Want to make rank? Senior NCO shares tips for Airmen

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Theodore Millard II
If your career goals include becoming a senior or chief master sergeant, then read on because I'm going to tell you about one single thing that can make or break your chances.

I was lucky enough to volunteer as an administrative assistant for the 2007 senior master sergeant board. The job consisted of handing out more than 16,000 master sergeant records that were eligible to meet the board for promotion.

The board had 16 panels, each consisting of two chiefs that are either in the Air Force specialty code they're grading or have knowledge regarding the core competencies of that AFSC, and one colonel who is a sitting or graduated group commander from that career area.

These panels paid very close attention to all of the information in the individual packages, which brings me to that one single thing I mentioned earlier: Records. If your records are missing documents or have inaccuracies, your shot at making the rank could decrease dramatically.

One of the first things Airmen can do to ensure records are up-to-date and accurate is to verify your data verification record. The DVR updates your senior NCO brief, which becomes part of the selection folder.

The brief provides the board members important information such as service dates, duty information, whether the Airman has completed the senior NCO academy, academic education and decorations. If any of this information is incorrect, not only can it cost points on the objective factor score, but it could impact the final board score. Airmen can check their DVR online by going into the virtual military personnel flight and clicking "Self-Service Actions," then "Promotions," then "Enlisted Data Verification Record."

If anything is wrong, get it fixed now - don't wait until the last minute.

After checking the DVR, the next step is to ensure all enlisted performance reports and decorations are in the unit personnel record group folder located at the Airman's home station MPF, followed by the same validation of the senior NCO selection record folder maintained by the Air Force Personnel Center. This will be their chance to ensure all documents are accounted for and that they match the DVR.

If you have questions about your records, call AFPC at 800-616-3775 or DSN 665-2353. If any documentation is missing, coordinate with your servicing MPF to have missing documents sent to AFPC. Make sure the MPF submits documents to AFPC before the board meets.

All records for each AFSC are scored by the same panel members.

Some panels may have five to 10 AFSCs to score, while other panels may have one or two. On the board's first day, they conduct a trial run of 10 records of the same AFSC that was scored from a previous board.

After those records are scored, the 48 panel members will sit in a conference room with AFPC personnel and talk about how they scored the records and what they saw as strengths and weaknesses.

The whole person concept remains the overarching theme comprised of factors that include overall EPRs, professional competence, leadership, and job responsibility, breadth of experience, specific achievements and education. Sounds like a lot, but it can be done.

Just remember, Airmen play a big part in making sure they get promoted. Make sure records are up-to-date and study, study, study!

You could be the next senior or chief master sergeant.