Saturday, June 14, 2008

Five Guardsmen Receive Battlefield Promotions

Five Army National Guard soldiers have received battlefield promotions while serving in Iraq, according to information from the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va. They are the first Guard members to benefit from the Army's experimental program reintroducing battlefield promotions for the first time since World War II. "They were recognized on a level playing field alongside the other components, the active Army and the Reserve," said Sgt. Maj. Michael Lawrence, senior enlisted advisor, National Guard affairs, Multinational Corps-Iraq (MNC-I). "They are performing at the same standards as all of their contemporaries."

A military personnel message dated April 1 announced a one-year pilot program making active Army, Guard and Reserve soldiers in the grades of E-1 through E-5 eligible for battlefield promotions. The five Guard soldiers to receive the battlefield promotions are:

Cpl. Jeffrey Johanson, California National Guard, infantryman, promoted to sergeant.
Spc. Billy Hannah, Rhode Island, health care specialist, promoted to Sergeant.
Sgt. James Shenk, Rhode Island, unit supply specialist, promoted to Staff Sergeant.
Pfc. Frederic Newton, Virginia, combat engineer, promoted to Specialist.
Spc. Jacob Lancaster, Washington, military policeman, promoted to Sergeant.

No additional requirements are asked of the Guard member as a result of the promotion. Usually, soldiers promoted to sergeant are asked to remain in the service an additional six months after making the new rank. Gen. David Petraeus asked the Army last year to authorize battlefield promotions for soldiers serving in OIF and OEF to recognize extraordinary performance of duties in combat conditions.

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