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How common was it to find Specialists that were infantrymen?

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My point is: There were no slots I know of for a SP5 or SP6 in an infantry company TO & E, so it is HIGHLY unlikely that anyone would be promoted to those ranks, while an 11B in an infantry unit. They can only be promoted/assigned to a slot in the TO &E which, to the best of my knowlege, does not include SP5 or SP6 11Bs.

 

I am fully aware of wartime exigencies and temporary or acting positions. During my time I was a buck Sergeant (E-5) squad leader (an E-6 position), acting platoon sergeant (E-7 position), acting platoon leader (O-1 or O-2 position), and even both acting platoon sergeant and platoon leader simultaneously for a few days. Through all of that, I retained my Sergeant (E-5) rank.


Collecting 3rd Armored Division items of all kinds from all eras, specializing in the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment.

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My point is: There were no slots I know of for a SP5 or SP6 in an infantry company TO & E, so it is HIGHLY unlikely that anyone would be promoted to those ranks, while an 11B in an infantry unit. They can only be promoted/assigned to a slot in the TO &E which, to the best of my knowlege, does not include SP5 or SP6 11Bs.

 

I am fully aware of wartime exigencies and temporary or acting positions. During my time I was a buck Sergeant (E-5) squad leader (an E-6 position), acting platoon sergeant (E-7 position), acting platoon leader (O-1 or O-2 position), and even both acting platoon sergeant and platoon leader simultaneously for a few days. Through all of that, I retained my Sergeant (E-5) rank.

 

While this is true, you can however see in the above listing of KIAs several 11B10, 20s that are from line companies and Air Cav troops (those that appear not to be Door Gunners) with there rank given as Spec 5, barring any kind of error on the part of the governmental agency that compiled this list, it would be a certainty that these men with the Spec 5 ranks would have been found in the Headquarters platoon in those line companies or troops, as you have stated and as its been established that there where no Spec 5 or Spec 6 slots in the rifle platoons or weapons platoons, here, they just I'm sure where more or less in a permenante unofficial reassignment and where no longer working in there MOS with them being promoted to Spec 5 just as lets say a Signal Corps 05B or a Ordnance Corps 45B trained soldier would be if and when he came down for promotion, Hard stripe OR Specialist, this depending on the leadership slot that was available or not available with in the section in the HQ platoon, to use a later example at Ft Hood in 1980-81 the platoon seargent of our Headquarters platoon was not an 11B but rather a Signal Corps E-7 hard stripe, there where instances where you would see a leadership slot in need of being filled in the HQ PLT, the Company EXEC was the HQ PLT Leader, but as for the EMs in HQ PLT there was on occasion then and earlier in the Vietnam War a E-4 non Infantry or a 11B reassigined to the HQ PLT would have been promoted to a hard stripe, it just depended if there was an opening.

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Never say never. I understand that. But without knowing the EXACT circumstances, and verifying that the rank is listed correctly, I still maintain that it is HIGLY unlikely for a grunt in a grunt unit (not HQ, HHC, door gunner or anything else) to be a SP5 or higher. The fact that a signal E-7 was an infantry platoon sergeant has absolutely no bearing on this discussion.

 

The original question remains: "How common was it to find Specialists that were infantrymen?" The only correct answer is: "Except for SP4s, not very common at all."


Collecting 3rd Armored Division items of all kinds from all eras, specializing in the 36th Armored Infantry Regiment.

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Any Infantry Company Commander in the 60's and 70's had the authority to VOCO (Verbal Order of Company Commander) any SP4 to the grade of "Acting Sergeant". If in the unlikely event (combat only) he had a non-infantry Sp5 in his company that he was forced to put him in an infantry leader slot he would make the SP5 an Acting Sergeant. Although I have never seen it, the Battalion Commander could authorize an Acting Staff Sergeant (very rare) for a Sp6 in a leadership role. Most of these soldiers would be promoted to hard stripers as soon as possible, however if one should be KIA before the orders came through then he would still be listed as a specialist on company rolls.

 

A commander and 1st Sergeant must always be concerned for the unit's morale and simply throwing in a SP5 or SP6 into a team or squad leader's position could destroy that unit's cohesiveness. In my own experience one of our Scout platoons was being commanded by a REMOS (reclassified MOS) SFC who had spent his first two years as a 11B before he became a helicopter mechanic. Right after Vietnam the Army was eliminating helicopter personnel (especially pilots). This SFC was a SP7 and was given the option of reconverting to 11B or being put out. After 2 months the Scout platoon met with the commander and 1st Sgt and demanded a real NCO. They brought me, a SSG line platoon sergeant, over to take his place. The SFC wasn't even upset at being reassigned, he knew he was out of his element.

 

When men's lives are at stake the commander can't afford to have unqualified (not inexperienced) people running small units.

 

BEAR

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Never say never. I understand that. But without knowing the EXACT circumstances, and verifying that the rank is listed correctly, I still maintain that it is HIGLY unlikely for a grunt in a grunt unit (not HQ, HHC, door gunner or anything else) to be a SP5 or higher. The fact that a signal E-7 was an infantry platoon sergeant has absolutely no bearing on this discussion.

 

The original question remains: "How common was it to find Specialists that were infantrymen?" The only correct answer is: "Except for SP4s, not very common at all."

 

 

That has already been established there where NO spec 5s or Spec 6s in line platoons during the Vietnam war or from 1958 up till 1985 when both ranks where abolished, that they could be found IN Line Companies ONLY in Headquarters platoons. My mentioning of the Signal Corps SFC I knew back at Ft Hood was to show that these HQ PLTs did require Hard stripe leadership slots (as it was in 1980 so it was in 1960 or 1968) and since there may not have been available openings, that a Spec 4 who used to be a grunt but is now not working in his MOS, would, if he has come down for promotion, be promoted to E-5 in the rank of Spec 5 and this is why in my estimation that some of these Spec 5s keep croping up with unit at time of death as a line company.

 

This whole can of worms was opened by memphismeister who interrestly pointed out the fact the a 100 or more Spec 5s and Spec 6s holding 11 series infantry MOSs where reported killed in Vietnam, Everyone interreted in the U.S. army of the 50s 60s and 70s,......was HUH ? and Memphis put together the list he copied and worked on up for viewing, the list proved quite interresting in that it showed a whole array of apparant 11 series infantry MOSs that very few have seen or heard of, it also answers quite a few questions ( some I knew I never had ) in reguard to some of the MOSs in the Green Berets as well as non aviation trained Door Gunners in Aviation and or Air Cavalry units. The other men who have as their units a Rifle company begged questions as how a Spec 5 or even a Spec 6 was assigned to a line company, when its already been established that Medic who could be Spec 5s came out of the Headquarters, Headquarter companies of Infantry Battalions and was only assigned to a line company. So the topic continued in a diiferant but relative direction and need to be looked into.

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Well this discovered this by accident a Spec 5 in an Infantry Company, Jon Young KIA.9th Inf Div, as you'll see, he was an 11F, and a member of an E Company, which was the late war version of the Mechanized Infantry Combat Support Company as in a non mech inf co, and E Companies was where the Battalion Reconnaissance Platoons were found in this period, the Echo RECON.

 

post-34986-0-16498000-1538020201_thumb.jpg

 

Jon Michael Young, on duty right before Vietnam service with one of the battalions of the 13th Infantry, 8th Infantry Division (Mech) in West Germany, begs the question now, could a GI holding an 11Foxtrot MOS or in a sub unit that had 11Foxtrots have slots for a Specialist 5th Class? We do see that maybe in this case with this MOS that they're might of been, with these guys some kind of special Intell analyst sort of position within the platoon?

 

 

https://www.virtualwall.org/dy/YoungJM03a.htm

 

ON THE WALL: Panel 48E Line 14

 

Home of Record: San Luis Obispo, CA

Date of birth: 05/08/1945

MILITARY DATA: Service Branch: Army of the United States

Grade at loss: E5 Rank: Specialist Five

Promotion Note: None

ID No: 19852240

MOS: 11F20: Infantry Operations And Intelligence Specialist

Length Service: 02

Unit: E CO, 3RD BN, 47TH INFANTRY, 9TH INF DIV, USARV

CASUALTY DATA:

Start Tour: 01/04/1968 Incident Date: 04/04/1968

Casualty Date: 04/04/1968

Status Date: Not Applicable

Status Change: Not Applicable

Age at Loss: 22

Location: Kien Hoa Province, South Vietnam

Remains: Body recovered

Repatriated: Not Applicable Identified: Not Applicable

Casualty Type: Hostile, died outright Casualty Reason: Ground casualty Casualty Detail: Multiple fragmentation wounds

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I was a 91P (x-ray tech), in the 7th Evac Hospital in Darmstadt, Germany in 1971. As I remember. The only SP6s were OR techs, the other E-6s were all SSG. When we spent our month in the field in Honfels(sp?), E-4 and below carried M16s and E-6 and above 45s.Oh, we also wore red cross armbands. The Germans really gave us the stink eye when we stopped at the autobahn rest food stands enroute.

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