The Army's most recent promotion board placed 2,133 Sergeants First Class (E7, five stripes) on the list for promotion to Master Sergeant or First Sergeant. The Board noted that only one of every eight files reviewed was selected, and noted some consistent problems that denied soldiers the promotions they wanted:
@ Many sergeants were 40 pounds or more over the weight limits but their commanders still marked them as "meeting requirements". Curious, most of these files lacked current photos.
@ Each sergeant was allowed to include a letter in his file to cover any missing information or things not obvious from the file. The board noted that many of these letters were long, rambling, disorganized, and even incoherent. It would be assumed that a senior sergeant should be able to express himself better.
@ Commanders tended to list a given sergeant's weakest points first and then build up to his better attributes. The board noted, however, that those selected for promotion tended to have their best points listed first, as this created an impression in the minds of the board members that the sergeant deserved promotion, an impression that subsequent weaknesses could not overcome.--Stephen V Cole