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question about a master sargeant

Started by canadian bacon , Oct 13 2011 06:48 PM

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#1 canadian bacon

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 06:48 PM

okay i got a question how common was it for an individual who enlisted in 1948 as a private to become a master sargeant by the time of his separation in 1952
cheers michael

#2 Jack's Son

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 07:15 PM

Anything is possible.....
It would have to be a pretty special something to get that far, that fast. :think:

#3 canadian bacon

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 07:21 PM

the reason i ask is that my grandfather started out as a private on 16 september 1948 and was separated on jun 27 1952 as a master sargeant i was trying to figure out if this was common he worked in military intelligence in berlin until january of 1951 then went over to korea (still with military intelligence) and his rise through the ranks seems very fast
cheers michael

Edited by canadian bacon, 13 October 2011 - 07:36 PM.


#4 patches

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 09:16 PM

[quote name='canadian bacon' date='Oct 13 2011, 07:21 PM' post='929922']
the reason i ask is that my grandfather started out as a private on 16 september 1948 and was separated on jun 27 1952 as a master sargeant i was trying to figure out if this was common he worked in military intelligence in berlin until january of 1951 then went over to korea (still with military intelligence) and his rise through the ranks seems very fast
cheers michael
[/quote/]

It was very possible during this time frame, this was before the time period of TIME IN GRADE. This concept began around the late 50s in which no officer or enlistedman could be promoted till he served a set numbers of years in his present rank, in the case of privates months. before this time and from time immemorial IE ever since there was a U.S. Army going back to the revolution, promtions where based in the main on merit, abilty and of course bravery in the face of the enemy.The army did have certain guidlines through out its history with Time In Grade but it was never really inforced at all. This all changed in the late 50s with the computeraztion of personel records and the centralised control that was the bane of every good officer worth his salt in that it took out of the hands of local commanders the perogative they allways had in promoting men worthy of being promoted. Even during the vietnam war this policy was rigidly inforced, this would include the old custom of battlefield commissions, to my knowlege no enlistedman was ever promoted in this time honored fashion, they where I believe last given during the korean war. During the vietnam war if there was any men who where going to be officers after serving as enlistedmen, than by virtue of their record and past education(some collage was a must) would be invited to apply for OCS, but they would not be like Audie Murphy or the hundreds of other's like Murphy in all the wars past and be promoted on the spot. So it was possible that you grandfather could very well indeed made rank fast in the time period he was in the army.

#5 bootsandbooks

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 06:12 AM

Michael -

I have the partial service record of my father whose rise through the ranks was very similar to your grandfather. I think the key to both was the build up of the armed forces for wartime, in my father's case WWII and yours Korea. Here is the timeline:

My father enlisted in Sep 1938 and by Nov 1941 had been promoted to Sergeant. During the next year he was promoted to Staff Sergeant (Mar 42), Tech Sergeant (Jul 42) and Master Sergeant (Oct 42) , said promotions coming every 90 days. Note these last three were all after Pearl Harbor.

As you stated your grandfather separated as a Master Sergeant in Jul 1952, 13 months after the beginning of hostilities in Korea. It is quite likely his last 3 or 4 promotions were made during that period.

My father was originally Infantry but his early duty assignments ranged from Company Clerk to Company Supply Sergeant to Regimental Supply Clerk. After Aug 1941 he was Chief Clerk in the Personnel Section of VIII Corps HQS and deployed to Guadalcanal in Dec 1942 to form XIV Corps Hqs. Afterward he was commissioned in the Adjutant General Corps through Officers Candidate School.

M C

#6 Justin B.

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 07:38 AM

It was very possible during this time frame, this was before the time period of TIME IN GRADE. This concept began around the late 50s in which no officer or enlistedman could be promoted till he served a set numbers of years in his present rank, in the case of privates months. before this time and from time immemorial IE ever since there was a U.S. Army going back to the revolution, promtions where based in the main on merit, abilty and of course bravery in the face of the enemy.[...]


Thanks, patches, I had noticed that that kind of thing seemed to disappear in the '60s, it's good to have some details.

The transition from small peacetime to large wartime force opened a lot of slots for good people to move up quickly where their skills were needed, and I imagine Korea would be similar to WW2 in that way, though not on as large a scale. My grandfather went from draftee private in 1943 to master sergeant in 1945. He got the M/Sgt slot when he became sergeant major of an engineer regiment, replacing the former sgt maj who took a direct commission. He did have a university degree and some post-grad study.

--Justin B.

#7 F50lrrp

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 08:17 AM

It's entirely possible! I sat next to a young Private Chuck Morgando, in the plane that I went to RVN on in October, 1967. Chuck was assigned to an Infantry Company (B, 1/27 (Wolfhounds) as a rifleman. He was promopted to PFC (E-3) immediately. In January, 1968 Morgando was promoted to SP-4 (E-4). In March, 1968, Chuck became the Squad Leader and made E-5.

In July, SGT Morgando, became Platoon Sergeant and was promoted to Staff Sergeant (E-6). On September 1, 1968 SSG Morgando was the acting 1st Sergeant of his company and was promoted to SFC (E-7)! He DEROSed in October meaning that he had gone from E-2 to E-7 in less that 12 months.

SFMike :lol:

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#8 noexpert

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 09:14 AM

Couple of things...on topic, one sorta.

Michael, since your relative was in MI and in post-war Germany, it's possible he possessed a special skill that the Army needed and that's the reason for the rank.


As far as time in service and time in grade for EM's at a later date holding back rank, speaking for myself I arrived in RVN as an E-1 (because of a paperwork foul-up I never got the supposedly automatic jump to E-2 from basic) and was an E-5 when I left. Most guys I arrived with were E-2's and left as at least E-4's, so I'm not sure where the idea of languishing in a grade or rank comes from.

#9 J_Andrews

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 10:26 AM

Fast-track promotions depend on THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE.

In wartime, once a soldier was graduated from basic training, many, most or nearly all (depending on which war, how big the need, etc.)were promoted to PFC (E-2/3 on the VN era). Further promotion(s) came through the AIT MOS-granting course thereafter.

Then, once in a unit, promotions were made by LOCAL authority (i.e., within a Battalion, Regiment or Brigade), against a notional ceiling based on the TO&E. I say "notional" because there were ways around the magic number, such as "temporary appointment" or "against programmed 90-day loss). After all, combat losses and non-cbt medical losses were numerous. Therefore, a quick rise to squad leader (E-5) or E-6 was possible during a one-year tour in VN. Same applied during WWII, in its won style. NOTE: Such ranks were usually TEMPORARY and within the unit only; get thrown out, you lost the rank and reverted, back to as low as Private or PFC. In WWII, I knew platoon sgts (airborne) who got wounded and shipped back to hospitals and were on the next payroll as PFCs. Anything higher was between them and their NEW unit of assignment.

I knew a soldier who was a Princeton grad with no military background, who enlisted (got instant E-3, before Basic), was honor grad in BCT and got E-4, after Inf AIT went to NCOA and as honor grad there came out an E-6. Before going to VN, he went Spec Forces; in VN he was acting Team Sgt (wore E-7 and got paid as E-7), came home reverted to E-6, last active duty was in SF Tng Gp as (again) acting E-7. He got out and did nothing military for a year, then decided to try the USAR SF. Golly, according to his paperwork he was an E-7 -- with total time since enlisting just under 5 years. He later went on to make Command Sgt Major -- in less than 20 years' service, at age 44.

#10 patches

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 10:29 AM

Thanks, patches, I had noticed that that kind of thing seemed to disappear in the '60s, it's good to have some details.

The transition from small peacetime to large wartime force opened a lot of slots for good people to move up quickly where their skills were needed, and I imagine Korea would be similar to WW2 in that way, though not on as large a scale. My grandfather went from draftee private in 1943 to master sergeant in 1945. He got the M/Sgt slot when he became sergeant major of an engineer regiment, replacing the former sgt maj who took a direct commission. He did have a university degree and some post-grad study.

--Justin B.


Would you believe if I told you that WWII there where 18 and 19 year old 1st sgts and not necessarily in combat outfits ?

#11 Justin B.

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 01:47 PM

Would you believe if I told you that WWII there where 18 and 19 year old 1st sgts and not necessarily in combat outfits ?


Sure I'd believe it!

#12 patches

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 06:45 PM

Sure I'd believe it!


Yea, I remember looking through a YANK magazine compilation book years ago, one artical had a Army wide contest on who is the youngest Top Kick in the army, this was when I was in, the book was taken out by me from the Ft Wainwright post library. As a young 20 year old PFC I was blown away by all the young 1st sgts that where put up by units and or individual soldiers or their superior officers as candidates. as you would know the only 1st sgts I have seen up to that point where OOLLD men as if a 35 or 37 year old man was OLD... LOL. The winner was an 18 year old if I remember correctly and he was from a stateside unit. I wish I had this book to be more specific, I wonder if any other memembers have this book. Perhaps YANK in another issue went to the other spectrum and had a contest on who is the Oldest Top Kick in the Army, I'll wager the results would be just as interresting, A Spanish American war veteran who was a drummer boy in Cuba who was in a now federalized National Guard unit ?

Edited by patches, 14 October 2011 - 06:48 PM.


#13 patches

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 07:11 PM

Fast-track promotions depend on THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE.

In wartime, once a soldier was graduated from basic training, many, most or nearly all (depending on which war, how big the need, etc.)were promoted to PFC (E-2/3 on the VN era). Further promotion(s) came through the AIT MOS-granting course thereafter.

Then, once in a unit, promotions were made by LOCAL authority (i.e., within a Battalion, Regiment or Brigade), against a notional ceiling based on the TO&E. I say "notional" because there were ways around the magic number, such as "temporary appointment" or "against programmed 90-day loss). After all, combat losses and non-cbt medical losses were numerous. Therefore, a quick rise to squad leader (E-5) or E-6 was possible during a one-year tour in VN. Same applied during WWII, in its won style. NOTE: Such ranks were usually TEMPORARY and within the unit only; get thrown out, you lost the rank and reverted, back to as low as Private or PFC. In WWII, I knew platoon sgts (airborne) who got wounded and shipped back to hospitals and were on the next payroll as PFCs. Anything higher was between them and their NEW unit of assignment.

I knew a soldier who was a Princeton grad with no military background, who enlisted (got instant E-3, before Basic), was honor grad in BCT and got E-4, after Inf AIT went to NCOA and as honor grad there came out an E-6. Before going to VN, he went Spec Forces; in VN he was acting Team Sgt (wore E-7 and got paid as E-7), came home reverted to E-6, last active duty was in SF Tng Gp as (again) acting E-7. He got out and did nothing military for a year, then decided to try the USAR SF. Golly, according to his paperwork he was an E-7 -- with total time since enlisting just under 5 years. He later went on to make Command Sgt Major -- in less than 20 years' service, at age 44.


I understand what your saying, but the fact of the matter was that it is well documented that throughout the Vietnam War there was a severe shortage of NCOs not only in the RVN but Army Wide and despite the forming of the NCO Academies was NEVER recitfied, Why ?

#14 roadrunner

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 04:50 AM

Thanks, patches, I had noticed that that kind of thing seemed to disappear in the '60s, it's good to have some details.

The transition from small peacetime to large wartime force opened a lot of slots for good people to move up quickly where their skills were needed, and I imagine Korea would be similar to WW2 in that way, though not on as large a scale. My grandfather went from draftee private in 1943 to master sergeant in 1945. He got the M/Sgt slot when he became sergeant major of an engineer regiment, replacing the former sgt maj who took a direct commission. He did have a university degree and some post-grad study.

--Justin B.


Hello

I found this in "National Geographic Magazine June 1943" page 663.

Michael

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#15 Jack's Son

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 07:24 AM

I was not aware of all of the fast promotions between the end of WWII and the Korean War. My recollection is of Marines going into battle as PFC's and coming back two years as corporals.

#16 theschneid88

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 12:48 PM

okay i got a question how common was it for an individual who enlisted in 1948 as a private to become a master sargeant by the time of his separation in 1952
cheers michael


My grandpa was drafted in Dec 1950 and was was a Sgt E-4 when seperated in Dec 1952. Whats interesting on his DD-214 He made SGT (T) in Oct 1951, and that was his grade on seperation (and the rank on his ike jacket I have) but in the remarks section at the bottom he was PFC (P) as of Jun 1951. The old "temporary" vs. "permanent" thing that I have never quite understood. I wouldnt be surprised if on your Granpas papers it would be similar.

#17 buff086

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 05:35 PM

Back in WWII, my late father told me that many promotions were made to fill the rank required in that position. When my father graduated from the US Army Signal School-Radio Telegraphy at Ft Monmouth NJ, in March of 1942 he was promoted to Buck Sgt based on the skill level for the task he was being assigned to do, as he was transfered to a remote Signal Services Company with the Greenland Base Command for the next 20 months. When he returned back to the states and assigned to the 104th Infantry Division-Signal Company-Telegraphy Section, he was promoted to T/sgt (5 stripes) as a section leader because that was the required rank for that position, plus he already had 20 months overseas experience. He skipped the ranks of PFC, CPL and S/Sgt just shy of 3 yrs.

#18 theschneid88

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 06:17 PM

My grandpa was drafted in Dec 1950 and was was a Sgt Grade 3 when seperated in Dec 1952. Whats interesting on his DD-214 He made SGT (T) in Oct 1951, and that was his grade on seperation (and the rank on his ike jacket I have) but in the remarks section at the bottom he was PFC (P) as of Jun 1951. The old "temporary" vs. "permanent" thing that I have never quite understood. I wouldnt be surprised if on your Granpas papers it would be similar.


Edited by theschneid88, 17 October 2011 - 06:21 PM.


#19 Dave

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Posted 17 October 2011 - 08:36 PM

Promotions were nothing short of crazy during the "war years" (e.g. WW2 through Korea).

1. My dad's uncle was brought into the Navy directly as a Chief. Why? He was a pro golfer and he ended up playing golf with movie stars in Hollywood in order to "draft" them for service-related films. I have a pro baseball player's hat who did the same thing - drafted as a Chief. I just sold a uniform on the forum to a fellow...once again...brought in as a Chief. I've got more... :thumbsup:

2. My great uncle went from 1st LT on 7 December 1941 to Colonel (O-6) on 1 November 1944. He was 27 years old and took command of not just a squadron (he already had a stateside B-17 squadron command at the age of 25) but of a heavy bomb group, flying B-29s out of Tinian! A 27 year old military pilot these days would be pretty fresh from the training squadron...not quite "ready" to be a department head! :pinch: :lol: (He did remain as a Colonel for the next 20 years, and was promoted to BG in 1964. No complaints about the pay though...)

3. My father in law was a division officer as an ensign on a ship right after the end of Korea. The ship's XO, a full CDR (O-5) was offered retirement or reversion to his "permanent" grade of W-2. He retired... There were plenty of demotions in the post-war years...people reverting back to their original grade.

4. At the same time others were being forced to revert back, I intervied a DSC recipient who was a 1943 USMA graduate. He was a LTC (O-5) in 1945. The Army Register has him reverting back to his permanent grade of CPT (O-3). I asked him how this process worked. His response: "I got DEMOTED??? No one EVER took away my rank!" He was serious too...he wore LTC leaves for the next decade.

Crazy personnel management times...

Dave

#20 J_Andrews

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 02:01 PM

I knew a man whose father was drafted in 1918, but was too late to go to Europe before the Armistice. He was in less than a year and made PFC, based on his training as a telegraph-telephone signalman. After Pearl Harbor, he tried to volunteer, but the Army told him he was too old. He worked as a HS teacher and athletics coach, and one of the other teachers had a brother who had a simlar background and had gotten a direct commission in the USNR as a Lt JG, so he went and talked to the Navy recruiters. They brought him in as a PO/1 and assigned him as a RECRUITER, in NW Illinois and adjoining Iowa counties (Rock Island-Moline area). After a quickie traihning stint at Gt Lakes, He was issued an M1917 helmet, a gasmask, a musette bag, web gear, field uniform and a Colt .38. He was relieved from duty in August 1944, in time to return to school-teaching.


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