Two Airmen receive STEP promotions to technical sergeant Published Jan. 7, 2008 By Airman 1st Class Jonathan Hart 36th Wing Public Affairs ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Technical Sergeants Jason Funk, 36th Logistics Readiness Squadron, and Scott Vermeire, 736th Security Forces Squadron, both received a well-deserved holiday gift in December. They were both STEP promoted from the rank of staff sergeant to technical sergeant just in time for the New Year. Sergeant Funk's promotion was presented by Brig. Gen. Douglas Owens, 36th Wing commander, before the monthly wing run on Dec. 14. "I was not aware that I was being STEP promoted," said Sergeant Funk. "It came as a complete surprise. I was actually concerned when General Owens called me to the stage." General Owens presented Sergeant Vermeire with his stripes during a wing commander's call Dec. 21 in lieu of Lt. Gen. Loyd S. Utterback, 13th Air Force commander, from whom the promotion actually came. "My wife Sara was called at 10 a.m. by General Owens and was directed to call him back during the commanders call at 10:20 a.m. to tell me. She about had a breakdown pacing the house for 20 minutes without being able to let me know," Sergeant Vermeire said. STEP stands for Stripes for Excellent Performers. On average, the Air Force releases less than 200 slots for STEP promotion each year. The slots trickle down from major commands to wings, generally promoting two to three airmen annually. The only ranks eligible for STEP promotion are senior airmen, staff sergeants, and technical sergeants. STEP promotions enable wing commanders (and higher) the ability to promote outstanding performers who typically don't score well on promotion tests. It is not used as a below-the-zone promotion.