US Army members: A couple questions for a short story I'm writing.?

I'm writing a short story for a creative writing course, which I'd like to be as accurate as possible. I've been doing research online, but a lot of sources contradict one another or don't go into what is typical/realistic, as opposed to what is technically correct. Figured it would be better to ask people who have army experience in order to keep things as realistic as possible. Setting is modern day, in Afghanistan. 1) Is 30ish (give or take) a realistic age for a sergeant (E-5)? How long would one typically serve as E-5 before being promoted to E-6? 2) Are there specific post-secondary degrees needed for a recruit to enter as a specialist, or is any university/college degree acceptable? Regardless of their technical status, in practice, would a specialist have any authority over privates? I know they can't give orders, but would they be expected to show initiative in making sure everyone else is doing what they're supposed to be doing? Are privates considered subordinates to specialists (in practice)? 3) What kind of weapons training, if any, might a typical field medic in Afghanistan have? Do medics hold any kind of rank? Would they simply be addressed as "medic" or something else? Would they answer to a sergeant or other NCO in the same manner as specialists and privates, or are they part of a different command structure altogether? 4) How much of the military slang in films is realistic? Anyone know of a site that lists military slang that is actually used, and not outdated? Thanks :)

Asked By: Law & Order: Intarwebz Unit 3.0 - 9/11/2010
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
1) Most E5s will be in their 20s. It can take anywhere from 1 year to forever to make E6 depending on education, training, Physical Fitness and your job (MOS) some jobs promote fast some slow... More
Answered By: MP US Army - 9/11/2010
Additional Answers (6)
1) E-5 is usually early 20s and the dwell time between E-5 and E-6 is dependent upon many factors such as their MOS (some have many more slots than others) and whether they busted there butt and received the promotion points needed. I made E-5 at 20 years old and E-6 at 22 (joined at 17), but I have actually seen... More
Answered By: goldspursx3 - 9/11/2010
1. Im 22 years old and have been in the National Guard for 5+ years and have made E-5. Been to baghdad and plenty of other places I can't say... Matters how bad you want it...Do what your told and dont cause no friction...but also standing up for yourself as well... More
Answered By: Jonathan - 9/11/2010
1) Yes, that is perectly realistic. You'd typically serve for a few years as an E-5 before getting promoted. 3 years is probably a good number... More
Answered By: cailano - 9/11/2010
Question answered... More
Answered By: Atruesoldier - 9/11/2010
1. You can make E4 in 18 months. If you are a Specialist you have the same authority as an E4 corporal. But the corporal is considered an NCO and a Specialist rank is not, no matter if they are E4, E5 or E6. You usually only see Spec 4s... More
Answered By: D F - 9/11/2010
1) Assuming you joined the Army at 18, you can make E-5 Sgt by the time you are 22, mid twenties at the latest. All of my current E-6 SSG's are 26-27-29. So that should tell you something. And my old SSG just turned 24... More
Answered By: wraeth - 9/11/2010
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