Cpl. Aaron J. Michaels, a squad leader with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, patrols through a forested area during training at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in May. The Corps is tweaking the rules for meritorious promotions for corporals. (Lance Cpl. Phillip R. Clark / Marine Corps)
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More top-performing corporals could find themselves getting promoted "on the spot" if their commands deem them worthy of a meritorious promotion.
The Marine Corps has doubled the number of corporals that units in the operating forces can meritoriously promote early to sergeant in fiscal 2013, according to an Oct. 4 message. As of Oct. 1, those units can promote up to one-half of 1 percent of the total number of corporals they have on board for each quarter of the fiscal year, according to Marine administrative message 556/12.
Across the Corps' battalions and squadrons, the change could affect dozens of Marines over the coming year.
The change doubles the cap of one-quarter of 1 percent defined in the Marine Corps Promotion Manual. Allocations for units to promote lance corporals to corporal remain the same — 1 percent of lance corporals it has on board as of the first day of each quarter, according to the message.
While the rates are relatively small, the change means some highly qualified corporals won't have to wait until they reach the cutting scores in their military occupational specialty to put on that third stripe.
However, each meritorious promotion counts against a unit's total promotion allocations, so there will be no overall net increase of promotions in those units, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a Manpower and Reserve Affairs spokeswoman in Quantico, Va.
The change is one of several modifications to existing meritorious promotion policies.
As of Oct. 1, infantry battalion commanders are getting special authority, via their active-duty division, to nominate for early promotion corporals they find worthy of having the rank of sergeant so they can fill vacant squad leader and section leader billets. The number of these promotions will vary by unit, based on each unit's authorized strength and the number of Marines it has on board once it is stabilized for deployment, according to the MARADMIN. This change applies only to the 03 infantry field military occupational specialties. Division commanders will have final approval.
Corporals who are nominated for meritorious promotion to sergeant still have to meet time-in-service limits, which for corporal is eight years.
Those in a promotion restriction situation, such as Marines who recently got busted in rank or were given nonjudicial punishment, won't qualify.