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Below is correspondence between a new friend who was curious how the promotion system works.

-----Original Message-----
From: Smith, John
Sent: Monday, December 18, 2000 1446
To: 'Jason D. Grose'
Subject: RE: Communication Check

Dear Captain Grose,

Not to worry. I completely understand that you are quite busy. I am just happy (and appreciate) about the fact that you are willing to be so helpful to total strangers.

I am a bit curious about you seeming to know that you will likely not be able to go beyond Major. How do you know this? Is it because of your MOS, or some other factor(s)?

I have never met you, but it is clear from your web-site that you are someone with plenty of energy and self motivation. Not to mention a genuine promoter of the Corps. If you will likely get "stuck" at Major, something is not quite right in the USMC.

I do not want to get "political" on you, but with the recent national election finally resolved, things should be looking up for all branches of the military.

If there is anything I can do for you as a civilian, please do not hesitate to ask me.

I have always had a deep respect for Marines and now that my own son will be going in the Corps next summer, the interest is even more personal.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

John E. Smith

From: Jason D. Grose
Sent: Saturday, December 23, 2000 10:15
To: Smith, John
Subject: RE: Communication Check


Thank you for your praise. I will explain a little about the promotion system so you understand.

When I was commissioned, I had about 10 years left before my 20 year mark. Therefore I always knew that I would be a senior Captain or a junior Major upon retirement. Normally, one spends two years as a Second Lieutenant and then two years as a First Lieutenant before picking up Captain. That's four years when you pick up Captain. Right now, the average is 9 1/2 years total to pick up Major. So you see I will be right on the lip.

You see, when you are selected to the next rank by the promotion board, what that means is that you are eligible for the next rank and your name goes on a list depending on your seniority. They do not promote the entire list at once but rather come out each month with a certain number. That way they spread the promotions over time so they do not influx the Corps with the same rank at the same time.

I only spent a year as a First Lieutenant because I earned a job that is normally filled by a Captain. If that happens to you, your boss has the option to "frock" you. What that means is that if you are selected as a Captain on the promotion board, rather than waiting for your name to come out on the list, he can authorize you to wear the rank.

Last year, I became eligible just barely (I was over 1000th on the entire list because I was so junior). But since I was in a Captain's billet, my Colonel frocked me. You can imagine how much that meant to me since there were over 1000 people ahead of me, most of them my peers. Now I outrank them. It was the most tangible reward for my hard work I have ever received and I am still in awe of the honor even though it is coming up on one year since it happened.

So you see that the fact that I am currently a Captain is a testament to my service.

As far as becoming as Major, there is not much I can do to hurry the process. You have to have the time in grade and have a good record. I could possibly be frocked if the situation arises. But since my goal was to make Captain, everything after this is just frosting. And at worst, being "stuck" at Major would be an honor I cannot even fathom. If I make it there, I will consider myself blessed. To ask for anything more would be a exercise in fantasy.

Jason D. Grose
United States Marine Corps

"And of course you can't become
 if you only say what you would have done..."

    If You Steal My Sunshine

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