comings.

Alright dude, I’ll give you my perspective as a former USAF Capt. You showed up to a new unit. The commander has a policy regarding promotions. He has the authority to promote or not promote you. You disagreed with his policy, and instead of proving yourself deserving of the next rank, you complained all the way to the Pentagon and your Senator. You are now officially a troublemaker who has no repect for his commander’s authority.

Sorry to tell you, but the unit commander has TONS of leeway in how he runs his unit, which is why you got no help on your fishing expedition. In my opinion, you have ruined your reputation in the unit, and you should either leave or suck it up and bust your ass to rebuild your rep. I can GUARANTEE you, no commander thinks highly of an E-4 arguing his lawful policies outside the chain. Maybe if you were a master or chief he might want to listen to you, but even then he is within his rights to tell you to shut your mouth and get back to work.

HG Thrower pretty much hit it on the head. In the Navy, you are what we would call a sea lawyer - the junior guy who thinks he knows all his rights and how to get what he wants, regardless of his COCs policies/intentions.

Given the two options presented by HG, (suck it up or move), I would recommend sucking it up. Who knows, maybe you’ll learn how to actually become a productive member of the military. Hint: it’s not about what you feel you are owed, it’s about what you contribute to the overall mission.

someone doesn’t like you. Request mast, get shot down and go about your merry way.

I agree with HG Thrower…you’ve established yourself as a troublemaker, and have essentially screwed yourself for as long as that commander is there. IMO, what you SHOULD have done was request (politely) to speak to the commander after the first six months had expired and you remained unpromoted. You then might have found out what the real issue was. You can forget that now. No commander is going to give you the time of day after you tried to back door him. Twice.

So, with everyone from the Pentagon, to the State, to JAG telling you that they won’t get involved, and with your commander now (very likely) having no intetion of promoting you, what are your options?

A. transfer (to another unit, active duty, another branch of service, whatever)

B. leave the military altogether

C. suck it up

Weigh out the pros and cons of each, and pick one. It ain’t that hard. Your problem is that as soon as you don’t get the answer you want, you start crying about it. The military (even the Air National Guard) doesn’t accomodate cry babies.