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“All the work, no pay. “
For those unfamiliar with the army rank structure, there are three directions an army specialist can follow in terms of changing rank. They can be demoted to private first class, losing their responsibilities and their pay. They can be promoted to sergeant, acquire responsibilities and earn a salary.
Or, in a third direction, they can be “laterally promoted” to the rank of corporal, where they acquire many responsibilities but no pay.
This is why the corporal is the worst rank in the army.
An army corporal is dispatched to wind ratchet straps near trees while an army specialist is similarly paid to take a picture of them doing so.
(US Army CPS. Andrew J. Washington)
You see, the corporal is a level 4 enlisted rank, the same salary as a specialist. This is a holdover from the days when the army had two enlisted rank structures that operated side by side. There were specialists 4, specialists 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. The specialists received the same salary as their NCO equivalents. Thus, a specialist-9 was paid as much as a sergeant-major.
Specialists had to be experts in a specific job, but did not necessarily have to lead other soldiers. Thus, it was unlikely that they would assume the duties of sergeant of the guard, and they were only rarely appointed to real managerial positions. The rest of the time, they just did their job well and were left alone.
But the specialists were slowly eroded in the years 1960-80. After 1985, there was only one specialist grade left. He was paid at the E-4 level, like a corporal.
Today, specialist is the most common rank in the military.
But some specialists are so quick, so good at their work, so inspiring to their comrades, that the army decides it must have them as their leaders. now. And, if they’re not yet eligible for promotion to the E-5 rank, then we’re just going to promote them laterally to the corporal rank and bring them into the rotation anyway.
So the soldier is added to the NCO’s duty rosters, wiretapped for all kinds of job details that pop up, and held to a higher standard than his peers, even though he gets the same pay every month. .
They may even be assigned to positions that would normally fall to a sergeant, such as senior team leader.
“All the work, no pay. “
Meanwhile, their specialist peers are so well known for decoupage that the symbol of their rank is known as the “dummy shield,” a play on the army’s slang of “fake” (skipping the work, known as skating in the Navy).
The military needed someone to come out and take pictures of a group of guys hit by CS gas in the middle of the desert. They of course turned to a corporal.
(US Army Cpl. Hannah Baker)
But, hey, how bad can life be?
Well, first of all, the enlisted soldier is already one of the most stressful jobs in the country according to annual surveys. A widely reported each year comes from CareerCast which ranked enlisted servicemen as the most stressful position in the country in 2018.
(Note: The rest of the occupations in the top 5 most stressful jobs have an average salary of 562. E-4s earn around 100,000 based on their time on duty.)
A US Army specialist is “promoted” to corporal, a promotion he will never regret.
(Sgt. Christina Turnipseed)
Then, when corporals are promoted laterally, they move very little up the supply chain, going from specialists to guys who are ostensibly in charge of specialists, but still below all the other NCOs, officers and warrant officers. .
And we said pointedly for a reason. Specialists are not known to always care what a corporal says. Or whatever somebody else say but the corporals get it particularly short time period. And it is particularly bad for corporals who are appointed to this rank in the same unit in which they were specialists. After all, that means they now have to lead the guys they hung out with a few days or weeks before, all without the benefit of any more concrete promotion.
Army Corporal Quantavius Carter works as a movement noncommissioned officer, recording all necessary paperwork for shipping the vehicle.
(U.S. Army Sgt. Elizabeth White)
But their job is important, and most corporals are appointed to this rank because senior leaders know they will take it seriously. As mentioned, corporals can be assigned to jobs that would normally require a sergeant. They sent in to oversee everything from shitty details to automatic weapon teams.
They are, indeed, part of the backbone of the army, but they still often have to share barracks rooms with drunken specialists.
So, yes, buy your local corporal a drink when you get the chance because they are stuck in a tough job with no extra pay and little extra respect. The worst rank in the army.