Sometimes you can "get noticed" for the wrong reasons!I should think that, after 18 years, he may very well be out of that zone.
Off topic a bit.
We had an 18 year full screw on our Troop. It would have been nice, especially for his missus, if he'd got Sgt and able to use the mess at that stage cos he wasn't really a bad bloke, just a bit clumsy. The CO was adamant that he had no idea who the bloke was so we made the Cpl PMC of the Cpls Mess (just a room in the NAAFI) and got him to organise a curry lunch and invite the CO etc just to get him noticed.
Which he did quite well, ISTR. Except that he forgot to order the curry lunch.
Still, we did try. No, he didn't get recommended.