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Military Organization

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I'm trying to nail down the background for an army, but I'm having trouble finding the information I need...

 

For those of you with military experience/knowledge (preferably in the Army or Marines), how are squads or units organized? What are the most common ranks found in certain roles? Or, what types of duties do the "lower" enlisted ranks (E2-E6) perform?

 

If this is completely inappropriate, can someone point me in the right direction to find this kind of info on my own? :unsure:

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In the US Army the E-2 doesn't do much but go on to Advanced Individual Training, although I believe in past wars this was sometimes waived for certain positions and when they needed manpower (like in the Infantry). The lowest current rank serving in a squad is an E-3 (Private 1st Class). Squads are organized as follows: 2 fireteams (IIRC lead by a corporal E-4) with 1 M249 SAW, 1 M16/M203, and 2 M16s. Squads are lead either by Sergeants (E-5) or Staff Sergeants (E-6) who are also Section leaders (composed of 2 squads). A standard rifle platoon has 3 rifle squads (as above), plus a Weapons squad (with 2 M60 or M240G machine guns with assistants, and the balance anti-armor troops with AT-4s or perhaps better). A platoon is lead by an O-1 (2nd Lieutenant) and assisted by an E-7 (Sgt 1st Class) in a command section. Companies are 3 rifle platoons plus a weapons platoon with mortars, lead by a Captain (O-3), assisted by both a First Sergeant (E-8) and an 1st Lieutenant XO (O-2). SOmetimes, especially during manpower shortages or war, platoon organization doesn't quite match this (i.e. an O-2 leading a platoon is not uncommon). Batallions are lead by a Lt. Colonel (O-5) and assisted by a Sgt Major (E-9), though the latter's responsibilities change a bit. Majors (O-4) usually fill staff positions, and normally have no command at this grade (though again conditions might change that). Regiments or brigades are lead by a Colonel (O-6), with a Command Sgt. Major (E-9).

 

That's what I have from memory.

 

Damon.

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Hey, thanks. That was almost exactly what I was looking for. Just a couple more questions: Which soldiers usually handle the larger support weapons (SAW's, M60's, etc)? Is the designation "Specialist" a rank unto itself, or does it simply identify persons with more...well...specialized training? Thanks again. ::):

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A specialist is usually just that, someone with specific training. FREX, my dad was in Military Intelligence and held the rank of Spc. For all other purposes an Spc was an E-4. Sometimes IIRC if the soldier qualified for E-4 but wasn't qualified for command he would be made an Spc, such as someone who enlists with some college background (or perhaps even a degree...though IMHO if he doesn't go to OCS he's wasting his college experience!).

 

As for who handled the heavy weapons, IIRC it was privates or specialists (see above). I know for sure that the squad leader normally carries an M16 as do the fire team leaders.

 

Damon.

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Squads can also be lead by corporals. Who are another form of E-4, just have to fill out a lateral transfer paperwork.

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A specialist is usually just that, someone with specific training. FREX, my dad was in Military Intelligence and held the rank of Spc. For all other purposes an Spc was an E-4.

Specialist was once an Army career track that included pay grades E-4 through E-6. They're listed here. The rank of Specialist once denoted technical specialists outside the non-commissioned officer chain of authority.

 

In my day, a decade ago and more, there were still old soldiers who referred to "spec-fours," though all that remains is the E-4 Specialist. A modern Specialist is an E-4 who isn't an NCO. Among combat troops, a Private First Class is promoted to Corporal (E-4), the most junior NCO.

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