Preparing for Promotion

7 Dec 2000 | The Enlisted Career Counseling Unit Headquarters Marine Corps

The promotion system provides a process whereby Marines within each grade and Military Occupational Specialty/Occupation Field compete for promotion to the next grade.  The basic goal is to advance the best qualified Marines to higher grades. This ensures MOS/Occupation Field vacancies in the enlisted structure will be continuously occupied by Marines who are fully qualified to perform and to assume the responsibilities of the next higher grade.

Your record is your personal representation at all selection boards for promotion. It is imperative as a Career Marine, you fully understand all the moving parts of your record and know how to keep it updated. As we review records to evaluate performance during counseling, we routinely come across poorly managed records. We find records not updated with important items such as PME, Fitness Reports and awards missing. Failure to project all information in your record may not present a full picture of your performance and potential.

Ensuring your record is current and complete is your responsibility and not anyone else's. "If a selection board determines that a Marine's case is incomplete, but sufficient information is available to make a valid recommendation, the Marine will be considered for selection.  Marines in this situation are not entitled to remedial consideration based on the missing material which has been updated subsequent to the adjournment of the selection board (MCO 1400.32C)."

It is neither difficult nor time consuming to ensure you have a current and updated record. The focus of this article is to give you a snapshot of the important elements of your record as they pertain to promotion. Afterwards, sources are listed to enable you to correct your record if needed. You should use this checklist to review the accuracy of your record. Don't procrastinate and wait until the last hour.

The OMPF is seen by the promotion board digitally and available to individual Marines upon request in the plastic microfiche format. It is a set of three individual folders printed in a run-on sequence on microfiche and contains the information listed below:

Service Folder
Consists of contract information, discharge documents, general administrative and service documents used to compute service time for benefits, programs, or retirement.

Commendatory/Derogatory Folder
Contains documents on civilian and military education, personal awards, court-martial/nonjudicial punishments, and other material reflecting significant personal achievement or adversity pertinent to making decisions for purposes of selection, assignment, and retention.

Performance Folder
Contains fitness reports and standard addendum pages for all sergeants and above.

Your MBS is a snapshot of administrative data, duties and grades given based on your fitness reports. The old style MBS will have no further entries beyond the closing date of the old Performance Evaluation System. You will have a new style MBS for all reports received under the present Performance Evaluation System.

Here is a simple checklist that will be a good tool to ensure accuracy and update of your records for the promotion process.

Administrative Information (DOR, AFADBD, PEBD, PMOS, IMOS)
Basic Individual Record in the MCTFS and the header data of your MBS. You can correct this by unit diary locally.

PFT (Semi Annually)
Basic Training Record in the MCTFS. You can correct this by unit diary locally.

Rifle/Pistol Range (Annually)
Basic Training Record in the MCTFS. You can correct this by unit diary locally.

Though you can verify this in many places, it is best to ensure all PME shows completion as a complete course in your Basic Training Record in the MCTFS, This is inputted by MCI, call MCI at (800) MCI-USMC. See Note-1 for more on PME. See
Note-2 more on Equivalency Codes

Other Training Requirements (Swim, BST)
Basic Training Record in the MCTFS. You can correct this by unit diary locally.

Awards Screen in the MCTFS to ensure it is in the system and in your OMPF (C-Fiche) to ensure your citations have been inputted for all to read. Very often, we find it is in the system but not in your OMPF. System input via unit diary entry and send citation to MMSB for input in your OMPF.

Civilian Education
Education Screen in the MCTFS. You can correct this by unit diary locally; also make sure your grade level reflects appropriately. Ensure you send a certified or true copy to MMSB for input into your OMPF.

Fitness Reports
Though there are many ways to check this for both the old and new reports. It is best to ensure all reports are in your MBS and OMPF. If you have a question regarding the reports in your record, call MMSB-20 at DSN 278-3952. See Note-3 for more on Date Gaps.

Promotion Photo
It is a requirement to submit a promotion photograph. Ensure a sharp appearance, correct information on it and always get it is certified by your command. To ensure receipt, submit it with a NAVMC 941, letter of transmittal. See Note-4 for more on Photographs.

Marines can send correspondence to the President of a Selection Board. It is recommended all correspondence sent be of a nature to explain and not complain. Be chronological, factual and to the point. This is especially useful when explaining details or circumstances not otherwise known by examining a record. Letters of recommendation may also be included. Mail all correspondence to the address below.

QUANTICO, VA 22134-5104
Fax: DSN 278-9884
Commercial: 703-784-9884
Phone: DSN 278-9712/3
Commercial: 703-784-9712/3

Marines can order their OMPF (Official Military Personnel File) and or MBS (Master Brief Sheet) by writing or faxing a request to MMSB-10. Ensure that you include your rank, full name, SSN, mailing address and work phone number and send your request to the address below.

Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps
(MMSB-33)  2008 Elliot Road,
Quantico, VA 22134-5030
DSN Telefax: 278-5792
Commercial Telefax: (703) 784-5792

Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps
(MMSB-20)  2008 Elliot Road,
Quantico, VA 22134-5030
DSN Telefax: 278-5783
Commercial Telefax: (703) 784-5783

We recommend Marines increase their competitiveness by doing as much PME as possible to include all resident courses at the SNCO Academy. Your PME requirements (MCO P1400.32C, Enlisted Promotions Manual) must be shown as completed at least one day before the convening date of the selection board. Additionally, ensure you have remarks on fitness reports for reading books from the Commandants Reading Program.

Though the board does not see your BTR/BIR which reflects the correct unit diary entry from your unit and an appropriate entry into the MCTFS. The board will see your MBS and Marines should ensure that all PME also appears in the header data of the MBS. Additionally, it is a good idea to send copies of certificates for 'Required PME' to the board. This will serve as a good proof source just in case the source document from MCI or MCTFS are incorrect.

Staff Sergeant
Must have one of the following MCI?s completed: Marine NCO MCI 03.3K or MCI 7000 or MCI 8000

Gunnery Sergeant
MCI 7100 must be completed.

Master Sergeant
Must have both MCI 7200 and MCI 7400 completed.  Effective CY-2002 the Advanced Course is also mandatory, refer to MarAdmin 389/00.

First Sergeant
Must have either MCI 7100 or the Career Course Resident completed and all three of the following; MCI 7200, MCI 7400 and the Advanced Course Resident.

"Successful completion of Drill Instructor, Recruiter or Marine Security Guard school in the grades of corporal through gunnery sergeant can replace the requirement to complete resident PME courses, including the SNCO Advanced Resident course, provided the Marine has also completed the appropriate nonresident program (MCO 1400.32C, Enlisted Promotion Manual)." The individual Marine is required to ensure the equivalency code is run by unit diary and the same is reflected in your Basic Training Record, this does not get accomplished automatically. The Equivalency Code for the Advanced Course Resident is L77, which is a requirement for promotion, for further details, read ALMAR 156/96. Though there are two additional equivalency codes in the Codes Manual, they are for resident courses that will not help Marines for promotion to 1stSgt (or MSgt, starting CY-02).

In the old fitness reports, date gaps were for periods not covered for 45 days or more. In the new reports, date gaps are for periods not covered for 31 days or more. There is no grandfather clause.

"Marines being considered for promotion regardless of zone, are required to send a Promotion Photograph to the selection board (MCO 1070.12J)." Photographs must be taken within six months from the convening date of the board and be in the service "C" uniform. If your service "C" uniform is not available due to deployment, submit a photograph in the most appropriate uniform available.

Headquarters Marine Corps