By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Maria Yager
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Navy announced plans June 3 to increase the maximum number of award points authorized when computing the final multiple on Navy-wide advancement exams for Sailors with in-theater service as outlined in NAVADMIN 167/09.
"Since the earliest stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the performance and advancement results of Sailors have been monitored to ensure that in-theater service does not disadvantage Sailors. Where warranted by the data, policy adjustments have been implemented to counter in-theater advancement challenges," said Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, chief of naval personnel, in the message.
"This action is intended to prevent the exclusion of in-theater award points for those Sailors who currently have the maximum award points for their pay grade," said Ferguson.
The new policy takes effect in August for Reserve advancement cycle 085 and September for the active-duty advancement cycle 204. Sailors who have served more than 90 consecutive days in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, Kuwait, Guantanamo Bay, Joint Task Force 515, or Joint Force Special Task Force-Philippines after Oct. 24, 2001 are authorized a two-point increase to the maximum award points authorized.
This increases the maximum number of award points to 12 for E-4 and E-5 candidates and 14 points for E-6 candidates.
"There are a lot of [hospital] corpsmen who miss it by half a point. So, any help is appreciated," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Adrian Evans, assigned to Navy Branch Health Clinic aboard Naval Support Activity Mid-South.
Evans completed two deployments to Iraq as a platoon corpsman for the 2nd Marine Division Fleet Marine Force. With his prior awards and a recent Navy Achievement Medal, Evans is maxed out on award points, but, the new policy will allow him to get credit for his overseas contingency service on his next advancement exam.
In addition to extra award points for exams, the Navy has offered Sailors other advancement incentives for serving in-theater.
According to NAVADMIN 276/08 all chief petty officer and limited duty officer candidates who are eligible, meet the requirements and have the commanding officer's approval are waived from the advancement examinations while serving in-theater.
NAVADMIN 077/05 explains how Sailors can earn accelerated advancement through the Combat Meritorious Advancement Program. In order to qualify for the program, Sailors must currently be in pay grades E1 through E5. The program is not authorized to promote Sailors to E7 or above.
"When you compare the time and environment a non-operational corpsman gets to study versus an operational corpsman, anything extra helps," said Evans.