Yesterday, the Air Force released the 2016 staff sergeant promotion list. A total of 16,506 out of 39,064 eligible senior airmen were promoted…a selection rate of 42.25%. For many of those staff sergeant selects, this is the high point of their careers to this point. I know it was for me. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: getting promoted to staff sergeant.
How I first came across this moment? The day was August 9, 2010. I was actually on leave down in Birmingham, when I got a call from my friends in Japan. They saw the 2010 E5 promotion list and my name was on it. Soon after, I got the official call from my supervisor and my First Sergeant. I was officially a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. Getting there started when I ended up as the #1 nonselectee in my career field specialty…for 2 consecutive years. They say “the third time’s the charm” and that’s exactly what it was.
What it meant to me then? I was excited, proud, overjoyed, and thankful all at once. Missing out on promotion in back-to-back years in 2008 and 2009 took a lot out of me…especially when I found out I had a decoration hanging out there that would’ve put me over the top in the 2009 cycle. Finally busting through from the airman tier to the ranks of NCO was a high-water mark for me.
What it means to me now? It’s been a little over 6 years since that day. Of course, I’ve moved on from the Air Force and the military, at large. I don’t have to test for promotion anymore…I simply fill out the application for the vacancy announcement and hope I get a call from the selecting official. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the top moment of my military career any less. After all, it was the 4th of the goals I laid out for myself during my talk with Lairent Williams as a young Airman 1st Class.