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Question about the armforces

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  • Question about the armforces

    I know this is rather off topic, but I've been trying to gather information regarding the definitions of military terms like, regiment, batallion, platoon, etc. I've tried searching the web but couldn't find anything comprehensive. Any help would be appreciated.


  • #2
    Look for a book called "Sergeanty", in the library or a Marine Recruit can tell you from memory from the lessons in his green or red monster (Basic Training Book for recruits)
    Or try the following:

    The levels go Platoons, then company, then battalion, then regiment, then divisions then army

    Because of changes over the years and different mission requirments by different units this structure is not fixed to style or type.



    • #3
      In the Marine corps, used to be very simple.
      3 men plus a leader made a fire team.
      3 teams plus a leader made a squad.
      3 squads plus leaders made a platoon
      3 platoons plus some leaders and attached personnel made a company
      3 companies, plus atached personnel made a battalion.

      3 battalions made a regiment
      3 regiments made a division.

      the "atttached personnel" usualy add up to the size og the basic componet they are atteached to (at battalion level you had a H&S company which had the clerks, cooks, weapons (like machineguns, mortars, flame throwers etc).


      • #4
        When I was in the army, booze, drugs and business women made a party. I was drafted, and went in with a pretty good attitude, figuring it was my duty, but that changed when I discovered in basic that the drill sargents were the pushers. I was relatively old when drafted, and had supported myself and family for a number of years, so I ended up being a square peg in a round hole. Having done the best I could to purge military thoughts from my mind, this is about all I remember. Mike


        • #5
          Thank you...finally, someone cleared up a huge mystery for me. Okay, what about the same question as applied to the waterbound armed forces? I'm a little confused about issues of rank as well.


          • #6
            Within the 'Blue Suit' ranks it's: Flight, Squadron, Group, Wing, (then sometimes Air Division), Numbered AF (NAF), then MAJCOM (Major Air Command), e.g. SAC, TAC, MAC, NORAD. That's all mostly theoretical tho above 'Wing' level. In actual practice most every case was unique. (but I retired in '87 and some of the higher level organizational structure has changed since.)

            Ref the Ranks: for officers the grades go from O-1 ("Oh one) thru O-10. The titles are the same in AF, ARMY, USMC:
            2d Lt(1 gold bar), 1st Lt (1 silver bar), Capt (2 silver bars), Major (gold oak leaf), Lt Col (silver oak leaf), Colonel (eagle), Brigadier Gen(1 star), Maj Gen(2 star), Lt Gen (3 star), General (4 star)

            Corresponding Navy titles: Ensign (gold bar), Lt JG (Lt Junior Grade - silver bar), Lt (2 silver bars), Lt Commander (gold oak leaf), Commander (silver oak leaf), Captain, (at this point navy ranks get a little fuzzy, but as I remember it: traditionally til about the turn of the century, and temporarily in WW II a 1 Star or O-7 was a Commodore, 2 stars (O-8)= Rear Admiral, 3 Stars = Vice Adml, 4 Stars = Admiral. But since WW II both O-7 and O-8 are called Rear Admiral, tho they're paid different of course, and there's some other sub-term used to distinguish, but I can't remember at the moment.

            In the enlisted ranks (E-1 thru E-9) each branch uses different titles: For the AF it's: Airman Basic, Airman, Sr Airman, Sgt, Staff Sgt, Tech Sgt, Master Sgt, Senior Master Sgt, and Chief Master Sgt. I won't try to list the other branches. (I'm now sorry I undertook this anyway. )

            [This message has been edited by lynnl (edited 12-21-2002).]

            [This message has been edited by lynnl (edited 12-21-2002).]
            Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


            • #7
              Sorry... I was in the UNITED STATES Air Force... I couldn't add a thing.



              • #8
                On enlisted rank in USMC (Uncle Sams Misguided Children). If you are discussing rank before about 1959, you had recruit, Private, Private first class, Corporal, Sergant (Sgt), Staff Sgt, Tech sgt, Master sgt.

                Around 1959, DOD added pay grades. The other services stuck the new rates on the top of the old making things like super chiefs, senior chiefs etc. The USMC had a Commandant who was in love with the British way of acting (made us carry "Swagger sticks", do fancy drill- wouold have had us "Stomping feet and yelling "Sir" as we saluted . Any way he came up with the rank of Lance Cpl.

                To his credit the commandant put one paygrade between the pvt first class and the Cpl. The Cpl being the lowest grade of Non-Commissioned Officer. This gave a better (in USMC opinion) ratio of Injuns to chiefs). So to make room for the Lance Cpl, EVERY NCO and I mean EVERY ONE was officially demoted one pay grade, their title was "acting XXXXXX" (XXXXX being what ever they were the day before ). Your next promotion was to the previously held rank.

                So you gotta keeep in mind that every service had some titles changes in 1959 or there abouts (I was out before then).
                I would give someadivice on howto remember which rank between services (enlisted) is senior to whom, but it would only cause discontent and arguements.

                BTW, The USMC is NOT officially a part of the US Navy. By Law the size of the USMC is to exceed a certain percentage of naval Strength. If you disagree raise caine, but look it up first. Even Marines sometimes think the USMC is attached to the Navy as a part of Navy.

                Semper FI


                • #9
                  Thinking back to my time in RVN unit structure was confusing. The 23rd (Americal) Infantry Div. was made up of 199th, 198th and 196th Infantry brigades. My unit had was made up of regiments. Then there was the 173rd Airborne Brigade and the 11th armored calvalry regiment? Soul Pony. Then the 1st Cavalry was troops and regiments or something like that. The old TOE from the Civil War had permanent regiments and fluid brigades, division and etc. I heard today they have things like regimental combat teams. I think I read somewhere that the smallest functionally independent unit during Vietnam was a company. Today with the army of one and light infantry I think it is down to a squad? Anybody know? Then there were the the Special Forces who weren't combat troops and god knows how they were organized. It is all very confusing. By the way a marine rifle squad also had a camera man with them didn't they. Ha Ha.



                  • #10
                    Jim: I don't think they had a camara man. camara man would have to know aobut numbers wouldn't he? I think so.

                    Only numbers the rifle man need to know was serial number of himself and his rifle. Wiremen were even dumber- we laid wire left to right, front to rear. Tie the wire off at the front, and head for the right or the rear. USMC kept it simple. Oh yes, you had this litle hole you looked through, a square thing of a ma bob and a thing to shoot at. look thourgh the hole, put the little square thing in the middle, pull the trigger, if what ever you were looking at falls over you did well , if not not pull again unless it clicked. All very simple. No one hired us for brains, or beauty.



                    • #11
                      Sorry to correct you on a minor point, but the Marines ARE a part of the Navy.

                      (The best part)

                      Semper fi,

                      (MSG/PSU V.N '65,'66,'67)


                      • #12

                        Three tours. That's scary. I was there '67,'68 Tet when we lost. Isn't the Commandant of the Marine Corps a member of the the Joint Chief's? I was army so I don't know about Marine/Navy stuff but I always thought they were part of the Navy. Navy corpman for medics and the Naval Acadamy supplies the Marines with officers don't they? But then the Marines all have the same ranks as army. Who knows? What does MSG/PSU stand for?



                        • #13

                          A question occurs to me on the off chance that you will know of him. I went to high school with a kid named Tom Janouso. That is a phonetic spelling. He joined the Marine Corps before we graduated and was KIA in early '65. They had a memorial for him before we graduated in June of '65 so I am pretty sure of the time period. I know there were more than 15 or 16 people in the Marine Corps but there weren't a whole lot of you guys there in early '65. He went to Bedford High School in Bedford, Oh. In my time in RVN and later on I never ran acros anyone who had known of him there so it's just a shot in the dark.



                          • #14
                            Gents, the Marine corps is Not part of the Navy. The actual status of USMC was in doubt from its inception. They were organized to guard ship yards and maintain order aboard naval vessels. One big fight between Navy Marines was that Capt of a ship could not discipline marines (the Marines did that themselves), they could not be made to do ship board work- so they just polished their buttons and drilled. The tactics used in forgein ports came from the LPM (Landing Party Manual) which showed sailors in its illustrations . Several Presidnets considered abolishing the USMC. Old Harry Ass Truman was adament the the corps be abolished. Congress opposed him and passed the Douglas-Mansfield acts which became Plulic Law 416, june 20, 1952 (82nd congress). Truman sighed 8 days later. PL416 clearly states that the Marine Corps is a seperate service, with its own specified roles and missions. The Commandant is acknowledged to be co equal with Chief Of Naval OPerations. The usmc was pleased but recognized that it best keep quiet and not join the witch hunt congress wanted over Truman. Also the Marine Corps DID NOT WANT the increased size. The Marine Corps policy had been- as opined by Winston Church Hill- that the prime purpose of of the peacetime military was to build a ready reserve for war time needs. The reserves bore the brunt of the fighting at Pusan and did a fine job. Its a mystery that the resveres, many of whom learned to shoot fron the fan tail of a troop ship did such a fine job at Pusan. (BTW- I never served a day in reserves- I was regular Marine and only sereved six years total). The commandant serves on the JCS, but votes only on matters related to USMC. The USMC has always belly ached (at the lower levels) that Navy , Army, airforce, got the new stuff (equipment). They brag that they do the job for less per man. But the argument is not fair. The army has (at least in Korea) more boats than the Navy, but Marines had none- Navy bore that cost. Marine Corps used (uses) equipment developed by Army- another cost saver. Medical is supplied (right up on the front lines) by Navy Corpsmen (who are loved respected and defended by their line friends (Combat types). The Commandant is, I understand but would not defend the assertation, elegibleto be Head of the JCS.

                            Part of the famous "Admirals Revolt" of 1949, also hilighted the Marines COrps fuzzy position- fuzzy because it was constantly changing. MArines are flexible! Apparently there was fear in the JCS that army /navy were each getting an unfair shareof the moeny. Commandants testimony before congress was considered non biasedand soothed lots of feelings becasue it was impartial. Some credit the Commandant with saving the JCS concept.

                            So look it up. Thugh not well publicized, expecially by the USMC, the marines are a seperate service.

                            Steve ( C-1-7 (Marines) 1950) RVN as civilian 1962 to dec 1970 where i worked with All branchs excepting Coast Guard, but including, USOM, State Dept, Air America (snicker), VN army, Navy. The above info was paraphrased from iformation gathered/written at Quantico Va, intended for Officers traing school- never used/adopted but I think has been basis for at least one or two pages of a book well respected for its veracity as a history of the politics of the USMC from inception though VietNam.

                            (edit remark- a considerable amount (not longtime but sure seemed long) was spent under fire when i visited various "camps", and did the preliminary survey for Game WArden (river assult groups) and Market time (search of off shore boats) for Navy.)

                            [This message has been edited by docsteve66 (edited 12-23-2002).]


                            • #15

                              We used to hear stories about the Marine Corps only spending half it's budget each year so that if Congress ever cut off their funding they could keep going on their own. Also, heard all the stuff about Marines getting Army surplus and blah, blah, blah. You worked with ARVN's? I did too for a while. Never got used to armed men holding hands. Cultural bias I guess. Always wondered why it took years to "Vietnamize" the war when we only got 16 to 20 weeks of training. That of course was until I saw them in combat. Then I wondered why anyone would try. Some of their "elite" units were ok I guess, but the regular drafted army was a disaster. And then there were the Chu Hoi. Recycled enemy captives. Who in the hell ever thought that up? Whatever, the NVA sure managed to get them motivated. I could vent forever. I am sure the younger guys don't want to hear this ancient history stuff.