Military Ranks For Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force



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The US Military has been using ranks since 1775 and continues to use them today. Ever since the Revolutionary War, ranks were used to establish the chain of command and leadership. Originally the ranks were adopted from the British Army and Navy with some minor changes.

Since the British Navy was the most successful at the time, it made sense for the Continental Congress to adopt these rankings. However, today’s military ranks are divided into Enlisted and Officers with all branches of the military. Here’s a quick look at the ranks for all four of the major branches.

US Army Ranks

The ranks for Enlisted Personnel in the US Army range from a Private with a grade of E-1 to Sergeant Major of the Army with a grade of E-9 Special. There are actually three E-9 ranks, two E-8 ranks and two E-4 ranks. The grade, along with experience, helps to determine the pay of the enlisted person.

All Army ranks include an insignia, except for the rank of Private. Once the rank of Private 2 has been achieved, an insignia is given.

Along with the Enlisted Personnel, the Army ranks include officers ranging from a grade of O-1 for a Second Lieutenant to a grade of O-10 for a General. Once the Brigadier General rank with a grade of O-7 has been achieved, the insignia is a star or multiple stars.

Army ranks also include five levels of Warrant Officer starting with the grade of W-1 and going up to the grade of W-5. The lowest grade is simply called a Warrant Officer. All other grades are called Chief Warrant Officers with a number assigned from 2 to 5.

US Navy Ranks

The grades of the US Navy ranks are very similar to the Army. However, the title of the ranks are quite different.

The US Navy starts with a Seaman Recruit with the grade of E-1. Enlisted Personnel ranks go up to a Fleet/Commander Master Chief Petty Officer with a grade of E-9. The Navy also includes both Officer and Warrant Officer ranks with the lowest Officer rank called Ensign with a grade of O-1. The highest officer rank is Admiral Chief of Naval Ops/Commandant of the CG with a grade of O-10. The Warrant Officer ranks mirror those of the US Army.

US Marine Ranks

The US Marine Ranks nearly mirror those of the US Army.

The Marines start with Private with a grade of E-1, but the E-2 grade ranking is Private First Class and the E3 is Lance Corporal. The Army uses a Private 2 and Private First Class instead. The rest of the Enlisted Personnel ranks are nearly the as the US Army and go up to a grade of E-9. The only difference is a Gunnery Sergeant at an E-7 grade instead of a Sergeant First Class (US Army Rank) and Master Gunnery Sergeant Rank is an additional E-9 grade rank of the US Marines Corp.

The US Marine Ranks for Officer and Warrant Officer are exactly the same as those for the US Army. They start at Second Lieutenant with a grade of O-1 and go up to General with a grade of O-10.

US Air Force Ranks

The Air Force ranks are different from the other three branches, but follow the same E-1 to E-9 and O-1 to O-10 grade scale. The Air Force starts with an Airman Basic rank with an E-1 grade and goes up to a Chief Master Sergeant with an E-9 grade. A Chief Master Sergeant may also have a Diamond or be considered a Command Chief Master Sergeant.

The Officer ranks do mirror those of the US Army and the US Marines.

Since the Revolutionary War, ranks were used to establish the chain of command and leadership. Originally the ranks were adopted from the British Army and Navy with some minor changes.

Since the British Navy was the most successful at the time, it made sense for the Continental Congress to adopt these rankings. However, today’s military ranks are divided into Enlisted and Officers with all branches of the military. Here’s a quick look at the ranks for all four of the major branches.

US Army Ranks

The ranks for Enlisted Personnel in the US Army range from a Private with a grade of E-1 to Sergeant Major of the Army with a grade of E-9 Special. There are actually three E-9 ranks, two E-8 ranks and two E-4 ranks. The grade, along with experience, helps to determine the pay of the enlisted person. All Army ranks include an insignia, except for the rank of Private. Once the rank of Private 2 has been achieved, an insignia is given. Along with the Enlisted Personnel, the Army ranks include officers ranging from a grade of O-1 for a Second Lieutenant to a grade of O-10 for a General. Once the Brigadier General rank with a grade of O-7 has been achieved, the insignia is a star or multiple stars. Army ranks also include five levels of Warrant Officer starting with the grade of W-1 and going up to the grade of W-5. The lowest grade is simply called a Warrant Officer. All other grades are called Chief Warrant Officers with a number assigned from 2 to 5.

US Navy Ranks

The grades of the US Navy ranks are very similar to the Army. However, the title of the ranks are quite different. The US Navy starts with a Seaman Recruit with the grade of E-1. Enlisted Personnel ranks go up to a Fleet/Commander Master Chief Petty Officer with a grade of E-9. The Navy also includes both Officer and Warrant Officer ranks with the lowest Officer rank called Ensign with a grade of O-1. The highest officer rank is Admiral Chief of Naval Ops/Commandant of the CG with a grade of O-10. The Warrant Officer ranks mirror those of the US Army.

US Marine Ranks

The US Marine Ranks nearly mirror those of the US Army. The Marines start with Private with a grade of E-1, but the E-2 grade ranking is Private First Class and the E3 is Lance Corporal. The Army uses a Private 2 and Private First Class instead.

The rest of the Enlisted Personnel ranks are nearly the as the US Army and go up to a grade of E-9. The only difference is a Gunnery Sergeant at an E-7 grade instead of a Sergeant First Class (US Army Rank) and Master Gunnery Sergeant Rank is an additional E-9 grade rank of the US Marines Corp. The US Marine Ranks for Officer and Warrant Officer are exactly the same as those for the US Army. They start at Second Lieutenant with a grade of O-1 and go up to General with a grade of O-10. US Air Force Ranks The Air Force ranks are different from the other three branches, but follow the same E-1 to E-9 and O-1 to O-10 grade scale. The Air Force starts with an Airman Basic rank with an E-1 grade and goes up to a Chief Master Sergeant with an E-9 grade. A Chief Master Sergeant may also have a Diamond or be considered a Command Chief Master Sergeant. The Officer ranks do mirror those of the US Army and the US Marines.

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