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Navy: E-7 exam answer sheets lost in mail; What happened?

Apr. 9, 2013 - 11:35AM   |  
(John Harman / Staff)
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Hawaii-based commands whose E-7 exam answer sheets were lost in the mail:
• Attack submarines Hawaii and Louisville.
• Cruiser Lake Erie.
• Destroyers Hopper, Michael Murphy and O’Kane.
• Pacific Missile Range Facility Barking Sands.

Navy officials have confirmed that about 150 E-7 exam answer sheets were lost in the mail en route to Pensacola, Fla., for grading — but the prospective chiefs involved won’t suffer for it.

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Navy officials have confirmed that about 150 E-7 exam answer sheets were lost in the mail en route to Pensacola, Fla., for grading — but the prospective chiefs involved won’t suffer for it.

The test results came from seven Hawaii-based commands, all of which properly mailed the answer sheets so they could be tracked, according to the Navy.

“Based on the tracking information, upon arrival in [the continental U.S.], the individual packages from the seven commands were consolidated by the United States Post Office and put into one shipping container for further shipping,” according to Lt. Hayley Sims, spokeswoman for the chief of naval personnel.

“However, that container never arrived to its destination — Navy has no information as to why.”

The sailors involved were given an “Exception to Policy” and have been made selection board-eligible without their scores, Sims said. It’s similar to the blanket “boots on the ground” exemption for sailors in war zones since 2007, which puts them in front of the board without requiring them to take a test. That’s good news for any poor test-takers in the bunch.

Other options would’ve involved a substitute exam or asking the sailors to petition the Board for Correction of Naval Records for a special board for a retroactive advancement if they passed the exam on the next cycle, Sims said.

Unlike other petty officer exams that factor into a sailor’s final multiple score, the E-7 test is used only to help determine who reaches the E-7 board, slated to begin work June 17.

The incident is still under investigation, sources told Navy Times, but Navy officials were quick to point out that only the answer sheets were lost — not the test booklets, which could have compromised the exams and forced the fleet to rewrite them from scratch.

“In the past 10 years, [the Navy Advancement Center] has mailed and tracked more than 3 million enlisted exams [to commands],” Sims said. “None of those exams were lost in the mail.”

The Navy doesn’t have similar statistics on lost answer sheets, but Sims called the recent case “a rare occurrence.”

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