From 1959 to 1968 the Specialist 9 rank was not a promotable position however, it was an equal pay grade to Sergeant Major (E-9). At the onset of the Vietnam war, there were a number of sienor NCO's (E-8's & E-9's) who had 20 years or more service but had missed WWII, Korea and other Cold War deployments. Some may see this as a stroke of good luck but others weren't happy about the prospect of retiring from the army after 20 to 30 years service without a Combat Infantry Badge, no campaign participation credits, no battle stars, etc. These individuals wanted to go to Vietnam but in the case of E-9's, there were very few open positions or "slots" available within the units being sent overseas. In some cases, these E-9's would accept a demotion or reduction in rank down to E-5 or E-6 just to make it possible to transfer to a combat unit in Vietnam. The Specialist 9 rank presented a loophole for some. In the case where there were no open positions within their MOS/branch for an E-9 Sergeant Major, the individual could be re-titled as an E-9 Specialist 9, which would then create an opening that was otherwise not available to a Sergeant Major. To that end, a few Sergeant Majors took advantage of this and changed their pay grade title from Sergeant Major (E-9) to Specialist 9 (E-9), at least on paper. There are apparently very few individuals who actually went to the trouble of changing their rank insignia on their uniforms, as shown here, but there are some original uniforms that show this to be the case.