The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

9 May 2005

Welcome to the last level

It's called the Unified Theory of Career Nervousness, and Sgt. Mom explains it thusly:

Given that complete and total dickheads ought to be pretty evenly distributed throughout the ranks, I tried to account for the disproportionate accumulation of them at the rank of Technical Sergeant [E-6] or Major with eighteen to nineteen years of service. I believe that Sgt. Mom's Unified Theory of Career Nervousness accounts for this phenomenon.

My theory is predicated upon the fact that a career military member can retire with a somewhat adequate pension at twenty years, but that most enlisted members want very much to retire as an E-7, and that officers want very much to retire as a Colonel. At those ranks, you can stay on past the twenty year mark, but if you have not oh well. As they say in Moscow, "Tuff shitski, comrade." An E-6, or a major with just a year to two to go before that twenty-year cut off, and facing the prospect that making it to the next rank is problematical to impossible well, that person is very often either sour and embittered or afraid that the least little mark against will screw up the chance they do have of making it to that next magical promotion. The sour and embittered, or the terribly ambitious are not nice people to work for. Three guesses as to whom they will take it out on, and the first two guesses do not count.

I've never been terribly ambitious, though I'll admit to "sour and embittered." As it happens, though, I never made E-6. (Then again, I was only on the rolls for six years, not eighteen or nineteen, and one doesn't pile up stripes as an inactive reservist, which I was at the end.)

And a commenter to the original post said that insufferability, in his experience, peaked at the E-7 level: "Having received that coveted promotion, they concluded that they were perfect and proceeded to act accordingly."

Posted at 4:06 PM to Dyssynergy


Does anyone know why the Air Force's E ranks are offset from those of the Army and Marines, so that the latter's E-6 rank is staff sergeant, which (IIRC) is E-5 in the Air Force?

And I'm not even going to try to puzzle out what the Navy's E-6 is. Master Bosun's Mate Twelfth Class with a silver tassel, or something like that.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:28 PM on 9 May 2005

Petty Officer First Class in the Navy. As to why the Air Force ranks are slightly different, I have no idea.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:35 PM on 9 May 2005