Lance Corporal is actually a rank found in the armies of most Commonwealth countries, with the exception of Canada. Canada got rid of the rank in the 60's and then created the rank (appointment) of Master Corporal sometime after.

Origins of the Rank of Lance Corporal

The origions of the rank of lance corporal can be traced back to the age of knights and chivalry. During this time there existed soldiers known as "serviens" (a term which later evolved into "sergeant"), who were mounted, yet lacked the wealth to be considered for knighthood. If such a soldier lost his horse, he became known as a "lanz spessado", or "broken lance." He was busted down to the footsoldier ranks, but acted as a non-commissioned officer. Over time this rank became known alternately as lance sergeant and lance corporal.


Lance-Corporal is a military rank used by the Australian Army, the New Zealand army, the United States Marine Corps, the Singapore Armed Forces, the British Army, and the British Royal Marines.

In all of these services except for the USMC, Lance-Corporal is the lowest rank able to be held by a non-commissioned officer. Generally, the holder of this rank is the leader of a 4-man fireteam, and/or is second in command of a squad of 7-12 soldiers.

In the USMC, the rank of Lance-Corporal has the paygrade of E-3, which is equivalent to a Private First Class in the US Army, a Seaman in the US Navy, or an Airman First Class in the US Air Force. Promotion to the rank of Lance-Corporal is usually automatic, unless the promotion is delayed for disciplinary or punitive reasons. A marine enlisting in the USMC can expect to be promoted to Private First Class after six months of service, and the promotion to Lance-Corporal after eight months time in grade. Promotion to the next rank, Corporal is dependent upon vacancies in the marine's MOS, and a composite score which is calculated using the marine's rifle qualification scores, results of their personal fitness tests, time in service and grade, duty proficiency scores, and any bonus points from education or specialized positions. Further, in order to be promoted to Corporal, the Lance-Corporal must have a year in service and have served 8 months as a Lance-Corporal.

The rank of Lance-Corporal is held by 30% of the enlisted marines in the USMC, making it the most common rank held.

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