Jump to content
giconceptsjw

Army specialist ranks 1960's thru 1980's

Recommended Posts

I bet there were a bunch of these (and Spec. 9) that were made and stockpiled in some quartermaster storage depot or something, but the facts show that no US Soldier officially wore the Spec. 8 or Spec. 9 insignia.

 

Sounds like a good collectible though. Best wishes

No doubt when the ranks are first authorized, manufacturers start cranking some out. Hopefully that long lost QM storage depot will be located, as I'd like to get a SPEC9 to complete the set.

Kurt


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif


donation2017.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I served alongside Spc. 5 and Spc. 6 and I don't doubt that many were leaders and had great qualities, I only repeated a quote from an official US Army document from 1967-1968. Thanks for your service, atb!

Yes, we always heard the same thing about our position as specialists under any NCO. But, we SP5's and 6's joked that when we were in leadership positions, if things went bad we got blamed because, after all, we were just "specialists" and if things went well, of course, we were Army NCOs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I bet there were a bunch of these (and Spec. 9) that were made and stockpiled in some quartermaster storage depot or something, but the facts show that no US Soldier officially wore the Spec. 8 or Spec. 9 insignia.

 

Not true. The records indicate that apparently no individual was promoted to the specialist 8 or 9 ranks. There is nothing in any army records that say no one ever wore the rank. There is a difference.

 

With all of the debate about it I was curious and did a little research. The OG-107 shirt in question with the MAC-V SSI and Spec 9 rank has a name tape on it and it’s not a common name. There is also a laundry tag with a partial serial number on it stapled to the shirt. That was enough to find DD-214 records for the individual and it actually checks out to be legit. Here is a brief rundown of his service;

 

20 years army service. Enlisted 1948 separated 1968.

Stationed Ft. Ord California 1948

Engineer MOS

Promoted to corporal (E-4) 1949 and assigned to the 4th Engineer Batt. 4th infantry Div.

Reassigned to Ft. Benning GA. 1950. Attended jump school, completed 5 successful parachute jumps, authorized to wear basic parachute qualification wings.

Stationed in Frankfurt Germany 1951

Promoted to Staff Sgt. (E-6) 1952.

Reassigned to Ft. Lewis WA. 1956

Promoted to Master Sgt. (E-8) 1958

Promoted to Sgt. Major (E-9) 1965

Deployed overseas Vietnam with 4th Div. 1966

Reassigned to MAC-V 1966

2 years Vietnam 1966-1967 & 1967-1968

 

There is no mention of Spec 9 rank however, clearly the man was an E-9. This supports what was written in an earlier post:

 

“As he recalled, First Sergeants & Sergeant Majors had the option to wear the specialist rank patch of equal pay grade. In other words, an E-8 or E-9 First Sergeant or Sergeant Major had the option to wear "hard" Sergeant stripes or Specialist 8 & 9 stripes. He also recalled they had to have some specifically technical background to qualify. As he put it, infantry First Sergeants were the guys who made sure everyone had ammo & water and they did the platoon's paperwork. A technical First sergeant would be in charge of something like a special communications unit. He said he thinks the hard stripes and the spec stripes were worn to distinguish between the two.”

 

I have no doubt this Spec 9 uniform shirt is 100% legitimate and now I’ll keep the service history records with it for future reference.


Jeff Warner

Author/Technical Advisor

www.giconcepts.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not true. The records indicate that apparently no individual was promoted to the specialist 8 or 9 ranks. There is nothing in any army records that say no one ever wore the rank. There is a difference..

Sir, I sure dont want sound like I am quibbling, but as I mentioned, I said no one officially was promoted to the rank in the US Army. Also, speaking as a former soldier of 26-years, and served at every one of the grades in question, soldiers (especially those at the senior ranks of E-8 and E-9) do not usually just casually decide to put on unauthorized insignia.

 

“As he recalled, First Sergeants & Sergeant Majors had the option to wear the specialist rank patch of equal pay grade. In other words.

As a researcher, writer, editor and novice historian, I suggest using care in listening to war stories and memories from old soldiers, especially 40 years after the fact. And I say that with love and respect of them because I am one too. The individual quoted obviously had a memory of the Specialists rank, I do not discount that. But maybe what he may have saw/heard/remembered applied to the Spec 6 or Spec 7 rank. Or it could have been scuttlebutt, hearsay or rumor...something prevalent among the troops of any era. You are going on one person’s memory without any concrete (or remotely concrete) confirmation?

 

After personally looking at research papers, reading manuscripts, going to the National Archives, the US Army Museum of the Noncommissioned Officer, the Sergeants Major Academy Learning Resource Center, and a whole host of other places, somewhere, somehow, there would have been something written down about a soldier wearing these two ranks. Or a photograph. Don’t you think there would have been some sort of mention of a Spec. 8 or Spec. 9 in Army Times, Army Magazine, Army and Navy Journal, etc., even if it was a signature block or a casual mention?

 

I have no doubt this Spec 9 uniform shirt is 100% legitimate and now I’ll keep the service history records with it for future reference.

I don't claim to have seen everything ever written on the subject, nor every photo. I only suggest that if the uniform is 100% legitimate, then it is illegitimate because it was completely unauthorized and in violation of the standing rules and regulations of the time. It is not authentic in that respect.

 

I confess I'm not an expert on the post WWII US Army specialist ranks.

If you'll note the paper quoted throughout this thread (Short History of the Specilaist Rank) was in fact written by me. I may not be an expert at the level of Emerson, but I do suggest I am one of a handful who can talk in depth on the subject.

 

Best wishes.

//dan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sir, I sure dont want sound like I am quibbling, but as I mentioned, I said no one officially was promoted to the rank in the US Army. Also, speaking as a former soldier of 26-years, and served at every one of the grades in question, soldiers (especially those at the senior ranks of E-8 and E-9) do not usually just casually decide to put on unauthorized insignia.

As a researcher, writer, editor and novice historian, I suggest using care in listening to war stories and memories from old soldiers, especially 40 years after the fact. And I say that with love and respect of them because I am one too. The individual quoted obviously had a memory of the Specialists rank, I do not discount that. But maybe what he may have saw/heard/remembered applied to the Spec 6 or Spec 7 rank. Or it could have been scuttlebutt, hearsay or rumor...something prevalent among the troops of any era. You are going on one person’s memory without any concrete (or remotely concrete) confirmation?

 

After personally looking at research papers, reading manuscripts, going to the National Archives, the US Army Museum of the Noncommissioned Officer, the Sergeants Major Academy Learning Resource Center, and a whole host of other places, somewhere, somehow, there would have been something written down about a soldier wearing these two ranks. Or a photograph. Don’t you think there would have been some sort of mention of a Spec. 8 or Spec. 9 in Army Times, Army Magazine, Army and Navy Journal, etc., even if it was a signature block or a casual mention?

I don't claim to have seen everything ever written on the subject, nor every photo. I only suggest that if the uniform is 100% legitimate, then it is illegitimate because it was completely unauthorized and in violation of the standing rules and regulations of the time. It is not authentic in that respect.

If you'll note the paper quoted throughout this thread (Short History of the Specilaist Rank) was in fact written by me. I may not be an expert at the level of Emerson, but I do suggest I am one of a handful who can talk in depth on the subject.

 

Best wishes.

//dan

 

I have to both agree and disagree. Firstly, I totally agree that veteran’s accounts aren’t the gospel. Their stories are only as accurate as their memory. I actually started a thread on that very subject here;

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...showtopic=76022

 

I also agree that you are probably far more knowledgeable than I am on army specialist ranks. I confess that the subject is not my specialty. That’s why I started this thread and posted the pics, so I could learn a bit more about it.

 

As for casually wearing unauthorized insignia, well yes that’s been going on for over 100 years within the US military. I think we’ve all seen insignia that was made in foreign countries, created by hand or just something from an individual’s imagination. Unauthorized insignia on uniforms isn’t typical but it is fairly common and there are 100’s of pics on this forum to prove that.

 

Also, there wouldn’t be any official records of unauthorized insignia, ummm…. because it wasn’t authorized. For example, the “bazookaman” patch created locally in Italy by the 505 PIR in the 82nd Airborne during WWII had no authorization whatsoever. It was never authorized but it was worn. In Vietnam, troops would wear contemporary civilian buttons on their uniforms such as the Avis Rent-A-Car slogan “We Try Harder” button. It wasn’t even military insignia, obviously never authorized, but it was worn in the field. More recently, troops in Iraq wear joke patches like “suck meter” which of course are not authorized military insignia.

 

I’m not sure I understand your logic of a uniform with unauthorized insignia automatically being unauthentic or not legitimate. By that logic, an original 82nd airborne uniform with the unauthorized “bazookaman” insignia on it, all completely original, with identification and history, is not authentic and not legitimate? By the same logic an original army air corps A-2 flying jacket with a nose art painting on the back isn’t legitimate or authentic? Humm…..well, I think the guys who collect things like that might disagree with you there. Maybe I misunderstood you. Here are your words, “if the uniform is 100% legitimate, then it is illegitimate because it was completely unauthorized and in violation of the standing rules and regulations of the time. It is not authentic in that respect.” So, any uniform with unauthorized insignia on it that violated the standing rules & regulations is not authentic in your opinion? I’ve never heard anyone make a statement like that before.

 

We can see only what is visible in original photographs and obviously every piece of unauthorized insignia ever worn by every soldier in every conflict wasn’t photographed or officially recorded. We will never know every single example of unauthorized insignia ever worn in all history. With that, we have to expect new and previously unknown examples of this being discovered all the time. I see new examples of things all the time and it doesn’t automatically mean something that hasn’t been seen before is not legitimate.

 

I’m only going by my humble experience. As a collector for over 40 years, a writer and author of 6 military reference books, a battlefield archeologist, technical advisor and TV/film military consultant I try to keep an open mind and learn new things every day. In case anyone is interested, Military Trader Magazine just did an interview and biography article of me in their last issue. The article is currently on their website at this link;

 

http://www.militarytrader.com/article/mili...et-jeff-warner/

 

JW


Jeff Warner

Author/Technical Advisor

www.giconcepts.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bet there were a bunch of these (and Spec. 9) that were made and stockpiled in some quartermaster storage depot or something, but the facts show that no US Soldier officially wore the Spec. 8 or Spec. 9 insignia.

Not true. The records indicate that apparently no individual was promoted to the specialist 8 or 9 ranks. There is nothing in any army records that say no one ever wore the rank. There is a difference.

 

The service info in the post indicates promotion to SGM, not Spec. 9, so the SP9 insignia was not worn officially, just as Dan said.

 

best regards,

Justin B.


donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

donation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not true. The records indicate that apparently no individual was promoted to the specialist 8 or 9 ranks. There is nothing in any army records that say no one ever wore the rank. There is a difference.

The service info in the post indicates promotion to SGM, not Spec. 9, so the SP9 insignia was not worn officially, just as Dan said.

 

best regards,

Justin B.

 

This has turned into a hairsplitting issue now. However, just for the sake of accuracy……..

 

It is true the service record shows the rank of Sergeant Major which was designated pay grade E-9. The Specialist 9 insignia was also designated pay grade E-9 so technically at that time both Sergeant Major and Specialist 9 were both identical pay grade ranks. It’s possible both ranks could have been interpreted by someone as interchangeable.

 

The Specialist 8 and 9 rank insignias were not unauthorized insignia. They were indeed official, legitimate and authorized US Army insignia established in 1958 and abolished in 1965 but carried over in army publications as late as 1967 & 68.

 

Personally, I’m not trying to prove anything or convince anyone. There is no stake in the shirt with the Spec 9 rank on it. The shirt isn’t for sale and I didn’t buy it recently or pay more than $10 for it. I simply wanted to say that I was very curious about it so I researched the name & ASN on the shirt and posted what I found. I’m personally satisfied that the shirt came from the veteran just as it is, authorized rank or not. It is a very weird item and of course I have no idea why it has Spec 9 rank on it rather than Sergeant Major rank as it should. Is this the only uniform in the whole world that ever had Spec 9 rank on it? I have no idea. If I were to speculate I’d guess maybe the guy wanted into MAC-V but there were no open positions for Sergeant Major at the time so he wore the equal pay grade Spec. 9 rank and got in as a Specialist 9 rather than a Sergeant Major. Again, I’m guessing. Is it possible? Maybe.

 

Since Specialist 8 & 9 rank insignia was obviously manufactured in a number of forms as both metal collar pins and as color & subdued sleeve patches, it’s certainly possible someone somewhere for some reason put it on their uniform. Given the nature of things and the fact that many thousands of these ranks were produced, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that there wasn’t a single person anywhere at anytime who wore it. I’ve been doing this long enough to see many, many authentic original uniforms with insignia on them that was specifically prohibited by the regulations but the men did it anyway. I’ve seen enough strange & unusual combinations on uniforms and in photos that I’ve come to the rationalization that almost anything is possible and the words “never & “always” seldom apply.

 

JW


Jeff Warner

Author/Technical Advisor

www.giconcepts.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This has turned into a hairsplitting issue now. However, just for the sake of accuracy……..

 

It is true the service record shows the rank of Sergeant Major which was designated pay grade E-9. The Specialist 9 insignia was also designated pay grade E-9 so technically at that time both Sergeant Major and Specialist 9 were both identical pay grade ranks. It’s possible both ranks could have been interpreted by someone as interchangeable.

 

Yes, but the term in question is "official." All the grades above E-3 had hard stripe and specialist insignia at that time, but they were not interchangeable. "Could have been interpreted" does not make something official, Army regulations or orders do. The only authorized grade insignia for a sergeant major in that period was the hard stripes with three rockers and a star. My point is not that the uniform is inauthentic, it may very well have been worn just as shown. As you pointed out, many unauthorized insignia and uniforms have been worn over the years, as we all know. My only point is that Dan's statement, that the SP8 and SP9 insignia were never worn officially, has substantial documentary support and comparable evidence to the contrary has not come to light.

 

best regards,

Justin B.


donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

donation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes, but the term in question is "official." All the grades above E-3 had hard stripe and specialist insignia at that time, but they were not interchangeable. "Could have been interpreted" does not make something official, Army regulations or orders do. The only authorized grade insignia for a sergeant major in that period was the hard stripes with three rockers and a star. My point is not that the uniform is inauthentic, it may very well have been worn just as shown. As you pointed out, many unauthorized insignia and uniforms have been worn over the years, as we all know. My only point is that Dan's statement, that the SP8 and SP9 insignia were never worn officially, has substantial documentary support and comparable evidence to the contrary has not come to light.

 

best regards,

Justin B.

 

Agreed.


Jeff Warner

Author/Technical Advisor

www.giconcepts.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just as an aside, in '73, I was on a ship and we were in Subic. Advancements had just come in and the guys went off to get their new crows (Navy Petty Officer rating badges). There were none available for our particular rate, and since the guys needed crows for their whites to stand Shore Patrol, they just bought ones that had "cool" marks on them. Nothing was ever said as it was well known that the exchange was chronically short of most things.

 

Steve Hesson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This has turned into a hairsplitting issue now. However, just for the sake of accuracy……..

 

It is true the service record shows the rank of Sergeant Major which was designated pay grade E-9. The Specialist 9 insignia was also designated pay grade E-9 so technically at that time both Sergeant Major and Specialist 9 were both identical pay grade ranks. It’s possible both ranks could have been interpreted by someone as interchangeable.

 

JW

 

Pay grade and rank are two distinctly different things. They are not the same. Both a Spec 9 and a Sgt Major would be of the same pay grade, E-9 but they were NOT the same rank. A Spec 9 would have ranked below a hard stripe corporal. None of these specialiat ranks were NCO's. One of the main reasons they had the specialist ranks was to be able to pay troops at a higher rate, but not go over the alloted percentage of NCO's. The percentage of NCO's in relation to the entire enlisted force was set by law. This affects all of the services. Only a certain percentage of the enlisted troops can be ranked as NCO's.

(If you think the American services rank structures can be confusing, check out some of the European countries. :pinch: Jeeeez!)


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif


donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif


donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Spec 7 metal pin-on collar rank on a cold weather wool shirt.

Maybe to lighten things up a little, we could start a discussion on the shirt that was posted right before the Spec. 9 shirt. Who in their right mind would have worn a wool shirt in Vietnam?

post-1761-1282788840.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe to lighten things up a little, we could start a discussion on the shirt that was posted right before the Spec. 9 shirt. Who in their right mind would have worn a wool shirt in Vietnam?

 

Certain areas in Vietnam could get down to something like 50 degrees (F) at night. It could get chilly in some areas. There were sweaters worn and those "sleep shirts" that became popular later on. Thats what the guys in the field usually would go with because of their size and weight. Field jackets were sometimes worn in the rear or in firebases. I dont remember ever seeing in pictures or hearing about those wool shirts being used in VN though. They were issued in places outside VN and a guy could of brought one with him to VN but the sweaters and such used were not something worn with patches and used in place of the utities or fatigues or anything. They were just an accessory. Maybe some guy brought one to VN already with patches and just switched out the SSI at some point. Hows the stitching and how is it on the USARV patch compared to the tapes (like were they put on at the same time)?. Maybe the shirts a put-together or someone added the patch.

 

Edit: Spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find this topic fascinating truth be told. I think both the 'big dogs' here have some good points. Who knows, maybe this SGM had a rant against the whole 'Specialist' concept, and someone "ginned up" one of his uniforms as a gag. Or maybe he had a sense of humor and did it himself. Without actually talking to HIM....we'll likely never know the 'real' story.

 

On another note, you wouldn't think field jackets would be worn in Vietnam either....but I've got one that's got 'in country' USARV on the left sleeve, 'in country' made name and 'army' tapes, that was, by process of elimination, likely worn 'in country'. (The soldier came home from Vietnam, DEROS'd, and tossed his stuff into a barracks bag where it stayed until unearthed just a few months ago).

 

When I get a chance I'll post it up as a 'neat' item.


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gif
donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

After having a double bypass this past year, it's time to downsize and pass along much of my 'stuff'. I've had my fun, now it is someone elses turn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe to lighten things up a little, we could start a discussion on the shirt that was posted right before the Spec. 9 shirt. Who in their right mind would have worn a wool shirt in Vietnam?

 

I've never been there but as I understand it, there are places in Vietnam like the highlands where it can get rather cold. I've seen war era photos of grunts wearing sleep shirts, M-51 and M-65 field jackets and even bundled up under poncho liners. I've also seen original field jackets with in-country Vietnam specific patches on them. I've seen a handful of other wool shirts like this one with Vietnam SSI's on them too. This particular shirt has a late SSI patch with a thick merrowed edge so I think it would have to be 1968 or later. It does look as if it was sewn on with slightly different thread as the US Army and name tape. I've had the shirt for many years and I think it was in a bundle from a rag mill. I don't really remember but I probably paid a dollar or even less for it back then. I doubt wool shirts like this were in the supply system in Vietnam. I wouldn't think there would be enough of a demand or necessity for them to be sent there in any numbers. As it was said, it's certainly possible someone brought one there with them when they shipped out. These shirts are usually seen in pics in the US and in Germany and I think they were used from the 50's up into the late 70's.


Jeff Warner

Author/Technical Advisor

www.giconcepts.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I've never been there but as I understand it, there are places in Vietnam like the highlands where it can get rather cold. I've seen war era photos of grunts wearing sleep shirts, M-51 and M-65 field jackets and even bundled up under poncho liners. I've also seen original field jackets with in-country Vietnam specific patches on them. I've seen a handful of other wool shirts like this one with Vietnam SSI's on them too. This particular shirt has a late SSI patch with a thick merrowed edge so I think it would have to be 1968 or later. It does look as if it was sewn on with slightly different thread as the US Army and name tape. I've had the shirt for many years and I think it was in a bundle from a rag mill. I don't really remember but I probably paid a dollar or even less for it back then. I doubt wool shirts like this were in the supply system in Vietnam. I wouldn't think there would be enough of a demand or necessity for them to be sent there in any numbers. As it was said, it's certainly possible someone brought one there with them when they shipped out. These shirts are usually seen in pics in the US and in Germany and I think they were used from the 50's up into the late 70's.

 

A few more thoughts on the subject:

 

The wool field shirt was introduced with the M-1951 cold weather ensemble and worn at least through the 1980's. It is a component of a specialized uniform normally only used in certain climatic regions, such as Alaska or Germany in the winter. The cold weather uniforms, including these shirts, were normally unit property, not individual clothing bag items. That's the reason they have that heavy tape sewn above the right pocket: the name tapes can be replaced repeatedly without damaging the garments' fabric. So, a unit would have to be authorized to have these uniforms based on climatic conditions in order to have them in their supply room to issue to anyone. It's possible that a soldier could go buy their own from a surplus store, but I can't imagine why they'd bother to take it with them to Vietnam.

 

Both the sleep shirt and field sweater adopted during the Vietnam War were purpose-designed for SEA: lightweight, but also warm. The wool field shirt is about as far from lightweight as you can get.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pay grade and rank are two distinctly different things. They are not the same. Both a Spec 9 and a Sgt Major would be of the same pay grade, E-9 but they were NOT the same rank. A Spec 9 would have ranked below a hard stripe corporal. None of these specialiat ranks were NCO's. One of the main reasons they had the specialist ranks was to be able to pay troops at a higher rate, but not go over the alloted percentage of NCO's. The percentage of NCO's in relation to the entire enlisted force was set by law. This affects all of the services. Only a certain percentage of the enlisted troops can be ranked as NCO's.

(If you think the American services rank structures can be confusing, check out some of the European countries. :pinch: Jeeeez!)

 

Is this true and where is this documented that a E-9 Specialist is under a or "ranked below a hard stripe" E-4 Corporal. An e-4 can order around an e-9 even though the specialist was 5 pay grade higher? Interesting to say the least. Can someone provide the documentation of this?

4starchris



donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
...Is this true and where is this documented that a E-9 Specialist is under a or "ranked below a hard stripe" E-4 Corporal...Can someone provide the documentation of this?

 

post-1963-1294812096.jpg

 

Source: The Noncom's Guide, p. 447, January, 1957 (12th ed.)


donation2017.gif

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

post-24355-0-52548100-1420800713.png

 

 

Then out spake brave Horatius, the Captain of the Gate:


"To every man upon this earth death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds,


For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his gods."

 

 

 

 

 

 


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this great information. 1957 was a long time ago. Is it still this way? Has this been updated since?Great, great post.

4starchris



donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris, I don't believe so. The only thing the army uses now is the SP4 rank, all the others have been abolished and phased out. SP4 IS, however, ranked 'lower' than a Cpl.


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gif
donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

After having a double bypass this past year, it's time to downsize and pass along much of my 'stuff'. I've had my fun, now it is someone elses turn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And, it is no longer called SP4. It is just Specialist now- SPC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe to lighten things up a little, we could start a discussion on the shirt that was posted right before the Spec. 9 shirt. Who in their right mind would have worn a wool shirt in Vietnam?

 

Not that shirt, but in SF we we issued jungle sweaters ( OG-208 knit wool shirt ), for wear under the jungle fatigue coat. Jungles cool off at night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1955. Army Regulation 615-15, dated 2 July 1954, announced a new grade structure effective 1 March 1955. The new titles were:

 

E7 Master Sergeant (First Sgt was an occupational title) and Master Specialist

 

E6 Sergeant 1st Class; Specialist 1st Class

 

E5 Sergeant; Specialist 2d Class

 

E4 Corporal; Specialist 3d Class

 

E3 Private First Class

 

E2 Private E2

 

E1 Private E1

 

War Department Circular No. 670-3, dated 12 October 1955, stated the effective date for the above change was 1 July 1955. New descriptions contained in AR 670-5, dated 20 September 1956, changed the color of the background to Army Green (the color of the new uniform) or Army Blue with the chevron, arc, lozenge and eagle to be gold. There were no changes in the design for NCO and privates; however, the design for specialists was an embroidered eagle device on a 2 inch wide background arched at the top and shaped like an inverted chevron on the bottom with embroidered arcs as follows:

 

Master Specialist (E7). Three arcs above the eagle device.

 

Specialist First Class (E-6). Two arcs above the eagle device.

 

Specialist Second Class (E-5). One arc above the eagle device.

 

Specialist Third Class (E-4). Eagle device only.

 

1958. Grades E8 and E9 were added and restructuring of titles changed and was announced in DA Message 344303, June 1958. The specialist insignia was also enlarged for male personnel. The insignia remained the same size for female personnel. The new regulation, AR 670-1, dated 28 September 1959, described the insignia as follows:

 

Sergeant Major E9. Three chevrons above three arcs with a five pointed star between the chevrons and arcs.

 

Specialist Nine E9. Three arcs above the eagle device and two chevrons below.

 

First Sergeant E8. Three chevrons above three arcs with a lozenge between the chevrons and arcs.

 

Master Sergeant E8. Three chevrons above three arcs.

 

Specialist Eight E8. Three arcs above the eagle device and one chevron below.

 

Platoon Sgt or Sergeant First Class E7. Three chevrons above two arcs.

 

Specialist Seven E7. Three arcs above the eagle device.

 

Staff Sergeant E6. Three chevrons above one arc.

 

Specialist Six E6. Two arcs above the eagle device.

 

Sergeant E5. Three chevrons.

 

Specialist Five E5. One arc above the eagle device.

 

Corporal E4. Two chevrons.

 

Specialist Four E4. Eagle device only.

 

Private First Class. One chevron.

 

 

Specialists were authorized to continue to wear the smaller insignia. The chevrons formerly authorized for E5, E6 and E7 were authorized for continued wear until the individual was promoted or demoted. They also continued to use the previous title.

 

1965. The Specialist Eight and Specialist Nine grades were discontinued.

 

1978. Specialist Seven was discontinued.

 

1985. The grades specialist five and specialist six were discontinued effective 1 October 1985.

 

 

 

http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Uniforme...ed_history.aspx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I confess I'm not an expert on the post WWII US Army specialist ranks. I've seen them on uniforms from the late 1950's up to today but I believe only spec 4 & 5 exist today. It seems they were originally designed to replace the WWII T-3 through T-5 ranks (conventional stripes with a "T" beneath) but were inverted and included the federal eagle in the center. Specialists held logistical, technical or support positions including radio operators and medics. I can understand spec 4 & 5 but I can't understand the reasoning behind spec 7, 8 & 9. Since specialists ranks carried no leadership responsibilities, why would they need such high specialist ranks? Spec 9 seems to me to be something like "ultra super special private first class". In other words, somewhat redundant. If anyone can shed more light on the early army specialist ranks, I would really appreciate it. Here are a few pics of the specialist uniforms I've ended up with over the years.

 

The first is a Spec 4 Ranger. This OG 107 shirt is dated 1971 but I believe it was used into the late 70's or early 80's.

 

BTW, I've covered all of the name tapes in these pics. Frankly, I don't want to deal with any monkey business from people who search names down. Not forum members but surfers & lurkers who would contact me and say I have their dad's uniform and they want it back.

 

The lack of an SSI is odd.

 

There were many SP4 serving in Special Forces Groups, who were SF qualified soldiers serving on ODAs, not support personnel, they were in NCO slots. I don't recall ever seeing anyone in an SFG wearing Corporal chevrons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.