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Health officers had tough shot at captain, lt. col.

Aug. 8, 2014 - 05:15PM   |  
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Competition for captain tracks and lieutenant colonel insignia among Regular Army health services officers is extremely keen this year, with annual promotion boards generating some of the lowest primary zone select rates seen in years.

The Army Medical Department captain board that met in early April recommended 590 first lieutenants of the Nurse Corps, Medical Service Corps and Medical Specialist Corps for promotion.

These selection lists do not require Senate confirmation, and promotions can begin as soon as scheduled by the Army, which presumably will be in October, or soon thereafter.

The fiscal 2014 Medical Corps and Dental Corps board recessed May 21 after recommending 151 majors for promotion to lieutenant colonel.

The 2013 O-5 lists for these branches will be completed Sept. 1. The new lists require Senate confirmation, but that cannot occur until at least Sept. 8-23, when lawmakers return to Washington before recessing until after the November elections.

The primary-zone select rate for captain was 67.7 percent, well below the 90 percent or higher rates of recent years when the Army expanded to support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the PZ rate was well below standard, the above-zone rate was nearly 52 percent, with 132 of the 254 previously considered first lieutenants being picked up for promotion.

The 122 AZ officers who picked up a second nonselection for O-3 will be involuntarily separated, or retired, if eligible. Most of these officers are eligible to transition to the reserve components, which are short-handed for company-grade officers.

The primary-zone select rate for Medical Corps majors was 66 percent, well below historical norms, while the rate for the Dental Corps was 88.9 percent, with 24 of the 27 PZ candidates being picked up for advancement to lieutenant colonel.

Last year the PZ select rates were 96.6 percent for the Medical Corps, and 98.4 percent for the Dental Corps.

The above-zone select rate for the Medical Corps was nearly 40 percent, with 23 of the 58 previously considered officers being recommended for promotion. Thirteen of the 35 AZ officers passed over by the board have been offered selective continuation, which would allow them to remain on active duty.

Only two DC officers were in the above-zone category, one of whom was selected for promotion.

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