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.
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….