My wife and I are trying to get some information about her father who has 2 bronze stars. His rank is PFC(T). What does the (T) stand for? Thank you for your time.
That (T) stands for "temporary." The Army distinguished between temporary (T) and permanent (P) rank, which had a whole lot to do with Army bureaucracy and almost nothing to do with the soldier himself. He was promoted from Private (P)(as the lowest enlisted rank, there were no "temporary" Privates) to Private First Class (T) and after the passage of a certain amount of time with good service, he was administratively "advanced" to permanent status (P), until he was promoted to the next higher temporary rank (T) or reduced to a lower temporary rank (T) or to his highest permanent rank (P). Is that all clear? In the meantime, he wore the single chevron of the PFC and received the pay and allowances of PFC whether he was (T) or (P). This paper drill wasn't confined to the lower ranks. My uncle was a career soldier and Korean War vet. He was promoted to Technical Sergeant in July 1947, laterally converted to Sergeant First Class in August 1948, and promoted to Master Sergeant in October 1950. His service record shows eight entries changing his status from (T) to (P) and back again during that period. This was the kind of work that kept Army clerks busy in the "Old Army." Computers probably do it now.
thank you for the info.
Just to add some information of the enlisted rank structure from 1948 to 1955:
Grade 1 Master Sergeant (3 up, 3 down) and First Sergeant (3 up, 3 down with lozenge)
Grade 2 Technical Sergeant (3 up, 2 down)
Grade 3 Sergeant (3 up, 1 down)
Grade 4 Corporal (2 up)
Grade 5 Private First Class (1 up)
Grade 6 Private (Grade 2) (no stripes)
Grade 7 Private (Recruit) (no stripes)
NOTE that the numbering structure is inverted compared to what we have today. And also note that the rank of Staff Sergeant in not present, but the rank insignia we, today, associate with it is worn by the buck Sergeant. This change was made on 7 July 1948. Also note that the rank of Technicians (Corporal "T" or Sergeant "T") was deleted.
The size of the chevrons was only 2 inches wide, and the colors were gold stripes (and lozenge) on a blue gackground for combat personnel, and blue stripes (and lozenge) on gold background for noncombat personnel.
In 1951, the size of the insignia was return to the earlier 3-1/8 inch wide type for male personnel and remained the same size for females. The color was standardized to olive-drad stripes on a blue background.
The pay grade structure was inverted in 1951 so the Grade 7 became E-1 and Grade 1 became E-7.
It wasn't until after the Korean War that any other changes were made the the enlisted rank/paygrade structure.
The reason for the use of 'temporary' promotions was based on the Army's need for expansion in war time. For every major conflict, we've added the Reserves and Guard and, in some instances, draftees to augment the Regular Army and created what was termed 'the Army of the United States'. Once the war's over, we send the resrve components home and generally allow attrition to deal with the remainder. If, however, Congress dictated a lower end-strength than could be accomplished through attrition, they implemented a 'Reduction-in Force" (RIF). One of the methods used to keep the force from being 'top heavy' was to require folks to return to their 'permanent rank' (Patton was promoted to COL during WWI, but reverted to CPT at the end of the war). The Army finally did away with the 'Temporary Promotion' for enlisted folks in the early '70s (If I remember correctly) as the last enlisted 'RIF' occurred in 1922.
I was amazed to see the Army actually did not have a 3-strip sergeant for the entire Korean War… The creation of the Air Force really must have befuddled the DOD for a while…
On a somewhat related topic, an Army friend tells me that an Army officer has what he termed a permanent rank, such that a lieutenant when commissioned would have a permanent rank of E-5, etc. I have never head of such a thing and cannot find anything comparable in the Marines. Does anyone know about such things?
Realize, first, that I've been out of the personnel loop for a while (retired in '93). I believe what your friend is referring to is the statutory right of an officer commissioned through OCS to revert to his highest enlisted rank if he's subsequently "RIF'ed".
When an enlisted soldier is accepted for OCS, he or she is promoted to grade E-5 regardless of current rank unless already serving in a higher grade. Upon completion of OCS, the soldier is discharged in that rank and commissioned as a 2LT in the Reserve with concurrent active duty.
E.G., I was promoted from PV2/E-2 to SP5/E-5 on 9 Sep 67 when I entered class 502-B, US Army Engineer Officer Candidate Regiment at Ft Belvoir, VA. Unwilling to give the Army an additional year to complete two years' commissioned service, I resigned from OCS in my 20th week and was subsequently reduced to PFC/E-3 for 'failure to complete training.'
"Stuff happens", and I decided to stay in. Of all my classmates, I only knew of 2 still serving as Officers in 1972, and both had received their 'RIF' letters. Their options were (1) take the money and run ($15,000 severance), or (2) revert to SGT.
While in charge of the Separations Section for the 1st Cav Div at Ft hood, I actually had to outprocess my Company Commander (CPT, Field Artillery) and send him on his way to Ft Bliss, TX as a SGT. Also lost two OICs, both CPTs for the same reason - they took the money. All three had 2 things in common: commissioned through OCS, and served as 'rotor heads' outside of their Basic Branches. When the Army downsized after Vietnam, the various branches seemed pretty parochial in deciding who stayed on Active Duty. Quite a few commissioned pilots got their walking papers.
Good explanation, FBoehm. I believe it basically worked the same way after WWII and the Korean War as well. After Vietnam I saw many colleagues and some good friends fall to the RIF but that's the way it was and we all knew the score before we exchanged our stripes for bars.
Based on everything I heard from the 'Old Army' types after they shanghaied me into personnel, it worked pretty much the same for officers in both WWII and Korea. Saw a lot of talent sent home.
Those that stayed presented a real challenge for us personnel weenies, because there are a lot of rules applicable only to them. If the officer had acquired 'tenure' (10 years' commissioned service), it added even another dimension. Enlisted promotion eligibility and rank upon retirement were unfamiliar territory for most folks dealing with them.
My deceased grandfather, Napoleon Lawrence (1927-2005), was drafted into the Army during the Korean War and he served in Korea. The National Personnel Records Center lost all of his records in the fire during the 1970s, and I was told that only a partial record can be constructed.
The information I received indicated that he served from 18 Sep 1952 until 27 Aug 1954 and was discharged with the rank of Corporal (E-4).
I'm trying to determine if he was made to start at E-1, or if the Army gave promotions to E-2 or E-3 based on college credit in those days. He was about 25 when he was drafted and he served for just under two years. That's pretty high up the paygrades unless he had a head start due to college credit, or unless he made E-4 just before his discharge.
Also, he was from Louisiana. Where would he have attended Army boot camp in those days and how long was boot camp then?
I want to create a shadow box for him and get some more information about his service. Any help is appreciated.
There were some problems with the draft but it was very democratic in one way: Everyone started at the bottom. If your grandfather was drafted for the Korean War, you can be pretty certain that he was inducted as a private (E-1). Advancing from private to corporal in two years would not have been that much of a stretch. New soldiers did not necessarily go to the nearest Army camp for basic training but, to answer your question, Camp Polk, Louisiana, was a basic training post during the Korean War. Army policy at that time required enlisted men to have at least 14 weeks (3-1/2 months) of training before they could be sent overseas.
Thanks for your help. If my grandfather started boot camp on 18 September 1952 (a Thursday), and boot camp was exactly 14 weeks long, he would have graduated on Christmas Day 1952. BUT, I've heard that, at least nowadays, the Army puts recruit training on hold during the Christmas/New Year's holidays. I guess that means he graduated boot camp in January 1953, went to his AIT (I heard that he was in the Army band, so do/did they [musicians] have some sort of AIT at all). Or, do you think that the 14-week timeframe you gave include the total time he might have trained prior to going to Korea? My mother was born 9 Jan 1954 (and she didn't meet her father until he came home that August), so I'm estimating that my grandfather didn't leave for Korea until April/May 1953. Maybe there was an AIT for musicians and he got to go back home on leave afterwards, just before he went to Korea. I'll have to see what my mom and grandmother can remember. Thanks again.
What were the time-in-grade requirements in those days to go from E-1 to E-2 and so on? Does anyone know?
The 14-week minimum training requirement included basic and any advanced individual training received. And during the Korean War, this entire training cycle was sometimes completed in a deploying unit. For instance, 45th Infantry Division (Oklahoma National Guard) was mobilized at Camp Polk in 1950 and it trained there until it was deployed to Japan in 1951 for additional unit training in preparation for later movement to Korea. While at Camp Polk 45th ID received and trained new Regular Army recruits and draftees assigned to fill its ranks. By the time all individual and unit training was completed, "Christmas breaks" and leaves taken, and travel time counted, new soldiers typically had at least four to six months service before going overseas. Time-in-grade (relying on memory): E-1 to E-2 automatic advancement after 4 months total active service. E-2 to E-3 four months time-in-grade as E-2, with promotion at the pleasure of the Company Commander (hence, usually in the 8th month of service for good soldiers). E-3 to E-4 six months time-in-grade: More selective and based on quotas received from a higher headquarters (such as battalion) with waivers sometimes given (e.g. up to 1/2 time-in-grade). Usually required demonstrated proficiency in duty performance and leadership, and a clean disciplinary record. Other factors mattered as well but the best soldiers could start making corporal around one year in service.
That's very interesting. Thank you. I called and spoke with my grandmother the other day. She said that she and my grandfather were married in July 1952, right before my grandfather was drafted. She said that he was drafted because he left the Salvation Army, where he had worked as a minister.
She says that he was sent to Camp Roberts, California for boot camp (and his brother, Louie Lawrence, was stationed at Fort Ord not too far away). She said he was there about 4 or 5 weeks and was attending/was going to attend radio school when she arrived out there from Louisiana. I don't think he'd have finished basic training and have gotten into AIT by then (October/November-ish).
At any rate, she says that she eventually saw a sign for the 7th Armored Division Band indicating that they were in need of people for 3 instruments. I can't recall the other one at the moment, but the other two instruments they wanted players for was the French horn and the trumpet. My grandfather, apparently, could play all three instruments, and so she went and talked to the man in charge, a Warrant Officer Horton, who told her to go get my grandfather and he'd give him an audition. My grandfather got the job on the spot and was transferred to the 7th Armored Division Band and remained with them the rest of his service until 1954.
(Grandma said that she/they also got to meet Humphrey Bogart and June Allyson while MGM was filming "Battle Circus" on Camp Roberts.)
Now, I have read that the 7th Armored Division DID NOT deploy to Korea, but I know that the band DID -- or at least some of them did. My grandfather left for Korea in April/May 1953, as I had surmised, soon after he brought my grandmother back to Louisiana. Grandma says that he returned to Camp Roberts after Korea, in August 1954, and then was sent to Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas for his discharge (on 27 August). This was the first time he met my mother (who 7.5 months old at the time).
You are very fortunate that your grandmother has such good memory -- and such excellent details she remembers. What she told you about 7th Armored Division at Camp Roberts, and your grandfather's experience there, is consistent with history. Seventh Armored Division was activated as a training division from the Army Reserve in September 1950. Its mission during the Korean War was to conduct basic and advanced training of soldiers enlisted or inducted during that period. Most men were trained as tankers or field artillerymen but some also received advanced training in "common area specialties" such as mechanics, radio operators, cooks, military policemen, bandsmen, and so forth. So, you see, even though your grandfather evidently was an accomplished musician before he was drafted, he was "trained" in the Army to be a military musician (while, coincidentally, fulfilling the Army mandate that new soldiers receive a minimum of 14 weeks of training).
Soldiers trained by 7th AD shipped out as individual replacements (7th AD remained at Camp Roberts until it was inactivated in November 1953). Most went to Korea, of course, where they joined units needing their skills. As for your grandfather, there were several possibilities in Korea for a bandsman: Each the several Army divisions in Korea had its own band and 56th Army Band was there (it was Eighth Army's band), there undoubtedly were other Army bands in Korea by 1953 (some unofficial) and you can hunt them down if you are interested.
Another item you would like to find is the Seventh Armored Division "memory book" coinciding with your grandfather's graduation from basic training (it is not called "boot camp" in the Army). These were very popular souvenirs of service life and most are organized similar to high school class books with individual pictures of the graduates and other scenes of life at basic training. These books are frequently sold on ebay by on-line use booksellers.. Here is one from Fifth Armored Division, which was the training division at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, during the Korean War:
This message has been edited. Last edited by: Wailuna,
I was drafted Nov 1953, refused to enroll in ROTC classes (then required at land grant colleges and universities). Went through basic and advanced basic at Ford Ord, CA, Co D 1st Regt, Sixth Army; eight weeks basic, two weeks furlough, eight weeks advanced. We were trained as a carrier company and were sent immediately to Korea. First to Co A 9th Regt, 2d Div, later to H&H 32 Regt, 7th Div when the 2d Div rotated home. Based in Chorwon and Kumhwa now where Camp Casey is, in both regiments. Left Korea as Sgt E-5. Had several RIF officers working with me the last two or three months. All E-5 or E-6 (I think)and Riffed from major grade.
Welcome to the Forum, noonrock, and thanks for giving us a first-hand account of your Army service. We don't often hear from Korean War vets and it is excellent to get a "reality check" from an Old Soldier who was there. Do you have any Korea pictures to post here?
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My Brother was in the army from 1948 - 1953. He went through Basic training at FT.Knox then was sent to Ft.sill for AIT. He completed his artillery training then went to AA machinecs school. He maxed both courses and was made an Instructer and promoted to corperal. In 1950 he was transfered to Ft.Meade. In may of 50 his battery was sent to Okinawa to man the anti aircraft batteries there. Some where in the pacific his unit was mustered on deck and Isseued an M-1 with two bandoliers of ammo and was told,:: welcome to the 24th Infantey division Gentlemen,your next stop will be SOUTH KOREA. He was assigned to CO.D 19th rgt 24th I.D. H & I, Headquarters and Intelligents CO. That was June of 50. In Nov. 1950 he and his unit were on the banks of the YALU river. He said he knew what the entire country looked like from the yalu river to Puson at ground level. He claimed to have walked it all the way. He was promoted to sargent in april of 51 and rotated back in July of 51. Before returning the army offered him a promotion to SGT. first class if he would extend for 90 days. He said, I told them,:Not just no, but hell no. He hated the cold weather for the rest of his life. When he got back the army found a heart murmer and he was given a 20% dissability witch grew progressivley worse, During the rest of his life he had constant heart trouble. He underwent two by passes a valve replacement and a pace maker. he was wounded and his C.O. put in the paper work for the P.H. and the Bronze star. He never got them. He passed on in March of 2005.
I am an 84 yr old vet of the Korean War 1950-51. At that time EM ranks were as follows:
E-1 Recruit - no insignia Promoted or discharged after 120 days.
E-2 Private - no insignia
E-3 Private First Class - one stripe
E-4 Corporal - Two stripes
E-5 Sergeant - Three stripes and one rocker.
E-6 Sergeant First Class - 3 stripes, 2 rockers
E-7 Master Sergeant - 3 stripes, 3 rockers
E-8 First Sergeant - Same with a diamond.
E-9 Sergeant Major - Same with a star
I was in RA from Jun 1948 to Sep 1954.
In 1950/1951, Promotion to Cpl E-4 was
possible without regard to position
vacancy if the soldier had 12 months
in grade (and possibly so much time
In 1950 i was a Pfc in a Cpl TO$E vacancy
but was not promoted, as the unit had an
excess of E-4s. I was promoted to Cpl
on the day I completed 12 months in grade.
Also, when did the E1rank change from
Recruit to private-1?
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