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Army Specialist Ranks Abbreviations


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What are the correct abbreviatons for the Army Specialist Ranks? I've seen SPC5, SP5, Spc5, Sp5, Sp5c. I'm just using Spec 5 as an example. What were the abbreviations for Master Specialist, Specialist 1st Class, Specialist 2nd Class, and Specialist 3rd Class?

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I'm not sure of the exact date, but believe it was the mid- to late 1960s, possibly early 1970s when the Army went to three character or less rank abbreviations. Prior to that, they used abbreviations much as still found in newspapers & magazines today. For example:


Pvt. = Private

Pfc. or Pvt. 1/Cl. = Private First Class

Corp. = Corporal

Sgt. or Sergt. = Sergeant

S/Sgt. = Staff Sergeant

T/Sgt. or Tech. Sgt. = Technical Sergeant

M/Sgt. = Master Sergeant

1st. Sgt. = First Sergeant

2nd. Lieut. or 2/Lt. or 2nd/Lt.= 2nd Lietenant

1st Lieut. or 1/Lt. or 1st/Lt. = 1st Lieutenant

Capt. = Captain

Maj. = Major

Lt. Col. = Lieutenant Colonel

Col. = Colonel

Brig. Gen. or B/Gen. = Brigadier General

Maj. Gen. or M/Gen. = Major General

Lieut. Gen. or L/Gen. = Lieutenant General

Gen. = General


When they changed to to the three character or less abbreviations, they looked like this:


PVT = Private

PV1 = Private, E-1

PV2 = Private, E-2

PFC = Private First Class

SP4 - Specialist 4 (used until all other Specialist ranks were discontinued)

SPC = Specialist (Current use - no other Specialist ranks are currently in use)

CPL = Corporal

SP5 = Specialist 5

SGT = Sergeant

SP6 = Specialist 6

SSG = Staff Sergeant

SP7 = Specialist 7

SFC = Sergeant First Class

SP8 = Specialist 8

MSG = Master Sergeant

1SG = First Sergeant

SP9 = Specialist 9

SGM = Sergeant Major

CSM = Command Sergeant Major

SMA = Sergeant Major of the Army

2LT = 2nd Lieutenant

1LT = 1st Lieutenant

CPT = Captain

MAJ = Major

LTC = Lieutenant Colonel

COL = Colonel

BG = Brigadier General

MG = Major General

LTG = Lieutenant General

GEN = General


The other abbreviations you mention were certainly used, but I don't know if/whn they were in official use. I also cannot answer your question about the WWII & pre-WWII specialist rank abbreviations.


I also believe that these abbreviations are only used by the Army. i do not believe any of the other services have followed suit.


Hope this helps.



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