Air Force selects 13,864 for promotion to staff sergeant after coronavirus slowed testing

air-force-selects-13,864-for-promotion-to-staff-sergeant-after-coronavirus-slowed-testing

The Air Force said Monday that it has selected 13,864 enlisted airmen for promotion to staff sergeant — one month later than E-5 promotions are typically announced.

There were 33,341 senior airmen who were eligible for promotion to E-5 this year, which resulted in a selection rate of 41.58 percent, according to an Air Force Personnel Center release. AFPC will post the list of selectees’ names online Thursday morning.

Staff sergeant promotions are usually announced around mid-August, but were delayed this year due to the coronavirus.

The Air Force suspended testing for aspiring staff sergeants — as well as technical sergeants — in March, as the nation began to socially distance as the coronavirus spread. Testing resumed in May, but social distancing rules significantly limited how many airmen could take tests during a session.

By the end of June, less than one-third of airmen eligible for staff sergeant had taken their tests, and the Air Force soon extended the testing deadline one month, to the end of August.

Airmen who were selected for promotion to E-5 will start to be promoted beginning Oct. 1. Those who, in normal circumstances, would have been promoted Sept. 1, but will now pin on their new ranks in October, will retroactively receive backdated pay.

And more airmen could still be selected for promotion to staff sergeant. Because of restrictions and safety precautions related to COVID-19, some airmen’s testing was delayed, or their tests have not yet been scored, AFPC said. Those airmen could be promoted as part of the next supplemental promotion cycle, which is now tentatively scheduled for the second week in October.

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This year’s E-5 promotion stats are lower than last year, when 14,235 airmen, or 48.79 percent of those eligible for promotion, were selected.

About

Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.

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