Posted on May 11, 2023
SPC Delayed Entry Program
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I recently just attended the E-5 promotion board and absolutely nailed it. Uniform, confidence, presence was on point. Answered questions correctly and to the best of my ability. Walked out of the board feeling like a million bucks. I am waiting for my sponsor to come out, and he says I received a 'No-Go' because on the first question I was asked I referred to a soldier as "he should" instead of "the soldier should." This apparently was the decision that prevented me from being promotable according to my sponsor, despite answering the other 9 questions I was asked to a T.

Is there anything on Army regulation about this? Should I get the IG involved? What if this belief is against my religion and I don't agree with it? I know the SGM has a transgender kid. I do not want to cave to using these terms if it does not align with my beliefs. I know the worlds' headed in this direction but this seems absolutely insane to me that despite acing a board, I can be prevented from promoting due to using gender pronouns. What
Edited 12 mo ago
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COL Randall C.
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Edited 12 mo ago
First, if everything is as you related (no offence, I have no clue if that's the complete story or your interpretation of it), then my feeling is that that was a very chicken**** thing for the board to do. However, my reaction is probably not for what you're thinking. My reaction would be because the situation was that you were being denied a "GO" because of a 'gotcha question' which I'll come back to in a bit.

To your specific question, "Is there anything in the regulations about this" - Yes and No.

If "this" refers to 'local policy', 'Commander directives', or other 'non-traditional' methods of evaluation of a Soldier appearing before the board, then the answer is no. The only prohibition is that hands-on tasks cannot be used in the board (i.e., "Ok Soldier, we want to see how fast you can disassemble your weapon and put it back together again"). The general GUIDANCE that HRC gives on the conduct of the board is that the "Questions should focus on leadership, awareness of military programs, and knowledge of basic Soldiering and world affairs. The Board should consider the Soldier's overall personal appearance, bearing, self-confidence, oral expression, conversational skills, and attitude when determining each Soldier's potential to serve at the next level of NCO responsibility."

HRC issued additional guidance for semi-centralized promotion boards in ALARACT 068/2021 which states, "To reinforce team and squad leader understanding of how our army cares for its soldiers, promotion to sergeant and staff sergeant will include situational questions in the areas of sexual harassment, suicide prevention, misuse of drugs and alcohol, physical and mental fitness, failure to attend a noncommissioned officer professional development system course, and a subordinate’s decision to reenlist. The purpose of these questions is not to have soldiers appearing before the board quote back army regulations pertaining to these subjects, but to provide the board an assessment of how that individual would react with their soldiers when leading them through these issues and questions. These situational questions reinforce the “this is my squad” initiative within our noncommissioned officer corps and those soldiers about to become noncommissioned officers."

So, CAN the local promotion board consider things outside of the categories of leadership, awareness of military programs, and knowledge of basic Soldiering and world affairs? Sure. They could ask you questions regarding the military's policies regarding transgender Soldiers serving and how you would handle a transgender Soldier in your unit. They could ask question you about how the Army goes about lodging those Soldiers in the barracks or handle personal hygiene with other Soldiers. They could even ask you if you will support the Army/DoD policies regardless of your personal beliefs and/or feelings towards those policies.

However, this may or may not apply in your situation. Getting back to your comments above, you stated that you received a "NO-GO" because you used a gender specific term instead of using a generic term of "Soldier". Is there local policy or training that you went through regarding this or statements by leadership saying so? As far as I know, there hasn't been any instruction regarding using generic references in the Army* (only case I know of is that that US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) issued directions to stop using gender pronouns in written communications), but that doesn't mean that you weren't told to do so at a local level.

Regarding your possible objections to it based on beliefs, it's a non-issue because they weren't giving you a hypothetical situation and asking you to "misgender" someone - the reason for the "NO-GO" that was given to you was for not using "Soldier" instead of a gender specific term. You may not agree with that approach (again, IF it was local policy), but I'm not aware of any religious denomination that would have an objection to using neutral language.

Now, with all that out of the way, to the crux of your situation. Again, IF everything regarding the situation is as you stated, then was the board conducted fairly? My OPINION is that it was not. Again the reason for the board is to gauge your leadership, awareness of military programs, and knowledge of basic Soldiering and world affairs.

However, if your leadership has put out policy and has been reinforcing it with their view of the importance of using gender neutral references to Soldiers ... maybe it was fair. Have you ever been instructed or counseled about using 'Soldier' instead of gender specific pronouns? What I'm getting at is if there is some guidance or official direction from leadership about doing so, then you might not have much to stand on.

If on the other hand there exists no such policy or guidance, then you probably do. The one thing that the regulations DO state is that the voting board members must be unbiased and you would have an argument that the SGM could be biased (if he was in fact a voting member of the board).

I would take advantage of the open door policy and talk to your commander. Assuming there is no policy detailing the use of gender neutral terms for all Soldiers, express your concerns as well as what you were told. Again, IF there is local policy, then you don't have much of a leg to stand on regarding being evaluated by the gendered pronoun (yes, I do still view it as a nit-noid gotcha approach if they used that instead of asking you about policies and such).
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* HQDA Memo - https://www.hrc.army.mil/asset/26313
* Army policy regarding transgender Soldiers is that whatever is reflected in their DEERS records is the gender they are treated as an referred to as.
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SPC Matt Ovaska
SPC Matt Ovaska
2 mo
The only solution is to admit the mistake and return to the WACS and the WAVES so females can again serve our nation with pride and distinction. They could burn their stress cards. No more stress.
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SSG Robert Webster
SSG Robert Webster
2 mo
MAJ Ronnie Reams - Lack of education on whose part? And to delve deeper into the subject of English and education thereof, has the Army Writing portion of the NCOES been changed in the last 30 years or so? Because I am positive that it was a covered subject when I attended PNCOC/CA, BNCOC/CA, and Infantry ANCOC.
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SSG Robert Webster
SSG Robert Webster
2 mo
COL Jim Ainslie - Concept of "America" or the concept of the "United States of America"?
Also (sadly, I might add), you missed the point of what SFC Davis was trying to make. And your use of the 1st Amendment was and is out of context. If you want to use context properly, then you should be referencing the Declaration of Independence. But then again, you would have to use Deism and the Age of Enlightenment to support your stance, which you did not do.
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MAJ Ronnie Reams
MAJ Ronnie Reams
2 mo
SSG Robert Webster - Part of Board for not knowing that the masculine is used for mixed genders.
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CSM Todd Smith
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I am so glad that I am retired and don't have to put up with this BS. Fact: there are only two sexes/genders male and female. The percentage of people who are born hermaphrodite is .018. All these other "genders" are made up and not based on science just wishful thinking. I'll probably get some hate mail but this is the truth.
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COL Carl Jensen
COL Carl Jensen
2 mo
I have 3 west Point grads in my family. None stayed in beyond their obligation. Why? In their own words,"Its not your Army any more Uncle C." OK I go back as far as the brown boot and steel pot. A time when it was F' you and your feelings. "You are here to break things and kill people, you are not to do gardening". LOL, and we were mostly draftees. No such thing as pandering back then, only real good non partisan military leadership. We have to bring back the old spirit, that belongs in the uniform that was re-introduced. Bring us old guys back, we'll show ya. LOL!
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SSG John Mtz
SSG John Mtz
2 mo
If it is as he noted (I know I just received a No Go by using a gender pronoun "HE") he should finish up his time and get a civilian job he seems to be a squared away and could move up the civilian chain rather quickly. I too do not recommend any of my family or friends' families to join the Military, for the past three years and some. By the way sure miss those C rats with a token pack of Lucky's, cigarettes in the package.
REMEMBER THE AFGANISTAN 13, REMEMBER BENGHAZI, REMENBER THE ALAMO
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SPC Patricia  K. (Williams) Elliott
SPC Patricia K. (Williams) Elliott
16 d
I'm appalled at the direction the Army and I the other services are going regarding this subject!! I'm glad I got out when I did because they surely would be forcing me out now, because I refuse to following along with this nonsense!!
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SGM Willie Sanderson
SGM Willie Sanderson
10 d
I'm so glad that I am Retired from the Real US Army Infantry from an era that men were men and women were women, but we were all Soldiers and One Army.
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CSM Chuck Stafford
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This question is very much in the Present. I definitely would like to hear more details as I am unaware of use of pronoun regulations. The only slight inference in your narrative is that the SGM has a transgender kid and thus I infer there maybe local preferences -- this could be a situational awareness thing, but to give a no-go is not a sword I'd fall on. Keep RP posted with updates
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TSgt James Warfield
TSgt James Warfield
8 mo
It would be a sword that I would fall on. The person was denied promotion because of an issue that is so divisive that it shouldn't be on a board.
And if he got a no- go for promotion in a time when the military is shrinking, how will he be able to over come a no- go in the future...
Nope, if what the reason is true, then he was wronged, and should fight it as others after me would be at same risk and by being quite about the situation is given approval for bad policies.
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1px xxx
Suspended Profile
5 mo
Army EO still recognizes on male and female genders. However EO encourages use of gender neutral terms in case a male would "prefer" to be referred to as a female and vice-versa
PO1 Utilitiesman
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2 mo
"local preferences" are not the same as "local regulations" or "local directives".
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