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Air Force loses staff sergeant tests in the mail

Jul. 17, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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Promotion test answer sheets for 99 airmen at Pope Field in North Carolina were lost in the mail and were unable to be used in the most recent staff sergeant testing cycle, the Air Force Personnel Center said Thursday.

“A significant majority” of those 99 affected airmen tested for staff sergeant, AFPC said in response to an Air Force Times inquiry. It is unclear whether those airmen were passed over as a result of the missing tests.

In its statement, AFPC pledged to resolve the situation for affected airmen.

“We are aware that a package containing promotion test answer sheets was mailed from Pope Army Air Field, N.C., and was not delivered to Air Force Personnel Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, for scoring,” AFPC’s statement said. “This is an important issue for the Air Force because we value every airman. We will ensure this group of airmen at Pope AAF is given proper consideration in this unique situation.”

AFPC said the Air Force is working with the carrier contracted to transport the score sheets to try to recover them. If the sheets are not found, AFPC said the Air Force “will ensure those impacted are given a fair and equitable opportunity for testing and promotion.”

The Air Force said July 10 that 9,403 senior airmen were selected for promotion to staff sergeant — 25.59 percent of the 36,739 airmen eligible for promotion. That was the lowest selection rate in 16 years.

An anonymous senior airman, who tipped off Air Force Times to the missing tests the day after the results were released, expressed his outrage in an email.

“Why should we have to test again?” the senior airman said. “This is the [Air Force’s] mistake. We are deserving of the new rank and cannot help that our tests are lost.”

Senior airmen tested one month earlier than usual — from April 1 to May 16 — to make sure those selected for promotion would not have to face the enlisted retention board that convened June 16. Results of the retention boards are expected in late July and early August, when 1,427 airmen in overmanned specialties are expected to be ordered to retire by Dec. 1 or separate by Jan. 31.

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