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Old 10-12-2017, 09:59 AM
 
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At the E-7 / O-5 level it becomes more political than anything else. You may have the highest performance marks and have taken every available course for promotion but bottom line is when they do the performance evaluation "ranking boards"..if you do not have a supervisor that is fighting for you or if you have other department supervisors that for whatever reason do not like you (or your department) then you may not get promoted.


Also depends on congress deciding how many people in your specialty will be promoted that year. So yes it is a bit of luck, a bit of hard work and a bit of politics. You could be the top in your field, but if your supervisor is absent when they are doing performance review rankings, or if there is another department supervisor that argues their department has more responsibility than yours, etc. etc. So many variables at that level that are all outside of your control.
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:18 AM
 
15,265 posts, read 7,653,923 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjjudd View Post
At the E-7 / O-5 level it becomes more political than anything else. You may have the highest performance marks and have taken every available course for promotion but bottom line is when they do the performance evaluation "ranking boards"..if you do not have a supervisor that is fighting for you or if you have other department supervisors that for whatever reason do not like you (or your department) then you may not get promoted.

That process is going to vary by service, but I'd disagree that unit issues have anything to do with the process especially at those senior levels.


For instance, in my Air Force AFSC, at the E-8 level there are typically fewer than 50 persons service-wide as candidates to E-9. Hardly any place had more than one E-9 slot, so the promotion of any E-8 to E-9 is almost certain to result in an instant overage at the current unit and PCS to another unit. Therefore, unit factors could have no effect on who was promoted.


The same would be true for O-6 to O-7, and I'm sure for O-5 to O-6.


When I was at Pearl Harbor, even though I was Air Force, I had sailors working for me so I participated in the Navy ranking boards for junior petty officers. At that level, it certainly did matter whether a sailor's supervisor was willing to "fight" for him, as we usually had an open call for supervisors to meet the board.


If a supervisor was unwilling to talk to us about his subordinate, that did have an effect (although we attempted to ameliorate that effect in our heads and not necessarily blame a sailor for having a lazy boss).


My initial reaction to the concept of a ranking board was extremely negative, but after being involved in them, I am now quite positive. Not all supervisors are superior writers, so it was certainly helpful to be able to call in a supervisor, point him to the performance report he'd written, and ask, "What did you really mean to say here?"


That gave us a lot better feel for whether the supervisor was really serious about getting that sailor promoted, and that was an important factor to know.

Last edited by Ralph_Kirk; 10-12-2017 at 10:31 AM..
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Old 10-12-2017, 10:57 AM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
22,937 posts, read 34,944,454 times
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Originally Posted by mjjudd View Post
At the E-7 / O-5 level it becomes more political than anything else.


I am not aware of any E-7 ever becoming a General or an Admiral.

And "So what kind of people end up becoming Generals/Admirals and the like?" is the topic of discussion...
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Old 10-12-2017, 11:23 AM
 
15,265 posts, read 7,653,923 times
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Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
I am not aware of any E-7 ever becoming a General or an Admiral.

And "So what kind of people end up becoming Generals/Admirals and the like?" is the topic of discussion...
One common factor I noted is the ability to absorb, process, and retain enormous amounts of information, including even personal information about hundreds of subordinates.
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Old 10-12-2017, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
4,572 posts, read 2,197,839 times
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Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
I am not aware of any E-7 ever becoming a General or an Admiral.

And "So what kind of people end up becoming Generals/Admirals and the like?" is the topic of discussion...
I guess you could say making Sergeant Major, Master Chief or Master Sergeant is almost as competitive and rare as making Colonel or Captain if not flag rank thus the comparisons with the kind of people who rise to the top. Be it commissioned or the noncommissioned ranks.
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Old 10-13-2017, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
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Originally Posted by nightnurse613 View Post
While the old service promotion were frequently based on "guts and glory" today's flag officer promotion is based more on politics. Frequently it is who you know or are married (or related) to or your ability to be politically correct and maintain your "image".
This has been true since George Washington led the Army.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
I am not aware of any E-7 ever becoming a General or an Admiral.

And "So what kind of people end up becoming Generals/Admirals and the like?" is the topic of discussion...
Chuck Yeager did, but he had the perfect recipe of luck.

Frankly, the Military sounds a lot like any other organization.

It would seem that Flag Officers often, but not always, come from the Academies. Similarly, C-level execs graduate from a handful of top B-Schools often, but not always.

My dad once referred to a manager in his company as being "touched," meaning his star was fast rising and he was on a fast track for senior level management. This proved true.

I used to workout with an officer who referred to someone in his Battalion in similar terms. He said this guy kind of had it all; not only was he smart, ambitious and hardworking, he also was very charming and had great people skills. He pointed out that even among academy graduates, most people had three of the above four mentioned traits.

I would imagine that there is also something to knowing which specialty or whatever is best to cast your lot with...In many organizations some are simply better for movement, some are consistently dysfunctional, and others are kind of ho-hum.
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Old 10-13-2017, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
4,572 posts, read 2,197,839 times
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Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
This has been true since George Washington led the Army.



Chuck Yeager did, but he had the perfect recipe of luck.

Frankly, the Military sounds a lot like any other organization.

It would seem that Flag Officers often, but not always, come from the Academies. Similarly, C-level execs graduate from a handful of top B-Schools often, but not always.

My dad once referred to a manager in his company as being "touched," meaning his star was fast rising and he was on a fast track for senior level management. This proved true.

I used to workout with an officer who referred to someone in his Battalion in similar terms. He said this guy kind of had it all; not only was he smart, ambitious and hardworking, he also was very charming and had great people skills. He pointed out that even among academy graduates, most people had three of the above four mentioned traits.

I would imagine that there is also something to knowing which specialty or whatever is best to cast your lot with...In many organizations some are simply better for movement, some are consistently dysfunctional, and others are kind of ho-hum.
General Yeager did not rise through the enlisted ranks as we are talking about, to Master Sergeant getting a commission and rising to flag rank. He became an aviator and the early WWII equivalent of Army Warrant Officer aviators today. All of them were commissioned late in the war.
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Old 10-13-2017, 02:22 PM
 
15,265 posts, read 7,653,923 times
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Originally Posted by Poncho_NM View Post
I am not aware of any E-7 ever becoming a General or an Admiral.

And "So what kind of people end up becoming Generals/Admirals and the like?" is the topic of discussion...
Yes, an E-7 would normally be too long in the tooth to get that far as an officer. There have been four service chiefs of staff, however, who started enlisted, interestingly, one for each service.
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Old 10-13-2017, 06:55 PM
 
4,632 posts, read 5,200,514 times
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I adored a retired LTG whom I had to work with on occasion. He came in to WWI as a private. Served every enlisted rank except SGM (did not exist are the time). He was field commissioned to 2LT. Retired as an LTG. A truly remarkable and capable man. Charming smart and spry for an elderly person

He was a logistician and was occasionally called up to oversee US response and aid efforts to natural emergencies. The first time I met him was when president and Mrs Carter called him to oversee distribution of supplies and evacuation for some natural disaster in Bangladesh or Burma. I just remember the landslides and mountains sliding down to the rivers.

I called him a couple of times after that when other presidents wanted his expertise.

A good memory to me. That was during my time as a protocol officer at the hq Ordnance school

Last edited by theoldnorthstate; 10-13-2017 at 07:04 PM..
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Old 10-13-2017, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles
4,572 posts, read 2,197,839 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theoldnorthstate View Post
I adored a retired LTG whom I had to work with on occasion. He came in to WWI as a private. Served every enlisted rank except SGM (did not exist are the time). He was field commissioned to 2LT. Retired as an LTG. A truly remarkable and capable man. Charming smart and spry for an elderly person

He was a logistician and was occasionally called up to oversee US response and aid efforts to natural emergencies. The first time I met him was when president and Mrs Carter called him to oversee distribution of supplies and evacuation for some natural disaster in Bangladesh or Burma. I just remember the landslides and mountains sliding down to the rivers.

I called him a couple of times after that when other presidents wanted his expertise.

A good memory to me. That was during my time as a protocol officer at the hq Ordnance school
Sounds similar to the fictional Sam Damon in Once An Eagle by Anton Meyer. The novel was on the required reading list in my brigade.
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