AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --
Seven staff sergeants assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing were recognized as being selected to promote to the rank of technical sergeant, July 22, 2022, at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. 2022 was a lean year for those competing for promotion. Approximately 34,000 eligible candidates tested for the position and nearly 5,500 of those individuals made the cut for their fifth stripe. At 16%, 2022 was the lowest promotion rate since 2013 — which was 15.03%.
“The promotion to tech sergeant is not easy, it’s probably one of the toughest ranks on the enlisted side” said Col. Alfredo Laboy, the Director, Manpower, Personnel and Services, Logistics, Communications, and Installations and Mission Support, 380th AEW.
Laboy says it’s not just achieving the rank that is difficult, but the transition from first line supervisor to a subject matter expert. And that those who achieve the rank will be expected to lead other noncommissioned officers as well as Airmen.
“One piece of advice to all of our promotees – grow where you're planted,” said Chief Master Sgt. Ryan T. Flynn, the senior enlisted leader of the 380th AEW wing staff. “Every commander and SEL just watched you walk across this stage. Now they know you are the best of the best. The cat’s out of the bag. It doesn’t get easier from here, so I challenge you – grow where you’re planted.”
The 380th AEW’s technical sergeant selects are:
- Line Number 65: Staff Sgt. Gabriel Castillo, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 380th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron’s Readiness and Mortuary Affairs section
- Line Number 1266: Staff Sgt. Nickolas Torrez, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron’s Emergency Communications Center
- Line number 1736: Staff Sgt. Alanna Metelka, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 380th AEW Legal Office
- Line Number 2324: Staff Sgt. Jacob Merz, a structural supervisor assigned to the 380th ECES
- Line Number 2746: Staff Sgt. Starshema Brown, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 380th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron’s Equipment Accountability Element
- Line Number 3297: Staff Sgt. Gregory Schmidt, a structures specialist assigned to the 380th ECES
- Line Number 3330: Staff Sgt. Justin Parrish, a contracting officer assigned to the 380th Expeditionary Contracting Squadron