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