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Army specialist ranks 1960's thru 1980's

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In 1964, I was assigned to drive for a colonel in MAAG-Vietnam. I went to RVN as a slick sleeve E-2 and when I arrived in VN the colonel promoted me to PFC (1Stripe). Six months later, when I left VN for Germany, the colonel proted me to Corporal (E-4).

 

When I got to the 24th Division (1/19 Infantry) they were deploying to Turkey for a NATO excersize. I was taken to Firstenfelbruk Air Base and assigned as the NCOIC of the personnel on the plane. Many of the other passengers were Specialists that had higher pay grades than I did (E-5 to E-7), but I had command responsibility and by regulation they couldn't.


SFMike

 

F Company, 50th Infantry (LRRP)

 

A-361, 3rd Mobile Strike Force (B-36)

Company A, 5th Special Forces Group (ABN)

 

 

 

RIP Steven Collier, 1968

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Here is my 2 cents on this subject but first let me say I'm not debating any input already said. I know other forum members here are more knowledgeable on this subject than I am.

 

I was US Army active duty from 1976-1980. From Ft Dix to Germany to Ft Bragg I saw lots of specialist ranks but never any Spec 8 or Spec 9. I remember while in Germany we had quite a few Spec 7's but there was talk of the Army doing away with Spec 7 and going to hard stripe only. During my time in Ft Bragg during 1979-1980 I never saw a specialist above Spec 6, there may have been some but I didn't see them.

 

By the time I joined the Army National Guard in 1988 the only specialist rank that remained were (and still are) SP4, now called SPC.

 

I have read over the years that the Spec 8 and Spec 9 ranks were proposed and insignia was made but never worn, hence the rank never came to be. This I do NOT know for sure.

 

Dan

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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

 

If you are in fact CSM Dan Elder (which I say only because of the extreme coincedence) I do have a question about that paper that was written. Within in you mention that Spec 8 and 9 were abolished in '68 when CSM was added to the Army ranks. However I have read in numerous other places that Spec 8 and 9 were abolished in '65; specifically here: http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Uniforme...ed_history.aspx.

 

I want to note that I am not trying to nitpick or point our flaws but that I am genuinely curious about the exact year when it happened.


11B1P Long Range Surveillance

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SP8 collar pin. Probably dates late 50's.

post-322-1282597341.jpgpost-322-1282597373.jpg

I have one of these. I bought it on eBay not a long while ago with some other Specialist insignia; the pin is why I bought the set. I don't think it was a US Army issue item but I have no idea; do you?


11B1P Long Range Surveillance

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...I do have a question about that paper that was written. Within in you mention that Spec 8 and 9 were abolished in '68 when CSM was added to the Army ranks. However I have read in numerous other places that Spec 8 and 9 were abolished in '65...I want to note that I am not trying to nitpick or point our flaws but that I am genuinely curious about the exact year when it happened.

Here is a clip from the study earlier mentioned that will add some clarity to this discussion.

 

post-1963-1330972450.jpg

Note that this chart on this page gives the situation as it stood in 1967. The study from which it is taken was dated July 1967 (and here a link to the study itself: Enlisted Grade Structure Study)

 

To definitively answer your question about what happened to SP8 and SP9 in 1965, you will need a copy of AR 670-5, 23 September 1966, Uniform and Insignia Male Personnel, which was the first full revision of AR670-5 since the edition of 18 September 1959, which first put specialist ranks in the book. The Smithsonian has a copy.


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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."

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Here is a clip from the study earlier mentioned that will add some clarity to this discussion.

 

post-1963-1330972450.jpg

Note that this chart on this page gives the situation as it stood in 1967. The study from which it is taken was dated July 1967 (and here a link to the study itself: Enlisted Grade Structure Study)

 

To definitively answer your question about what happened to SP8 and SP9 in 1965, you will need a copy of AR 670-5, 23 September 1966, Uniform and Insignia Male Personnel, which was the first full revision of AR670-5 since the edition of 18 September 1959, which first put specialist ranks in the book. The Smithsonian has a copy.

 

I have searched and scoured the internet for copies of AR 670-5 from the 60s. I have a pdf of 1959, 1971, 1979, 1981, 1985 but I cannot find one from the 60s. Am I able to look through the one the Smithsonian has? How would I go about doing this?


11B1P Long Range Surveillance

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To up this thread I found an awesome photo from Emerson's book "Chevrons". It shows Specialist First Class in OD uniform with 2-inch (early pattern) chevrons. This photo is dated 1957.

post-87587-0-28885200-1496597268_thumb.jpg

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post-34986-0-81758900-1496934855.jpg

 

A Spec 4 WAC at Long Binh 1968. Seeing that her male colleagues are wearing subdued sleeve ranks made me wonder if there was ever U.S. made machine embroidered subdued's female size ranks made, I guess they just didn't bother right? But it would be interesting to see or know if some Vietnam based EM WACs had In Country made subdued female size ranks done for themselves.

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attachicon.gifester m gleaton wac vietnam.jpg

 

A Spec 4 WAC at Long Binh 1968. Seeing that her male colleagues are wearing subdued sleeve ranks made me wonder if there was ever U.S. made machine embroidered subdued's female size ranks made, I guess they just didn't bother right? But it would be interesting to see or know if some Vietnam based EM WACs had In Country made subdued female size ranks done for themselves.

Here is a group of WACs in Vietnam. The woman on the left is wearing full size subdued Specialist 5 insignia that may be theater made. The two wearing skirts both appear to be wearing female size Specialist 4 and Specialist 5 insignia. It's hard to tell, but the one on the far right may be wearing female size subdued Specialist 4 insignia.

post-1761-0-56371100-1517421276_thumb.jpg

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Here is a group of WACs in Vietnam. The woman on the left is wearing full size subdued Specialist 5 insignia that may be theater made. The two wearing skirts both appear to be wearing female size Specialist 4 and Specialist 5 insignia. It's hard to tell, but the one on the far right may be wearing female size subdued Specialist 4 insignia.

Good foto Sean. Hmm I guess they never bothered with all that, but we'll keep our eyes open. Yes female size on the one's in dress, that one on the far right's in fatiques, she got the full size, you can tell when you zoom in.

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This may have been covered previously, but does anyone know what the official transition date was for the smaller specialist rank to be replaced with the wider one? Any photos of the narrower small rank being in use in the early 1960s? I'm putting together a Cold War impression with my uncles original og107 shirt and early narrow specialist ranks sewn on and wondered what the plausible date range for wear on these was, and if the old style was still worn even after the new superseded it. Thanks for any help!

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This may have been covered previously, but does anyone know what the official transition date was for the smaller specialist rank to be replaced with the wider one? Any photos of the narrower small rank being in use in the early 1960s? I'm putting together a Cold War impression with my uncles original og107 shirt and early narrow specialist ranks sewn on and wondered what the plausible date range for wear on these was, and if the old style was still worn even after the new superseded it. Thanks for any help!

It was sometime in 1958, this being the period of both the new EM Grade reconstruction, and the adoption of the new Army Green 44 Class A uniform, I do not know if there was an exact date, there maybe was, but it's lost to time. As far as the 1955 size ones being worn past 1958 bt men (the small 1955 ones being exclusively worn be female personnel now), yes they were, and in fair numbers, some photos around here on USMF I think. I might scan one I know I have in a unit yearbook.

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Here's but one example of the 1955 size Spec ranks being worn well into the 1960s. A GI of the 2nd Brigade 25th Infantry Division on his way to South Vietnam in January 1966, a Specialist 5th Class, just why he's retained these obsolete ranks is anybody's guess. That they are still worn by both Regular and Reserve component Specialists in some, albeit, small numbers in the 58-59 to say 65-66 period seem to indicate that it wasn't that big of a deal.

 

post-34986-0-37832000-1529380582.jpg

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Thanks a bunch! Thats what I was looking for! I happened to see some

other of the smaller style still in use in a 1961 episode of The Big Picture as well.

post-5417-0-52378600-1529418223.jpeg

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Blurred, but text identifies this as Master Specialist (SP7) insignia from 1955. Certainly looks big enough for three rockers.

Great photo.

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Blurred, but text identifies this as Master Specialist (SP7) insignia from 1955. Certainly looks big enough for three rockers.

Did you notice the caption refers to him not as a Master Specialist but as a Master Sergeant? Is it implying that he is a Master Sergeant transitioning to the grade of Master Specialist, or is he simply demonstrating the wearing of a new Specialist grade insignia?

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I found this group on Facebook and mainly wanted to share the meme. However, some of you posting here who had service as a Specialist may want to join especially to see what photos might be posted since it is a closed group and they are not viewable by the general public.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/599954803736791/

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I have been conducting some research in our archives at the NCO museum on some other topics but in my research came across some interesting photos of SPC7 rank in wear..

 

Here is a photo of a SPC 7 running a computer at Ft Huachuca, AZ. The inscription on the back of the photo is faded but it explains that the First Sergeant in the front of the photo is the first man in the Army whose pay was figured by electronic computer and he is watching as his pay voucher emerges from the IBM 709. The operator in the background is SPC7 James E. Lauer, Automatic Data Processing Department. The photo is dated 24 May 1961.

 

 

 

 

 

Leigh

 

 

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"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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This next photo shows a medic with a nurse on a field exercise in Germany. This photo was found in the magazine "ARMY INFORMATION DIGEST" (The Official US Army Magazine)

 

The Magazine is dated December 1963. There is some very informative information within the pages of these magazines and if time permits I will add to appropriate posts if questions arise about ribbons, decorations and other bits of information we have all been searching for...

 

 

 

Leigh

 

 

 

 

post-5554-0-97966000-1534189634_thumb.jpg


"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

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Last but not least this is an interesting article that discusses the new chevrons that NCOs would be wearing. This also came from a copy of the ARMY INFORMATION DIGEST (The Official US Army Magazine)

 

This book was the April 1965 edition and you will notice in the article the new Chevrons would take effect in September 1965..

 

I will have to add these in 2 separate posts.. I don't want to resize so small that you can't read the article...

 

Leigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

post-5554-0-36244200-1534189965.jpg


"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

donation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gif

 

 

 

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This is the chart that accompanies the article above in the previous post...

 

Leigh

 

 

 

 

post-5554-0-17170200-1534190054_thumb.jpg


"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

donation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gif

 

 

 

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Sorry Patches..

 

Reading is fundamental......

 

 

Leigh :blink:


"Pain is only Weakness Leaving the Body"

MSG Leigh E Smith Jr
US Army (Retired)

donation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gif

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gif

 

 

 

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