An editorial on promotions

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Pomeroy
  • 73rd Airlift Squadron
As an enlisted member, who in our Air Force Reserve does not want to get promoted? 

Our culture has changed quite a bit in today's Air Force Reserve. 

Today's airmen are smarter and more
technologically sound than most of our
seasoned (experienced) airmen. The
expectations of our young NCOs and
SNCOs are higher than the previous
generation. Promotions are tangible
recognitions of increasing levels of responsibility
and achievement. 

There are many variables in an individual getting
promoted and it truly starts with the individual
to do their part, supervisors
who clearly outline expectations and
commanders who mentor and guide the
individual throughout their career. 

What has become paramount
across the command for our enlisted is
if an individual has met the minimums of
time in grade and time in service and
has their PME completed, then the expectation
has become to get promoted
in minimum time. In my experience,
three elements--individual, supervisor,
and commander are the keys to having
a successful military career. 

The first element is the one we
as individuals have the most influence
on: ourselves. Assignment to a vacant
slot, having minimum time in grade,
minimum time in service, and professional
military education are no guarantees
of promotion. 

In fact, those are just the minimums
which get you in the door. Over
and above that it takes hard work, dedication,
and sacrifice. You must demonstrate
outstanding duty performance
and the highest personal standards. 

The promotable troop is involved in their
community coaching little league, active
in church, or volunteering in community
organizations. They look for opportunities
for personal and professional
development in continuing education,
and are involved in service organizations,
for instance the Top 3 and Air
Force Sergeant's Association are both
good examples. Individuals must be
proactive and do their part in the process.
The next element is the supervisor.
The supervisor is the daily link to
the commander. The supervisor clearly
outlines what is expected of you and
provides feedback on how your performance
measures up. 

One of our greatest contemporary
military leaders, Colin Powell said, "The
most important question in performance
evaluation becomes not, 'How well did
you perform since the last time we met?'
but, 'How much did you change it?'"
Supervisors owe their troops honest
feedback. Colin Powell also said,
"Good leadership involves responsibility
to the welfare of the group, which
means that some people will get angry
at your actions and decisions. It is inevitable,
if you're honorable." In addition
to honest feedback and
documentation, the supervisor
needs to provide guidance,
counseling and a restatement
of expectations. 

How does the individual
know how he or she is performing
if the supervisor does
not inform him or her of their
duty performance? 

The final element is
the commander. A commander,
along with having the
ultimate authority to promote
their folks, has the responsibility
to ensure they receive
appropriate mentoring.
Mentoring may be provided
directly or through the supervisor
and should include both
short and long-term goals. 

The individual, supervisor
and commander all
have responsibilities and are
all key components in the promotion
process. The First Sergeant and Chief
of your squadron all must have input
with their commanders so we can help
our commanders promote the right
people at the right time for the right reasons. 

Everyone must ensure they are
well versed in AFI 36-2618, The Enlisted
Force Structure, Chapters 4 and
5 (NCO and SNCO Responsibilities).
We as supervisors, mentors, and commanders
must be part of the solution to
change today's culture with our Airmen
and promote our best Airmen.