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Old 05-15-2008, 21:36   #1
reservetech
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specialist?

Ok, I have been researching some military history for the past few hours and I have a question. Being a SPC myself, it intrigued me that during the late 50's, and later, the SPC rank went as high as E-9. Upon further digging, it seems these upper SPC ranks were designated for soldiers w/o command authority. My question is, what did they do then? I can understand an E-5 or maybe 6 w/o command authority, but an E-9? Some clarification would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Tech

Last edited by reservetech; 05-15-2008 at 21:39.
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Old 05-15-2008, 22:22   #2
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They were Technicians in their fields. Specialists as it were...

E9? Really?
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Old 05-15-2008, 23:05   #3
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thats what i thought....

http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/ra...sted_ranks.htm

It looks as though the SP8-9 were discontinued in '65. But still, what would these guys have been adressed as?

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Old 05-16-2008, 08:59   #4
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All Specialists were addressed as Specialist. I never encountered a Spec-9 but have had experiences with Spec-4 thru Spec-8.

In 1965, as a young Corporal (E-4), I was put in charge of a flight of soldiers travelling from Germany to Turkey. Encluded in the group were two Spec-5s and a Spec-7.

Later (I believe 1968) the Army clarified the situation to when two soldiers of the same pay grade are involved the hard stripe (NCO) is in charge. The soldier with the next higher pay grade is in charge regardless of an NCO or Specialist.
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:10   #5
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If I recall correctly it also had to do with them being non-combatants.

It's kinda like placing chopper pilots, or quartermasters in charge Special Forces, SEALS and Rangers.

Did I say that out loud?

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Old 05-16-2008, 09:31   #6
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We had a SPC-6 in my platoon at one point. My take on it was that he was a technical guy, not a troop pusher. That works well in some career fields but not others.

Seemed to me like a great idea to me and I think it should have stayed around. He (the SPC-6) was hardstriped as a SSG when they did away with the rank and unfortunately self-destructed as a leader. He was extremely tech-savvy, just didn't work well with humans.
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:57   #7
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understood

Good info. What MOS's and jobs today would be equivelant to an upper lever specialist? I could see it in the medical field working very well. For us, in the clinical lab setting, we have a 1-1 NCO to soldier ratio. Its impractical and redundant.

Last edited by reservetech; 05-16-2008 at 10:01.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:17   #8
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Any position of a technical bend, mechanics (all types), medical, (as you stated), so on and so forth. Think about it. NCOs are leaders, they train for it. There's SP4s in the combat arms that are as technically proficient in their MOS as a corporal but just don't have the leadership skills it takes to run a squad.
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Old 05-16-2008, 13:07   #9
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Did the specialist ranks evolve from the technical sergeant ranks of WWII?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reservetech
What MOS's and jobs today would be equivelant to an upper lever specialist?
I'd say Warrant Officers, whose lineage goes back to early 18th century naval traditions, are today's upper level specialists.
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Old 05-16-2008, 16:50   #10
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Good info. What MOS's and jobs today would be equivelant to an upper lever specialist? I could see it in the medical field working very well. For us, in the clinical lab setting, we have a 1-1 NCO to soldier ratio. Its impractical and redundant.

Signal Corp used them also.
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Old 05-16-2008, 18:03   #11
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If you really wanted to see a cluster, add in another service. The relationship between specialist and NCO only pertained to the Army.

Imagine an Army Corporal, a Marine E-5 and an Army Spec-6. The Marine E-5 out-ranked the Army Corporal. The Army Corporal had command authority over the Spec-6. The Army Spec-6 out ranked the Marine Sergeant...
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Old 05-16-2008, 21:55   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f50lrrp View Post
If you really wanted to see a cluster, add in another service. The relationship between specialist and NCO only pertained to the Army.

Imagine an Army Corporal, a Marine E-5 and an Army Spec-6. The Marine E-5 out-ranked the Army Corporal. The Army Corporal had command authority over the Spec-6. The Army Spec-6 out ranked the Marine Sergeant...
I can see where that would lead to some issues... you mentioned above you have service time when spec ranks were still used... did you ever see anything like the above? what would take seniority after all that? service hierarchy?
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Old 05-16-2008, 22:49   #13
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No, I'm sorry, I never had an experience with Specialists and other service members other than Army.

I attended the NCO Academy as a corporal (my SGM said to graduate or he'd have me converted to SP4). In my class was a newly promoted, from SP7, Master Sergeant (E-8). The guy was an air traffic controller and knew zilch about the real Army.

As the ranking man in the class, he was appointed as the Company Commander and his first assignment was to form the company and march them to the theater. He immediately shouted in a very weak voice "Company Attention" There was no prepretory command and no command of execution, just "Company Attention.

The Tac NCO bellowed, "As You Were"! The MSG shouted "As I Was"!

Since the highest ranking NCO in the class couldn't accomplish the task, the Tac NCO turned to me as the lowest ranking NCO in the class and made me the Acting Company Commander.

From then on, every rime the MSG screwed up, I was ordered to take over.

Something worked because the MSG managed to graduate the course and I was selected as the honor grad and meritoriously promoted to E-5.
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Old 05-20-2008, 15:51   #14
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We had SPC/8s in Spec Wpns Ord on Okinawa. I don't recall them having any additional duties outside of the maintenance bunker.

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Old 05-20-2008, 16:08   #15
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I'd have to respectfully disagree with T.S. :

Quote:
If I recall correctly it also had to do with them being non-combatants
In the early 60s and I believe throught the major part of the war in Viet Nam quite a few M-60 gunners and Mortar Crew Members carried the rank of Specialist. (Also called SpeeD 4 - Soft 5 etc) Also, if you check the CMH awardees for the Viet Nam War, you'll find quite a few Specialists were awarded that medal.
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