By Mr. Gail Anderson (USARC)January 19, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The task of running a fair, efficient and successful senior promotion board falls to the boards branch of the 81st Regional Support Command's directorate of human resources and with only four people to do the work, to say that task is "daunting" might sometimes seem more than just an understatement - it might seem impossible.
That's why the boards branch is always asking the operational and functional and training commands for help. Help in the form of volunteers -- to help review the more than 600 packets that come in to the branch biannually.
The 81st RSC holds senior promotion boards during the second and fourth quarter of each fiscal year and according to the lead human resources specialist, Tannie Jackson, the commands respond to the plea for help, remarkably "Not only are they sending us bodies, to assist in QCing the packets, they're also sending their sergeants major to sit on the boards," said Jackson.
She continued, "So it's the commands who are promoting these Soldiers, sergeants major from the field who are looking at these packets and voting on whether or not these Soldiers should be recommended, so [the commands] have a hand in the preparation for the board and the actual selection process as well."
The commands provide the boards branch admin personnel in the ranks of staff sergeant and sergeant first class, for one week, to assist in quality control of the packets processed.
Jackson said, "I have never had a command fail to support our request for assistance."
"We like it when they send different people each time because I believe that NCO's should have this experience," she continued.
The Soldiers that the commands send don't just look at promotion packets, they also assist in helping set up the board room, making name plates, putting together welcome packets for the board members and assist by inputting completed packet information into the database.
"Normally, we get a minimum of two persons per week, or maximum of four persons per week, for two weeks, and this goes on for about 10 weeks," said senior human resources sergeant Master Sgt. Maria Colon-Suarez.
The 81st RSC's director of human resources, Pete Quinn, said having personnel from the commands assist the boards branch is just a win-win situation for both organizations.
"They [the commands] have a vested interest in these senior promotion boards, after all, it's their Soldiers who may be getting promoted and to have one of their own people up here to represent the command and help the 81st in the process can only be a good thing," said Quinn.
Quinn added, "Plus it's good noncommissioned officer professional development for those Soldiers that come up here so they can learn about the board selection process, and the third thing is that it's all about relationship building. Whenever they [the commands] have the opportunity to come up here and work with the 81st, I think that's a good thing as far as building relationships for future endeavors."
For Sgt. 1st Class JoAnn Brown, of the 200th Military Police Command, being able to help a Soldier get promoted is what it's all about. "I love doing promotion packets. I like to do things that help a Soldier advance and go on to the next level and when I play a part in that, it gives me a lot of self-satisfaction," she said.
"I'm enjoying the experience I'm gaining from this," said Sgt. 1st Class Sheila Spivey, from the 108th Training Command. "It will help me be able to take this knowledge back to my unit and get Soldiers in my unit better prepared for future boards before they submit packets."