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Chance to make chief rises; surface engineers lead way

Advancement rate at 8-year high

Jul. 9, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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For petty officers first class eligible to put on chief's anchors in fiscal 2014, the wait is on.

For petty officers first class eligible to put on chief's anchors in fiscal 2014, the wait is on.

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For petty officers first class eligible to put on chief’s anchors in fiscal 2014, the wait is on.

This year’s E-7 selection board started work June 17, culling through the files of 17,465 sailors with the goal of finding 4,660 to pin as brand new chiefs. As of early July the board was still in session.

It will take at least two weeks or more for the Navy to announce the results, as all names must go through a post-board scrub. Officials will be looking for recent misconduct or failed fitness tests that could disqualify some sailors.

Many first classes are probably feeling pretty confident right now. The Navy has openings for 26.68 percent of those eligible E-6s to move up. It’s the best shot at chief in eight years — opportunity reached 26.97 percent in the fiscal 2006 cycle.

Since 1997, it’s only been higher than 26 percent in two other cycles — fiscal 2002 (28.1 percent) and fiscal 2003 (26.68 percent).

The fiscal 2014 cycle marks the third year in a row that opportunity has risen. The rise can be credited to a simultaneous rise in quotas — 1,089 more over the same period, coupled with 2,123 fewer eligible sailors.

A good year for snipes

Four of this year’s top 10 ratings are from the surface engineering community. Two each come from the submarine and aviation communities while one is administrative.

Topping this elite list is gas turbine systems technician (electrical), which is slated to advance all 51 of its eligible sailors.

Though it looks promising, officials warn it’s not a “slam dunk” for all 51 eligibles. The board does have the option to “give back” quotas if members don’t think all 51 are ready for chief.

Coming in second are surface machinist’s mates, who will see 153 of 174 eligible first classes move up for an 87.93 percent advancement chance.

Two other surface engineering ratings, electrician’s mates and damage controlmen, are among the top ratings. EM will advance 106 of 173 candidates for a 61.27 percent shot while 110 of 191 DC’s will get the nod — 57.59 percent.

Third on the list, and almost always near the top, is the explosive ordnance disposal technician rating, which will see 78.41 percent — 69 of 88 eligibles — get anchors. In the past five years, chief’s opportunity in EOD hasn’t dipped below 53 percent, something no other rating can say.

E-6s who have opted to join the Navy counselor (career recruiting force) community have this year’s fourth-best shot at chief, as 85 of 113 will move up for a 75.22 percent opportunity.

Other top ratings include submarine-qualified logistics specialists — 74.19 percent, 23 of 31 eligibles — and machinist’s mate (weapons) — 54.55 percent, 36 of 66 eligibles.

Two aviation boatswain’s mate ratings — fuels and aircraft handling — will see strong advancements as well, advancing 36 of 71 and 83 of 172 eligible E-6s, respectively. The ABF’s 50.70 percent and ABE’s 48.26 percent opportunity is a far cry from just three years ago, when the ratings advanced only 4.35 percent and 6.22 percent, respectively.

And the downside

It’s been a frustrating three years for the Seabees in the engineering aide rating.

For the second year in a row they’ll be on the bottom of the list, advancing only one of 29 eligibles for a 3.45 percent shot. That’s up from zero percent two years ago, but down from a very respectable 33.33 percent opportunity just four years ago.

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