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Unknown rank pins . . . Help!

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#1 stratasfan

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:29 AM

Hi! I got this bag of pins in an auction box last week and have no clue what they are! They appear to be chevron ranks, but pins! One bag has pins that are "OCS". Also was one Infantry collar device, but it has a screw back on a newer pin. Never seen one of these! Any ideas what these things are? Thanks!

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Edited by stratasfan, 24 September 2014 - 08:29 AM.

#2 Steve B.

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:42 AM

You have a mix of older US Army insignia.


The black O.C.S. pins at the top, far right were used by soldiers going through the Officer's Candidate School in order to become officers.


The rest of the black pins are rank insignia that could date from around 1970 to about 2000 when the Velcro-backed or sew-on rank insignia was used exclusively.


From the left:  The shield-shaped insignia with the eagle in the middle is the insignia for the rank of Specialist (E-4), It was called Specialist 4th Class until around the 1980s if I remember correctly.  Abbreviated it is SPC, or SP4.


The single chevrons are the insignia for the rank of Private, E-2.  Abbreviated it is PV2.  This is the second lowest rank in the Army.  Most soldiers make this rank by the time they conclude their training.


On the far right you have one Specialist 4 insignia, and the ones with the additional arc at the top are insignia for Specialist 5, or SP5.  These were also done away with sometime around the 1980s.


At the top, on the far left you show the back of a typical early-WWII or pre-war screwback enlisted collar disk.  If it has crossed rifles on the front, then it is indeed for an infantryman.


In the middle in the top row is the insignia for the rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6), abbreviated SSG.


Enlisted military ranks correspond to various pay grades:  E-1 through E-9.  E-1 being the lowest and E-9 being the highest.


You can search on this forum or on the internet and find out more about the different rank insignia, pay grades, etc.



#3 Old Marine

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:43 AM

The pins on the bottom left are US Army Specialist 4 Rank, The middle pins are Private  and the ones on the right are Specialist 5.  The "screw back" Infantry disk might be WWII and the OCS pins are for "Officer's Candidate School".  All of these insignia with the exception of the Infantry disk are probably from the late 60s 70s and 80s.  


The Spec 5 rank was phased out in the 70s but I don't know when exactly, I am sure one of the Army guys will know better.


Nice finds.  Keep up the good work.



#4 atb

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 08:47 AM

SP5 was phased out along with SP6 and, I think, SP7 in about 1986. I was a SP6 and was converted oover to SSG at that time.

#5 Steve B.

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 03:24 PM

I went to The institute of Heraldry website (www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil) for the official answers.  The page History of U.S. Army Enlisted Rank told me the following:


Specialist 8 (SP8) and Specialist 9 (SP9) were cancelled in 1965.

Specialist 7 (SP7) was cancelled in 1978.

Specialist 5 (SP5) and Specialist 6 (SP6) were cancelled in 1985.


I didn't see anything about when SP4 converted to SPC, but I suspect it was also around 1985.


I know the subdued (black) pin-ons were still being used when I retired in 1993, and until the BDUs and DCUs were phased out in favor of the ACUs.  I believe that was sometime after 2000 but do not know exactly when.



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