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U.S. Army Rank Structure

US Army Enlisted Ranks
Service members in pay grades E-1 through E-3 are usually either in
some kind of training status or on their initial assignment.
The training includes the basic training phase where recruits are immersed in military culture
and values and are taught the core skills required by their service component.
Basic training is followed by a specialized or advanced training phase that provides recruits with a specific area of expertise or concentration.
In the Army this area is called a military occupational specialty (MOS)
For rank and precedence within the Army, specialist ranks immediately below corporal.
Among the services, however, rank and precedence are determined by pay grade.

Specialists who have demonstrated leadership abilities and are serving in Sergeant positions can be promoted to Corporals. This signifies that they hold a leadership position, and are held to the responsibilities and authorities inherent in that role. These individuals either do not have enough "Time in grade" to be promoted, or have not yet had a chance to go to the Primary Leadership Development Course.

Private E-2

Private First Class (PFC)

Specialist  Corporal
(SPC)      (CPL)
Leadership responsibility significantly increases in the mid-level enlisted ranks. This responsibility is given formal recognition by use of the term noncommissioned officer (NCO).
Army Corporals and Sergeants are considered NCO ranks.

Sergeant (SGT)

Staff Sergeant (SSG)

Sergeant First Class (SFC)
At the E-8 level, the Army have two positions at the same pay grade. Whether one is a Master Sergeant or a first sergeant in the Army depends on the person's job.
A Master Sergeant works in a staff position, whereas a First Sergeant is responsible for a Company of soldiers. The same is true for the positions at the E-9 level (SGM and CSM), except that they are at a Battalion or higher level. Army Sergeant Majors and Command Sergeant Majors receive the same pay but have different responsibilities.
All told, E-8s and E-9s have 15 to 30 years on the job, and are commanders' senior advisers for enlisted matters.
A third E-9 element is the senior enlisted person of the Army. The sergeant major of the Army is  the spokespersons of the enlisted force at the highest levels of their services

Master Sgt,  First Sgt
(MSG)   (1SG)

Sergeant Major

Command Sgt Major

Sergeant Major of the Army


US Army Warrant Officer Ranks
Officer ranks in the United States military consist of commissioned officers and warrant officers.

Warrant officers hold warrants from their service secretary and are specialists and experts in certain military technologies or capabilities. The lowest ranking warrant officers serve under a warrant, but they receive commissions from the president upon promotion to chief warrant officer 2. These commissioned warrant officers are direct representatives of the president of the United States. They derive their authority from the same source as commissioned officers but remain specialists, in contrast to commissioned officers, who are generalists.

Warrant Officer 1

Chief Warrant Officer 2

Chief Warrant Officer 3

Chief Warrant Officer 4

Chief Warrant Officer 5


US Army Officer Ranks
The commissioned ranks are the highest in the military. These officers hold presidential commissions and are confirmed at their ranks by the Senate. Army officers are called company grade officers in the pay grades of O-1 to O-3, field grade officers in pay grades O-4 to O-6 and general officers in pay grades O-7 and higher.

Second Lieutenant

First Lieutenant



Lieutenant Colonel

Stars were first used to identify general officers on June 18, 1780 when it was prescribed that Major Generals would wear two stars and Brigadier Generals one star on each epaulette. Three stars were established in 1798 for the rank of Lieutenant General and were worn by the Commander-in-Chief, General Washington. Four stars were authorized for the rank of General when the rank was established by Act of Congress on July 25, 1866. Grant was the first officer of the Army to hold the rank of General and to wear the insignia of four silver stars.

Brigadier General

Major General

Lieutenant General


General of the Army
(Wartime only)
General of the Army was established by Congress on December 14, 1944 and provided that no more than four officers could be appointed. President Roosevelt appointed Generals George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Henry H. Arnold. Act of Congress, approved September 15, 1950, authorized the President to appoint General Omar N. Bradley to the grade of General of the Army. The insignia of grade for General of the Army is prescribed as five silver stars set in a circle with the coat of arms of the United States, in gold, above the circle of stars.



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Published on: 2006-01-24 (108507 reads)

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