What is a “Don’t Pick Me” Promotion Board Letter? Why Would You Send One?

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If you go to the Navy Active Duty Officer Promotions Page, you’ll find this at the bottom:

Sample “Don’t Pick Me” Letter to the Board

Removing the introductory portion, here is what the meat of this letter says:

  1. Per reference (a), please do not select me for promotion by the FY-[XX] [ActiveDuty Navy/Navy Reserve] [Grade] [Line/Staff Corps] [Competitive Category] Promotion Selection Board.

That’s it. All it says to the promotion board is, “Don’t pick me.”

Why would or should a physician send a letter requesting NOT to be considered by a promotion board? Here are a few reasons:

  1. You know that you are resigning and will not be joining the Reserves – If you are just paying your time back and getting out, do your fellow officers a favor and remove yourself from consideration. It is hard enough to promote nowadays. Having one less person to compete with helps out those who are willing to stick around. Yes, if you are picked and get promoted soon enough you could get some extra pay for a little while before you resign, but I’d say the general karma of letting someone else get the promotion outweighs that small financial benefit.
  2. You are an O4 or O5 who is retiring but you know that if selected for promotion you won’t accept it – Why would someone not accept a promotion? Because a promotion to O5 or O6 obligates you for 3 more years if you intend to retire. And the Navy still isn’t letting anyone get out early. If you want to get out as fast as possible with a 20 year retirement, taking a promotion to O6 in year 18 means you must stick around until year 21 at least.

So…if #1 or #2 above are applicable, consider sending a “Don’t Pick Me” letter. Make sure, though, that you are 100% POSITIVE that nothing in your situation will change. Lots of people who think they are going to get out, not join the Reserves, or want to retire right at 20 years later change their mind.

And remember, they are now due 10 days before a board convenes (not 24 hours like before).

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