Some Marines Will Have to Wait Longer to Pick up Rank

First Sgt. J. Thomas Russo, Company A first sergeant, is pinned to his current rank by his wife, Jennifer, during a promotion ceremony at the Barracks Staff Noncomissioned Officer’s Club April 2. (Photo courtesy of Marine Barracks Washington)
First Sgt. J. Thomas Russo, Company A first sergeant, is pinned to his current rank by his wife, Jennifer, during a promotion ceremony at the Barracks Staff Noncomissioned Officer’s Club April 2. (Photo courtesy of Marine Barracks Washington)

A new change to Marine Corps policy will require some Marines to wait longer before they are eligible for promotion.

The new guidelines stipulate that, as of April 1, Marine lance corporals and corporals must spend 12 months in their current rank before they can be looked at for promotion to corporal or sergeant. The current rules require just eight months' time-in-grade for lance corporals, though corporals must already serve 12 months in their rank before promotion to sergeant.

The change was announced Friday in a Marine administrative message. The message adds that composite scores, which determine eligibility for promotion, will still be calculated quarterly, as they are now, but Marines will become eligible for a promotion look as soon as they hit the 12-month time-in-grade mark.

While this will result in longer promotion waits for many lance corporals, it could have a benefit for corporals looking to make sergeant: Previously, they needed to have reached the 12-month mark at the start of the quarter in which they want to be promoted. With the new rules, a corporal who hits 12 months' time-in-grade on the first of the month could be eligible for promotion that month.

The new policy will also allow for a "not recommended for promotion" to be added to a Marine's personnel file in order to "reduce promotion oversight errors and page 11 entries," according to the message. Promotion eligibility will be reset each quarter, allowing a commander to more clearly see which Marines are ready for a promotion look.

This change to promotion eligibility is part of a series of tweaks in the promotion process designed to reward high-performing Marines, according to a fragmentary order released by Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller in January.

In the document, Neller directed Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs to review the existing promotion process and implement a new promotion review process for lance corporals and corporals looking to make rank.

In a recent interview with Marine Corps Times, the top enlisted Marine at M&RA, Sgt. Maj. Grant Van Oostrom, revealed that the Corps is creating a quality control board that will enable leaders to mentor junior Marines ahead of promotion to ensure they have the skills and education needed to succeed at the next rank.

The paper reported that 92 percent of lance corporals who had spent a year at their current rate didn't have the composite, or cutting, score they needed to be promoted.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@milit ary.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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