How did you not make GSEC?

Whelp. It’s about that time of year again. Congratulations to all of you that made it! (results aren’t out currently, I’m assuming they are by the time you see this)

If you’re seeing this page you either asked me how I managed to not make Chief at 100% advancement or you Googled “How does a GSE1 not make Chief?”.

Since this is the everlasting interwebs, I’ll be more specific: It is currently 2021 and for the past decade or so advancement to GSEC has been (usually) 100%
This may change in the future which is why I’m making this note.

LOOOOOL My Google Analytics tool has no idea what it’s talking about…

I’ve been out of the Navy for two years now so I’m not exactly hoping to put on anchors anytime soon (or ever) so this is really just a guideline for the rest of you.
As you know, you usually can’t get an exact answer as to why you didn’t make Chief.
Here’s some of the reasons I THINK I didn’t make it. I’m listing them here in hopes that you’ll do better than me. Check them out and see if any apply to you:

1. Missing PRT Score

I’ve been to a handful of trainings on how to prepare your package for the Chief’s board. If there’s anything I know for sure is that they don’t like to see anything missing from your record. Even if it’s not you fault initially, it’s your responsibility to find it and get it fixed. Here’s the thing about my missing piece: you can’t find something that was never there.
I tried to explain this to multiple people when they said “Oh, you’re missing a PRT score? Talk to the CFL and have them fix it.”
I replied “No, no. It’s not an administrative error. I just… didn’t do that PRT.”
If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll hear me reference “the deep, dark, blackhole of 2016”. I was straight up not having a good time that year. I was getting divorced, I was having a hard time being a single parent, I had just made GSE1 so I suddenly felt like I had even more kids than I actually gave birth to.
My EAOS was in February of 2017 so in my moment (okay, year) of panic, I suddenly decided I wasn’t going to re-enlist. PRT Cycle 2 of 2016 I didn’t take the PRT. I don’t know if I was on leave or if I just plain DGAF anymore. I just know that I didn’t take it and said “What are they gonna do? Kick me out of the Navy?”

2. Qualifications

This is probably self-explanatory but I dragged really hard on my quals. No excuses, I should’ve had EOOW/EDO or at least been close by the time I made board. I got up to EPCC but not PACC.

3. Missing… re-enlistment?

There was some strange verbiage when I pulled up my electronic service record that I didn’t recognize. I haven’t looked at it in a few years but I’ll add it to this post when I find it. It definitely had something to do with the weirdness of 2017. Remember how earlier I mentioned that I panicked and decided not to re-enlist? Well, I re-panicked and decided to re-enlist after all. Within about a week of my EAOS.
You know how you’re supposed to re-enlist at least 60 days before your EAOS? It’s so this stuff doesn’t happen to you.
The Cliff’s Note version is that my separation package got processed right before my re-enlistment package at PSD. So somehow I was in the Navy but not in the Navy at the same time. I didn’t get a paycheck for two pay periods in a row which sent me right back into another panic (it was at this time I started seeing Fleet Mental Health, btw) and generally a lot of weirdness happened with my records. For example, I lost my ID card during my PCS but I couldn’t get issued another one because I didn’t exist in DEERS.
I addressed this in my Letter to the Board but I’m not sure it was really a problem to begin with, I probably just sounded like a blathering idiot.

4. I may have upset some Khakis

Now this is probably the most unlikely reason because I never went to mast or even had a counseling chit but I felt like it should be mentioned.
In my loony “What are they gonna do? Kick me out of the Navy?” period I got ballsy enough to stand up for my Junior sailors more than usual. At my worst (best?) I wrote my infamous long, sarcastic, passive-aggressive letter to the CHENG and CC’d basically the whole world. It got me abundantly chewed out by my Top Snipe and subsequently fired as Gage Cal Coordinator. Incidentally, this was a whole load off my back that I’d been trying to get rid of anyway. So… yay?!
It’s only funny now looking back at it, but at the time it should’ve been a red flag that I was quickly spiraling down and needed to see mental health sooner rather than later. I was very literally crying out for help and it took a Chief outside of my department to actually get me squared away.

So that’s it. Or at least all I can remember right now, I may add on later. I think we all know that If I’m good at anything at all it’s being critical of myself.

If you’re interested in reading more about how to make Chief than how NOT to make it, go check out Don’t Give Up The Ship Podcast’s blog.
He’s got some great resources over at


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