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A Short History of the US Army Noncommissioned Officer.

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1 A Short History of the US Army Noncommissioned Officer

2 Introduction Begins in 1775 with the creation of the Continental Army. Did not copy the British NCO Corps Blended traditions of the French, British, and Prussian Armies. Progressed over time from initial influences into a truly American noncommissioned officer

3 American Revolution In the early days little standardization of the NCO duties and responsibilities existed. In the winter of 1778 at Valley Forge, Inspector General Friedrich von Steuben standardized NCO duties and responsibilities. Standards written in “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States” (commonly called the Blue Book and printed in 1779)

4 The Blue Book Established the duties and responsibilities for corporals, sergeants, first sergeants, quartermaster sergeants, and sergeants major. Emphasized the importance of selecting quality Soldiers for NCO positions. In battle NCOs were to close the gaps caused by casualties, encourage men to silence, and to fire rapidly and true. Von Steuben called the NCO the “backbone” of the Army.

5 Rank  During early stages of the American Revolution the NCO wore an epaulet to signify his rank.  Corporals wore green and sergeants wore red epaulet.  After 1779, sergeants wore two epaulets, while corporals wore one.

6 American Revolution to WWII NCO was promoted by the regimental commander NCOs usually spent there whole career with the same regiment. If a NCO was transferred to another regiment, he did not keep his rank Without permanent promotions of individuals, stripes stayed with the regiment.

7 American Revolution Awards Three NCOs: – Sergeant Elijah Churchill – Sergeant William Brown – Sergeant Daniel Bissell  Awarded the Badge of Military Merit, a purple heart with a floral border and the word “merit” inscribed across the center.  This was the precursor to the Medal of Honor

8 Post Revolution Army  Once independence was secured, America had to provide for it’s own defense.  The nation was poor and couldn’t afford to maintain a professional Army.  Americans opposed having a peacetime Army for fear that it would be used against the people  American government reduced the Army to the bare minimum during peacetime  They relied on militia or volunteer troops to quell Indian disturbances

9 Post Revolution Army Army’s mission became controlling the fur trade and ensure friendly relations with Indian tribes. A small number of troops were stationed at each fur factory. NCOs ensured their men’s cleanliness by conducting inspections and roll calls Punishment for infractions included floggings and even cutting off of ears.

10 1820s to the 1830s 1821 the War Department made reference to NCO chevrons. General Order directed that sergeants major and quartermaster sergeants wear a worsted chevron on each arm above the elbow Sergeants and senior musicians wore one on each arm below the elbow Corporals wore one on the right arm above the elbow.

11 1820s to the 1830s cont was the first attempt to establish a systematic method for NCO selection The “Abstract of Infantry Tactics” was published in 1829 It provided instruction for the use and care of there rifle, Soldier PT, and marching. NCOs received professional development In 1832 Congress added the rank of the “Ordnance Sergeant” Dragoons reintroduced the chevron for use by NCOs in 1833

12 1840 onward Majority of the Army was made up of immigrants. Irish and German immigrants comprised large numbers of the Army Public opinion of immigrants was negative so in order to escape persecution they join the American society they joined the Army In 1840 the model 1840 sword was adopted by the Army and is still used today for ceremony.

13 The Mexican-American War America and Mexico went to war in U.S. Raised 115,000 troops; 73,000 of these were volunteers. Volunteers were promised 160 acres of land for service rendered. The volunteers elected there officers and NCOs by popular vote. This led to low discipline and high spirit. Hardened in battle, the volunteers proved and effective force

14 The Mexican-American War War ended with the addition of vast territories In the years that followed the war, a major portion of the Army’s responsibilities centered on protecting the Oregon and California Trails This required the Army to operate in small sized units. NCOs often led the small detachments sent out of frontier forts.

15 1840s-1860s In 1847 the chevron was worn in the inverted “V”. In the 1850s, it was turned point down in the “V” Epaulets were worn with the dress uniform. By the end of the Civil war, the “V” point down was the standard. It remained that way until 1902

16 Civil War The way war was fought changed during the Civil War It required a large number of draftees It ended in trench warfare outside Petersburg, VA NCOs lead the lines of skirmishers, which preceded and followed each major unit. NCOs carried the flags and regimental colors

17 World War I  NCOs trained 4 millon men, 1 million were sent over seas  Corporals were the primary trainers during this period.  General Pershing suggested that special schools for sergeants, and separated NCO messes should be established.  Gas warfare was introduced.  Machine guns ended mounted charges.  Airpower first came to use.

18 Between World Wars Congress reorganized the NCO ranks. Five ranks were established: – Master Sergeant – Technical Sergeant – Staff Sergeant – Sergeant – Corporal  There were also 231 vocational skills that could add between $3 and $35 to the Soldiers pay  During the late 1930s technicians were created. Chevrons were marked with a “T”

19 World War II  The Army used NCOs on active duty to train troops set to go overseas.  The proportion of NCOs in the army went from 20% of enlisted to 50% in 1945  The army changed from an eight man infantry squad to the 12 man squad, lead by a sergeant rather than corporal.  Basic training in WWII centered on hands-on experience and was conducted by NCOs  The major expansion led to faster promotions and less experience among NCOs

20 Post World War II Career Guidance Plan and professional schools for NCOs The Technical ratings were dropped First NCOES was 17 Dec 49 in Germany By 1959, 180,000 soldiers attended NCOES located in the continental US

21 Korean War In 1950 the US committed troops to Korea The NCO became a more prominent battle leader. First war that the US entered with an integrated Army. In 1958 two more grades were added to the NCO ranks The NCO ranks at this point were corporal, sergeant, staff sergeant, sergeant first class, master sergeant, and sergeant major.

22 Modern Era 1965 started the Vietnam war 1973 Vietnam war ended with a formal cease- fire The NCO Candidate Course established at Ft Benning, Ft Knox, and Ft Sill. In 1967 General Johnson established the rank of Command Sergeant Major. In 1971 The Army implemented the official Noncommissioned Officer Education System

23 NCOES All NCOES have common cores written by USASMA at Fort Bliss, Tx Also has 2 senior NCO courses outside NCOES. These are the First Sergeant Course, the Battle Staff Course.

24 THE END


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