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News > Lunch 'n' learns provide career nutrition
Airmen receive inside tips for promotion, career

Posted 11/1/2012   Updated 11/7/2012 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Michael O'Connor
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

11/1/2012 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- More than 70 Airmen attended a lunch 'n' learn on career progression and how to be more competitive for promotions Oct. 31 at the 603rd Air Control Squadron compound.

In today's smaller, fast-paced and competitive Air Force, leaders around the Air Force are emphasizing to Airmen that it's just as important when something is accomplished and that it reflect in their official record, as it is in achieving the actual accomplishment itself. Two senior enlisted leaders from the Aviano Top 3 Association focused their latest mentorship session on the whole-person concept, the seven factors senior NCO board members consider when selecting E-7s and E-8s for promotion, and the senior NCO worksheet.

"All Airmen need to understand the whole-person concept is here to stay and understand it's our Air Force way of life," said Senior Master Sgt. Edward Fitzgerald, 31st Civil Engineer Squadron and Top 3 president. "Airmen and NCOs do a lot of outstanding work ... but they need to be more strategic and deliberate with their plans of action."

If an E-7 looking to make E-8 the first time completes the Senior NCO Academy Course 14 by correspondence in October, the month after the promotion eligibility cutoff date, then the completion of the professional military education will not be considered as part of the overall board score until the next promotion cycle. Senior Master Sgt. Michael Nurse, 31st Logistics Readiness Squadron and Top 3 vice president, said in this instance, it would've been better for the NCO to have completed the PME as an E-6 or as soon after being initially selected for promotion to E-7.

"It's all about balance and timing," said Fitzgerald.

While many Airmen have jobs with a high operations tempo and frequent deployments, Fitzgerald said everyone should not lose sight of when their evaluation period closes out, their quarterly and annual award packages are due and their respective promotion eligibility cutoff date is. He said it's important to be consistent in your performance, plan your actions accordingly and make them count.

The seven factors promotion boards consider are: performance, professional competence, leadership, job responsibility, breadth of experience, specific achievements and education.

"It's important for all Airmen and NCOs to consistently perform well throughout their careers," said Nurse.

The last thing a master sergeant eligible for promotion wants to do is make a board member wonder why a permanent change of station decoration was not awarded or why the member hasn't completed the Course 14 or Community College of the Air Force degree yet, said Nurse. Equally important is the level in which an E-7 is performing. He said membership and supervisory-level accomplishments are more for your Airmen and junior NCOs, and that management and leadership-level tasks is where an E-7 should be focusing their attention.

The luncheon closed out with a review of the senior NCO worksheet.

Fitzgerald and Nurse foot-stomped the importance of Airmen being more hands-on with their careers and reviewing their records often to ensure it's as accurate and up to date as possible. Nurse said it's on the individual Airman to correct the record or to get something added to it. He wrapped up the discussion by challenging the attendees to comb through their records from the last 10 years, complete the worksheet if they had not already done so, and to schedule an appointment with their supervisor or another ranking senior NCO to develop a roadmap to put them in the best possible position for promotion.

"One of the things I learned today is the emphasis on what your job title reads is not important, it's what you do in the position and how well you do it that matters," said Tech. Sgt. Brady Brammer, 31st Security Forces Squadron unit deployment manager. "I think if senior airmen and young staff sergeants were informed about what I learned here today, it would make a big impact in mapping out their careers."

Brammer said he believes attending mentorship opportunities like today will enable him to communicate more effectively with his fellow 'Defenders' and enable him to provide better feedback and career progression advice.

For more information about mentorship, leadership and community involvement opportunities, senior NCOs can contact a Top 3 Association board member at any Air Force installation.

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