In the U.S. Army, private is used for the two lowest enlisted ranks, just below private first class. The lowest rank is "private E-1" (PV1) and sometimes referred to as recruit, but also held by some soldiers after punishment through the Uniform Code of Military Justice or prisoners after conviction until they are discharged. A PV1 wears no uniform insignia; since the advent of the Army Combat Uniform, the term "fuzzy" has come into vogue, referring to the blank velcro patch on the ACU where the rank would normally be placed. The second rank, private E-2 (PV2), wears a single chevron, known colloquially as "mosquito wings". Advancement to the PV2 is automatic after six months' time in service, but may get shortened to four months if given a waiver. A person who earned the Eagle Scout award, the Gold Award, or completed at least two years of JROTC may enlist at any time at the rank of PV2. The term of address, "Private", may be properly applied to any Army soldier E-1 (PV1) to E-3 (PFC). It should also be noted that while a soldier is currently in Initial Enlistment Training, he or she will often be referred to as "Private" by the training cadre, regardless of actual rank, even if the soldier enlisted as a Specialist/E-4.
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In the United States Army, recruits usually enter service as a private, in pay grade E-1. Private (E-2), designated by a single chevron, is typically an automatic promotion after six months of service. Private first class (E-3), equivalent to NATO grade OR-3, is designated by a single chevron and a rocker stripe and is more common among soldiers who have served in the U.S. Army for one year or more. Soldiers who have achieved an associate degree or its equivalent are entitled to enter the Army at this pay grade. Advancement from private first class is typically to specialist, although occasionally it may be to corporal. The rank of private first class has existed since 1846 and, prior to 1919, its insignia consisted of the branch of service insignia without any arcs or chevrons. The Secretary of War approved "an arc of one bar" (i.e., a "rocker") under the branch of service or trade insignia for privates first class on 22 July 1919. From August 5, 1920 to May 28, 1968, the rank insignia for private first class was a single chevron, per War Department Circular No. 303. On May 28, 1968, the insignia was changed to its current form, consisting of a single chevron with one arc.
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