"Gunny" redirects here. For the fabric, see Gunny cloth and Gunny sack.
Gunnery sergeant (GySgt) is the seventh enlisted rank in the United States Marine Corps, just above staff sergeant and below master sergeant and first sergeant, and is a staff non-commissioned officer (SNCO). It has a pay grade of E-7.
The gunnery sergeant insignia consists of two M1 Garands centered vertically between three chevrons and two rockers.
Gunnery sergeants in infantry units typically serve in the billet of "company gunnery sergeant" or as the platoon sergeant of 23–69 Marines in a reconnaissance platoon or a crew-served weapons platoon (i.e., machine guns, mortars, assault weapons/rockets, and anti-tank missiles). In artillery batteries, gunnery sergeants serve as the "battery gunnery sergeant" in the headquarters section of the firing battery's 94-member firing platoon. In tank and assault amphibian units gunnery sergeants may serve as a platoon sergeant of a 16-member platoon of four tanks or a 39-member platoon of 12 amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs), respectively. Tank and assault amphibian gunnery sergeants are also assigned as section leaders, in charge of either two tanks and 8 Marines or three AAVs and 9 Marines. Gunnery sergeants serving as platoon sergeants perform essentially the same duties as staff sergeant platoon sergeants, with the additional responsibility of supervising other staff non-commissioned officers (i.e., the gunnery/staff sergeants leading the organic sections of the platoon).
The company/battery gunnery sergeant serves as the unit's operations chief and works with the executive officer to plan and coordinate unit training and operations. In combat, as a member of the unit's command group, he/she serves as a tactical adviser to the commanding officer/battery commander regarding employment of the unit and assists in operating the command post or tactical operations center. In garrison, he/she is responsible to the company/battery commander for supervising and coordinating individual training for the enlisted members of the company or battery and may assist the company/battery first sergeant in the administration and non-tactical leadership of the unit and by supervising the property (logistics) NCO, advising the officers, mentoring subordinate ranking Marines, and performing other duties as assigned. The company/battery gunnery sergeant has been described as a "hands on disciplinarian".[better source needed] An approximate former equivalent in the US Army would have been "field first sergeant".
Gunnery sergeants also serve as senior staff non-commissioned officers in military staff sections and headquarters and service companies and headquarters batteries at battalion/squadron, regiment/group, and division/wing headquarters levels. Typical gunnery sergeant billets in combat support companies and battalion, regiment, and division headquarters are: Personnel Administration Chief, Staff Secretary Personnel/Administration Clerk, Administration Assistance Chief, Division Reproduction NCO, Equal Opportunity Advisor, Human Affairs NCO, Career Planner, Intelligence Chief, Operations Chief, Operations Assistant, Watch Team NCOIC, Schools Coordinator, MAGTF Plans Chief, Cinematography Specialist, Logistics Chief, Embarkation Chief, Infantry Weapons Chief, Analyst and Review Fiscal Chief, Information Systems Maintenance Chief, Public Affairs Chief, Communications-Electronics Maintenance Section Chief, Radio Chief, Wire Chief, Motor Transport Chief, Battery Motor Transport Chief, Roadmaster, Assistant Roadmaster, Maintenance Chief, Assistant Maintenance Chief, Management Team Inspector, Engineer Equipment Chief, and Mess Manager.
In Command Element, Combat Logistics Element, and Aviation Combat Element organizations, gunnery sergeants serve in basically similar positions of responsibility, authority, and accountability as their Ground Combat Element counterparts, with perhaps slightly different titles, such as Division/Branch Chief/NCOIC or Department SNCOIC (Staff Non-Commissioned Officer-In-Charge) in the aircraft maintenance department of a Marine aircraft squadron. Non Fleet Marine Force (or other operating forces) assignments may include supervisory or staff positions in recruiting, drill instructor, Marine Security Guard, Naval ROTC instructor or service school instructor, and major/joint/combined headquarters commands.
History and insignia
The rank of gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps was established by the Navy personnel act of March 3, 1899 (30 Stat. L., 1009) reflecting the duties of Marines in ship's detachments. The original insignia was three chevrons point up with three straight "ties" with an insignia of a bursting bomb over a crossed rifle and naval gun. From 1904 to 1929 the insignia went to three stripes only over a bursting bomb on top of crossed rifles. In 1929, like the rank of first sergeant, two "rockers" were added beneath the stripes with the same insignia in the middle. In 1937 the middle insignia was dropped. The rank was replaced by technical sergeant in 1946 until restored in 1959, when the crossed rifles insignia were added to Marine chevrons.
The qualifications and selection of gunnery sergeants in the "Old Corps" was explained in congressional testimony in 1912:
The following qualifications are required for appointment to the rank of gunnery sergeant:
A candidate for appointment as gunnery sergeant in the United States Marine Corps should be sufficiently proficient in the drill regulations to thoroughly drill recruits and to drill the squad and company. He should be thoroughly conversant with the nomenclature of the rapid-fire and machine guns used in the naval service and be sufficiently acquainted with their drill to be able to act as gun captains and to instruct the enlisted men in their duties at such guns. He should have knowledge of the kinds and quantities of ammunition used in those guns. He should have a thorough knowledge of the instructions pertaining to target practice. He should have sufficient knowledge of the system of accountability of the United States Marine Corps to take charge of and properly render the accounts of a guard aboard ship, and should be competent in all respects to perform the duties of a first sergeant in charge of a guard on ship to which no marine officer is attached; also a knowledge of the duties involved in the subsistence of men ordered on detached duty, as well as the duties of an officer in command of a part of a landing party on shore.
Gunnery sergeants are men selected from the sergeants of the corps on account of superior intelligence, reliability, and mechanical knowledge. The grade was provided with the idea that they should be somewhat higher in standard than first sergeants; that their knowledge of ordnance and of gunnery should be such that they would be able to make minor repairs to guns—to supervise all work in connection with guns; to command detachments which were of such size as not to warrant a commissioned officer being assigned to them. They are at present in command of marine detachments at naval magazines; are performing duty as first sergeants of regularly organized companies at various posts; in connection with the repair of guns at various Marine Corps stations; in connection with the training of recruits; and, in general, performing duties that require the utmost reliability. For a number of years candidates for promotion to this grade were required to take a special course of instruction before receiving their warrants, but recently, because of the lack of first sergeants and the numerous small detachments organized, it has been necessary to detail many of them for duty as first sergeants. As soon as there are a sufficient number of first sergeants available, it is intended to reestablish the school and to give gunnery sergeants a thorough course of instruction prior to their permanent appointment to this grade, in order that they may be experts in all matters pertaining to the care and preservation of naval ordnance.
At the time of this congressional testimony there were 82 gunnery sergeants in the USMC.
Gunnery sergeants are commonly referred to by the informal abbreviation "gunny". This nickname, which is usually regarded as a title of both esteem and camaraderie, is generally acceptable for use in all but formal and ceremonial situations. Use of the term by lower-ranking personnel, however, remains at the gunnery sergeant's discretion.
Notable gunnery sergeants
In the United States Army (USA), U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), and U.S. Air Force (USAF), captain (abbreviated "CPT" in the USA and "Capt" in the USMC and USAF is a company grade officer rank, with the pay grade of O-3. It ranks above first lieutenant and below major. It is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant in the Navy/Coast Guard officer rank system. The insignia for the rank consists of two silver bars, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Marine Corps version.
Promotion to captain is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest 95% of first lieutenants should be promoted to captain after serving a minimum of two years at their present rank.
An Army captain generally serves as a battalion/squadron (cavalry) or brigade staff officer and may have an opportunity to command a company/battery (field and air defense artillery)/troop (cavalry). When given such a command, they bear the title company/battery/troop commander. U.S. Army Special Forces (12-member) Operational Detachments Alpha are also commanded by a captain, who has the title of "detachment commander."
Marine captains generally serve as staff officers in battalions/squadrons (aviation), regiments/aviation groups (MAG or MACG), or in MAGTFs (MEU and MEB) and may have an opportunity to command companies, batteries (artillery and air defense) or various types of detachments, with the title of commanding officer. In the Marine Raider Regiment, a captain, with the title of "team leader," commands a 14-man Marine Special Operations Team (MSOT). Marine captains also serve as executive officers (i.e., second-in-command) of infantry battalion weapons companies and some other larger combat logistics and aviation support units. Marine Aviation captains routinely serve as aircraft and air mission commanders, aircraft section and division leaders, aviation maintenance department division officers, and as officers-in-charge (OIC) of various combat logistics and aviation support functional and staff sections.
An Air Force captain's authority varies by group assignment. In an operations group, senior captains may be flight commanders while more junior captains may be heads of departments. In the maintenance or logistics and mission support groups they are almost always flight commanders. In the medical group, captains usually have limited administrative and command responsibility as captain is frequently the entry-level rank for most medical officers and dental officers.
Captains of all three services routinely serve as instructors at service schools and combat training centers, aide-de-camps to general officers, liaison and exchange officers to other units, services, and foreign militaries, recruiting officers, students in advanced and graduate/post-graduate programs in Professional Military Education institutions and civilian universities, and on various types of special assignments.
In Army and Air Force medical units, captain is the entry-level rank for those possessing a medical degree, or a doctorate in a healthcare profession (including nurse anesthetists, pharmacists, optometrists, veterinarians, physician assistants, and dentists, among others). In Army and Air Force Judge Advocate General Corps, lawyers with a Juris Doctor degree and membership in the bar of at least one U.S. state or territory are appointed captains, or first lieutenants promotable upon completion of initial entry training. (Marine Corps Judge Advocates, after earning their commissions as unrestricted line officer second lieutenants, as well as earning an accredited law degree and passing a bar examination, enter active duty as first lieutenants and must complete the Marine Officer Basic Officer Course/The Basic School to qualify as rifle platoon commanders, before subsequently attending their MOS school prior to assignment to their first Marine Corps Judge Advocate billet and completing the minimum time in grade requirements for selection for and promotion to captain.)
The U.S. military inherited the rank of captain from its British Army forebears. In the British Army, the captain was designated as the appropriate rank for the commanding officer of infantry companies, artillery batteries, and cavalry troops, which were considered as equivalent-level units. Captains also served as staff officers in regimental and brigade headquarters and as aides-de-camp to brigadiers and general officers. British Marine battalions also utilized captain as the appropriate rank of their constituent Marine companies. Therefore, American colonial militia and Provincial Regular units (e.g., First and Second Virginia Regiments), as well as colonial Marines, mirrored British Army and Marine organization and rank structure.
On 23 July 1775 General Washington decreed that captains would wear a “yellow or buff” cockade in their hats as their badge of rank. In 1779 the rank insignia for captains was changed to an epaulette worn of the right shoulder. Infantry captains wore a silver epaulette while all other captains wore a gold epaulette. Both company grade officers and non-commissioned officers began wearing chevrons as rank insignia in 1821. The captain wore a single chevron, point up, above the elbow on each sleeve— again, the color was silver for infantry captains and gold for all other captains. In 1832 company grade officers ceased wearing chevrons and went back to a system of epaulettes (again silver for infantry and gold for all others); captains wearing an epaulette on each shoulder, but smaller and less elaborate than the field grade officer versions. In 1836 captains began wearing an insignia of two bars (gold for infantry and silver for all others). Finally, in 1872, all captains, regardless of branch, began to wear two silver bars.