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AMERICA - MILITARY BRANCH & RANK INSIGNIA

no buck Sergeant

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no buck Sergeant

Unread postby NJSMITTY » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:34 pm

I'm reading a book on badges and insignia . Can anyone tell me why the U.S. Army
reorganized the rank structure in 1948, eliminating the three chevron insignia we know as Sergeant?
The Sergeant rank insignia became the one we knew as Staff Sergeant. Tech Sergeants then became Sergeants First Class and Master and First Sergeants remained at the top .What did the Army wish to achieve with this change?
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Unread postby Caim_Dubh » Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:15 am

I'm sure someone else will come up with the actual answer to this, but I have a vague recollection of reading a book--it could have been "Chevrons"--where the Army got rid of the three stripe rank due to its similarity to corporal, or something relating to a stigma about the three stripes doing the same job as two stripes. Basically the rocker symbolized for all intents and purposes a senior noncommissioned officer, whereas the corporal was a junior NCO.

I'll keep looking for something concrete.
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Unread postby gghbisa » Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:08 am

Actually the the title “Sergeant” remained, with three chevrons and an arc. The title of “Staff Sergeant” was eliminated.

The addition of a second grade of private to the seven pay grades meant the ranks above had to move forward and something had to give, Staff Sergeant was the victim.

There is a story that I’m not sure I believe, that the plan was to call the lower two grades of sergeant “Sergeant First Class” and “Sergeant Second Class”. When this plan was presented to Omar Bradley he supposedly exploded saying “Get out of here, and come back with a new name. There may be second-class sergeants in the Army, but we are not going to call them that.”

The reason I have doubts about this story form the book “Guardians of the Republic” by Ernest F. Fisher Jr. page 288 is, that it goes on to say the name they came up with was “Staff Sergeant” and that is not what happened.


A rank chart from that era can be found here:

http://www.news.navy.mil/media/allhands ... 195412.pdf

page 32.
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Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:23 am

I believe it came about because the post-war army had more sergeants of various grades than it had corporals and privates for them to supervise. Moving corporal to the E-4 level made sergeant at E-5 more selective. Skipping the three stripe insignia and giving the rocker to buck sergeant seems counter-intuitive, but it was seen as making sergeant more prestigious. Though it went back and forth a couple of times, the USAF has done something similar with the sergeant grades starting at E-5, and for similar reasons. They have never re-aligned the grades as the army did, though, so the USAF staff sergeant is still at the E-5 level compared to E-6 in the army.

There is a story that I’m not sure I believe, that the plan was to call the lower two grades of sergeant “Sergeant First Class” and “Sergeant Second Class”. When this plan was presented to Omar Bradley he supposedly exploded saying “Get out of here, and come back with a new name. There may be second-class sergeants in the Army, but we are not going to call them that.”

The reason I have doubts about this story form the book “Guardians of the Republic” by Ernest F. Fisher Jr. page 288 is, that it goes on to say the name they came up with was “Staff Sergeant” and that is not what happened.


I agree that the story is somewhat suspect, but there is also mention in that book that for a time it was considered to give three stripes to corporal. On the US Militaria Forum, some design drawings for the 1948-style chevrons have been posted, that show three stripes labeled "corporal" and then later struck out:
http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ ... opic=15917

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Unread postby Lee Ragan » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:33 pm

The USAF changes Justin referes too was at the E-4 paygrade level. Originally when the USAF was created out of the old Army Air Force, & the post 1947 pay grade system was adopted, the E-4 wore three stripes and was a Sergeant. In about 1954, it was decided to take away NCO status from E-4's and that brought about the old Airman 3rd, 2nd and 1st Class with the later being the old E-4 Sergeant. Fast forward to 1967 and the E-4 Sergeant was re-born and paygrades E2 & E-3 were renamed Airman and Airman First Class respectively.This gave NCO status back to the E-4. Later in the 1970's the USAF decided they had too many people in the NCO grades and created an additional title of Senior Airman at the E-4 level, but also left the E-4 Sergeant for those who had longer time in grade. Eventually, the title of Sergeant disappeared from the E-4 pay grade and they all became Senior Airmen which is not an NCO rank.
All this shuffling was to realign the proportion of NCO's to the total overall enlisted structure. That was also why the Army went thru all the shuffling they did an eliminated the 3 stripe Sergeant for nearly a decade.
On a personal note: I was an Airman 2nd Class for about 3 months and rank titles changes and I became an Airman 1st Class, but no promotion. That didn't come until I made Sergeant the next year.
Hope this helps some.
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