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Question: Easy Rank In The Old Marine Corps?

October 3 2002 at 11:18 AM
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Dick G  (Login Dick Gaines)
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from IP address 209.130.220.156

 
Easy Rank in The Old Corps?

Sometimes maybe.

LtCol R.D. Heinl, Jr. in the November, 1954 issue of Marine Corps Gazette, tells of his shocking experience of November, 1941 at San Diego when he observed "...something wholly incredible swam before my eyes; a painfully left-footed platoon made up of staff sergeants being chivvied along by a corporal D.I. who was trying to teach these very odd staff sergeants the elementary marchings..."

These unhappy souls, according to Heinl, were a highly sought-after, even a crucial commodity in 1941s manpower market; newly enlisted technicians for the vintage radar just being whispered into service. Thus, these holders of arcane skills, were being launched into the Corps as staff sergeants.

Just a few years ago in Oceanside, California, the local newspaper there did a series of stories which involved people who had been in Oceanside when Camp Joseph H. Pendleton first opened; many of the locals ended up in the Corps. One restaurant owner had been interviewed by officers on one day, and the next day found himself aboard the base in charge of several new messhalls--as a M/Sgt, no boot camp or any other training. And apparently that was the case with many, many others.. I know that many Marines did the whole of WW II in the Pacific and still got out in '45 as PFCs, but strange things happened in the Corps.

No more than three years ago, I read in Leatherneck that a young WW II Marine, of 17 or 18 years old, was promoted from Pvt to SgtMaj overnight (WWII), because he was in a newly forming organization w/no NCOs. Now, normally, I like to cite references for things like this, but I don't have it at my fingertips right now, and I know many just won't believe some of these things.

From a few things I have checked out re WW I lately, I know that many new Marines were appointed to GySgt rank for aviation or mechanics school in 1918.

Matter of fact, the newly created GySgt rank in 1898 came about for the GySgt as a kind of technician, a specialist in naval gunnery, ordnance, communications, etc.However, by WW I, the GySgt, in effect, had become the platoon sergeant.

Myself, in 1952 I observed that most of the buck sergeants in the Corps had made their rank w/about 9 months in the Corps; one of my DIs was such. As usual, by the time I finished boot camp, the fast promotion cycle had dried up.

Many of the M/Sgts I worked for after boot, at Pendleton had gone to Korea in 1950 as buck sergeants and returned stateside 14 months later as MSgts.

Sure, there were also many multiple hashmarked sergeants or corporals around, even some PFCs in that category.

We all tend to think of the Corps as with rank coming hard, and that is the norm, but there have been exceptions--lots of them. Much of this stuff had been common knowledge when I was a Pfc, but I think many who came later never may have known things like this.

__________________
*****
Semper Fidelis
R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952-72
Gunny G's Sites & Forums


    
This message has been edited by Dick Gaines from IP address 209.130.220.156 on Oct 3, 2002 11:28 AM


 
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Bob Rader
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209.240.198.63

Quick Promotions

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October 7 2002, 1:11 PM 

Dick, one of the TSgts. in my outfit told me he went from pfc. to SSgt. in one month. He was on an island (unknown to me but not under fire) and was a senior pfc when the war began. When he got back to his unit, he had been promoted to cpl, sgt and staff because in each case he was the senior man.

 
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Dick G
(Login Dick Gaines)
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209.130.220.166

Response: fr Les Groshong, Tarawa On The Web Forum...

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October 7 2002, 4:11 PM 

Les Groshong
Promotions
Mon Oct 7 14:08:05 2002
152.163.189.198

from Dick: " most WWII Marines is that promotions were few-and-far-between."

Dick,

Promotions were both fast and slow.

It depended on where you were.

Graduates of radio schools after the war started were often given the rank of corporal upon completion of their schooling. We had good radiomen in our outfit who were in before the war and still Pfc's two years later.

Some outfits were broken up to form new units and promotions were much faster in those circumstances. The Eighth Marines had almost no pomotions to speak of from the time that they left the states to just before going to Saipan.

We certainly did not have any advancement interviews or examinations in that time period. On occaision someone would be moved up to fill a spot left empty for one reason or another. I was a corporal for over two years before becoming a Sergeant a month prior to the Saipan landing.

On the other hand i wouldn't have changed a thing if it had been up to me. Our comaraerie was worth more than any advancement.







 
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Dick G
(Login Dick Gaines)
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66.133.132.154

Response: fr Semper Fi Dave...

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October 8 2002, 8:35 AM 

Subject: Re: Did Rank Come Easy/Fast In The Old Corps--WWII/Korea? Responses please...
From: "David J Lindstedt" <semperfidave@juno.com> | This is Spam | Add to Address Book

Having joined on 6 May 1953, when there were only 7 enlisted pay grades, I was promoted to Cpl in spring of 1956 and reenlist that fall of 1956.
In, spring of 1957 I was promoted to SGT (E-4). In 1959 the enlisted pay grades were restructured, to now include L/Cpl (E-4) as well as the E-8 & E-9 pay grades. When that happened Sgt E-4 was re titled as ASGT (acting Sgt). In the spring of 1961 I was promoted to E-5 and given the title of "SGT" while wearing the metal chevrons on my utilities of the "old" S/SGT (without cross rifles) in the summer of 1961.
THIS WAS A REAL SORE ASS ISSUE FOR ALL OF US THAT FELT WE HAD BEEN CHEATED OUT OFF OUR "ROCKER". This cost the corps a lot of junior NCOs, who got out. It should be noted that from DEC 1956 until March 1958, I was stationed at US Naval Ammunition Depot, Philadelphia, PA.
I was a member of a two platoon guard detachment as an MP. This was unquestionably the WORST duty station in the corps. It was a command with only two officers. A Cpt. Joseph B. Brown and a 1st Lt. Rhodes. These two men thought their primary purpose in life was to bust and court marshal as many enlisted men as possible.
My main gate sentry was a TWO HASH MARK PVT, named James Caterall. PVTs with hash marks were a common site, with no less than a half a dozen in the command. I saw the only man I ever saw "DRUMMED OUT OF THE CORPS". A former SSGT and Korean war vet.
This man stranly enough was also named Joseph BROWN but he was a black man. Cpt. Brown never gave a conduct or proficiency mark above 3.9. I could write a book on Brown and Rhodes. About 10 years ago I located Brown, by e-mail. He was a retired LtCol., motor "T" officer.
We corresponded for a few months, until, I reminded him of just who I was and a rather embarrassing 1957 Marine Corps Birthday ball, that almost turned into a free for all, with hard liquor served to junior enlisted (many, many under 21, the legal drining age in PA). I never heard from the good Col. again.
Without a doubt, my 18 months in that command delayed my promotion to E-5 by AT LEAST 1 YEAR. In the summer of 1961, I was sent TAD to the US Naval Academy as a marksmanship & small arms instructor assigned to training the "plebes".
Those orders (I still have them) showed my rank as SGT E-5, while I have photos of myself and others wearing the old S/SGT metal chevrons. These metal chevrons (I still have a set) were MUCH larger than the present ones.
Some time in late 1961 or 1962 the "A SGT" title was dropped and the crossed rifle metal chevrons where in the supply system. The cloth crossed rifle chevrons were available about 6 months before the metal chevrons.
In Oct 1965, with 12 1/2 years service I was discharged with the rank of SGT E-5.
Note if I remember correctly my base pay was about $340 - $360 per month.
Semper fi;
Dave Lindstedt
SERIAL NUMBER
(do you remember these) 1329344

 
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Dick Gaines
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209.130.220.165

Response: Hashmarked Pvts, by Bill Haddad

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October 10 2002, 9:24 PM 

(from Bill Haddad--Tarawa ot Web Forum)

promotions
Tue Oct 8 20:18:00 2002
205.188.209.109

Les,

On June 25, 1950 I was called back for the Korean fiasco.

Upon reporting in at the Chicago Clark street headquarters I was greeted by a buck private with 6 hash marks on his sleeve.

While he was making out my traveling orders a PFC with 5 hash marks walked up to say hello to his buddy with the 6 marks.

His buddy looked him over and remarked, "You ear banging son-of-a-bitch!"

I laughed all the way to Camp LeJeune. Bill

 
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