Dear Ms. Ragan,
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During World War II, there were seven enlisted pay grades, with the seventh grade being the lowest, and first grade being the highest. The pay grades were not the same as ranks, but had ranks that corresponded to them. Privates were seventh pay grade and private first classes (PFCs) were sixth grade. There were three technician ranks. Technician fifth grades (sometimes referred to as technician fifth class) were the same pay grade as corporals, but were ranked one level below corporals. Technician fourth grades were the same pay grade as sergeant, and were ranked between a corporal and a sergeant. Technician third grades were the same pay grades as staff sergeants, and were ranked between a sergeant and a staff sergeant. At the second grade were technical sergeants. At the first grade were master sergeants and first sergeants.
Technician ranks were a type of noncommissioned officer rank developed to provide extra pay to soldiers who had extra skills and/or experience but who did not have the leadership roles of a traditional noncommissioned officer rank such as a corporal or a sergeant. However, there was no one job description for a technician. Instead, the duties they performed depended on their military occupational classification, the type of unit they served in, and their position within their unit. For example, the skills of a technician in a signal unit might be very different from a technician in a medical unit or a technician in a tank unit.
For more information, see History of U.S. Army Enlisted Grades; A Visual Guide To: U.S. Army Rank Insignia, World War II; and Compilation of War Department General Orders, Bulletins, and Circulars U.S. Government Printing Office, 1942.
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Thank you so much. I working on trying to find out as much about my grandfather, which served in WWII.