[Ads-l] According to =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=9CBasic_Training_Memories=2C=E2=80=9D_?=a Facebook S.I.G.,

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 20 05:54:53 UTC 2017

An “acting jack” is now an Sp4 holding the acting rank of corporal. Back in
my day, an “acting jack” was an Sp5 holding the acting rank of sergeant.

My analysis: today, the only specialist grade is Sp4 (E-4), with the pay
and privileges, but not the rank and duties, of a corporal, the
lowest-ranking NCO. Everyone with the grade of E-5 or higher is a real

Back when, the highest specialist grade was the same as the highest NCO
grade, E-9, with a specialist having the same pay and privileges, but not
the rank and duties, of the corresponding NCO. But, in fact, a specialist
of a grade higher than E-5 was so rare as to be merely theoretical - I saw
an Sp6, *once*, in my three years of service - making E-5 effectively the
highest specialist grade then, as E-4 is actually the highest specialist
grade, now. So, a specialist acting as an NCO - an “acting jack” - was an

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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