By Honorary AQM Jack Thomas Tomarchio No. 2219
As we all know, the Troop carries the unique rank of Cornet, the junior-most officer in the unit. From whence did this rank come and why is it that only the Troop enjoys the privilege of having a Cornet on its rolls? Back in 1963, Lieutenant and Assistant Quartermaster, Roger Bradford Hull, No. 1627 addressed these questions to the Active Roll in a “Dear Trooper” letter. That letter is quoted in its entirety.
Many of you have asked about the rank, status, correct title and prerogatives of the Cornet. Here are the facts:
The Cornet is the junior line officer of the Troop. No other unit has one. This rank is recognized by the Regular Army and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. If you want to read what the Army says, there’s a paragraph in 21-13, the “Soldier’s Guide”. The Troop’s right to a Cornet is established in the Pennsylvania Military Code, 1949, as amended.
The Cornet originally was the troop officer in a British cavalry unit who was given the honor of carrying the standard. With passing years, this custom was dropped. The mortality among officers was too great.
In our Troop, the Cornet has always been the junior line officer. He’s a full officer, not a warrant or candidate, or anything of that ilk.
The incumbent should be addressed as “Cornet”. The word is pronounced “cor net”, with the accent on the first syllable. Troop officers are not synonymous with musical instruments.
Since the Troop carried a Cornet on its rolls when it was associated in 1774, and has held the rank continuously, since that time, the Department of the Army has recognized that the rank of Cornet is “an ancient and honorable privilege” accorded to the Troop, thus permitting us to maintain the rank in our “force structure”. As the only Cornet in the Army, and thus junior in grade to a second lieutenant, our Cornet enjoys the distinct honor of being the lowest ranking commissioned officer in the United States Army and moreover in the entire Department of Defense. An optimist would liken our Cornet to Atlas holding up the entire officer corps! Or maybe not.