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CY01 Central Senior Master Sergeant Evaluation Board

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From 5 Feb – 24 Feb I had the privilege of participating in the FY 2001 Senior Master Sergeant promotion board process. It was, to say the least, an eye-opening experience. In order to assist you in preparing for your potential career in the upper tier of SNCOs, I give you my impressions on what I saw while scoring over 700 MSgt, First Sergeant, promotion records. I say “my impression”, as this document does not reflect official Air Force or Air Force Personnel Center Selections Board Secretariat policy.

THE PROCESS: After briefings and trial runs, which occupied the majority of the first day, we began to score records. Trial runs were an essential part of the process where all panel members scored the same records provided from previous boards. These records were scored, then openly discussed and critiqued by all panel members for content and related score. This process enabled all panel members to “get on the same page” and get a feel for what we could expect for the duration of the board process.
Throughout the process we received superior support from the Secretariat Staff. This board was divided into 16 different panels and scored over 16000 records. Each panel member scored records without discussion. If there was more than a 1 point difference between any member for a particular record, (referred to as a split), then that record was returned to the panel and openly discussed as to the rating of panel members with the difference. After discussion, panel member scores had to be adjusted to bring the difference to no more than 1 point between all three-panel members. Scoring of records was based on the following scale.

Superior 10 Outstanding 9.5
Few Could Be Better 9.0 Strong Record 8.5
Slightly Above Average 8.0 Average 7.5
Slightly Below Average 7.0 Well Below Average 6.5
Lowest Potential



While the board panel I participated on scored over 1200 records in 13 different AFSCs, I will focus on the First Sergeant career field.  We had 13 days to complete our task.  Work hours were from 0745 to 1700 daily with a 1-hour break for lunch.  In order for me to be consistent from day to day and from week to week, I had to mentally set my PERSONAL STANDARD of what I thought an average record of a Master Sergeant should contain.   The following facts were used in this determination

            60% of MSgt eligibles had at least an Associates Degree

            66% of MSgt eligibles had completed the SNCOA

            98% of MSgt eligibles had a rating of “5” on their Top EPR


With these facts in mind it was my belief that an average (7.5) record for a First Sergeant should contain

a.       Completed SNCOA

b.      CCAF Degree within the specialty

c.       Senior Rater Indorsements on all eligible EPRs

d.      Consistent “Firewall” EPRs as a MSgt

e.       Consistent decorations throughout career

Things I saw that increased scores from average to above average and beyond:

         Well-quantified SR Indorsements, My #3 of 300 MSgt carried much more weight than “At the top of his field” or “In the top 10%”

         Experience within the AFSC to include multiple assignments/bases/deployments

         First Sergeant of the Year at Wing/Intermediate/MAJCOM/AF Level

         Recognition throughout the career (PME, Squadron/Group/Wing/MAJCOM etc)

         Higher degree (Above AA) within the specialty.  Though NO SNCOA and a Masters Degree caused me to think the priorities were incorrect.

         Officer in professional organizations

         Sustained superior performance (Well quantified SRIs not just on top)

 Things that decreased scores from average to below average or worse:

          No completion of SNCOA 

         No SRI when eligible

         No degree within the AFSC  

         Homesteading at a base or in the same job 

So, what can you do to make yourself more promotable? Tough question. The best advice I can give is, again, my own personal opinion and not the view of Promotion Board. Get involved and stay involved in your wing and our Air Force. Don’t get frustrated. Do a self-assessment of your records. If you are honest with yourself when you review your records, you should have a good idea where you stand when it comes to your board score. Also, talk with your Command Chief. If your wing is not “Racking and Stacking” EPRs for senior rater indorsements, they should start. I say this because after reviewing the 720 records, one of the most important statements a wing commander or equivalent can make is stating you are his/her #1 First Sergeant or that you are the #2 of 245 MSgts assigned. You should also continue with your education. You have to consider for the past 5 years the promotion rate to Senior Master Sergeant has been 8%. You must convey in your EPRs you are superior to your peers. If not, you should not be surprised or disappointed with your average board score.

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Page Added on: 20 May 2006