Looks Like Babe Just Got a Promotion

Return addresses from letters on March 7, March 23 and April 9, 1944.

Inspired by a few recent comments on this blog, I’m trying to get back into the swing of posting regularly again. Turns out, I had a letter transcribed more than a year ago that was sitting around as a draft. When I looked at the envelope for it, I noticed that in the return address, Babe had crossed out the “Pvt.” in front of his name and written in “T/5.”

Technician Fifth Grade insignia

Looking back at a few previous letters, he did it a couple of times before as well. And it looks like that sometime between his letter of March 7, 1944, and his letter of March 23, 1944, Babe got a promotion.

He was apparently promoted from private (or perhaps private first-class) to Technician Fifth Grade, which was a rank during World War II, according to Wikipedia. It’s confirmed on a Pentagon site called “The Institute of Heraldry,” from the Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The page notes that Technician Fifth Grade was a rank above private, and was among the ranks instituted in January 1942 and discontinued in 1948.

Wikipedia says a T/5 could be addressed as “corporal.”

“Officially, a technician did not have the authority to give commands or issue orders but could under combat conditions be placed second in command of a squad by a Sergeant,” the site entry noted as I wrote this.

I’ve found a couple of sources (and here) that seem to agree that as a T/5 with fewer than three years of service, Babe would have made $66 a month.

Unless I missed it in the last couple of letters, I don’t recall Babe mentioning that he got a promotion.

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