Tips for Rapid Advancement

Tips for Rapid Advancement

1. Advancement to Specialist (SPC)

a) A soldier’s advance to Specialist is neither automatic nor mandatory. Unit commanders normally advance soldiers who have:

  • 24 months Time in Service (TIS); up to 18 months can be waived
  • 6 months Time in Grade (TIG); up to 3 months can be waived

b) Able to obtain a security clearance appropriate for MOS.

c) In recognition of outstanding performance, a unit commander may advance soldiers who qualify. Total number of assigned SPCs and CPLs with less than 24 months TIS cannot exceed the SPCs waiver percentage established by HQDA. The SPCs waiver percentage will be published in the monthly cutoff scores and enlisted promotion issues memorandum. Battalion CDRs and/or separate companies and/or detachments with fewer than 10 current SPC and/or CPL authorizations (positions) and no Soldier serving in the waiver zone (less than 24 months TIS) may promote one Soldier to SPC with waiver. These units are not authorized a SPC waiver promotion if the unit has a SPC and/or CPL serving in the waiver zone.

d) Several other rules and exceptions exist for Special Forces and Ranger students. See AR 600-200, Chapter 7 for specifics.

2. Things you can do to improve chances for rapid promotion to SPC and most important, to prepare for promotion to Sergeant (SGT)

a) Gain reputation as a dependable, professional soldier by displaying self-discipline and proper conduct on and off duty:

  • Act like a mature, responsible adult, not like a troubled teenager
  • No drinking and driving. If you’re able to drink legally, always travel with a designated driver. When in doubt, take a cab
  • No drinking unless of legal age, regardless of location
  • Choose your friends wisely – avoid those who use drugs, abuse alcohol, and cause mischief
  • Do not use drugs or patronize establishments that are popular with drug users or are known as hangouts for gangs
  • Don’t join organizations or groups that engage in activities that can bring discredit upon you or the Army
  • Be at the proper place at the proper time and in the proper uniform everyday to accomplish assigned duties
  • Always tell the truth to your chain of command

b) Gain reputation as a professional soldier by maintaining the highest standard of military appearance:

  • Remember a good soldier never needs a haircut or is unshaven – get a proper military haircut weekly
  • Wear and maintain your uniforms IAW AR 670-1
  • Always wear what you're authorized, nothing more
  • Rotate one set of OCP’s from your wardrobe quarterly
  • Have your friends check you and your uniform before you go to formation
  • When you’re out in public, wear your uniform properly. Never forget you are representing the entire U.S. Army

c) Gain the reputation among your fellow soldiers and chain of command as being among the most competent members of your team: Be the best in your assigned duties:

  • Be an expert on all Skill Level 10 common tasks
  • Develop the habit of being detail-oriented: develop check lists for carrying out assigned activities such as preparing for deployment to the field
  • Help your buddy. Be prepared to coach or help members of your unit
  • If in combat arms, study military tactics applicable to squad and platoon operations. Read military history with an eye toward small unit operations
  • If you are responsible for a vehicle or military equipment, be an expert on its use and operator level maintenance
  • Gain promotion points, learn new skills, and acquire excellent study habits by taking military correspondence courses and by enrolling in college courses during lunchtime or evening classes, using tuition assistance
  • Volunteer for the tough jobs in your squad, platoon or detachment
  • Learn by doing. Routinely assist NCO’s in your outfit prepare for instruction and training
  • Learn automation and become an expert using a computer

d) Gain the reputation as being physically fit and able to accomplish the most strenuous activities required of your MOS:

  • Read and understand FM 7-22  (the ACFT Manual)
  • Know your organization’s ACFT standard and equal or surpass it
  • Meet your weight and stay within the limitations of AR 600-9
  • Strive for the max score on each ACFT test by pursuing a rigorous personal ACFT program that complements regular ACFT. Find friends who like to workout during their free time and workout together
  • If having difficulty in meeting physical fitness standards, ask an NCO or a friend who is an expert in physical fitness to coach you
  • If overweight, see a doctor and/or dietitian to assist you in designing a diet and personnel conditioning program
  • Maintain long-term physical health by avoiding all tobacco products, not abusing alcohol, and abstaining from illicit drug use
  • Be involved in extracurricular physical activities on your military installation, such as intramural sports, unit teams, running and biking clubs, martial arts, swimming, sky diving, and rock climbing
  • Safety first! When you engage in sports and physical activities avoid injury by wearing the right gear (i.e. bike helmets, kneepads, properly fitting boots and running shoes). Always follow appropriate safety rules; don’t do anything stupid!
  • If your sick, go on sick call, but don’t use sick call as a way to get out of ACFT
  • Visit the dentist every 6 months for a routine dental examination and teeth cleaning
  • Learn how to lead ACFT and how to call cadence, sing jodies and give drill commands. This will prepare you to assume the responsibilities of a NCO

e) Gain the reputation as an expert on your assigned weapon by qualifying as expert annually

  • Make sure you can see the targets by getting an eye examination annually. Get and wear glasses and glass inserts for your protective mask if required
  • Participate in a minimum of 8 hours of Basic Rifle Marksmanship Instruction prior to going to a range
  • Practice aiming skills on the weaponeer and the steady hold factors for a proper sight picture and alignment
  • If you need help, ask an NCO or a friend who is an expert in marksmanship to serve as your coach
  • If available, use the range and small caliber rifles (i.e. 22 caliber rifle) at your installation rod and gun club to practice general marksmanship skills

f) Gain the reputation as a leader among your peers and within your military community by being a volunteer:

  • Compete at soldier of the week, month and quarter boards
  • Support your unit’s goals/programs i.e. bake sales, car washes, blood drives
  • Join a professional association join AUSA now
  • Become involved in your community outside of work. This will make you a more successful, well rounded soldier
  • Volunteer to be a coach, mentor, or trainer in your community

g) Gain the reputation as a mature, disciplined soldier and leader by getting your personal finances and family affairs in order:

  • Spend quality time with your family and friends away from the job
  • Teach your spouse how to read an LES (Leave/Earning Statement) and ensure he or she knows how to balance the checkbook
  • Sign up for the GI Bill Educational Benefits Program
  • Buy the max amount of SGLI; get additional insurance if you are married and have children
  • Ensure your will, power of attorney and all important papers are current and properly filed, so your loved ones can find them
  • Start early on saving money for the future. Pay your bills on time, but always pay yourself first by saving or investing a small portion of your pay every month
  • Find a reputable financial advisor that will offer you guidance and options on investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, stock market, etc) and insurance. See NCOs or officers in your unit whom you trust for recommendations. Beware of unscrupulous sales people
  • Be careful when you make major purchases: ensure the seller is reputable, inspect the item being purchased, check the warranties, and understand the small print
  • Don’t go into debt, especially credit card debt
  • Plan your annual leaves around training requirements

REMEMBER: Start Preparing to be a NCO when You’re a Private, Not a Month Before the Promotion Board