Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq - For Soldiers in the rank of sergeant or below who are deemed to be of the utmost caliber by their brigade commander and brigade command sergeant major, certain requirements to earn the rank of sergeant or staff sergeant can be waived under the battlefield promotion program.

Battlefield promotions remove many of the standard requirements for promotions and instead impose their own specific requirements and restrictions.

"The biggest difference (between regular and battlefield promotions) is that some of the regulatory guidance does not apply," explained Sgt. 1st Class Jack Cleff, the noncommissioned officer in charge of Task Force Marne G-1 Human Resources Section. "For example, time-in-grade and time-in-service don't apply. Soldiers don't have to be in a promotable status; they don't have to appear before a promotion board and (promotion point) cutoff scores are out the window."

However, battlefield promotions are not handed out like candy. They are regulated at the U. S. Force-Iraq level and each division is only allowed a specific amount of battlefield promotions.

"Every quarter we get allocations from USF-I as far as how many promotions we can give to certain rank," said Sgt. 1st. Class Cleff. "We break them down per brigade based on unit strength and the number of Soldiers in that specific rank.

"Promotions to private two and private first class are unlimited, so a brigade could literally promote every private in the brigade. The majority of the battlefield promotion packets we see are for private first class to specialist and specialist to sergeant, but those allocations are limited, and change every quarter."

To be considered for a battlefield promotion, Soldiers must display exceptional leadership and performance that clearly distinguishes them from their peers and is expected of a higher rank.

One of the most important things that go into a battlefield promotion packet is the letter of recommendation from the brigade commander and brigade command sergeant major, showing that the Soldier is excelling while working in a grade position above the one they currently hold, said Capt. Toni Brown, the TF Marne G-1 Human Resources Section officer in charge.

The only other documents required are the Department of the Army form 4187 requesting the promotion, DA form 4187-1-R endorsed by the Soldier's NCO support channel (from first sergeant through the brigade command sergeant major) and the enlisted record brief. Promotion to staff sergeant is conditional for any Soldier who has not completed the Warrior Leader Course. Non-WLC graduates promoted to staff sergeant under the provisions of the battlefield promotion program must complete WLC within 270 days of their redeployment. Failure to complete WLC will result in an administrative reduction to sergeant unless an extension is approved. The approval authority for the extension request for Soldiers who are beyond the 270 days NCO Education System requirement is Department of the Army G-1.

All Soldiers should always strive for excellence and never accept anything less than the best quality of work from themselves. For Soldiers who are consistently performing at higher than expected levels and who show leadership qualities that surpass their rank, battlefield promotions give credit where it is due.