Friday, October 17, 2003


The lance corporal rank in the U.S. Marine Corps came about during the Indian Wars of the 1830s, and possibly even earlier. Through the years there were both lance corporals and lance sergeants, used as temporary ranks when NCOs were needed. During the World War (WW I), the Marine Corps authorized an insignia for the lance corporal rank--a single stripe chevron (point up) worn on one sleeve (blues) only. It was also during WW I that a Marine Private First Class grade was created; the first class private, however, then wore an insignia of crossed rifles only w/o chevrons.

Most of the above information is somewhat well known now, however, that there were also "recruit lance corporals" during recruit training in the 1930s might be surprising to many.


"In the mid-1930's, training activity had sunk to a low ebb. Although six captains were authorized as training officers, one first lieutenant was able to do the work involved. About 300 recruits arrived each month; each week, one or two platoons of 48 to 52 men were formed.

There were no company or battalion organizations.<28>

An innovation introduced at this time was the appointment of recruit lance corporals. These men, who were recommended for their payless promotions by their instructors, wore their chevrons on one sleeve only and had authority over only recruits junior to them. The possibility of winning such a promotion was designed to provide incentive to excel and to promote a spirit of competition.<29>"

Marine Corps Historical Reference Series, Number 8, Brief History Of The Marine Corps recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC 1891 - 1962, Historical Branch, G-3 Division
Headquarters USMC, Washington, D. C. Revised 1962

For further information on the L/Cpl History in the USMC, CLICK-HERE!!!!!
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By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)