You nailed it DH. Hubby would have made E9 if not for a traffic accident that had him in hospital when Eval promotions were being done, and been a Ret. MCPO, instead of a SCPO.
Hubby started as a E1 at 18, 20 yrs later retired as a E8 SCPO. He was on the Midway when they pulled the Ambassador out of Nam, off the coast of Cuba during the Missile Crisis, worked the Flight Deck on his other cruises. Then Taught A/B schools in between. Kept the Communication gear operational along with his other duties.
He didn’t sit on his can drinking coffee. He WORKED during working hrs. Yes he might have had a cup of coffee doing his paper work. But even civilians do that. It was the way they stayed awake when pulling more than a 8 hr shift.
He EARNED his RANK, it was not handed to him.
Only those who went to college are basically handed their first rank after boot camp.
There have been purges of the Military after wars for as long as we have had a Military, but not at this high a level. It got so bad under the Peanut Farmer, Reagan had to nearly totally rebuild the Military along with fighting the Cold War. It got bad under Slick Willie, and GWB had to correct that. Now 0 is decimating our Military to make room for ILLEGAL INVADERS. You have to look for the motive behind the purging.