Jun 14


Private First Class

Private First Class


I had been reduced in rank from an E-3 Private First Class to a Private E-2.

This was part of the punishment I received in my Article 15, from my second AWOL.

The Army felt that it was mandatory for my uniform to be correct.

So, I was taken along with my Class A uniform to a tailor.

The tailor was told to take my old stripes off and sew on the new lower rank.

Private E-2

Private E-2

It was kind of a low blow for me.

I had entered the Army as an E-3 Private First Class.

This was due to my four years of high school JROTC.

In Army Basic Military Training, I wore that rank from day one.

I was paid more money and given more responsibilities because of that rank.

My father was an E-7 Master Sergeant and my brother was an E-3 Airman First Class at the time.

Having those stripes was a source of pride.

I’d seen old war movies when stripes were ripped of a soldier’s uniform for misconduct.

I never thought it would happen to me that I would go backwards in rank.

I knew that as part of my court-martial sentencing I would be reduced in rank to Private E-1.

That seemed to be the standard punishment.

It seemed a little crazy to have the stripes swapped out, but the Army had regulations to uphold.

So, I had my uniform ready to go to trial, with one less stripe.

I made jokes out of everything most of the time, and this was no exception.

However, inside I was hiding my real feelings of shame.

The whole time knowing in about a week,

the other rank would be taken away….

  • Steven Tessler

    This exact thing happened to the sailors that got into trouble on the ships. Restrict them or punish them they didn’t seem to care.
    Take away there rank and that was a blow to them. You could see it in there face. Most had worked really hard for that and taking it away hurt them.

    • David Mike

      I didn’t think much of it until I actually had to have it removed from my uniform. Reality.

  • Good post. My husband was in the military. One day he forgot to chalk block his vehicle and it rolled down a hill. He was warned if one more thing happened he would lose a rank. His staff leader did not like Mike. One day he told him to spread the word there was to be a formation at 2:30. And 2:00 for key personnel. Mike let everyone know. At 2:30 when he saw the staff leader he was told he was busted. Mike didn’t understand why. The guy just smirked and said, “YOU were key personnel.” It was humiliating when he lost a rank. And yet I really admired that he did not let it get to him. Still it was hard.

    • David Mike

      That’s terrible. You were married at the time?

      • Yes.

        • David Mike

          That had to be a serious situation for you guys. The reduction in pay and the embarrassment of demotion. I am glad you guys made it through it.

          • Actually we were part of a Hospitality House, a ministry towards soldiers and their families. One of the guys there knew how it was an unjust decision and if you can believe it, he paid Mike the amount that was lost for those months! Good things came out of a bad situation. But Mike did NOT want to stay in the army when his tour was up. So he left with an honorable discharge and 8 1/2 years in.

          • David Mike

            Anne, thanks for sharing that with me. That is unreal and unheard of.

  • It sounds like this made it real for you. I cannot imagine the emotions you were going through as the stripes came off your uniform and the realization started to settle on you. Why didn’t they lower your rank all the way to the final rank? At this point was discharge on the table, too?

    • David Mike

      They only reduced me by one rank because that was the standard punishment for that offense. Discharge was not an option at this time due to an impending court-martial. If I were discharged they would have to reinstate me for the trial. I still at this point did not fully grasp what was happening. I may have had glimpses of reality but I still was thinking about me mostly.

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