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Old 05-25-2007, 11:14 PM   #1

DOAW's Avatar
Default Question on US Army rank

I'm curious about how one gets promoted to Corporal instead of Specialist. Do you have to get a meritorious promotion to make corporal? Or is there a minimum
composite score for corporal thats higher than the composite score for specialist? Or something like that? Just curious.

Such is life.
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Old 05-26-2007, 10:47 AM   #2

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I believe, but am not 100% sure, but to become a specialist you would have to have gone to college. If you don't go to college then you start as a grunt and can obtain the corporal rank. But if you are going to college and plan on joining the army afterwards then join the ROTC so that when you get out you will become a 2nd Lt.
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Old 05-26-2007, 11:17 AM   #3

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I *think* specialist was more popular back during vietnam, etc. Kenwayy or Eddie would know.

What I got out of Wiki:

The rank of Specialist is a soldier of pay grade E-4 who has not yet attained non-commissioned officer status. It is common that a soldier may never be a Corporal and will move directly from Specialist to Sergeant, attaining NCO status immediately.

So it sounds like his pay is the same as Corporal but no real leadership duties IE Driving a tank, etc.
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Old 05-26-2007, 11:21 AM   #4

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Isn't a specialist like a Sniper, or Medic??? While a Corporal is just a rifleman with a higher rank then a private?
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Old 05-26-2007, 11:29 AM   #5
Eddie Baker

Corporal is a non-commissioned officer rank at the same pay grade as Specialist (E-4). To receive the rank of Corporal you generally have to be placed into some kind of leadership position over a small element; for example, a fire-team leader. And it is true that many soldiers have never held the rank of Corporal before being promoted to Sergeant. In the Marines, the rank of Corporal is a normal step up in the pay-grade rather than a lateral move, but has the same responsibilities as a Corporal in the Army. In rifle squads, Corporals are often fire-team leaders, but exceptional ones, such as the late Corporal Dunham (MOH), may be given command of a rifle squad.

Originally Posted by Raynizzle1691
Isn't a specialist like a Sniper, or Medic??? While a Corporal is just a rifleman with a higher rank then a private?
No. Specialist (with a capital S) is a US Army rank. A sniper or a medic could be called a specialist (lowercase "s") in their fields, but might not hold the rank of the same name. As for snipers, in the Army they are 11B Riflemen, 19D Cavalry Scouts or 18 series Special Forces NCOs who are qualified as snipers and are billeted into full-time or organized-as-needed sniper teams within their units (battalion scout platoons, rifle company/scout troop sniper teams, ODAs, etc). In the Marines, Scout-Sniper is a "full-time," billeted Military Occupational Specialty and the Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Platoons of Marine Infantry Battalions have full-time sniper teams as their base.
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Last edited by Eddie Baker; 05-26-2007 at 11:38 AM..
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Old 05-26-2007, 02:25 PM   #6

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Yeah, sorry, I guess I should have clarified what I was asking about. I understand the differences between the ranks (both E4, Corporal is an NCO, Specialist in a non-NCO), what I'm not sure about is the criteria to getting promoted to one rank versus the other.

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Old 05-27-2007, 11:32 PM   #7

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Nobody? Even with all the people around here claiming to be in the Army? Gee, kind of makes you wonder.

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Old 05-28-2007, 12:02 AM   #8

dunno, iv never ask nor thought about why spec. and corpral are the same. All I know is that talk is going around about removing corpral.
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Old 05-28-2007, 09:34 AM   #9

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I'm guessing but it is time in grade and time in service but you are on different career path that the Corporal.
In the USMC I believe it splits like that again at Sgt Mjr but I'm not sure.'
One is more clerical and one is more combat but again , this is general knowledge and not the comment from an expert y our are looking for.
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Old 06-07-2007, 08:33 PM   #10

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Eddie answered your question, but I'll take a stab at it as well; I am a Specialist (SPC) in the US Army, and the difference between SPC and Corporal (CPL) is exactly as Eddie said. A SPC and CPL are both the same pay grade (E4), but a CPL is a soldier with added authority and is generally, though not always in a leadership position. A CPL is considered a NCO, though he does not hold the rank of Sergeant (E5), and thus is lower in the chain. CPL's are generally fire-team leaders or some other lower leadership position.
The pay grate scheme runs from E1 to E9 with promotions E1 through E4 being automatic (as long as the soldier does not commit any serious misconduct). By automatic, I mean that a soldier does not have to attend any type of promotion board in order to hold a rank. One must simply serve in the Army, and hold the previous rank for a certain amount of time, and then recieve the promotion.
The difference between SPC and CPL could also be related to later differences in rank name/pay grade. For example a Master Sergeant and First Sergeant both are E8 paygrade, but a Master Sergeant holds simply the pay grade, while a First Sergeant is the senior NCO in a unit and has been trained as such. In addition, the same scheme applies to Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major (both E9's) with a Sergeant Major holding a lower staff position of authority that a Command Sergeant Major (ex. a SGM as the senior NCO of a battalion, but falling under a CSM from a divisonal command).

I hope that this has not been too convoluted to understand, and I hope it answers your question.


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