USMC Rank Chevrons through the ages..since 1917 - Page 4
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  1. #46
    [QUOTE=Sgt Leprechaun;321692]Enlisted rank insignia 1946-1959

    Rank description - "Private" has no rank insignia
    • 1. Private First Class
    • 2. Corporal
    • 3. Sergeant
    • 4. Staff Sergeant
    • 5. Gunnery Sergeant
    • 6. Master Sergeant
    • 7. First Sergeant
    • 8. Sergeant Major

    The information and the chevrons shown above require explanation, since they don't begin to tell the whole story. This is what happened on 1Dec1946:

    1. Until the latter date there were 148 enlisted ranks in the Corps. Now you're gonna say, "He must mean MOSs." Nope, I mean ranks. To designate particular skills, the equivalent of what we now call "MOSs" we had SSNs, or Specification Serial Numbers. A 584 was the SSN assigned to Sergeants Major. 585 assigned to 1stSgts, and so on.

    2. So, should a SgtsMajor be convicted by a "Deck Court Martial" under the Articles for the Government of the Navy (aka to one and all as "Rocks and Shoals....") and was reduced by one rank, he became a 1stSgt....but since both SgtsMajor and 1stSgts were first pay grade, the busted SgtMajor lost not a dime in monthly salary.

    3. Of course when the Corps went to 7 enlisted ranks from 148 on 1Dec46, all of the foregoing changed. From that point on a reduction in rank meant just that, and the convicted Marine busted from E7 to E6 lost pay in the process. Thus between 1946 and 1952 we had no 1stSgts or SgtsMajor so far as rank was concerned. Of course, Marines acting in those billets were so addressed.

    4. In 1952 the Corps reinstituted the rank of 1stSgt. A promotion list was promulgated by HQMC listing those who had been selected for this rank. Note we still had not reinstituted the rank of SgtsMajor. The first name on the list of newly promoted 1stSgts was an old friend....Russell Jerimiah Bogomanero.

    5. All of this was terribly unfair to those Marines who had held the ranks of 1stSgt and SgtMajor prior to 1Dec46. On the latter date, as I've tried to explain above, Marines in those ranks were reduced ADMINISTRATIVELY by one rank. Thus, I've always held, that they should have been first in line when the rank was reinstituted.

    6. I should mention that during and immediately after WW II many of us wore chevrons on only the left arm. This was due to a shortage of chevrons, and into the 1950s some of the old salts insisted on wearing their chevron on the left sleeve only. At the base of that was that during that period the Navy had right and left arm rates. Generally the deck crew and non specialists wore their rank on their left sleeve, while the specialists wore their "crows" on their right sleeve.

    7. I must also mention that after 1Dec46 we were ordered to remove all division, wing, FMF and other patches. That was a damned sad day for those of us who felt those "patches," (We also called them "Blazes") were as much a part of us as our hands and feet.

    Respectfully, Semper Fidelis, Sully

  2. #47
    THANKS very much for that history lesson. VERY impressive, sir.

  3. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt Leprechaun View Post
    THANKS very much for that history lesson. VERY impressive, sir.
    Sgt Leprechaun:

    The process of "now you is" and "now you ain't" is a difficult one to follow. Since my own background prior to being commissioned led to a number of staff NCOs in particular serving as mentors to a youngster who just might be turned into something. In other words, my attitudes toward everything "Marine" were formed long before I pinned on the "Diaper Pins" of a Second John.

    By the time I'd returned from Korea under the HQMC order that "Three Purple Hearts and you're out of the game" I was a very salty 2dLt. Commissioned with a DOR of 4Jun48 I knew at the time that it took 3 full years before you could pin on those silver bars which would remove a 2dLt from the boot group. On reporting to my new duty station I handed my OQJ (Officers Qualification Jacket) to the post SgtMajor. The latter immediately took it in to the CO, with the SgtMajor adding that another "Snotty nosed 2dLt was reporting aboard." When the SgtMajor returned to his desk I "braced" him (stood him at attention) and proceeded to tell him that "GD it, he was talking about a Marine who had acted as SgtMajor of the 5th Marines" and I was not about to take any guff from him as to my status in the Corps. This, of course, caused a bit of a scene but I'd gotten my point across. Never again did I hear myself referred to as a "Snotty nosed 2dLt."

    I mentioned Rusell Jerimiah Bogomanero in my initial reply. Let me explain my relationship with that individual. "Bogey" as we all called him had been the PltSgt of my friend and classmate 2dLt Jack Nolan in E/2/5. He'd been wounded at the First Battle of the Naktong on the Pusan Perimeter on 17Aug50. Like so many of us who had been wounded on the Perimeter, Bogey ended up in the Naval Hospital at Yokosuka. It was there that I first met him and immediately formed a friendship which remained fast until Bogey's death some years ago.

    On 15Sep50 some 50 or so Marines from the 5thMarines who had been wounded were discharged from the Naval Hospital. At the time the MC planned on setting up an Indoctrination Camp for Marines newly arrived in the Far East as putative replacements for the 1stMarDiv. Not a dumb idea, since every one of us was well acquainted with how expert the enemy was in plying his skills in infantry combat. On the Japanese train from Yokosuka to Kobe, from where we'd transfer to Camp Otsu, I talked to Bogey since he was the senior enlisted Marine on the train, about a possible escape from what we considered dreary duty indeed. The result was that some 50 of those Marines agreed that if a way could be found to get back to their outfit in Korea they'd be happy to go "AWOL" and be damned to their orders to Otsu. To make a long story short, through the "Old Boys" School I wangled transportation on the ship carrying the 1stBn of the 7th Marines (LtCol Ray Davis, Cmdg). The 7th Marines, as many of you know, did not make the Inchon Landing. They were initially just a little too late to make the landing, but then there was one hell of a typhoon that hit Kobe and the damage to ships and cargo held them up further.

    Whatever, we snuck aboard the APA and off to Korea we went. Our adventures when we landed at Inchon on 22Sep50, a week after D Day included stopping by the DivCP then at Ascom City, and assured them that we were not deserters. Whatever, by that time Bogey and I were fast friends.

    When the 1stSgts list was published and Bogey was first on the list we were both stationed at Quanitico. I was the AsstProvMarshal, and my ProvSgtMajor was another old friend of mine from my enlisted service, Bob Cornelly. Bob and Bogey were also old friends, and when Bob saw that Bogey was #1 on the list he brought it to me, and I immediately called Bogey. The latter was then the Acting 1stSgt of a Basic School Company in one of the outlying camps in the Guadalcanal Area of Quantico.

    When he answered the telephone as "1stSgt Bogomanero" I immediately told him that he was a dumb SOB who couldn't even read or write, was a sorry excuse for a Marine, and wouldn't make a pimple on the derrière of a real 1stSgt. On the other end of the telephone I could hear Bogey sputtering and struggling to get out his reply to the insults I was heaping on him, and he finally said something to this effect: "This had better be Sully because no other SOB in the Corps could get away with such insults." When he calmed down I did deliver my full congratulations to him.

    Bogey made W4 before he retired, and what a picture he made in blues with all of his badges, of which he had a hatful. He retired to Chicago, his home town, and there bought the bar which had always been his objective. I could tell a dozen stories about Bogey, his wife Patsy, and their six daughters. Bogey died of cancer some 20 years ago. There may have been other Marines who could have matched Bogey, but there sure aren't very many of them IMHO.

    I should have and didn't congratulate Sgt Leprechaun for digging back into the history of our Corps and his initial posts on enlisted rank structure. Respectfully, Semper Fidelis, Sully

  4. #49
    Thank YOU, again, for the informative and great post. THAT is what this site is all about.

    I was remiss in not greeting you, either.

    "Welcome aboard", sir.

  5. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt Leprechaun View Post
    Thank YOU, again, for the informative and great post. THAT is what this site is all about.

    I was remiss in not greeting you, either.

    "Welcome aboard", sir.
    Sgt Leprechaun:
    Finally found a picture of "Bogey." He was in 2dLt Jack Nolan's Platoon in E/2/5. Bogey is in the left lower Marine, and with his rather spectacular proboscis, a thing of might and beauty, he is rather easy to spot.

    The young Marine who looks as though he might be a Native American at the right top of the picture was named Postoak. When I first saw him at the Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, I glanced down at his "Bed Card" and saw that he was being treated for a broken collar bone, and a exit wound, right armpit. Ya gotta admit that an exit wound without an entrance wound is somewhat rare. Postoak also had a black and blue mark at the right corner of his mouth. There was where the bullet probably entered, stuck something, ricocheted down, broke his collar bone, and exited his arm pit. I've seen some strange wounds, but that was one of the strangest.

    Respectfully, Semper Fidelis, Sully

  6. #51
    Great story...and photo to go with...!

    Thanks for sharing that. I see what you mean about 'Bogey'..hard to miss if you know what you are looking for!

    I also note something that 'popular' "knowledge" appears to me that NONE of these Marines in the photo are sporting the Eagle Globe and Anchor on their helmet covers! As a military collector myself, I enjoy seeing what is/was actually worn and not what other collectors 'believe'.

    Interesting about that wound too....that was an odd shot for sure...

  7. #52
    very intereting. thank you.

  8. #53
    One reader said he liked today's structure. Not me. I was an NCO as a corporal (E-3). Then they made all us corporals Acting Corporals to differentiate between L/Cpls and us. I'm sure I'm not alone. Think of the Staff Sergeants who became Acting and possibly reverted to non-staff if they weren't promoted fairly soon. Of course, Vietnam helped speed up promotions, didn't it?

  9. #54
    The rank structure we have today is second to none, Semper Fidelis.

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