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  • Path to NCO

    Speaking with an old college roommate (an former Reservist with me back in the day) who is considering reenlisting. I have suggested he make use of his degree and pursue the 09S program. He's sees himself as more of an NCO-type. From what I recall from the Reserve and the Guard, E-4 is basically the rank that everyone and their brother makes, and then sits at for years before earning E-5. Is this still the case in today's Guard?

  • #2
    Re: Path to NCO

    Originally posted by OldGuardGuy View Post
    Speaking with an old college roommate (an former Reservist with me back in the day) who is considering reenlisting. I have suggested he make use of his degree and pursue the 09S program. He's sees himself as more of an NCO-type. From what I recall from the Reserve and the Guard, E-4 is basically the rank that everyone and their brother makes, and then sits at for years before earning E-5. Is this still the case in today's Guard?
    It all depends on MOS and unit vacancies. The more E5 positions in a particular mos, the faster promotion is possible.

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    • #3
      Re: Path to NCO

      My unscientific study of the matter leads me to make the following answers to the question, "why hasn't a Soldier been promoted to E5?"

      1. Does not meet standards (e.g., overweight, APFT failure, NCOES not complete).
      2. MOS is overstrength in E5, so there's no room.
      3. Unwilling to change units to a vacancy (sometimes the vacancy is very far, so sometimes there's a legitimate reason to refuse).

      So, a Soldier controls or influences a great deal of his promotion chances. If you maintain standards, and you're willing to reclass and drive far, you'll make it. Your battalion retention NCO and CSM will have additional detailed guidance.

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      • #4
        Re: Path to NCO

        If I remember correctly and am being totally honest, I recall E4 being a rank that most of us were happy to attain for the extra drill pay and the fact that we were no longer "privates". And, E5 sounded nice, but the majority of us didn't want the added responsibility and didn't have the appropriate motivation to make E5 regardless of the opportunities that existed at the time. Such is the Reserves through the eyes of most 20-year olds I suppose. Or at least it was the case in several engineer units in NY in the early/mid-1990's.

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        • #5
          Re: Path to NCO

          The Colonel's anecdotal summary is accurate. While there are some people who make a terminal career of being a Specialist (just for the record I managed to proudly hold the position of full bird private for nearly 6 years as a medical specialist; 1990-1996) there are just as many who are making E-5 in 4 or 5 years. Career progression is largely based on you.

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          • #6
            Re: Path to NCO

            More importantly, if it has been since the mid 90s since you have been in, assuming you did a 6 year initial enlistment, you might be rapidly approaching your age barrier even with your prior service.

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            • #7
              Re: Path to NCO

              LTC is spot on. In my unit (Sapper company) we had a ton of open E-5 slots because we are a new unit (stood up in 2008) so some soldiers made E-5 within 3 years of enlisting. Before that when I was field artillery we had ZERO open slots for my MOS and very few for the plentifull 13B's. So promotion was really slow.

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