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US Air Force Master Sgt - why change in 1991?


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#1 dag

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:39 PM

I remember from my USAF days that a Master Sgt had 3 rockers below. Saw a Master Sgt today with the 2 below/1 above that was introduced in 1991. Why was it changed?
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#2 Third Herd

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 04:20 PM

I think it was so the Top Three had their distinctive chevrons to show they were above the other NCOs.

#3 Bluehawk

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 04:50 PM

I would also submit that the Air Force has been vacillating back and forth since 1947 about whether or not to acknowledge and treasure its own US Army traditions, one of which is that everyone from SFC on up has at least 3 chevrons above, and anyone with a rocker is a Sgt of some degree.

Its that old "differentiation" thing that happens between parents and offspring, in my opinion - and has caused no end of confusion or frustration to those of us who wore the blue at various points in time.

I wish they'd just follow the Army model once and for all and leave it the hell alone, forever.

#4 m1ashooter

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:32 PM

I'll simply say a guy named McPeak did it.

#5 DutchInfid3l

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 11:50 PM

From Lt. Col. Aldebol's reference book "AAF and USAF Decorations, medals, ribbons, badges and insignia 1947-1997" Pg. 55

"Other than the elimination of the E-4 Sergeant rank, the most significant change of this period was the addition of one stripe atop each of the senior NCO chevrons (E-7-E-9)
The change in rank insignia for the first time clearly distinguished the top three senior NCO ranks from other NCOs."

From Lance. P Young's "Into the blue, Uniforms of the United States Air Force 1947-present" Pg. 144
and the USAF Historical Research Agency's, "A chronology of the enlisted rank chevron of the USAF" 19 Feb 1992

"The justification for the change, as provided by Gen. McPeak, was to bring the insignia more in line with that worn by top enlisted members in the Army and Marine Corps."

#6 dag

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 03:34 AM

Thanks for the comments!

#7 ffuries

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:12 PM

We would joke around during the change-over and refer to the MSgt's with the new chevrons as STSgt's (Senior TSgt's), until I got my backside handed to me on a silver platter. Was told that being a Sergeant (E-4) at the time, I was basically an over-paid Senior Airman (E-4).

#8 Sarge8

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:54 PM

Yeah- I remember "Gen'l McPeaks's Uniform and Tailor Shop" days. Wonder how much money was wasted on all the changes.

Frank (SMSgt, Ret)

Can't remember how many times I was called Chief and then had to explain the changes to vets.

#9 ffuries

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 07:38 PM

OT: But when the AF went to shoulder boards for SNCO's, there was a lot of confusion, my dad was an E-7 wearing the shoulder boards, and had basic aircrew wings. Being on a fighter base the only people with wings and shoulder boards were officers. We had just got to Spangdahlem in June of 1982 and were walking to the snack-bar for lunch and he was saluted probably a dozen or more times.

Edited by ffuries, 26 April 2012 - 07:39 PM.


#10 Teamski

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 07:47 PM

We would joke around during the change-over and refer to the MSgt's with the new chevrons as STSgt's (Senior TSgt's), until I got my backside handed to me on a silver platter. Was told that being a Sergeant (E-4) at the time, I was basically an over-paid Senior Airman (E-4).



I knew the last buck sergeant in the USAF. He finally sewed on SSgt in 1997. I sincerely think he did it on purpose.

-Ski

#11 ffuries

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:16 AM

I had put SSgt on in May 96, I remember having paperwork that said if I wasn't promoted to SSgt by a certain date my rank would revert back to SrA from Sgt.


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