By Mr. Gail Anderson (USARC)January 19, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. - On Jan. 14, after a week of scouring over application packets for a recent lieutenant colonel command board, a team of 20 people, including the 81st Regional Support Command commander, Maj. Gen. Bill Gerety, completed reviewing more than 820 applicants.
The command board was made up of 10 troop program unit and active guard, reserve Soldiers from 10 different major commands, all colonels and above, who were assisted by nine administrative support personnel. While the nine administrative support personnel had no actual vote in the selection process, they were essential to conducting an efficient board.
Because this was a Chief, Army Reserve directed board, not an 81st RSC board, the United States Army Reserve Command human resources office sent two people to observe the proceedings and make sure that everything went according to regulation.
"Actually the Chief, Army Reserve is the convening authority for this board. The 81st RSC commanding general, who sat as the board president, simply executed it for him," said chief of the 81st's officer branch, Patricia Upton.
Generally, a lieutenant colonel command board is conducted quarterly and rotates between the four RSC's so for this reason the 99th RSC also sent two people, Duval Tyson and Chief Warrant Officer Michael Balsamo and the 88th RSC provided Shalanda Harlan to assist with the administrative duties of running this command board.
Upton said there were three things that made this particular board different than most others.
"One: this is the first time both AGR and TPU officers have been considered on the same board so it was very interesting, from the board member's perspective, how to evaluate the two different types of officers who have two completely different levels of experience," Upton said.
Upton went on to say that two additional "firsts" for the selection board process were seen from an administrative perspective.
"Two: the huge number of applications that we've received - we received them all in electronic format this time. There were no paper files. The officers submitted an application of their personal documents that were not in the interactive personnel electronic records management system and we were able to coordinate a data pull for all of the documents from the performance fiche for all of the officers who submitted applications," said Upton.
"Three: even the voting was done electronically," Upton said. "We built a database so that the board members could actually place their vote in the data base instead of on a voting sheet."
After the board dismissed, Gerety said he was both pleased and impressed. Pleased with the way the board was conducted and impressed with the caliber of some officers who submitted their packets.
"I was reviewing the file of an officer where I saw not only their next step, but I could see this person moving on, three levels later. I have to tell you - the number of times that I was looking at some of these files, thinking to myself, 'Boy, I'm glad I wasn't getting evaluated against this person because my career would have stopped. There were just some superb officers coming forward,'" Gerety said.