Posted on Nov 28, 2016
SPC Human Resources Specalist
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During the time my grandfather served in the Army, there were many Specialist ranks all the way up to E-9. My question is, what was the purpose of having an E-9 SPC (SP9) back when these ranks were in service. I could use a good history lesson!

Thank you,
SPC O'Hara
Posted in these groups: Specialist_5_(sp5)__e-5 SP5Specialist_6_(sp6)__e-6 SP6Ad11ad86 SPC
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SFC (Other / Not listed)
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Back then, the two rank systems were used to distinguish who was a leader (an NCO), and who was a technician (specialists). The higher specialist ranks were given to soldiers who had a great deal of administrative responsibility, but did not necessarily lead any troops. For example, someone who was a quartermaster (supply sergeant) who worked at the Pentagon and worked on massive acquisition projects might hold one of the higher specialist grades. He was paid the same as the NCO of the same grade because of the level of responsibility and expertise he had, but he was not in charge of troops and most of his authority was administrative only.
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SPC Dennis Sneed
SPC Dennis Sneed
>1 y
Thanks, I needed that
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SSG John Ferrell
SSG John Ferrell
1 y
I was a SP6 for 7 years 1969-1976 Tactical radio repairman 31E20. No marching, leading troops, standing formations, no guard duty - quite the life
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SP5 Michael Scher
SP5 Michael Scher
2 mo
SP5 Michael Scher: After Basic at Ft. Leonard Wood MO., left for Medical Laboratory Specialist school (92B20) at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas. Basic was E-1, E-2, after laboratory school rank was PFC. Then Spec 4 and Spec 5 and not hard strips since I was in a technical field. Took the HEW Clinical Laboratory Technologist exam after getting out after three years (1972-1975). Paid the same as a graduate of a four year university graduate in medical laboratory technology. Completed college BS/MPH working for FDA now. Was not an Army person but the Army set my course to a full life.
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SP5 Earl Moreo
SP5 Earl Moreo
1 mo
the specialist grades were instituted to make it posible to pay highly trained specialists in MOS's that the Army wanted to retain, but had no reason to be NCO's

MASH, for instance, gets Klinger wrong, he was originaly was an x-ray tech and would have ben at least SP6, but would stil have ben ranked by CPL O'Reiley.

But senoir grade Specialists screwed up the system be demanding they get equal rank with NCO's based on pay grade. The E-8 and E-9 Specialist grades may have ben mostly theoretical, but there were stil SP7's when I was in.

Most of the high grade specialists were in technical fields where their service MOS's were highly sought after in civilian life. Paying high pay grades helped in retention.
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SGM Studying Computer Security
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Edited >1 y ago
SPC (Join to see) I was the Chief Fire Direction Computer for a mortar platoon, and was a SP5. I had one subordinate, a SP4 Fire Direction Computer. Mortar squad leaders were all SGTs, perhaps because they had an appropriate number of subordinates, 4 in their case. (Appropriate in that an Infantry Team Leader would also be a SGT and have 4 team members.) By that standard, if you had an entire squad of 10 subordinates, you would be a SSG, and if you had a platoon's worth, you would be an SFC. But if you had less, you could be a SP6 or SP7.

I don't know if this is the ACTUAL reason, but it is what it appeared to be in the early to mid 70's. The only SP7s I saw were senior cooks.

I think then, the Army was trying to increase pay for those who had valued skills, but insufficient subordinates to justify higher rank. I think the Army needs to continue to look into this, and stop the drain of highly qualified talent to the contracting world.
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SP5 Edwin Overstreet
SP5 Edwin Overstreet
2 y
I served 66-69, separated as SP 5 . Never saw above SP 6 but was always of the belief that enlisted hospital medical personnel could be SP7 and above . Other fields with specialist rank designation would have WO commission after SP 6 . Anything to that ?
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SSG Disabled Veteran
SSG (Join to see)
2 y
SP5 Edwin Overstreet - It depended on the MOS, mine went to hard stripes at E-6. It didn't make any sense and depended on officers who were vacancies
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CW5 Jack Cardwell
CW5 Jack Cardwell
2 y
As a young SGT E-5 somewhere around 1977-78 with around 3 years time in service I had Spec 5s in my squad that had over 10 years time in service! Guess i was lucky i made hard stripe !
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SP5 Philip Sanders
SP5 Philip Sanders
1 mo
I was a SP5 with Army Security Agency (Radio Research in Nam). We had hard Strip ans specialists depending on the type of responsibility you had. For instance I was responsible for the “poking pit” on my shift which was the group that prepared originating message traffic. The trick Chief was a E-6 Platoon Sgt, thus it all depended on what position you were promoted to.
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SGT Jerrold Pesz
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Just for information:

In 1968 when the Army added the rank of Command Sergeant Major, the specialist ranks at E-8 and E-9 were abolished without anyone ever being promoted to those levels. In 1978 the specialist rank at E-7 was discontinued and in 1985, the specialist ranks at E-5 and E-6 were discontinued.
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SP5 Mark Kuzinski
SP5 Mark Kuzinski
>1 y
LTC Stephen C. - As a SP5 and a construction surveyor I was in charge of my survey crew and that was the length of my authority. Also, nice to see that the cooks kept you on the straight and narrow.
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SPC Robert Keesee
SPC Robert Keesee
>1 y
I have 4 sets of Spc9 & SPC 8 Ranks Insignia
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SGT Jerrold Pesz
SGT Jerrold Pesz
1 y
SPC Robert Keesee - I am sure those insignia exist but the army says that no one ever held those ranks.
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SFC Ncoic
SFC (Join to see)
9 mo
I read there were no E-9 Spc but 5 known E-8 SPC all Chaplin Assistants .
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