Army - United States

Pay grade E5 through E-9.

Corporal is a lateral promotion from the lower enlisted rank of Specialist(SPC). First Sergeant is a lateral promotion from Master Sergeant, usually placing them in charge of operations in a company, under the Commander. In the words of my 1SG at Fort Leonard Wood, "He's the Commander. I'm the First Sergeant. He commands, I run this mother fucker!" Command Sergeant Major is a lateral promotion from Sergeant Major, as is Sergeant Major of the Army. There is only one SMA. All lateral promotions are removed when the soldier moves to a new unit.

Promotions in the Army are based on merit and promotion points. You gain promotion points for a number of things. In addition, you need to have time-in-service and time-in-grade for promotion. Once you reach E-5(SGT), you must attend the corresponding schools for promotion to the next rank. They are as follows:

The NCO Creed
No one is more professional than I. I am a Noncommissioned Officer, a leader of soldiers. As a Noncommissioned Officer, I realize that I am a member of a time honored corps, which is known as "The Backbone of the Army". I am proud of the Corps of Noncommissioned Officers and will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the Military Service and my country regardless of the situation in which I find myself. I will not use my grade or position to attain pleasure, profit, or personal safety.

Competence is my watchword. My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind -- accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my soldiers. I will strive to remain tactically and technically proficient. I am aware of my role as a Noncommissioned Officer. I will fulfill my responsibilities inherent in that role. All soldiers are entitled to outstanding leadership; I will provide that leadership. I know my soldiers and I will always place their needs above my own. I will communicate consistently with my soldiers and never leave them uninformed. I will be fair and impartial when recommending both rewards and punishment.

Officers of my unit will have maximum time to accomplish their duties; they will not have to accomplish mine. I will earn their respect and confidence as well as that of my soldiers. I will be loyal to those with whom I serve; seniors, peers, and subordinates alike. I will exercise initiative by taking appropriate action in the absence of orders. I will not compromise my integrity, nor my moral courage. I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals, Noncommissioned Officers, leaders!

Some common names for NCOs:

  • Noncoms
  • NCO
  • Prick E-5's, E-6's, and so on...
  • Sarge
  • Zebras (Air Force - because of all the stripes)

If I have missed anything please tell me. When I find it I will add it to the list.