Private 1st Class, Specialist 4th Class, 1920-1942 ish (unofficial)
Technician Rank History
Before 1920 the US Army had a wide variety of specialty and trade ranks. They covered everything from bakers, cooks, and musicians to farriers, medical orderlies, telegraph or radio operators, and electricians. They had a bewildering array of insignia with an equally-confusing system of pay groups, with senior specialists getting more pay than senior NCOs. Seniority was also difficult to figure out, for example between a Chief Electrical Engineer and a Coast Artillery Corps Gunner or between an Infantry Staff Sergeant and a Medical Department Staff Sergeant. There were 76 trades before World War One and the number was expanded to 134 during and afterwards. Not even the head of the Quartermaster Department, which designed and issued the insignia, knew them all.
In 1920 the wide variety of specialty and trade ranks and their insignia were abolished and replaced with the rank of Private-Specialist. The rank of Private-Specialist received the same pay as a Private (Grade 7) or Private First Class (Grade 6) but received a bonus from $3 (Specialist Sixth Class) through $30 (Specialist First Class) per month.
Specialists had the same single chevron of a Private First Class but were considered between the ranks of Private First Class and Corporal in authority. This was very confusing, as you couldn't tell the difference between a PFC and a Specialist and couldn't tell what their specialty was because trade badges had been eliminated.
Unofficial commercially-made insignia authorized by post commands granted Specialists one to six arcs under their chevron (ranging from one for Specialist Sixth Class to six for Specialist First Class) to indicate their grade. Some even had trade badges embroidered between their stripes to indicate their specialty.
The rank of Private-Specialist was abolished in 1942 and replaced with the rank of Technician.
Edited by Salvage Sailor, 16 January 2018 - 11:57 AM.
added info and link