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Two Different USMC Chevrons


36-tex

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The left one is for a Sergeant Major,the right one is a cut Sergeant Major to make a First Sgt. rank. Just a guess, because I don't believe the First Sgt. rank has a star.

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The left one is for a Sergeant Major,the right one is a cut Sergeant Major to make a First Sgt. rank. Just a guess, because I don't believe the First Sgt. rank has a star.

 

 

I have it in Khaki, I don't think it is a cut down and I can't find any picture with it this way.

 

Maybe this was a prototype before the Corps decided on 4 rockers for their E-9s???

 

Bill

 

 

post-1455-1322272253.jpg post-1455-1322272260.jpg

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Pre and Post 1959 I think.

Current rank insignia for USMC Sgt. Major is 4 Rockers.

 

Give the man a cigar! They ARE pre (SgtMaj E-7) and post (SgtMaj E-9) 1959 chevrons. Semper Fi......Bobgee

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And mark 'em as 'scarce' as they were only used a short while before the 4 rockers came on the scene.

 

 

Right, I believe it was '54 when the USMC added the star for sergeants major and brought back (again) the diamond for first sergeants. So there were three E-7 insignia for a few years there. Cool stripes to see!

 

Justin B.

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teufelhunde.ret

This was the period when the Lance Corpral rank was re-introduced:

 

"From 1908 until the armistice of 11 November 1918, there were but two major changes in the Marine Corps enlisted rank structure. By 1 January 1914, the Gunnery Sergeant had been returned to the top pay grade along with the Sergeant Major, Drum Major, Quartermaster Sergeant, and First Sergeant; and in 1917, the grade of Private First Class was authorized. In requesting the Secretary of the Navy to approve the grade of Private First Class, the Commandant based his argument on the fact that the Army had established a similar grade the previous year. Since the organization of the Marine Corps, at least for expeditionary service, was much like that of the Army, the Commandant felt that the new grade was necessary. The Secretary of the Navy agreed; and the coming of the Private First Class sounded the death knell of another Marine Corps tradition, for the new rank ended the usefulness of the Lance Corporal.

 

Lance Corporals and Lance Sergeants had been a part of the Marine Corps as far back as the 1830s and probably even earlier. By 1877, the practice of detailing Corporals to act as Sergeants and Privates to assume the duties of Corporals had become so widespread that the Commandant directed that such appointments be only one month in duration. If, at the end of that time, the individual could not pass an examination for the grade in which he was serving temporarily, his appointment should go to someone else. In spite of the creation of the Private First Class, Lance rank died hard. A chevron for Lance Corporal appeared in uniform regulations of 1929.

 

Reemphasis on the role of the senior noncommissioned officers was followed by a sweeping revision of the enlisted ranks and grades of the Marine Corps in 1958, after Congress amended the Career Compensation Act of 1949 and authorized two new pay grades, (E-8) and (E-9). This revision was designed to relieve the crowding at the E-7 grade, caused by the rapid World War II output of noncommissioned officers and, since then, by the moving up--appropriately enough--of the specifically skilled men which every service was requiring more and more. The end result, however, was an unbalanced structure, too heavy at the top." "A transitional period of dual grade structures, to end entirely on 1 January 1965, was worked out to insure that no Marine would lose stripes. This was achieved by establishing "acting" ranks, so that all Marines would be able to retain their existing titles, insignia, and privileges. Upon promotion, they would assume the new rank titles. The prefix "acting," however, was abolished by the Commandant on 1 August 1960, and the end of the transitional period for all grades was moved up to 1 July 1963.

 

In this revision of 1958, the ranks of Corporal through Master Sergeant were upgraded one pay grade each, making room for an additional private rank. The Sergeant Major/First Sergeant program was retained, with its historic command prestige, but a new technical leadership was introduced into the top NCO levels, in recognition of the ever-increasing complexity of waging modern warfare, by permitting E-8 and E-9 billets to be filled also by occupational specialists. Since technical adeptness was now required of quite a few others besides the Technical Sergeant, this title ceased to have value and it was deleted. Marines holding that rank were designated acting Gunnery Sergeants."

 

REF: http://orcuttchristian.org/The%20Lance%20Corporal%20Rank.pdf

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A transitional period of dual grade structures, to end entirely on 1 January 1965, was worked out to insure that no Marine would lose stripes. This was achieved by establishing "acting" ranks, so that all Marines would be able to retain their existing titles, insignia, and privileges. Upon promotion, they would assume the new rank titles. The prefix "acting," however, was abolished by the Commandant on 1 August 1960, and the end of the transitional period for all grades was moved up to 1 July 1963.

 

Were the crossed rifles used to distinguished between personnel in "old" and "new" grades in the transition period? That is, an "old" Sgt (E-4) would wear three stripes plain, while a "new" Sgt (E-5) wore three plus the rifles. That is my impression but I'm not 100% sure.

 

Justin B.

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  • 9 years later...
SgtMaddoxUSMC

Just reviewing old threads and to echo what others have said, yes, the three-rocker SgtMaj here was used about 1954-1959 where there were only 7 paygrades.  In Jan 1959 the current rank structure went into effect with two new paygrades added and SgtMaj (along with the newly resurrected Master Gunnery Sergeant rank) were each given four rockers.

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patches

To clarify, would this rank with the Three Rockers with the Star been worn starting in 1954? I thinking it wouldn't, from what I'm seeing it was only the Rank Title of Sergeant Major that was introduced, not a new rank insignia, this as the Army introduces its new Sergeant Major grade insignia with the Star in 1958, so too the Marine Corps, with this Three Rocker being the initial design of 1958, and the Four Rocker one being a later one, like 1959-60? the one currently used today.

 

To quote member Jason G post #7

 

And mark 'em as 'scarce' as they were only used a short while before the 4 rockers came on the scene.

 

Here's a Table from one of a Marine Corps League's site, this is where I'm seeing no rank like that.

 

http://obxmarines.org/rank_structure

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Justin B.
On 6/7/2021 at 7:30 AM, patches said:

To clarify, would this rank with the Three Rockers with the Star been worn starting in 1954? I thinking it wouldn't, from what I'm seeing it was only the Rank Title of Sergeant Major that was introduced, not a new rank insignia, this as the Army introduces its new Sergeant Major grade insignia with the Star in 1958, so too the Marine Corps, with this Three Rocker being the initial design of 1958, and the Four Rocker one being a later one, like 1959-60? the one currently used today.

 

As I understand it, the Marines split E-7 into sergeant major, first sergeant and master sergeant in 1954-1955 and added the star or diamond as appropriate. I don't have any solid documentation on it. Below is from a quiz in the Navy "All Hands" magazine Nov 1955:

marine_e7_1955.png.1f7231fba64222aa5a37401ee777ed9d.png

 

This is from "All Hands" October 1958, in the transition after adding E-8 and E-9.

marine_ranks_1958.png.ff8ad7804a95ac04c0b18f36c2f1c25c.png

 

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SgtMaddoxUSMC

So we know that "the Marine Corps announced in December 1954 the establishment of two additional titles within grade E-7 . The rank of sergeant major was to take precedence over the newly resurrected first sergeant, who, in turn was placed above the master sergeant." (United States Marine Corps - Ranks and Grades 1775-1969, page 39)

Shortly after that, the metal chevrons were authorized for wear. "The metal type chevron was just recently authorized for wear on the utilities by Marines in the United States.  They are not available for purchase at this writing, but when available, they will be stocked by the Clothing Sections." (Leatherneck, August 1955, page 13) We know that these metal chevrons were produced in First Sergeant as well as Sergeant Major.

In June, 1956 we find this: "Bigger and Better might well describe the new chevrons which will soon be issued to Marine Corps personnel.  Stripes will be 1/2 inch wide as compared to the present 5/16 inch stripe.  Overall width will be 3-5/8 inches.  HQMC cautioned that these chevrons will be available through the Marine Corps supply system only - on about 1 August." (Marine Corps Gazette, June 1956, page 55)

Echoing the previous document: "New chevrons Due... All ranks of Marine enlisted personnel will soon be wearing a new-type chevron on all uniforms.  Bigger than the present style, the new chevrons will be 1/2 inch wide compared to the present 5/16 inch stripe.  Overall width will be 3 and 5/8 inches.  Chevrons will be available only through the Marine Corps supply system which should have the chevrons for distribution about August 1, 1956." (Leatherneck, July 1956, page 70)
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Here is a photo of the 1954-1956 style 3-rocker Sergeant Major alongside the 1956-1959 chevron and a 1959-1992 4-rocker modern style Sergeant Major.  The only change since this last one occurred around 1992 when the edges of the chevrons were required to be merrowed as opposed to cut edge felt.  Note how the original '54-'56 chevron is a bright gold and has the smaller 5/16" stripes.  For whatever reason, probably manufacturer variation, the later chevrons were a pale yellow color as they are today.  



 

IMG_4426.JPG

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patches

Thank you, justin and maddox. damn seems this settles that with the period stuff posted, so the marines were first wth the star, would of thought it was uniform in 1958 with the introduction of the super grades in all the branches of the armed forces.

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SgtMaddoxUSMC

Patches - I think I recall you collecting USMC chevrons at one point?

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patches
Just now, SgtMaddoxUSMC said:

Patches - I think I recall you collecting USMC chevrons at one point?

Yeah it was one Spanish American War era Sergeant Major Chevron I picked up as a kid in 1974 at the old S&S Firearms store in Glendale NY LOL.

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SgtMaddoxUSMC

Ahh gotcha.  I'm out across the Nassau/Suffolk border!  We're probably only 30 minutes away from each other.  

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