Promotion to Staff Sergeant (E-6)

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Enlisted Promotions Systems – Staff Sergeant

The rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) is the entry point to the Staff NCO ranks. There are significant differences as you step up from the NCO to the Staff NCO levels.

The Staff Sergeant’s Roles and Responsibilities

Staff Sergeant Drill Instructor, Marines
In this photo: Jennifer Kelton, Marie Michael

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The major difference between the staff sergeant and the sergeant is in the scope of responsibility. The staff sergeant has a greater level of responsibility and accountability. Understanding these differences is vital. As a staff sergeant, you will be expected to use your greater experience to lead marines and lesser ranked sergeants.

As a staff sergeant, you will often have one or more sergeants who work under your direct leadership. You will be responsible for the continued successful development of your sergeants as well as the soldiers in your section, squad or team.

The complexities of your job as the staff sergeant will increase as your responsibilities broaden. Your professional competence will be measured by how well you develop, maintain and use the full range of human potential of your Marines.

The Staff NCO Promotion Process

Unlike the Corporal (CPL) and Sergeant (SGT) promotion process, the Staff NCO (E6-E9) promotion process includes a centralized selection board. The normal sequence from recommendation to promotion to Staff NCO follows.

Basic Eligibility Requirements for Staff Sergeant (E-6)

  • Command recommendation
  • 48 months Time-In-Service
  • 24 Months Time-In-Grade
  • Must complete the required Professional Military Education (PME) courses:
    Marine Noncommissioned Officer Course (MCI)/ NCO Basic Nonresident Course, or
    The Sergeant’s Nonresident Program/Sergeants Distance Education Program

    Note: Completion of a tour of duty as a Drill Instructor, Recruiter, or Marine Security Guard assignment can replace the requirement to complete the resident PME courses.

The Staff NCO Centralized Board

The Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) will convene selection boards each calendar year to examine the qualifications of Marines in the grades of Sgt, SSgt, GySgt, MSgt and 1stSgt for the purpose of recommending those “best and fully qualified” for promotion to the next higher grade. The centralized promotion board generally consists of 16 to 18 members.

Your entire military career is evaluated to determine if you qualify among the “best and fully qualified.” This determination is based on the “whole Marine” concept. In the course of its evaluations, the Selection Board will consider your demonstrated performance/achievement, leadership, professional and technical knowledge, experience (type and level), growth potential, motivation, military proficiency, physical fitness, personal appearance, conduct, moral character, and maturity.

General Board Procedures

The Selection Board will be told the number of promotions are available for each intended MOS for active duty Marines, Marines in the Active Reserve (AR) Program, and in each occupational field for all other reserve component Marines. The Selection Board will also beprovided with the records of Marines eligible to compete within each zone.

You are entitled to correspond directly with the President of the Selection Board considering their case for promotion. Your personal correspondence may include, but is not limited to, letters to the President, copies of award certificates, school completion certificates, MCI’s, photographs, third party correspondence (letters of recommendation or explanation), etc.

Correspondence to SNCO selection boards need to be addressed as follows:

President (Specific Board) Headquarters,
U.S. Marine Corps (MMPR-2)
Harry Lee Hall 17 LeJeune Road
Quantico, VA 22134-5104 5.

Note: All correspondence must be under cover letter, signed by the eligible Marine, listing all material being forwarded to the Selection Board as enclosures. The board will not consider correspondence not meeting these criteria.

The Selection Process

The Marine Corps then takes all the selectees (without regard to MOS), and assigns them a promotion sequence number, which is assigned according to seniority.

For example, if you are on the GySgt list and you have the most TIG as an SSgt, then you will be given the lowest sequence number (0001).

Each month, over the next 12 months, the Marines will release the sequence numbers of those to be promoted during that month.

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