- GLOSSARY OF MILITARY RANKS -
I. SUPREME HIGH COMMAND RANKS
(The following military ranks represented within this section are those defined globally by how they were and are used throughout historical and current references).
* COMMANDER IN CHIEF (CIC): The person exercising supreme command authority of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military competencies that reside in a nation-state's executive, Head of State and/or Head of Government. Often, a given country's commander-in-chief need not be or have been a commissioned officer or even a veteran, and it is by this legal statute that civilian control of the military is realized in states where it is constitutionally required. The role of commander-in-chief derives from the Latin, imperator. Imperatores (commanders-in-chief) of the Roman Republic and Roman Empire possessed imperium (command) powers. In its modern usage, the term was first used by King Charles of England in 1639. A nation's head of state usually holds the position of national commander-in-chief, even if effective executive power is held by a separate head of government. Colonial governors are also often appointed commander-in-chief of the military forces in their colonies. Examples are Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces North, or Commander-in-Chief East Atlantic. A Commander-in-Chief is sometimes referred to as Supreme Commander, which is sometimes used as a specific term. The term is also used for military officers who hold such power and authority, not always through dictatorship, and as a subordinate (usually) to a head of state. The term is also used for officers that hold authority over individual branches or within a theater of operations.Within NATO and the European Union, the term Chief of Defence (CHOD) is usually used as a
generic term for the highest military commanders of the NATO and EU member states, irrespective of their actual title.
(Several such varied examples of the term and variant definition of commander in chief are);
- Australia: Under chapter II of section 68 titled Command of the naval and military forces, the Constitution of Australia states that:
"The commander in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor General as the
Queen's representative." The current Queen of Australia is HM Queen Elizabeth II and the current Governor General is
Her Excellency Quentin Bryce. In practice, however, the Governor-General does not play an active part in the ADF's
command structure, and the elected Australian Government controls the ADF. The Minister for Defence and several
subordinate ministers exercise this control.
- Canada: The current Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces (in French: Commandant en chef des Forces canadiennes) is
Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. The powers of this position are constitutionally vested in the Canadian sovereign and are delegated
by him or her to the Governor General of Canada, who may also use the title Commander-in-Chief. By constitutional convention,
the Crown's prerogative powers over the armed forces and constitutional powers as Commander-in-Chief are exercised by the
Prime Minister and Cabinet, the governing ministry that commands the confidence of the House of Commons. According to
the National Defence Act, furthermore, the Minister of National Defence, is responsible and accountable to Parliament for all
matters related to national defence and the Canadian Forces. In theory, Governor General could also use his or her powers
as Commander-in-Chief to stop any attempts to use the Canadian Forces unconstitutionally, though this has never occurred
and would likely be highly controversial.
- France: In France, the President of the Republic, currently François Hollande holds the title of "Chef des Armées" ("Chief of
the Armies"). He is the supreme authority for military affairs, and is the only competent authority for the use of nuclear
weapons. Since the reign of Louis XIV France has been strongly centralized. After crushing local nobles engaged in warlordism,
the Kings of France retained all authority with the help of able yet discreet Prime ministers (Mazarin, Richelieu).
The 1789 Revolution transferred the supreme authority to the King (in the context of the short-lived constitutional Monarchy), then
to the multi-member Comité de Salut Public during the Convention, and later to the Directoire, before being regained in the
hands of Consul Napoléon Bonaparte, later Emperor Napoléon I, alone. The Restoration restored authority of the King,
in an absolute, then constitutional way before being overthrown by the Second Empire. The following Third Republic was
a parliamentary system, where the military authority was held by the President of the Council (Prime Minister).
During World War II, Maréchal Philippe Pétain assumed power and held the supreme authority in Vichy France, while Général
Charles De Gaulle, acting on behalf of the previous regime, founded the Free French Forces, upon which he held supreme
authority all through the war. The following and short-lived Fourth Republic was a parliamentary system, which was replaced by
the present Fifth Republic, a semi-presidential system.
* SUPREME COMMANDER (SC): More or less the same definition as commander in chief, the title of supreme commander is just that, a 'title.' Such title was given to many generals in the past, however, one such popular individual was Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War Two when he became the Supreme Allied Commander of the European Theater of Operations.
* FIELD MARSHAL (FM) and FIELD MARSHAL GENERAL (FMG): Traditionally speaking, this is considered by most militaries worldwide to be the 'highest' rank in any armed force. However, the rank has different meanings to different nations and forces.
- Etymology: The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses
(from Old German Marh-scalc = "horse-servant"), from the time of the early Frankish kings.
- Usage and heirarchial position: Some nations use the title of marshal instead, while some have used field marshal general. The
Air Force equivalent in the Commonwealth and many Middle Eastern air forces is marshal of the air force (not to be confused
with air marshal). The corresponding naval ranks are normally fleet admiral, grand admiral or admiral of the fleet. Traditionally, upon
their promotion, field marshals are awarded a decorative baton as a symbol of their rank. The baton is often studded with jewels
and inlaid with precious metals. In many countries like Austria-Hungary, Prussia and Germany, extraordinary military achievement
by a general (a wartime victory) is required for a promotion to the rank of field marshal. Historically, however, several armies used
field marshal as a divisional command rank, notably Spain and Mexico (Spanish: mariscal de campo). In France, Portugal and
Brazil (French: maréchal de camp, Portuguese marechal de campo) it was formerly a brigade command rank.
- British Army: Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, held the rank of a field marshal, or equivalent rank, in eight armies. Nine of
his field marshal batons are on display in Apsley House (see Batons of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington).
- France: In the French army of the Ancien Régime, the normal brigade command rank was field marshal (maréchal de camp). In
1793, during the French Revolution, the rank of field marshal was replaced by the rank of brigade general. The rank insignia of
field marshal was two stars (one-star being used for a senior colonel rank). The French field marshal rank was below
lieutenant-general, which in 1793 became divisional-general. In the title maréchal de camp and the English "field marshal", there is
an etymological confusion in the French camp between the English words "camp" and "field". The French rank of field marshal should
not be confused with the rank of Marshal of France, which was the highest rank of the Ancien Régime and is in effect the highest
French rank today (although in theory it is not an actual rank but a "state dignity").
- United States: The United States has never used the rank of field marshal; however, General Douglas MacArthur was field marshal of
the Philippine Army from August 24, 1936, until December 31, 1937. On December 16, 1944, George Marshall became the first
American general to be promoted to five-star rank, the newly created General of the Army. A Washington columnist suggested (with
tongue in cheek) that Marshall disliked the plan because five stars was the rank of field marshal and the Chief of Staff could
then be addressed as “Marshal Marshall.”
* GENERAL OF THE ARMIES (GOAs): (General of the Armies of the United States), or more commonly referred to as General of the Armies, is the highest possible officer rank of the United States Army, serving directly under the president and holding nearly complete control over armed forces and uniformed services branches.
Only two men have held the rank of General of the Armies;
* John Joseph "Blackjack" Pershing in 1919 to honor his service in World War One.
* George Washington in 1976, as part of the American bicentennial, to commemorate his leadership and involvement in
the founding of the United States.
Douglas MacArthur was considered for the rank, both during and after World War II, but a formal promotion order was never issued. The rank serves directly under the president, and is superior to General of the Army, General of the Air Force and Fleet Admiral. Other interesting facts and usage are;
- The rank of General of the Armies of the United States has a history spanning over two centuries and, during the course of the
rank's existence, the rank has held different authority, seniority, and perceptions by both the American public and
the military establishment. In all, there have been six versions of the rank General of the Armies, of which only three were ever
1. A rank created in 1799 (but never bestowed) to replace the rank of lieutenant general.
2. A version revived for Ulysses S. Grant after the American Civil War, named "General of the Army
of the United States."
3. A version revived in 1919 for John J. Pershing for services rendered during the First World War.
4. A proposed rank during World War II (never approved), which would have been an actual
six-star general rank.
5. A further proposal in 1955, also seen as a six-star rank and also never approved.
6. A final version in 1976, which ensures that no officer of the United States Armed Forces will ever
outrank Lieutenant General George Washington.
The first mention of the rank "General of the Armies" was in an Act of the United States Congress on March 3, 1799. Congress
That a Commander of the United States shall be appointed and commissioned
by the style of General of the Armies of the United States and the present
office and title of Lieutenant General shall thereafter be abolished.
The rank of General of the Armies was created to be bestowed upon George
Washington, who had held the generic rank of general during the American
Revolutionary War and, as of 1782, was listed as a lieutenant
general on the rolls of the United States Army. Washington's rank was as the
result of his having been regarded as a "three-star general" during the
revolution, and the United States military using European style general ranks
which incorporated a three-star rank of lieutenant general. The United States at
this point had no four-star general rank (in Europe, the rank was known
as captain general until the early 19th century and then simply as general).
The rank of General of the Armies, however, was never bestowed on Washington,
and, upon his death, the United States Army's highest
general rank was that of major general.
World War I and John Pershing - John Pershing's promotion to General of the Armies is rooted in the former title "General of the Army" from the days of the American Civil War. The Civil War version of this rank was considered the same as a "four-star" general, unequal in status to the later version of General of the Army, which was used during World War II. After the Civil War, the United States military lapsed into a period where the highest possible general officer rank was that of the two-star major general. During World War I, the United States Congress authorized the appointment of three-star lieutenant generals and four-star "full" generals. The four-star rank was considered the "successor rank" to the Civil War title "General of the Army" in that both were considered four-star positions. Tasker H. Bliss and John J. Pershing were promoted to Army general in October 1917, and Peyton C. March was promoted in May 1918. Hunter Liggett and Robert Lee Bullard were both promoted to Army lieutenant general on 16 October 1918. On 3 September 1919, President Woodrow Wilson, in accordance with Public Law 66-45, promoted Pershing to the rank of "General of the Armies of the United States" in recognition of Pershing's performance as commander of the American Expeditionary Forces. The peculiar wording of Pershing's new rank (i.e. "of the Armies") was to distinguish that this held authority over all armed services, as opposed to the Civil War title "General of the Army" (itself an Army rank). General Pershing was authorized to create his own insignia. He chose to wear the four stars of a general, but in gold. However, Army regulations of the time did not recognize this insignia, and Pershing's gold stars were never authorized as an official insignia. With Pershing's appointment to General of the Armies in 1919, the general officer rank structure of the United States Army appeared as follows:
1-Silver Star = Brigadier General
2-Silver Stars = Major General
3-Silver Stars = Lieutenant General
4-Silver Stars = General
4-Gold Stars = General of the Armies of the United States
After the war, in 1920, lieutenant generals and generals reverted to their permanent rank of major general. Pershing, however, maintained his position as "General of the Armies" even though there were no longer any lieutenant generals or generals in active service. Pershing retired from the United States Army on 13 September 1924, and retained his rank on the U.S. Army retirement rolls until his death in 1948. Four-star generals were reauthorized in 1929, starting with Charles
Pelot Summerall. Pershing, by this point, was no longer on active duty and his rank was regarded as senior to a full general but a rank which was no longer in the regular promotion tier. In many ways, Pershing's rank was at this time synonymous with a five-star general; however, this would come to change during World War II when the Army appointed five-star Generals of the Army under Public Law 78-482.
* GENERAL OF THE ARMY (GOA) or (GA): A military rank used (primarily used in the United States of America) to denote a senior military leader, usually a general in command of a nation's army. It may also be the title given to a general who commands an army in the field. The rank is typically considered the equivalent of marshal, field marshal, fleet admiral and other equivalent five-star ranks. The rank of grand general, which may also be considered a General of the Army equivalent, has appeared most often in fiction, although it is the literal translation of da jiang. The rank of "General of the Army" should not be confused with the title "army general"; the rank of "General of the Army" is usually the equivalent of a five-star rank, and theoretically corresponds to overall command of an entire national army, whereas the title of "army general" is usually held by the equivalent of a four-star general, and corresponds to the command of an individual army in the field.This is only used in time of War where the Commanding Officer must be equal or of higher rank than those commanding armies from other nations. The last officers to hold this rank served during and immediately following WWII.
* GENERAL OF THE AIR FORCE (GAF): Is a five-star general officer rank and is the highest possible rank in the United States Air Force. General of the Air Force
ranks immediately above a general and is equivalent to General of the Army in the United States Army and fleet admiral in the United States Navy; there is no established equivalent five-star rank in the other four uniformed services (Marine Corps, Coast Guard, PHSCC, and NOAA Corps).
* ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET: (also known as fleet admiral) is a military naval officer of the highest rank. In many nations the rank is reserved for wartime or ceremonial appointments. It is usually a rank above admiral (which is now usually the highest rank in peace-time for officers in active service), and is often held by the most senior admiral of an entire naval service. It is also a generic term for a senior admiral in command of a large group of ships, comprising a fleet or, in some cases, a group of fleets. If actually a rank its name can vary depending on the country. In addition to 'fleet admiral' and 'admiral of the fleet', such rank names include 'admiral of the navy' and 'grand admiral'. It ranks above vice admiral, rear admiral and usually full admiral, and is usually given to a senior admiral commanding multiple fleets as opposed to just one fleet. It is often classified in NATO nations as a five-star rank. Admiral of the fleet is equivalent to an army field marshal or general of the army, which both rank above general. It is also equivalent to a marshal of the air force which in many countries has a similar rank insignia to admiral of the fleet.
II. TYPES OF GENERAL OFFICER RANKS
* GENERAL OFFICER: A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given. The term "general" is used in two ways: as the generic title for all grades of general officer; and as a specific rank. Since the late twentieth century, the rank of general is usually the highest active rank of a military not at war.
- All general officer ranks: The various grades of general officer are at the top of the rank structure. Lower-ranking officers are known as
field officers or field-grade officers, and below them are company-grade officers. All officers who commanded more than a single
regiment came to be known as "general officers". The word "general" is used in its ordinary sense in English (and
other languages) as relating to larger, general, military units, rather than smaller units in particular.
- COMMON SYSTEMS: There are two common systems of general ranks. Variations of one form, the old European system, were once
used throughout Europe. It is used in the United Kingdom (although it did not originate there), from which it eventually spread
to the Commonwealth and the United States of America. The general officer ranks are named by prefixing "general", as an adjective, with
field officer ranks, although in some countries the highest general officers are titled field marshal or marshal. The other is derived from the
French Revolution, where generals' ranks are named according to the unit they (theoretically) command.
* OLD EUROPEAN SYSTEM:
- Field Marshal or Field Marshal General
- Colonel General
- General or Captain General
- Lieutenant General
- Sergeant Major General or Major General
- Brigadier or Brigadier General
- The rank of field marshal was used by some countries as the highest rank, while in other countries it was used as a divisional or
brigade rank. Many countries (notably pre-revolutionary France and eventually much of Latin America) actually used two brigade command
ranks, which is why some countries now use two stars as their brigade general insignia. (Mexico and Argentina still use two brigade
command ranks.) In some nations (particularly in the Commonwealth), the equivalent to brigadier general is brigadier, which is
not always considered by these armies to be a general officer rank, although it is always treated as equivalent to the rank of brigadier general
for comparative purposes. Unlike other general officers, the brigadier general rank is not derived from a field rank of brigadier.
The rank of major general is a shorter form of sergeant major general, and is lower than lieutenant general as a lieutenant outranks a
sergeant major, although outranked by a major.
* FRENCH (REVOLUTIONARY) SYSTEM:
- Army General
- Corps General
- Divisional General
- Brigade General
* GENERAL (GEN): The senior level of Commissioned Officer typically has over 30 years of experience and service. Commands all operations that fall within their geographical area. The Chief of Staff of the Army is a four-star General.
* LIEUTENANT GENERAL (LTG): In the US Army, this rank typically commands corps-sized units (20,000 to 45,000 Soldiers). Lieutenant general is a military rank used in many countries. The rank traces its origins to the Middle Ages where the title of lieutenant general was held by the second in command on the battlefield, who was normally subordinate to a captain general. In modern armies, lieutenant general normally ranks immediately below general and above major general; it is equivalent to the navy rank of vice admiral, and in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air marshal. A lieutenant general heads up an army corps, made up of typically three army divisions, and consisting of around 60,000 soldiers. The term major general is a shortened version of the previous term sergeant major general, which was also subordinate to lieutenant general. This is why a lieutenant general outranks a major general, whereas a major is senior to a lieutenant. In many countries, the rank of corps general has replaced the earlier rank of lieutenant general (e.g. France, Italy). (The ranks of corps general and lieutenant colonel general are intended to solve the apparent lieutenant general / major general anomaly). However, for convenience, this is often
translated into English as lieutenant general. In Argentina, lieutenant general is the highest army rank in use. The highest rank is theoretically captain-general, but it is not used in deference of liberator José de San Martín, the first and only captain general of the Argentine army.
* MAJOR GENERAL (MG): In the US Army, this rank typically commands division-sized units (10,000 to 15,000 Soldiers). Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general. Where relevant, major general has a NATO code of OF-7, and is considered to be a two-star rank. A major general in most armies commands a division, however in some countries he commands a brigade.
* BRIGADIER GENERAL (BG): In the United States Army this rank serves as Deputy Commander to the commanding general for Army divisions. Assists in overseeing the staff's planning and coordination of a mission. Brigadier General is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general. When appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000 troops (four battalions). In some countries a brigadier general is informally designated as a one-star general. In some countries, this rank is given the name of brigadier, which is often considered to not be a general-officer rank, but is usually equivalent to brigadier general in the
armies of nations that use the rank. The rank can be traced back to the militaries of Europe where a brigadier general, or simply a brigadier, would command a brigade in the field. An alternative rank of "brigade general" was first used in the French revolutionary armies. In the first quarter of the 20th century, British and Commonwealth armies used the rank of brigadier general as a temporary appointment, or as an honorary appointment on retirement; in the 1920s this practice changed to the use of brigadier, which is not classed as a general officer. Brazil and a few countries uses major general as the equivalent of brigadier general. Some of these countries then generally use a rank of colonel general to make four general-officer ranks.
The naval equivalent is usually commodore.
In the Royal Army of Great Britain, however, the rank of Brigadier is not recognized as a "general officer" rank.
* COLONEL COMMANDANT: Colonel-commandant was an appointment which existed in the British Army between 1922 and 1928, and in the Royal Marines from 1755 to some time after World War II. It replaced brigadier-general in the Army, and was itself replaced by brigadier in both the Army and the Marines. The
colonel-commandant is also the ceremonial head of some Army corps and this position is usually held by a senior general.
* COLONEL GENERAL: Viewed in most foreign militaries as a supreme rank, technically speaking, this qualifies as one of the general officer ranks and also represents what would be the equivalent to GENERAL.
* LIEUTENANT COLONEL GENERAL: In Serbo-Croat Генерал-Потпуковник or General-Potpukovnik (in Serbian literally) "Sub-Colonel General"), is a rank in some armies, notably the Serbian Army and Air Force. The rank of lieutenant colonel general represents a rationalisation of the
situation in some armies of a lieutenant general outranking a major general, when a major outranks a lieutenant. In the Serbian Army, the rank of "sub-colonel" (Potpukovnik / Потпуковник ) is used rather than "lieutenant colonel" (Poručnikpukovnik / Поручникпуковникin).
* CAPTAIN GENERAL: In most foreign militaries, the ones that use the above mentioned rank, also use this rank, Captain General or Captain-General respectively. This rank holds Second-in-Command-status. This term "captain general" (actually "general captain") started to appear in the 14th century, with the meaning of commander in chief of an army (or fleet) in the field, probably the first usage of the term general in military settings. A popular term in the 16th and 17th centuries, but with various meanings depending on the country, it became less and less used in the 18th century, usually substituted by full generals or field marshals; and after the end of the Napoleonic Wars it had but disappeared in most European countries, except Spain and former colonies.
* BRIGADIER OF THE ARMIES: An unusual military rank and often rarely seen anymore. First created in Great Britain during the 18th-century, Brigadier of the Armies was developed strictly for use as serving as Commander of the Field Brigades in the Royal Army - (meaning, multiple brigades), and sometimes was represented as also serving as Second in Command to a Colonel of Regiments.
* COMMODORE or FLOTILLA ADMIRAL: is a military rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral or counter admiral as an equivalent, although the latter may also correspond to rear admiral.It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6, but is not always regarded as a flag rank.
* ADMIRAL and VICE ADMIRAL: Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral (equivalent to full general) and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet (or fleet admiral). It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM". Where relevant, admiral has a NATO code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank.
III. STAFF AND FIELD OFFICER RANKS
* COLONEL (COL): Typically commands brigade-sized units (3,000 to 5,000 Soldiers), with a CSM as principal NCO assistant. Also found as the chief of divisional-level staff agencies. A senior commissioned officer. Colonel or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is
generally captain. In air forces with a separate rank structure, the equivalent rank is generally group captain. It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures. A colonel is typically in charge of a regiment in an army.
- History and origins: With the shift from primarily mercenary to primarily national armies in the course of the seventeenth century, a colonel (normally
a member of the aristocracy) became a holder (German Inhaber) or proprietor of a military contract with a sovereign. The colonel
purchased the regimental contract — the right to hold the regiment — from the previous holder of that right or directly
from the sovereign when a new regiment was formed or an incumbent was killed. The rank of colonel was popularized by the Spanish tercios
in the 16th and 17th centuries. Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, nicknamed 'the Great Captain', divided his armies in 'cornelias' or colonelcies,
each led by a 'coronel' or colonel. The use of 'colonel' became more widespread as the tercios led by commanders of many
nationalities fought all over Europe. As the office of colonel became an established practice, the colonel became the senior captain in a group
of companies which were all sworn to observe his personal authority — to be ruled or regimented by him. This regiment, or
governance, was to some extent embodied in a contract and set of written rules, also referred to as the colonel's regiment or standing regulation(s).
By extension, the group of companies subject to a colonel's regiment (in the foregoing sense) came to be referred to as his regiment (in the
modern sense) as well. In French usage of this period the senior colonel in the army or, in a field force, the senior military contractor, was
the colonel general and, in the absence of the sovereign or his designate, the colonel general might serve as the commander of
a force. The position, however, was primarily contractual and it became progressively more of a functionless sinecure. (The head of a single
regiment or demi brigade would be called a 'mestre de camp' or, after the Revolution, a 'chef de brigade'.) By the late 19th century, colonel was
a professional military rank though still held typically by an officer in command of a regiment or equivalent unit. Along with other
ranks it has become progressively more a matter of ranked duties, qualifications and experience and of corresponding titles and pay scale than
of functional office in a particular organization. As European military influence expanded throughout the world, the rank of colonel became adopted
by nearly every nation under a variety of names. With the rise of communism, some of the large communist militaries saw fit to expand the colonel
rank into several grades, resulting in the unique senior colonel rank which was found and is still used in such nations as China and North Korea.
- Colonel-in-Chief: In many modern armies the 'regiment' has more importance as a ceremonial unit or a focus of members' loyalty than as an
actual battle formation. Troops tend to be deployed in 'battalions' (commanded by a lieutenant colonel) as a more convenient size of
military unit and, as such, colonels have tended to have a higher profile in specialist and command roles than as actual commanders of
regiments. However, in Commonwealth armies the position of the colonel as the figurehead of a regiment is maintained in the honorary role of
colonel-in-chief, usually held by a member of the royal family, the nobility, or a retired senior military officer. The colonel-in-chief wears a
colonel's uniform and encourages the members of the regiment, but takes no active part in the actual command structure or in any operational
- Colonel as Highest Rank: Some military forces have a colonel as their highest-ranking officer, with no 'general' ranks, and no superior authority
(except, perhaps, the head of state as a titular commander-in-chief) other than the respective national government. Examples include the
following (arranged alphabetically by country name):
* Antigua and Barbuda (170 personnel)
* Benin (4,500 personnel)
* Costa Rica (about 8,000 personnel)
* Gambia (1,900 personnel)
* Iceland (100 personnel, employed only for peacekeeping duties)
* Libya (commands all the Armed Forces - Muammar Gaddafi until 2011)
* Monaco (two branches, with a total of about 250 personnel)
* Niger (8,000 personnel)
* Suriname (1,800 personnel)
* Vatican City State (135 personnel - the Swiss Guard)
* LIEUTENANT COLONEL (LTC): Is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above
a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence. A lieutenant colonel is typically in charge of a battalion in the army. From an American warfare perspective, not too much is known about the rank of lieutenant colonel since it hasn't been used as long as such ranks as (sergeant, colonel, general or even lieutenant) for that matter. What we historians do know however, is that the rank of lieutenant colonel was used in the structure of the Continental Army in its later years, (replacing the rank of brigade major). Lieutenant colonel was used during the American Civil War, and every other conflict with American involvement thereafter. We also know that this rank has a much more long-standing history with British history, since it can be traced as far back as the 1500s.
* COMMANDER (CMDR) or (CDR): Commander is a naval rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. Commander is also used as a rank or title in some organizations outside of the armed forces, particularly in police and law enforcement.
* Commander as a Naval Rank: A rank used in navies but is very rarely used as a rank in armies (except in special forces where
it designates the team leader). The title (originally "master and commander") originated in the 18th century to describe naval
officers who commanded ships of war too large to be commanded by a Lieutenant but too small to warrant the assignment of a
post-captain, or (before about 1770) a sailing-master; the commanding officer served as his own Master. In practice, these
were usually unrated sloops-of-war of no more than 20 guns. The Royal Navy shortened "master and commander" to
"commander" in 1794; however, the term "master and commander" remained (unofficially) in common parlance for several
years. The equivalent American rank master commandant remained in use until changed to commander in 1838. A
corresponding rank in some navies is frigate captain. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the rank has been assigned the
NATO rank code of OF-4.
* Royal Navy: In the Royal Navy is above the rank of lieutenant commander, below the rank of captain, and is
equivalent in rank to a lieutenant colonel in the army. A commander may command a frigate, destroyer, submarine,
aviation squadron or shore installation, or may serve on a staff.
* Royal Australian Navy: The rank of commander in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) is identical in description to that of a
commander in the British Royal Navy. RAN chaplains who are in Division 1, 2 and 3 (of five divisions) have the equivalent
rank standing of commanders. This means that to officers and NCOs below the rank of commander, lieutenant colonel,
or wing commander, the chaplain is a superior. To those officers ranked higher than commander, the chaplain is
subordinate. Although this equivalency exists, RAN chaplains who are in Division 1, 2 and 3 do not actually wear the rank
of commander, and they hold no command privilege.
* Royal Air Force: Since the British Royal Air Force's mid-rank officers' ranks are modeled after those of the Royal Navy, the term
wing commander is used as a rank, and this is the equivalent of a lieutenant colonel in the army or a commander in
the navy. The rank of wing commander is above that of squadron leader and below that of group captain.In the former
Royal Naval Air Service, which was merged with the Royal Flying Corps to form the Royal Air Force in 1918, the pilots
held appointments as well as their normal ranks in the Royal Navys, and they wore insignia appropriate to the appointment
instead of the rank. A flight commander wore a star above a lieutenant's two rank stripes, squadron commander wore two
stars above two rank stripes (less than eight years' seniority) or two-and-a-half rank stripes (over eight years seniority), and
wing commander wore three rank stripes. The rank stripes had the usual Royal Navy curl, and they were surmounted by an eagle.
* Commander as a Military Appointment -
- British Army: In the British Army, the term "commander" is officially applied to the non-commissioned officer in charge of a
section (section commander), vehicle (vehicle commander) or gun (gun commander), to the subaltern or captain commanding
a platoon (platoon commander), or to the brigadier commanding a brigade (brigade commander). Other officers commanding
units are usually referred to as the officer commanding (OC), commanding officer (CO), general officer commanding (GOC),
or general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-C), depending on rank and position, although the term "commander" may be applied
to them informally. In the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry commander is a rank equivalent to major.
- United States Army: In the United States Army, the term "commander" is officially applied to the commanding officer of army
units; hence, there are company commanders, battalion commanders, brigade commanders, and so forth. At the highest
levels of U.S. military command structure, "commander" also refers to what used to be called commander-in-chief, or CINC,
until October 24, 2002, although the term CINC is still used in casual speech.
- United States Air Force: In the Air Force, the term "commander" (abbreviated "CC" in office symbols, i.e. "OG/CC" for
"operations group commander") is officially applied to the commanding officer of an Air Force unit; hence, there are flight
commanders, squadron commanders, group commanders, wing commanders, and so forth. In rank, a flight commander is typically
a lieutanant or captain, a squadron commander is typically a major or lieutenant colonel, a group commander is typically
a colonel, and a wing commander is typically a senior colonel or a brigadier general. An "aircraft commander" is also designated
for all flights of United States Air Force aircraft. This individual must be a pilot and an officer that has graduated from a formal
aircraft commander course and is designated on flight orders by the unit commander for that particular flight. This individual is
in command of all military personnel on the aircraft regardless of rank (even individuals that out-rank the aircraft commander).
* LIEUTENANT COMMANDER (LTCDR): Lieutenant commander (also hyphenated lieutenant-commander) is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander. The corresponding rank in most armies (armed services) and air forces is major, and in the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces is squadron leader. The NATO rank code is OF-3. A lieutenant commander is a senior department officer on a large ship or
shore installation. He or she may also be commanding officer or executive officer (second-in-command) of a smaller ship or installation.
* BRIGADE MAJOR or BRIGADIER-MAJOR (BM): In the British Army, a Brigade Major was the Chief of Staff of a brigade. He held the rank of Major and was head of the brigade's "G - Operations and Intelligence" section directly and oversaw the two other branches, "A - Administration" and "Q - Quartermaster". Intentionally ranked lower than the Lt-Colonels commanding the brigade's combat battalions his role was to expand on, detail and execute the intentions of the commanding Brigadier. During the Great War, the Brigade Major was reportedly "a key personality who affected the health and happiness of the battalions," as he
would be in most frequent contact with the frontline troops and held responsibility for the planning of brigade operations. In 1913 Staff Captains of Artillery in the British Army were re-styled as Brigade Majors to bring them into line with Cavalry and Infantry practice. The title is however no longer used except in the Household Division and in divisional level artillery HQs. The practice of using Brigade Majors has continued in some Commonwealth armies such as those of India. The position was a standard fixture in the Canadian Army until 1984 when the Brigade G-3 replaced it, in line with other NATO nations. (The term Brigadier-Major is an alternative).
* ADJUTANT: A military rank or appointment. In some armies, including most English-speaking ones, it is an officer who assists a more senior officer, while
in other armies, especially Francophone ones, it is an NCO (non-commissioned officer), normally corresponding roughly to a Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.
* MAJOR (MAJ): A rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces. When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is considered the most junior of the field ranks. In some militaries, notably France, the rank is referred to as commandant, while in others it is known as captain-major. Major roughly corresponds to the UK rank of Superintendent. When used in hyphenated or combined fashion, the term can also imply seniority at other levels of rank, including general-major or major general, denoting a mid-level general officer, and sergeant major, denoting the most senior NCO of a military unit. It can also be used with a hyphen to denote the leader of a military band such as in pipe-major or drum-major. In the United States Armed Forces, the rank of Major is denoted as being the Principal Staff Officer, (generally referring to those officers who are capable of serving as staff officers or executive officers at either headquarters units and battalion-sized units and above. Like stated above, many militaries overseas utilize the rank of Commandant in place of Major, yet, some air forces use both commandant and major to denote two different service ranks, (one for seniority on the base and one for training).
- Other levels of major include:
* Captain-Major: A Portuguese colonial officer responsible for small parcels of land and sovereign island territories.
* First Major
* Staff-Major: Generally used as a staff officer at the battalion headquarters level. Same with (staff captain).
* CAPTAIN (CPT): The army rank of captain (from the French capitaine) is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also used by some air forces and marine forces. Today a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery (or United States Army cavalry troop or Commonwealth squadron). In the Chinese People's Liberation Army, a captain may also command a platoon, or be the second-in-command of a battalion. In NATO countries the rank of captain is described by the code OF-2 and is one rank above an OF-1 (lieutenant or first lieutenant) and one below an OF-3 (major or commandant). The rank of captain is generally considered to be the highest rank a soldier can achieve while remaining in the field. The rank of captain should not be confused with the naval rank of captain or with the Commonwealth Air Force rank of group captain, both of which are equivalent to the army rank of colonel.
* History: Prior to the professionalization of the armed services of European nations subsequent to the French Revolution, a captain
was a nobleman who purchased the right to head a company from the previous holder of that right. He would in turn receive money
from another nobleman to serve as his lieutenant. The funding to provide for the troops came from the monarch or his government; the
captain had to be responsible for it. If he was not, or was otherwise court-martialed, he would be dismissed ("cashiered"), and the
monarch would receive money from another nobleman to command the company. Otherwise, the only pension for the captain was selling
the right to another nobleman when he was ready to retire.
* US Army: Commands and controls company-sized units (62 to 190 Soldiers), together with a principal NCO assistant. Instructs skills at
service schools and combat training centers and is often a Staff Officer at the battalion level.
* US Navy: Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships.
The NATO rank code is OF-5, equivalent to an army full colonel. Even though the rank "captain" is used for commanding of larger vessels, it is
used loosely for all naval commands. Technically speaking, for smaller vessels, the informal term for captain is "skipper."
* GROUP CAPTAIN (GCPT): Commonly (Gp Capt or Grp Cpt in the RAF and IAF, GPCAPT in the RNZAF and RAAF, formerly G/C in the RCAF) is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. It ranks above wing commander and immediately below air commodore. The name of the rank is the complete phrase, and is never shortened to "captain". It has a NATO ranking code of OF-5, and is equivalent to a
captain in the Royal Navy or a colonel in the British Army or the Royal Marines. Group captain is the rank usually held by the station commander of a large RAF station. The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF), Women's Royal Air Force (WRAF) (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (PMRAFNS) (until 1980) was group officer. The equivalent rank in the Royal Observer Corps (until 1995) was observer captain which had a similar rank insignia.
* STAFF CAPTAIN (SCPT): Most often referred to in English-speaking armies or household staff officers as denoting the assistant captain to the Senior Captain or Group Captain, and sometimes Captain. Most often, however, Staff-Captains or Staff Captains are used within the British Army for the Royal Artillery. For instance, Staff-Captain of Artillery is used in the Royal Army for those who often assist Captains of Artillery with personnel manners. Not normally used in the US Armed Forces today, however, Staff Captain was used among the Americans, Canadians and Australians during the First World War for the purpose of either second in command of artillery or staff officer at company HQ.
* CAPTAIN-LIEUTENANT (CPTLT): Captain lieutenant or captain-lieutenant is a military rank, used in a number of different navies worldwide. It is generally equivalent to the Commonwealth or US rank of lieutenant, and has the NATO rank code of OF-2, though this can vary.
* FIRST LIEUTENANT (1LT): A commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces and, in some forces, an appointment. The rank of lieutenant has different meanings in different military formations (see comparative military ranks), but the majority of cases it is common for it to be sub-divided into a senior (first lieutenant) and junior (second lieutenant) rank. In navies it may relate to a particular post rather than a rank. A seasoned lieutenant with 18 to 24 months service leads more specialized weapons platoons and indirect fire computation centers. As a senior Lieutenant, they are often selected to be the Executive Officer of a company-sized unit (110 to 140 personnel).
* Royal Army: In the British Army and Royal Marines, the rank above second lieutenant is simply lieutenant, with no ordinal attached.
Before 1871, when the whole British Army switched to using the current rank of "lieutenant", the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers
and Fusilier regiments used "first lieutenant" and "second lieutenant".
* Royal Navy: The first lieutenant (often abbreviated "1st Lt") in a Royal Navy ship is a post or appointment, rather than a rank.
Historically the lieutenants in a ship were ranked in accordance with seniority, with the most senior being termed the first
lieutenant and acting as the second-in-command, unless the ship was complemented with a commander. Although lieutenants are
no longer ranked by seniority, the post of "first lieutenant" remains. In minor war vessels, destroyers and frigates the first lieutenant
is second in command, executive officer (XO) and head of the executive branch; in larger ships where a commander of
the warfare specialisation is appointed as the executive officer, a first lieutenant is appointed as his deputy. The post
of first lieutenant in a shore establishment carries a similar responsibility to the first lieutenant of a capital ship. Colloquial terms in
the Royal Navy for the first lieutenant include "number one", "the jimmy" (or "jimmy the one") and "James the First" (a back-
formation referring to James I of England).
* US Army, US Marine Corps and US Air Force: In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, a first lieutenant is a
junior commissioned officer. It is just above the rank of second lieutenant and just below the rank of captain. It is equivalent to
the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) in the other uniformed services. A second lieutenant (grade O-1) is usually promoted to
first lieutenant (grade O-2) after 18 months in the Army or 24 months in the Air Force and Marine Corps. The difference
between the two ranks is slight, primarily being experience and higher pay. It is not uncommon to see officers moved to
positions requiring more experience after promotion to first lieutenant. For example, in the Army and Marine Corps these
positions can include leading a specialty platoon, or assignment as the executive officer for a company-sized unit (70-250 soldiers
or marines). In the Air Force, a first lieutenant may be a flight commander or section's officer in charge with varied supervisory
responsibilities, including supervision of as many as 100+ personnel, although in a flying unit, a first lieutenant is a rated officer
(pilot, navigator, or air battle manager) who has just finished training for his career field and has few supervisory responsibilities.
* US Navy and US Coast Guard: In the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, first lieutenant is a position title, instead of a rank. It is held by
the officer in command of the deck department. On smaller ships, the first lieutenant holds the rank of lieutenant, junior grade
or ensign. On larger vessels, the position is held by a lieutenant or, in the case of extremely large warships such as aircraft carriers,
a lieutenant commander or even commander. However, on submarines, where the deck department may only have a few
junior sailors, the first lieutenant may be a senior enlisted member, such as a first-class petty officer or chief petty officer.
* SECOND LIEUTENANT (2LT): A junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces. In the United States, Second Lieutenant is the normal entry-level rank for most commissioned officers. In the Army and Marine Corps, a second lieutenant typically commands a platoon-size element (16 to 44 soldiers or Marines). In the Army, until December 1917 the rank bore no insignia other than a brown sleeve braid on blouses and an officer's cap device and hat cord. In December 1917, a gold bar similar to the silver bar of a first lieutenant was introduced. In the Air Force, depending upon the career field, a second lieutenant may supervise flights (of varying sizes) as a flight commander or assistant flight commander, or may work in a variety of administrative positions at the squadron, group, or wing level. The corresponding Navy and Coast Guard rank is ensign. As a result of the gold color of the bars and their usual inexperience as officers, second lieutenants are often colloquially referred to as "Butterbars". Other colloquialisms include "Nuggets" and "2nd Luey."
* United Kingdom and Commonwealth: The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of
ensign (cornet in the cavalry), although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Fusilier and Rifle regiments. At first the
rank bore no distinct insignia. In 1902 a single Bath star (now commonly referred to as a pip) was introduced; the ranks of lieutenant and
captain had their number of stars increased by one to (respectively) two and three. The rank is also used by the Royal Marines. In the
Royal Air Force the comparable rank is pilot officer. The Royal Navy has no exact equivalent rank, and a second lieutenant is senior to a
Royal Navy midshipman but junior to a sub-lieutenant. The Royal New Zealand Navy – breaking with Royal Navy tradition – uses the
ensign grade for this rank equivalent. The Royal Australian Navy also breaks tradition in the sense that it has the equivalent rank of Ensign, but
it is titled "acting sub lieutenant." The Canadian Forces adopted the rank with insignia of a single gold ring around the service dress uniform
cuff for both army and air personnel upon unification in 1968. For a time, naval personnel used this rank but reverted to the Royal Canadian
Navy rank of acting sub-lieutenant, though the CF green uniform was retained until the mid-1980s.
* THIRD LIEUTENANT (3LT): No longer used by most foreign militaries as a commissioned rank, but in some nations, this is used as a "cadet lieutenant" rank only.
IV. WARRANT OFFICERS
* WARRANT OFFICER (WO): In the United States military, the rank of warrant officer (grade W-1 to CW-5) is rated as an officer above the senior-most
enlisted ranks, as well as officer cadets and candidates, but below the officer grade of O-1 (NATO: OF-1). Warrant officers are highly skilled,
single-track specialty officers, and while the ranks are authorized by Congress, each branch of the Uniformed Services selects, manages, and utilizes warrant officers in slightly different ways. For appointment to warrant officer One (W-1), a warrant is approved by the secretary of the respective service. For chief warrant officer ranks (W-2 to W-5), warrant officers are commissioned by the President of the United States and take the same oath as regular commissioned officers (O-1 to O-10).
Warrant officers can and do command detachments, units, activities, vessels, aircraft, and armored vehicles as well as lead, coach, train, and counsel subordinates. However, the warrant officer's primary task as a leader is to serve as a technical expert, providing valuable skills, guidance, and expertise to commanders and
organizations in their particular field.
* UNITED STATES WARRANT OFFICERS:
- WARRANT OFFICER 1 (WO1): An officer appointed by the Secretary of the Army. WO1s are basic level, technically and tactically
focused officers who perform the primary duties of technical leader, trainer, operator, manager, maintainer, sustainer, and
advisor. WO1s primarily support levels of operations from team or detachment through battalion, requiring interaction with all soldier
cohorts and primary staff.
- CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 2 (CW2): An officer, commissioned by the President of the United States. CW2s are intermediate level
technical and tactical experts who perform the primary duties of technical leader, trainer, operator, manager, maintainer, sustainer,
and advisor. CW2s primarily support levels of operations from team or detachment through battalion, requiring interaction with all
soldier cohorts and primary staff.
- CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 3 (CW3): An officer, commissioned by the President of the United States. CW3s are advanced-level
technical and tactical experts who perform the primary duties of technical leader, trainer, operator, manager, maintainer,
sustainer, integrator, and advisor. CW3s primarily support levels of operations from team or detachment through brigade,
requiring interaction with all soldier cohorts and primary staff.
- CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 4 (CW4): An officer, commissioned by the President of the United States. CW4s are senior-level technical
and tactical experts who perform the primary duties of technical leader, manager, maintainer, sustainer, integrator and advisor.
They primarily support battalion, brigade, division, corps, and echelons above corps operations.
- CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 5 (CW5): An officer, commissioned by the President of the United States. CW5s are master-level technical
and tactical experts who perform the primary duties of technical leader, manager, integrator, advisor, or any other particular duty
prescribed by branch. CW5s primarily support brigade, division, corps, echelons above corps, and major command operations. CW5s
have special WO leadership and representation responsibilities within their respective commands.
* UNITED STATES NAVAL WARRANT OFFICERS:
- In the United States Navy, the Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) rank is a technical specialist who directs specific activities essential to the
proper operation of the ship, which also require commissioned officer authority. Navy CWOs serve in 30 specialties covering five
categories. CWO should not be confused with the Limited Duty Officer in the Navy. CWOs perform duties that are directly related to
their previous enlisted service and specialized training. This allows the Navy to capitalize on the experience of CWOs without having
to frequently transition them to other duty assignments for advancement. With the exception of the Navy's Flying Chief
Warrant Officer program, all Navy warrant officers are accessed from the Chief Petty Officer pay grades, E-7 through E-9, analogous to
a senior non-commissioned officer in the other services.
- Background: The United States Navy has had warrant officers among its ranks since 23 December 1775, when John Berriman received
a warrant to act as purser aboard the brigantine, USS Andrew Doria. That warrant was considered a patent of trust and honor but was
not considered a commission to command. Since this first appointment, Navy warrant officers have held positions as surgeons, master
mates, boatswains, carpenters, and chaplains. Until 1912, a Midshipman graduating from the United States Naval Academy was
required to have two years of sea duty as a warrant officer before receiving a commission as an Ensign. Although based on the
British Royal Navy warrant ranks that were in place until 1949, the United States had never needed to address an issue of aristocracy,
which resulted in warranted officers in the Royal Navy. However, the United States Navy experienced a similar issue of rank, where
highly competent senior non-commissioned officers are required to report to inexperienced junior officers, giving rise to special status to
the Navy's chief warrant officers. In 1975, the Navy ceased utilizing the rank of Warrant Officer 1 (WO1), also known as pay grade
W-1, because chief petty officers in pay grades E-7 and above with many years in service would lose pay when appointed to the rank
of Warrant Officer. The Navy appoints their warrant officers directly to the rank of CWO2 (i.e., as chief warrant officers),
and are "commissioned" officers, and manages all grades (CWO2 through CWO5) by billets appropriate for each rank. In past years,
some CWOs resigned their warrant commission prior to retirement in order to receive greater retirement pay at their former senior
enlisted rank. However, this pay disparity has effectively disappeared in recent years and all Navy CWOs now retire at the appropriate
V. NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICERS
* SERGEANT MAJOR OF THE ARMY (SMA): There's only one Sergeant Major of the Army. This rank is the epitome of what it means to be a Sergeant and oversees all Non-Commissioned Officers. Serves as the senior enlisted advisor and consultant to the Chief of Staff of the Army (a four-star General). The Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) is a unique non-commissioned rank in the United States Army. The holder of this rank is the most senior enlisted member of the Army, unless an Army NCO is serving as the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, when in that case that NCO will be the most senior enlisted and the SMA will be the
second-most senior enlisted member of the Army. The SMA is appointed to serve as a spokesman to address the issues of enlisted soldiers to all officers, from
Warrant Officers and Lieutenants to the Army's highest positions. As such, they are the senior enlisted advisor to the Chief of Staff of the US Army. The exact duties
vary depending on the Chief of Staff, though much of the SMA's time is spent traveling throughout the Army, observing training and talking to soldiers and
their families. Kenneth O. Preston held the rank from January 15, 2004, through February 28, 2011, the only incumbent to serve longer than four years. SMA Preston was succeeded by Command Sergeant Major Raymond F. Chandler III, on March 1, 2011. While the SMA is a non-commissioned officer, the billet is the protocol equivalent of a lieutenant general.
- History: The rank and position were based on those of the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, established in its current incarnation on
23 May 1957. The Chief of Staff, Army, created the position in 1966, after asking leaders of the major commands for a personal
recommendation. He asked that it not be considered a near retirement type assignment. He listed seven duties and functions he
expected the sergeant major to perform, including service as a personal advisor and assistant to the Chief of Staff on matters pertaining
to enlisted soldiers. From 4,700 proposed candidates, 21 nominees were selected. Finally chosen was the only one then
serving in Vietnam, Sergeant Major William O. Wooldridge of the 1st Infantry Division. The other services later followed, creating the
positions of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force in 1967,
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard in 1969, and Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
in 2005. These six positions are collectively referred to as "senior enlisted advisors" ("SEAs"). The Sergeant Major of the Army salary for
E-9 is $7,609.50 per month plus additional pay and allowances.
- United States Armed Forces equivalent ranks:
* Air Force: Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
* Navy: Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
* Marine Corps: Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps
* COMMAND SERGEANT MAJOR (CSM): CSMs are the senior enlisted advisors to the commanding officer. They carry out policies and standards, and advise the commander on the performance, training, appearance, and conduct of enlisted soldiers. The CSM's counsel is expected to be calm, settled and unequivocally accurate, but with an energy and enthusiasm that never wanes, even in the worst of times. A CSM is assignable to any level Battalion or higher. Currently, the United States Army is the only branch in the US Armed Forces that utilizes this rank.
- United States Armed Forces equivalent ranks:
* Air Force: Command Chief Master Sergeant
* Navy: Fleet/Force Master Chief Petty Officer
* Marine Corps: Sergeant Major
* STAFF SERGEANT MAJOR (SSM): Staff Sergeant Major (SSM) was an appointment in the British Army held by Warrant Officers Class 1 in the Royal Logistic Corps who are not Conductors or Regimental Sergeant Majors. Staff Sergeant Majors existed in the Army Service Corps and Ordnance Store Branch in the 19th century. In 1896, however, Staff Sergeant Majors in the new Army Ordnance Corps were renamed Sub-Conductors (becoming Staff Sergeant Majors again in 1967). Staff Sergeant Majors remained in the Army Service Corps, later the Royal Army Service Corps, and continued when it became the Royal Corps of Transport in 1965. The appointment passed to the new Royal Logistic Corps in 1993. In 1892, Conductors of Supplies in the Army Service Corps were renamed Staff Sergeant Majors 1st Class. Like the Conductors, they wore their Royal Arms rank badge in a wreath. The appointment has now been abolished.
* SERGEANT MAJOR (SGM): A senior non-commissioned rank or appointment in many militaries around the world. In Commonwealth countries, sergeants major are usually appointments held by senior non-commissioned officers or warrant officers. In the United States, there are various degrees of sergeant major (command sergeant major, sergeant major of the army, sergeant major of Marine Corps), but they are all of the same pay grade.
- History: In the 16th century, the sergeant major or Sargento Mayor was a general officer. He commanded an army's infantry,
and ranked about third in the army's command structure; he also acted as a sort of chief of staff to the army's commander.
In the 17th century, sergeants major appeared in individual regiments. These were field officers, third in command of their regiments
(after their colonels and lieutenant colonels), with a role similar to the older, army-level sergeants major (although obviously on a
smaller scale). The older position became known as sergeant major general to distinguish it. Over time, the sergeant was dropped
from both titles, giving rise to the modern ranks of major and major general. The full title of sergeant major fell out of use until the latter
part of the 18th century, when it began to be applied to the senior non-commissioned officer of an infantry battalion or cavalry regiment.
It is about this time that the U.S. and British histories of the title diverge, with the American Revolutionary War.
- Commonwealth Forces: In most Commonwealth forces, sergeant major is not a rank, but rather an appointment held by a warrant officer.
A sergeant major will normally be the senior non-commissioned member of an army or marine unit. There are normally two grades
of sergeant major, with the first grade being the senior soldier of a company, battery or squadron and the second, higher grade being
the senior soldier of a battalion or regiment. The title normally consists of the unit title (e.g. 'company') followed by 'sergeant major',
and abbreviated by the initials (e.g. CSM). A sergeant major of a regiment or battalion is known as a regimental sergeant major, rather
than a "regiment sergeant major" or "battalion sergeant major". The sergeant-major of a unit is normally directly responsible to
the commanding officer for all matters pertaining to dress, deportment, discipline, conduct, performance, standards and morale of
the non-commissioned members (NCMs) of that unit. Sergeants major are normally addressed as "sir" or "ma'am" by subordinates, and
by Mr or Ms (surname) by superiors, with the term 'RSM'/'CSM'/etc reserved for the sergeant major's commanding officer.
- Canadian Army: The regimental sergeant-major is the senior appointment in a battalion-sized unit, including infantry battalions and
artillery, armoured, engineer, and signal regiments; this appointment is normally held by a chief warrant officer. The same position can
also be held by a master warrant officer in anticipation of promotion, or a shortage of available chief warrant officers. In company-sized
units, the company sergeant-major generally holds the rank of master warrant officer, although in some cases it may be held by a
warrant officer if the company is smaller, or in a shortage of available master warrant officers. In artillery batteries, this appointment is
known as battery sergeant-major, while in units with a cavalry heritage (armoured, combat engineer, and signals squadrons), the term
is squadron sergeant-major. In company-sized sub-units of battalions or regiments, the company sergeant-major (or equivalent)
normally answers both to his or her officer commanding for matters pertaining to the company in particular, and to the regimental
sergeant-major on matters of concern to the regimental sergeant-major. company sergeant-majors and their equivalents are
normally addressed as "Sergeant-Major" or by rank; by subordinates they are thereafter as "Sir", "Ma'am", or "Warrant" (for warrant
officers) as appropriate. "CSM" ("BSM", "SSM") is a title normally reserved for use by the commanding officer. Regimental
sergeant-majors are never addressed as "Sergeant-Major"; they are addressed by rank or as "Mr (Surname)" or "Ms (Surname)",
and thereafter by subordinates as "Sir" or "Ma'am". "RSM" is reserved for use by the commanding officer. In some unusual cases, a
chief petty officer 1st class or chief petty officer 2nd class in the Royal Canadian Navy may succeed to a sergeant-major's
position, especially in units with a large number of "purple trades", such as service battalions. The forms of address
generally remain the same, except that chief petty officers 1st and 2nd class are never addressed as "Sir" or "Ma'am", but as "Chief".
The opera Leo, the Royal Cadet (1889) by Oscar Ferdinand Telgmann and George Frederick Cameron includes a character
"Battalion Sergeant Major at the Royal Military College of Canada" and song "The Royal Cadet - The Battalion Sergeant Major". The
senior cadet of the Royal Military College of Canada was a battalion sergeant major from 1878–1923 and from 1934-42.
Since 1952, however, the senior cadet is known as a cadet wing-commander.
- United States Army: SGMs serve as the chief administrative assistant for a headquarters unit of the Army, but the sphere of
influence regarding leadership is generally limited to those directly under his charge. They are key enlisted members of staff
elements at levels at Battalion or higher.
- United States Marine Corps: In the United States Marine Corps, sergeant major is the ninth and highest enlisted rank, just above
first sergeant, and equal in grade to master gunnery sergeant, although the two have different responsibilities. Sergeant major is both a
rank and a military billet. Marine Corps sergeants major serve as the senior enlisted marine in the Corps' units of battalion, squadron
or higher echelon, as the unit commander's senior enlisted advisor and to handle matters of discipline and morale among the
enlisted marines. Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is a separate and unique position.
- United States Armed Forces equivalent ranks:
* Air Force: Chief Master Sergeant
* Navy: Command Master Chief Petty Officer
* Marine Corps: Master Gunnery Sergeant
* REGIMENTAL SERGEANT MAJOR (RSM): An appointment held by warrant officers class 1 (WO1) in the British Army, the British Royal Marines and in the armies of many Commonwealth nations, including Australia and New Zealand; and by chief warrant officers (CWO) in the Canadian Forces. Only one WO1/CWO holds the
appointment of RSM in a regiment or battalion, making him the senior warrant officer; in a unit with more than one WO1, the RSM is considered to be "first amongst
equals". The RSM is primarily responsible for maintaining standards and discipline and acts as a father figure to his subordinates.
- Australia: Like most Commonwealth forces, the RSM in the Australian Army is the senior warrant officer of the regiment or battalion,
normally a Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1). In addition, the senior warrant officer in the Australian Army holds the unique rank of
Warrant Officer (introduced in 1991 and senior to WO1) and the appointment of Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army (RSM-A).
This appointment, based on the United States Army's practice of appointing a Sergeant Major of the Army, has existed since
January 1983, and was originally held by a WO1. It is the equivalent of the Royal Australian Navy's Warrant Officer of the Navy (WO-N)
and the Royal Australian Air Force's Warrant Officer of the Air Force (WOFF-AF).
- Canada: In the Canadian Forces, the appointment of Regimental Sergeant Major is normally held by an army Chief Warrant Officer
(CWO). Due to the combined nature of the Canadian Forces, however, it is not impossible for an air force Chief Warrant Officer or
a naval Chief Petty Officer 1st Class (CPO1) to rise to that post, especially in units with a high number of support trades personnel;
examples might include a Logistics Branch CPO1 being appointed RSM of a service battalion, or an air force
Communications and Electronics Branch CWO appointed to the position in a Communication Regiment. As well, it is possible that a
Master Warrant Officer may be appointed to an RSM position, in an acting or even official capacity, due to shortages of available CWOs,
or in anticipation of a promotion, etc. Regimental Sergeants Major in the Canadian Forces are sometimes informally referred to in
third person by their appointment, for example "RSM Bloggins" while their commanding officers universally hold the
privilege of addressing them as "RSM" (and the practice of doing so by subordinates may be governed by regimental tradition). In no case
is an RSM supposed to be addressed simply as "Sergeant Major". The practice of subordinates addressing the RSM as "Sir" or
"Ma'am" applies only to Regimental Sergeants Major who are army or air force CWOs; naval CPO1s are universally addressed as
"Chief", regardless of any appointments held. The equivalent position in a higher formation, such as a brigade-group or
Land Force Area, is sometimes termed "Regimental Sergeant Major" (for example, the Regimental Sergeant Major of
1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group), but this practice is not universal (for example, the Brigade Sergeant Major of
2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group.
- United Kingdom: In the British Army, the RSM is always addressed as "Sir" or "Ma'am" by his or her subordinates. Officers can address
him or her as "Sergeant Major" (Foot Guards regiments) or "Mr/Mrs/Miss (surname)". It is the Commanding Officer's privilege to address
him as "RSM". Like most WO1s, an RSM wears a Sam Browne instead of a sash, which is worn by WO2s. In the Household Cavalry,
the appointment is Regimental Corporal Major (RCM). In the Royal Marines, Regimental Sergeant Major was an actual rank
(and equivalent to Warrant Officer Class I in the Army) until the Royal Marines themselves re-adopted the ranks of Warrant Officer
Classes I and II in 1973 (although the term continued to be used interchangeably for Warrant Officers Class I until at least 1981.
- United States: The equivalent rank to Regimental Sergeant Major in the United States Army is Command Sergeant Major.
* BATTALION SERGEANT MAJOR (BSM): Usually a senior noncommissioned officer fills this spot from the ranks of the Regimental Command. Considering those foreign armies and Commonwealth forces that utilize the rank of various "sergeants major" also do so with the ranks of (RSM) and (CSM). Those that do use the rank of Battalion Sergeant Major fall under the classification and direction of the Regimental Sergeant Major.
* COMPANY SERGEANT MAJOR (CSM): The senior non-commissioned soldier of a company in the armies of many Commonwealth countries, responsible for administration, standards and discipline. In combat, his prime responsibility is the supply of ammunition to the company. He also oversees the distribution of other supplies such as water or food; although that responsibility mainly is the company quartermaster sergeant's (CQMS), and
evacuating the wounded and collecting prisoners of war. For military units of the same level as company, the equivalent may be squadron sergeant major (SSM) or battery sergeant major (BSM). In the Household Cavalry, squadron corporal major (SCM) is the equivalent. First sergeant and Hauptfeldwebel are the United States Army and German Heer equivalents respectively.
* REGIMENTAL QUARTERMASTER SERGEANT and BATTALION QUARTERMASTER SERGEANT: Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant is a military rank in some militaries, and an appointment in others.
- Irish Defense Forces: Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant (BQMS) (Ceathrúsháirsint Cathláin in Irish) is a rank in the
Irish Army and Irish Air Corps equivalent to Warrant Officer Class 2 (NATO OR-8) in the British Army. The equivalent in the Artillery
Corps is Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (RQMS).
- United Kingdom: Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant (RQMS) is an appointment held by a senior Warrant Officer Class 2 in the
British Army and Royal Marines. The RQMS is the senior assistant to the Quartermaster of a regiment or battalion and also
usually functions as the deputy Regimental Sergeant Major. Some units have more than one RQMS. RQMS was a separate rank
until 1915, when it became a Warrant Officer appointment with the creation of Warrant Officers Class II. In the Household Cavalry,
the appointment is instead Regimental Quartermaster Corporal (RQMC).
* QUARTERMASTER SERGEANT (QSG): Typically a class of rank or appointment in some armed forces, especially those of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
- Ireland: Quartermaster Sergeant appointments in the Irish Defence Forces include:
* Battalion Quartermaster Sergeant
* Battery Quartermaster Sergeant
* Company Quartermaster Sergeant
* Flight Quartermaster Sergeant
* Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant
* Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant
- United Kingdom: A Quartermaster Sergeant in the British Army and Royal Marines is usually a non-commissioned officer or warrant
officer who is responsible for supplies or stores. However, in the Army this definition is extended to almost any
Warrant Officer Class 2 who does not hold a Sergeant Major appointment, as well as a number of Staff Sergeant and Colour
Sergeant appointments. In the British Army, Quartermaster Sergeants are frequently addressed and referred to as "Q".
- Examples of Quartermaster Sergeant appointment include:
* Battery Quartermaster Sergeant
* Company Quartermaster Sergeant
* Quartermaster Sergeant Instructor
* Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant
* Squadron Quartermaster Sergeant
In the Household Cavalry, the designation is replaced with Quartermaster Corporal (QMC), as in Squadron Quartermaster Corporal
and Regimental Quartermaster Corporal. In the Royal Marines, Quartermaster Sergeant was an actual rank between Colour Sergeant
and Regimental Sergeant Major (and equivalent to Warrant Officer Class II in the Army) until the Royal Marines themselves
re-adopted the ranks of Warrant Officer Classes I and II in 1973 (although the term continued to be used interchangeably for
Warrant Officers Class II until at least 1981). Quartermaster Sergeants could hold the appointment of Company Sergeant Major and
- United States: The rank was in use by both the Union Army and the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. The rank was
below Sergeant Major and above Ordnance Sergeant. The same rank insignia was used by both armies. Both armies varied the color
of the stripes by assigning red for artillery, yellow for cavalry, and blue for infantry. Some Confederate militia units varied these colors
even further and had other colors including black stripes for various units.
* ORDNANCE SERGEANT: Was an enlisted rank in the U.S. and Confederate armies during the American Civil War era. The Ordnance Sergeant ranks just above a First Sergeant, yet below a Quartermaster Sergeant. The rank insignia consists of three inverted chevrons with a 5-pointed star above it.
- Organization: According to Article XIV, Revised Regulations of the U.S. Army, 1861, "The Secretary of War selects from the sergeants
of the line of the army, who may have faithfully served eight years (four years in the grade of non-commissioned officer), as
many Ordnance Sergeants as the service may require, not exceeding one to each military post." Furthermore, "Ordnance Sergeants
will be assigned to posts [not regiments] when appointed, and are not to be transferred to other stations except by orders from
the Adjutant-General's office." It further states, "When a non-commissioned officer receives the appointment of Ordnance
Sergeant, he shall be dropped from the rolls of the regiment or company in which he may be serving at the time." And also,
"Ordnance Sergeants are to be considered as belonging to the non-commissioned staff of the post, under the orders of the
commanding officer. They are to wear the uniform of the Ordnance Department, with the distinctive badges prescribed for the
non-commissioned staff of regiments of artillery; and they are to appear under arms with the troops at all reviews and inspections,
monthly and weekly." "Each military post may have an ordnance sergeant, whose duty it is to take charge of all surplus ordnance at
the post. He is enlisted for the position, and belongs to the post, and is not removed when the troops are changed." Hence,
there were no "infantry ordnance sergeants" in Union regiments with sky blue chevrons and stars. Confederate Army Regulations of
1863 quoted the U.S. Army Regulations word for word, save for the section on dress. According to that section, the ordnance
sergeant would supposedly wear red trim and chevrons, as the Confederate Army did not have a separate Ordnance Department, and
the duties of such fell under the artillery branch of the service.
- US Army Ordnance Sergeant: Issuance of General Orders, No. 24., War Department, dated April 16, 1862: "V. Every commanding
officer of a regiment will select from the non-commissioned officers of the regiment the one best qualified for the duty of ordnance
sergeant, and will appoint him acting ordnance sergeant. Such non-commissioned officer will have charge of all the surplus
ordnance stores of the regiment, and will make returns of the same to the Ordnance Bureau. The arms and accouterments
of the sick and disabled of the regiment will be turned over to and be accounted for by him. He will exercise supervision over the arms
and ammunition in the hands of the men, and report any waste or damage to the division ordnance officer through the colonel of
the regiment. All such appointments will be reported through the general headquarters to the Chief of the Ordnance Bureau."
In other words, ordnance sergeants from that point on appeared on the staffs of Union infantry regiments and not just at posts.
Further explanation came with the publication of the War Department's General Orders No. 46, dated July 1, 1862: "3.
Ordnance-sergeants of regiments will be subject to and make reports to the brigade ordnance officers. "4. Since the act of April 19,
1862, providing an ordnance-sergeant to each regiment, the acting appointees, authorized under General Orders, No. 24, current
series, and made by colonels of regiments, will be reported for appointment under the above act in cases where such report has
not been made to the Ordnance Bureau. Hereafter the appointment will be made to regiments as to military posts, by the Secretary
of War, and upon the recommendation of colonels of regiments, through the Ordnance Bureau, the non-commissioned
officers recommended being at once placed upon duty in anticipation of the appointment."
- Confederate Army Ordnance Sergeant: On May 20, 1862, the duties of the Confederate regimental ordnance sergeants
were officially spelled out by the chief of ordnance:
* Duties of ordnance-sergeants -
* First. To obey the direction of the division ordnance officer of the brigade ordnance officer (if the brigade is a
separate command) in all relative to care and preservation of arms and duties connected therewith.
* Second. To take charge of all supplies, arms, and ammunition of the regiment and make returns of the same
according to "Ordnance regulations." Issues to be made on written requisitions approved by the colonel
or commanding officer of the regiment; which requisitions are to be filed with his return of property.
* Third. To take charge of the ordnance wagon or wagons attached to each regiments, and to see that it always contains
at least fifteen rounds per man of the regiment—surplus arms or accouterments to be turned over to the brigade
or division ordnance officer.
* Fourth. To supervise the condition of the arms of the regiment and get a detail of at least two mechanics to assist him
in the necessary repairs to the arms, an account of these repairs to be kept as far as possible against each man of
the regiment; repairs to be made on the order of the colonel of the regiment.
* Fifth. To take charge of the arms and accouterments of the sick of the regiments in hospitals, which will be kept until
the sick are sent to the general hospital, when their arms be turned over to the brigade or division depots.
* Sixth. In battle it will be the duty of the ordnance-sergeants to remain with the ammunition wagons and act with the
details assigned to them from the regiments, under the orders of the ordnance officer, in supplying the troops
with ammunition, collecting arms of the killed and wounded, and securing captured arms and ammunition.
While Union ordnance sergeants were few in number and marked by a distinctive uniform, Confederate ordnance sergeants were
as numerous as Confederate infantry regiments, whose colors they may have also adopted.
* FIRST SERGEANT (1SG): The name of a military rank used in many countries, typically a senior non-commissioned officer. Also the Principal NCO and life-blood of the company: the provider, disciplinarian and wise counselor. Instructs other SGTs, advises the Commander and helps train all enlisted Soldiers. Assists Officers at the company level (62 to 190 Soldiers).
- United States Army: In the United States Army, the rank of First Sergeant (abbreviated 1SG) is above the rank of
Sergeant First Class and below the rank of Sergeant Major. It is equal in grade to Master Sergeant, although the two ranks have
different responsibilities. The rank is abbreviated as "1SG" in the Army. Master sergeants are laterally promoted to first sergeant
upon selection by the senior leadership at Department of the Army, depending on available billets and opportunities. Upon
reassignment to a non-first sergeant billet, the soldier reverts back to their original rank of master sergeant. First sergeants are
generally the senior non-commissioned officers of company (battery, troop) sized units, and are unofficially but commonly referred to
as "first shirt", "top", "top sergeant", "top soldier", "top kick", or "top hat", due to their seniority and their position at
the top of the company's enlisted ranks. They are sometimes referred to as "second hat" because the Company Commander may
entrust them with important responsibilities, even over one of the company's lieutenants. First Sergeants handle the leadership
and professional development of their soldiers, manage the promotable soldiers within the company, and are the first
step in an Article 15 (non-judicial punishment) proceeding, as well as the daily responsibilities of running the company/unit.
- United States Marine Corps: In the US Marine Corps, First Sergeant (abbreviated 1stSgt) is one level below
Sergeant Major and Master Gunnery Sergeant. It is equal in grade to Master Sergeant, although the two ranks have
different responsibilities. A first sergeant has a command responsibility as a senior enlisted advisor, while master sergeants
have technical responsibilities. Unlike the first sergeant and master sergeant programs in the U.S. Army, no lateral movement is
possible between the two ranks in the Marine Corps; rather a gunnery sergeant elects a preference on fitness reports, which
are considered before promotion. A first sergeant is then eligible to be promoted to a sergeant major, while a master sergeant would be
on the promotional track for master gunnery sergeant. The grade of first sergeant initially appeared in the Marine Corps in 1833,
when Congress created the grade of Orderly Sergeant; 30 billets for the rank were established. In 1872, the Corps replaced the title
of orderly sergeant with the rank of first sergeant. The rank of first sergeant was another casualty of the rank realignment of 1947. It
was reestablished in 1955. Until September 1942, First Sergeant was a Grade 2 enlisted rank, equivalent to Technical Sergeant; it
was then elevated to Grade 1, equivalent to Master Sergeant.
- United States Air Force: First Sergeant is not a rank, but a special duty held by the senior enlisted advisor of a military unit who
reports directly to the unit commander. This billet is held by individuals of pay grades E-7 through E-9 (Master Sergeant,
Senior Master Sergeant and Chief Master Sergeant), and is denoted on the rank insignia by a lozenge (known colloquially as
a "diamond"). Often referred to as the "first shirt", or "shirt", the first sergeant is responsible for the morale, welfare, and conduct of all
the enlisted members in a squadron and is the chief adviser to the squadron commander concerning the enlisted force. Most units have
a master sergeant in this position, while larger units use senior master sergeants and chief master sergeants as first sergeants.
* MASTER SERGEANT (MSG): A military rank for a senior non-commissioned officer in some armed forces.
- United States Army:
A master sergeant is:
* the eighth enlisted rank in the U.S. Army, just above sergeant first class, below sergeant major, command sergeant major,
Sergeant Major of the Army and equal in grade but not authority to first sergeant. It is abbreviated as MSG"
and indicated by three chevrons above three rockers. A master sergeant is typically assigned as a brigade-level
section noncommissioned officer in charge and serves as the subject matter expert in his or her field, but may also hold other
positions depending on the type of unit.
* the eighth enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, just above gunnery sergeant, below master gunnery sergeant, sergeant major,
and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. It is equal in grade to first sergeant. It is abbreviated as MSgt." In the U.S. Marine
Corps, master sergeants provide technical leadership as occupational specialists at the E-8 level. General command leadership at
this paygrade is provided by the separate rank of first sergeant.
* the seventh enlisted rank in the U.S. Air Force, just above technical sergeant and below senior master sergeant. It is abbreviated
as "MSgt." Advancement to master sergeant is one of the most significant promotions within the enlisted Air Force. At the rank
of master sergeant, the Airman enters the senior non-commissioned tier and his or her duties begin to focus on leadership
and management rather than technical performance. Per Air Force Instruction 36-2618, MSgts typically serve as flight
chiefs (analogous to platoon sergeants in the U.S. Army) and section chiefs (leaders of duty sections within a squadron). It is also
the lowest rank in the Air Force that one can hold in order to attain the special duty position of first sergeant. These Air Force
first sergeants occupy the grades of E-7 through E-9 and are referred to officially as "first sergeant" regardless of their pay grade,
and unofficially as "first shirt" or simply "the shirt." In 1991 the Air Force changed its NCO insignia so that a maximum of five
stripes, or rockers, were placed on the bottom of the chevrons. The master sergeant rank insignia was changed by removing the
bottom (6th) rocker, and relocating it above as a single chevron, on top of the five lower stripes.
* SERGEANT FIRST CLASS (SFC): Sergeant First Class is a senior noncommissioned officer rank of most militaries.
- United States Army: The seventh enlisted rank (E-7) in the U.S. Army, above Staff Sergeant and below Master Sergeant and
First Sergeant, and is the first senior non-commissioned officer rank. A Sergeant First Class is typically assigned as a
Platoon Sergeant at the company level or Battalion Operations Noncommissioned Officer in Charge at the battalion level, but may
also hold other positions depending on the type of unit. In a combat arms role, Sergeant First Class is typically in charge of anywhere
from 18 soldiers and 4 tanks in an armor platoon to 40 soldiers in a rifle platoon. A Sergeant First Class' primary responsibility is
training and mentoring Lieutenants, tactical logistics, tactical casualty evacuations, and the senior tactical advisor to the platoon
leader. With today's operations tempo, a Sergeant First Class may fill the role of platoon leader if no suitable officer is available.
Sergeant First Class replaced the now defunct rank of Technical Sergeant in 1948.A Sergeant First Class is addressed as
"sergeant" except in certain situations; such as cannon artillery units, where a Sergeant First Class serving as Platoon Sergeant
is commonly referred to as "Smoke." They may also be culturally referred to as "platoon daddy," though not directly or in a
professional setting. If a Sergeant First Class is appointed to fill the role of First Sergeant, he or she is addressed as
"First Sergeant." Typically a Sergeant First Class assigned on a manning document to fill a first sergeant role will be
frocked to First Sergeant rank and hold the insignia due its position. Sergeant First Class is the first rank in the US
Army to be selected by the centralized promotion system. As such it is considerably more difficult to achieve than the previous ranks.
A Sergeant First Class is considered the first senior non-commissioned officer, and gains not only notice but several benefits
due the position. For example, a Sergeant First Class cannot be demoted by standard non-judicial punishment.
* STAFF SERGEANT (SSG): a rank of non-commissioned officer used in several countries. The origin of the name is that they were part of the staff of a British
army regiment and paid at that level rather than as a member of a battalion or company.
- Australia: In the Australian Army, the rank of Staff Sergeant is slowly being phased out. It was usually held by
the Company Quartermaster Sergeant or the holders of other administrative roles. Staff sergeants are always addressed as
"Staff Sergeant" or "Staff", never as "Sergeant" as it degrades their rank. "Chief" is another nickname, usually for those who hold
the quartermaster's role. A staff sergeant ranks above Sergeant and below Warrant Officer Class 2. But the rank of
Staff Sergeant is still being used by the Australian Army Cadets.
- United Kingdom: In the British Army, Staff Sergeant (SSgt or formerly S/Sgt) ranks above Sergeant and below
Warrant Officer Class 2. The rank is given a NATO code of OR-7. The insignia is the monarch's crown above three downward
pointing chevrons. Staff sergeants can also hold other appointments, such as Company Quartermaster Sergeant, and are usually
known by that appointment if held. The equivalent rank in infantry regiments is Colour Sergeant, and holders are known by
that title no matter what their appointment. In the Household Cavalry the equivalent rank is Staff Corporal. British staff sergeants
are never referred to or addressed as "Sergeant", which would be reducing their rank, but are referred to and addressed as
"Staff Sergeant" or "Staff" ("Staff Jones", for instance) or by their appointment or its abbreviation. Quartermaster sergeants are
often addressed as "Q". In most cavalry regiments, staff sergeants are addressed as "Sergeant Major", which is assumed to derive
from the original rank of Troop Sergeant Major. Flight Sergeant and Chief Technician are the Royal Air Force equivalents.
Chief Petty Officer is the equivalent in the Royal Navy and Colour Sergeant in the Royal Marines.
- United States:
* Staff Sergeant (SSG) is E-6 rank in the U.S. Army, just above Sergeant and below Sergeant First Class, and is a
non-commissioned officer. Staff Sergeants are generally placed in charge of squads, but can also act as platoon sergeants in
the absence of a Sergeant First Class. In support units, Staff Sergeants ordinarily hold headquarters positions because of the
number of slots available for SSG in these units. Staff Sergeants are typically assigned as a squad leader or Company
Operations Noncommissioned Officer in Charge at the company level, but may also hold other positions depending on the type of
unit. Staff Sergeants are referred to as "Sergeant" except for in certain training environments and schools. The NATO code is
OR-6. The rank of staff sergeant in the U.S. Army (along with Technical Sergeant (renamed Sergeant First Class in 1948) and
Master Sergeant) was created by Congress after the First World War.
* Staff Sergeant (SSgt) is E-6 rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, just above Sergeant and below Gunnery Sergeant. A Marine staff
sergeant is a staff non-commissioned officer rank. This grade is normally achieved after 10 to 13 years in service. The NATO code
is OR-6. In the combat arms units, a staff sergeant usually is billeted as a platoon sergeant for 30+ Marines. They may also be
tasked as a company gunnery sergeant, or a platoon commander if required. They are the senior tactical advisor to a platoon
commander by virtue of time in service, previous deployments, and experience and is responsible for the proficiency, training
and administrative issue of his Marines. They are referred to by their complete rank (i.e. "Staff Sergeant Jones" or
simply "Staff Sergeant," with the abbreviation "SSgt"). The rank of Staff Sergeant in the USMC was created in 1923 to coincide
with the U.S. Army's ranks. Until the end of WW2, the insignia of Platoon Sergeant was three chevrons and a rocker,
with Staff Sergeant having a horizontal stripe instead of a rocker below the chevrons. After the separate rank of Platoon Sergeant
was eliminated, the Staff Sergeant rank switched over to the rocker insignia and staff sergeants held the platoon sergeant's
* Staff Sergeant (SSgt) is E-5 in the United States Air Force (U.S. Air Force). It ranks just above Senior Airman (SrA) and
below Technical Sergeant (TSgt). It is the Air Force's first non-commissioned officer (NCO) rank, as well as the first Air Force
rank to which promotion is attained on a competitive basis. SrA are considered for promotion if they attain that rank on or
before February 1 of that testing year. This is so that they will have a minimum of 6 months time-in-grade before the
first promotion date of that testing year, however in a normal career progression one achieves this grade after 5 to 7 years in
service. Staff sergeants are expected to be technically proficient and function as first-line supervisors within a workcenter. After
being selected for promotion, Staff Sergeants must attend Airman Leadership School (ALS), which teaches them basic leadership
skills and how to write performance reports. The term of address is Staff Sergeant or Sergeant.
- Cadet Staff Sergeant: The rank of Cadet Staff Sergeant (CSSG) is used by many cadet organizations around the world, including
the Army Cadet Force and the Army Section of the Combined Cadet Force in the United Kingdom and the Army, Marine Corps and
Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps and the Civil Air Patrol in the United States.
* SERGEANT (SGT): Normally abbreviated to Sgt) is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent. In most armies the rank of sergeant OR-5 corresponds to command of a squad (or section). In Commonwealth armies, it is a more senior rank OR-6, corresponding roughly to a platoon second-in-command. In the United States Army, sergeant is a more junior rank, corresponding to a four-man fireteam leader OR-4. More senior non-commissioned ranks are often variations on sergeant, for instance staff sergeant, sergeant first class, master sergeant, first sergeant and sergeant major. The spelling serjeant is used in a few regiments of the British Army.
* Usage: In most non-naval military or paramilitary organizations, the various grades of sergeant are non-commissioned officers (NCOs) ranking
above privates and corporals, and below warrant officers and commissioned officers. The responsibilities of a sergeant differ from army
to army. There are usually several ranks of sergeant, each corresponding to greater experience and responsibility for the daily lives of the soldiers
of larger units. In medieval European usage, a sergeant was simply any attendant or officer with a protective duty. The etymology of the term is
from Anglo-French sergant, serjant, from Latin servient, serviens, to serve.
* Defense Forces: Sergeant (SGT) is a rank in both the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force. The ranks are equivalent to
each other and the Royal Australian Navy rank of petty officer. Although the rank insignia of the RAAF rank of flight sergeant (FSGT) and
the Australian Army rank of staff sergeant (SSG) are identical, flight sergeant in fact outranks the rank of staff sergeant in the classification
of rank equivalencies. The Australian Army rank of staff sergeant is now redundant and is no longer awarded, due to being outside the
rank equivalencies and the next promotional rank is warrant officer class two. The ranks of chief petty officer, warrant officer class
two and flight sergeant fall in-line with US Enlisted Rank Eight (E-8). Chief petty officers and flight sergeants should provide the courtesy
of calling a warrant officer class two "sir", as the Warrant Class Two holds the Queen's Warrant.
* Army: Sergeant (Sgt) (French: sergent or sgt) is an Army or Air Force non-commissioned officer rank of the Canadian Forces. Its
naval equivalent is petty officer 2nd class (French: maître de 2e classe). It is senior to the appointment of master corporal and its
equivalent naval appointment, master seaman, and junior to warrant officer and its naval equivalent, petty officer 1st class. Sergeants
and petty officers 2nd class together make up the cadre of senior non-commissioned officers. In army units, sergeants usually serve
as section commanders; they may often be called to fill positions normally held by warrant officers, such as platoon or troop
warrant, company quartermaster sergeant, chief clerk, etc. The rank insignia of a sergeant is a three-bar chevron, worn point
down, surmounted by a maple leaf. Embroidered rank badges are worn in "CF gold" thread on rifle green melton, stitched to the
upper sleeves of the service dress jacket; as miniature gold metal and rifle-green enamel badges on the collars of the army dress shirt
and army outerwear jackets; in "old-gold" thread on air force blue slip-ons on air force shirts, sweaters, and coats; and in tan thread
on CADPAT slip-ons (army) or dark blue thread on olive-drab slip-ons (air force) on the operational dress uniform. Colour sergeant in
the Canadian Forces is not a rank of sergeant, but a warrant officer in one of the two Foot Guards regiments (the
Governor General's Foot Guards and the Canadian Grenadier Guards). Likewise, a sergeant-major (including regimental sergeant-major)
is not a sergeant rank, but an appointment held by a master warrant officer or chief warrant officer. Sergeants generally mess and billet
with warrant officers, master warrant officers, and chief warrant officers, and their naval counterparts, chief petty officers and
petty officers. Their mess on military bases or installations is generally named the warrant officers' and sergeants' mess.
Historically, the rank of sergeant was severely downgraded after unification of the three services in 1968. An army sergeant
before unification was generally employed in supervisory positions, such as the second in command of a platoon sized unit (i.e. an
infantry platoon sergeant, or troop sergeant in an armoured unit). After unification sergeants were downgraded in status to
section commander, a job previously held by corporals, and the former "platoon/troop sergeant"s were replaced by "platoon/troop
* Army: Kersantti is in Finnish Defence Forces the second and highest non-commissioned officer rank that a conscript can possibly
reach before entering the reserve. The beginning and most common non-commissioned officer rank is alikersantti (lit. "lower sergeant");
see corporal. Only a few non-commissioned officers in each conscript company reach the higher rank of full three-chevron kersantti.
There's no difference between the 4-month squad leader training and service time of alikersantti and kersantti; all start their squad
leader tour with the lower rank and the optional promotion is based on superior's assessment of individual performance and intended
duties in the war-time organization; special roles such as that of platoon sergeant or company first sergeant are typically
reserved for kersantti and upwards. A corporal can also obtain the rank of sergeant (and possibly above, the next
rank being four-chevron ylikersantti, which is comparable to staff sergeant) by taking some military refresher courses while in reserve,
or by enlisting to (short-term) professional service in the military.
* Army: There are three sergeant ranks in France, although the most junior, contract sergeant, is rare now that conscription has
been suspended. In general the term sergeant is used for both contract sergeant and career sergeant. Contract
sergeant is classified as the lowest NCO rank, the rank below being chief corporal.
- Contract sergeant (sergent sous contrat): One chevron, gold or silver. A rank used for junior sergeants, either conscripts
or reservists. Junior to commonwealth sergeant but senior to commonwealth corporal. The rank insignia is
used nowadays for NCOs-in-training.
- Career sergeant (Sergent de carrière): Two chevrons. Normal sergeant rank, though normally directly recruited from civilian life
into this rank, so the rank implies less experience than for a commonwealth sergeant. Normally simply referred to as
sergeant, dropping the "de carrière". With long service, promotion to chief sergeant is automatic. Equivalent to a US
sergeant. Roughly equivalent to, but slightly junior to, a commonwealth sergeant.
- Chief sergeant (Sergent-chef): Three chevrons. With long service, a sergeant's promotion to chief sergeant is automatic. This
rank corresponds exactly to a US staff sergeant. There is no commonwealth equivalent, this rank lying between
commonwealth staff sergeant and commonwealth sergeant. The rank may be said to be roughly equivalent to, but perhaps
slightly superior to, a commonwealth sergeant. The next rank up is adjutant.
French sergeant ranks are used by the entire air force, by the engineers, the infantry, the Foreign Legion, the Troupes de marine,
the communications, the administration, all part of the French Army, and the Gendarmerie mobile, part of the Gendarmerie Nationale.
Other corps in the army and the gendarmerie use three equivalent ranks of maréchal des logis ("marshal of lodgings" in
* Army: In German the rank of sergeant is known as Unteroffizier. The rank has existed since the 18th century, with usage as a title dating
back to the Middle Age. The ranks of the Unteroffiziere (NCOs) are divided into two category's, the "Unteroffiziere ohne Portepee"
making up the cadre of junior non-commissioned officers and the "Unteroffiziere mit Portepee" making up the cadre of senior
non-commissioned officers. The duties of a sergeant "Unteroffizier" can vary greatly with its rank: In a typical Bundeswehr company,
the "Unteroffizier ohne Portepee" (OR-5) are only leading one Zugtrupp (squad) whereas the position of Zugführer (platoon leader) are
held by a higher ranked NCOs (typically Hauptfeldwebel OR-7) with according training. The platoon's "second in command", is usually
held by a "Feldwebel / Oberfeldwebel" (OR-6).
The German Army rank order is: Unteroffizier OR-5, Fahnenjunker OR-5, Stabsunteroffizier OR-5, Feldwebel OR-6,
Fähnrich OR-6, Oberfeldwebel OR-6, Hauptfeldwebel OR-7, Oberfähnrich OR-7, Stabsfeldwebel OR-8 and
* Navy: Maat is a naval rank of the German navy equivalent to the army rank of Unteroffizier. A Maat is considered the equivalent of a
junior petty officer in the navies of many other nations. The term is derived from the low German māt (comrade). Via the Dutch
language, the word became a nautic term and described the assistant to a deck officer. Since the second half of the 17th century
Maate were the lowest class of non-commissioned officers aboard a warship.
The German Navy rank order is: Maat OR-5, Seekadett OR-5, Obermaat OR-5, Bootsmann OR-6, Fähnrich OR-6,
Oberbootsmann OR-6, Hauptbootsmann OR-7, Oberfähnrich OR-7, Stabsbootsmann OR-8 and Oberstabsbootsmann OR-9.
* Army: Sergeant (Sgt) (sáirsint in Irish) is the second rank of non-commissioned officer within the Irish Army. The Naval equivalent is
petty officer. The army rank insignia consists of three winged chevrons (or "stripes"). The service dress insignia consists of three wavy
red chevrons 9 cm wide bordered in yellow. The main infantry role of a sergeant is as second-in-command of a platoon
or commander of a fire support section of a weapons platoon, such as an anti-tank or mortar platoon. Another role is that of company
clerk and instructor. There are higher ranks of company sergeant and company quartermaster sergeant. Artillery sergeants are
usually assigned as detachment and section commanders, as well as in administrative roles. The difference in roles of sergeant and
corporal in the artillery corps is not as clearly defined as in the infantry corps. Sergeant is also the second rank of non-commissioned
officer in the Irish Air Corps. Before 1994, the Air Corps was considered part of the army and wore army uniforms with distinct
corps badges, but the same rank insignia. With the introduction of a unique Air Corps blue uniform in 1994, the same rank markings in
a white colour were worn, before the introduction of a new three-chevron with wing rank marking. There are higher ranks of
flight sergeant and flight quartermaster sergeant.
- United Kingdom:
* Royal Marines and Army: A sergeant (Sgt) in the Royal Marines and British Army wears three point-down chevrons on their sleeve
and usually serves as a platoon or troop sergeant, or in a specialist position. Staff sergeant (in technical units) or colour sergeant (In
the Royal Marines and the infantry), is the next most senior rank, above which come warrant officers. The Household Cavalry use the rank
of corporal of horse instead, the only regiments to preserve the old cavalry tradition of having corporals but not sergeants.
A lance-sergeant (LSgt) was formerly a corporal acting in the capacity of a sergeant. The appointment now survives only in the
Foot Guards and Honourable Artillery Company, where it is awarded to all corporals, a lance-sergeant wears three chevrons and belongs
to the sergeants' mess, however, functionally he remains a corporal rather than an acting sergeant (e.g., he will typically command
a section). In the Household Cavalry, the equivalent appointment is lance-corporal of horse. A sergeant in infantry regiments usually
holds the appointment of "platoon sergeant" and is second in command of a platoon. The Rifles still use the pre-1953 spelling "serjeant".
* Air Force: The Royal Air Force also has the rank of sergeant, wearing the same three chevrons. The rank lies between corporal and
flight sergeant (or chief technician for technicians and musicians). Between 1950 and 1964 in technical trades there was a rank of
senior technician which was the equivalent of a sergeant. Senior technicians wore their chevrons point up. On 1 July 1946,
aircrew sergeants were re-designated as aircrew IV, III or II, replacing the chevrons with one, two or three six-pointed stars
within a wreath and surmounted by an eagle. This was unpopular and in 1950 they returned to the old rank, but have worn an eagle
above their chevrons ever since. Sergeants of the Royal Flying Corps wore a four-bladed propeller above their chevrons.
- United States:
* Army: In the United States Army, although there are several ranks of sergeant, the lowest carries the title of sergeant (SGT). Sergeant
is the enlisted rank in the U.S. Army above specialist and corporal and below staff sergeant, and is the second-lowest grade of
non-commissioned officer. The rank was often nicknamed buck sergeant to distinguish it from other senior grades of sergeants.
Sergeants in the infantry, for example, lead fire teams of four men. There are two fire teams in a 9-man rifle squad, which is led by a
staff sergeant. In the United States Army, sergeants, staff sergeants, sergeants first class, and master sergeants are typically referred to
in short form by their subordinates as "sergeant", except in some training environments, or "first sergeant" in the case of first sergeants
and "sergeant major" in the case of sergeants major, command sergeants major and the Sergeant Major of the Army. However, it is
considered a good manner to address junior E-8 by their full rank, time allowing, or always when they request it.
Drill sergeants are typically addressed as "drill sergeant" regardless of rank, though this term is used depending on post policy.
When serving a tour as drill sergeant this is indicated by the traditional campaign hat, commonly referred to as the "brown
round" or "smokey bear". The drill sergeant will always wear the drill sergeant badge indicating he completed
the school. The army drill sergeant badge appears on the right breast pocket.
* American Civil War: The rank was used by both the Union Army and the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. The same
rank insignia was used similarly by both armies. Both varied the color of the stripes by assigning red for artillery, yellow for cavalry, blue
for infantry and later in the war, green for sharpshooters. Some militia units varied these colors even further and had other colors
including black and red with gold piping for various units. The rank was just below first sergeant and just above corporal. They
usually commanded a section of twenty men with two corporals under him. As the war progressed these men were often in command
of platoons and even companies as the units were depleted of officers during combat.
* Marine Corps: The United States Marine Corps has several ranks that carry the title of sergeant, the lowest of which is Sergeant (Sgt).
Marine sergeants are the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, just above corporal and below staff sergeant. Once a Marine
reaches sergeant, their promotion no longer derives from a composite or cutting score; instead, they receive a fitrep
(fitness report). Sergeants serve as squad leaders in an infantry company while staff sergeants serve in the billet of
"platoon sergeant" in rifle platoons and "section leader" in weapons platoons (i.e., machine guns, mortars, anti-tank/assault weapons)
with gunnery sergeants as "platoon sergeants", supervising squad leaders and the platoon as a whole, and are second
in command under the platoon commander. In the Marine Corps, enlisted ranks above sergeant are referred to as staff
non-commissioned officers, or SNCO's. These ranks, staff sergeant through sergeant major, are always referred to by their full rank
and never merely as "sergeant". Gunnery sergeants are commonly addressed as simply "gunny" informally. Master sergeants are
addressed as "master sergeant" or "top" at the preference of the Marine wearing the rank and dependent on the MOS community.
Master gunnery sergeants follow the same protocol but are commonly referred to as "master guns", or "master gunny".
* Air Force: The U.S. Air Force rank of sergeant (E-4) was phased out in the 1990s. Previously, senior airmen were promoted to sergeant
and granted non-commissioned officer status after 12 months time in grade; this lateral promotion is no longer conferred and senior
airmen compete directly for promotion to staff sergeant. The old rank of sergeant was commonly referred to in the Air Force as
"buck sergeant". In today's Air Force, the term sergeant refers to all Air Force non-commissioned officers up to senior master
sergeant (E-8). An airman who has achieved the rank of chief master sergeant (E-9) is referred to as "chief". This does not distract,
however, from the differentiation between junior and senior non-commissioned officers in the U.S. Air Force. In the
U.S. Air Force, non-commissioned officers in the grade of staff sergeant (E-5) and technical sergeant (E-6) are referred to as
non-commissioned officers (or junior non-commissioned officers), while those in the grade of master sergeant (E-7) through chief
master sergeant (E-9) are referred to as senior non-commissioned officers. The attainment of senior non-commissioned officer
status confers additional responsibilities and obligations beyond those of non-commissioned officers, such as the ability to be the senior
rater for those below senior non-commissioned officer status. In this way, the U.S. Air Force places great responsibility upon its
senior non-commissioned officer corps to mentor and develop future leaders.
* SPECIALIST (SPC): (Abbreviated "SPC") is one of the four junior enlisted ranks in the U.S. Army, just above Private First Class and equivalent in pay grade to Corporal. Unlike Corporals, Specialists are not considered junior non-commissioned officers (NCOs).
* Recruits with collage degrees and officer candidates: New recruits enlisting into the United States Army who have earned a four-
year degree, and as of 2006 those with civilian-acquired job skills, will enter as a Specialist.Typically, newly recruited Officer Candidates
hold the rank of Specialist when enlisted and during BCT (Basic Combat Training) prior to their official enrollment into OCS
(Officer Candidate School) they will be administratively promoted to the Pay Grade of E-5 but hold a rank of Officer Candidate (OC),
not Sergeant (SGT).
* Trades and specialties: In 1920, the Army rank and pay system received a major overhaul. All enlisted and non-commissioned ranks
were reduced from 128 different insignias and several pay grades to only 7 rank insignias and 7 pay grades, which were numbered
in seniority from 7th Grade (lowest) to 1st Grade (highest). The 2nd grade had two rank titles: first sergeant, which was three stripes,
two rockers, and a lozenge (diamond) in the middle; and technical sergeant, which was three stripes and two rockers. By World War II,
the rank of first sergeant had been elevated to 1st Grade and a third rocker was added, with the lozenge in the center to
distinguish it from master sergeant. The wearing of Specialist badges inset in rank insignia was abolished and a generic system of
chevrons and arcs replaced them.
* Private / Specialist: From 1920 to 1942 there was a rank designated "Private / Specialist" (or simply "Specialist") that was graded in 6
Classes (the lowest being 6th Class and the highest being 1st Class). They were considered the equal of a Private First Class (PFC)
but drew additional Specialist pay in relationship to the specialist level possessed on top of their base PFC (Grade Six) pay. The classes
only indicated experience, not seniority, and a Private / Specialist did not outrank a PFC. Officially, Specialists wore the single chevron of
a Private First Class, because no special insignia was authorized to indicate their rank. Unofficially, a Private/ Specialist could
be authorized, at his commander's discretion, to wear one to six additional arcs (1 arc for 6th Class and a maximum of 6 arcs for 1st
Class) under their rank chevron to denote specialty level.
* Technician: On 8 January 1942, the rank of Technician was introduced to replace the Private / Specialist rank, which was discontinued by
30 June 1942. This gave technical specialists more authority by grading them as non-commissioned officers rather
than senior enlisted personnel. They were parallel to pay grades of the time, going in seniority from Technician Fifth Grade (Grade
Five), Technician Fourth Grade (Fourth Grade), and Technician Third Grade (Third Grade). A technician was paid according to his
grade, was outranked by the corresponding non-commissioned officer grade but was senior to the next lowest pay grade, and had no
direct supervisory authority outside of his specialty. To reduce the confusion this caused in the field, an embroidered “T” insignia
was authorized for wear under the chevrons on 4 September 1942. The rank was finally discontinued on 1 August 1948.
* 1st Grade -
First Sergeant (1st Sgt.)
Master Sergeant (M/Sgt.)
* 2nd Grade -
Technical Sergeant (T/Sgt.)
* 3rd Grade -
Staff Sergeant (S/Sgt.)
Technician Third Grade (T/3)
* 4th Grade -
Technician Fourth Grade (T/4)
* 5th Grade -
Technician 5th Grade (T/5)
* 6th Grade -
Private First Class (Pfc.)
* 7th Grade -
* Specialist: On 1 July 1955, four grades of Specialist were established: Specialist Three (E-4), Specialist Two (E-5), Specialist One (E-6), and
Master Specialist (E-7). In 1958 the DoD added two additional pay grades to give enlisted soldiers more opportunities to progress to a full
career with additional opportunities for promotion. Thus the recognition was changed to six specialist ranks, and the paygrade was tied into
the rank designation: Specialist Four (E-4), Specialist Five (E-5), Specialist Six (E-6), Specialist Seven (E-7), Specialist Eight (E-8)
and Specialist Nine (E-9). CSM Daniel K. Elder goes on to explain, "In 1968 when the Army added the rank of Command Sergeant
Major, the specialist ranks at E-8 and E-9 were abolished" because they were notional rather than actual. In 1978 the specialist rank at
E-7 was discontinued and in 1985, the specialist ranks at E-5 and E-6 were discontinued." These specialist ranks were created to
reward personnel with higher degrees of experience and technical knowledge. Appointment to either Specialist or
Non-Commissioned Officer status was determined by Military Occupational Specialty. Different Military Occupational Specialties had
various transition points, for example in the band career field (excluding special bands at D.C. and West Point) a bandsman could
not achieve non-commissioned officer status until pay grade E-6 was attained. In some military occupational specialties, a soldier
was appointed either a specialist or non-commissioned officer depending on which particular position or "slot" that he filled
in his organization. Cooks were specialists, while a mess steward held the rank of sergeant (E-5 through E-7). Specialist grades
paralleled the corresponding grade of non-commissioned officer (E-4 through E-7) only in terms of pay. The specialist grades, although
they outranked the enlisted grades (E-1 to E-3), were outranked by all non-commissioned officers (E-4 to E-9) and lacked the
authority conferred on them. This is the major differentiation between a specialist and a "hard striper". When the so-called "super grades"
(E-8 and E-9) were introduced in 1958, the specialist grade titles were changed to Specialist Four through Specialist Seven and
the Specialist Eight and Specialist Nine were added on top. Only the lowest specialist grade survives today, as the higher grades
were gradually phased out. Specialist 8 and Specialist 9, were eliminated in 1968. Specialist 7 was abolished in 1978 and Specialist 5
and Specialist 6 in 1985. At that time, the rank of Specialist 4 simply became known as "Specialist," which is how it is referred to
today. While the official abbreviation was changed from "SP4" to "SPC" upon the elimination of the SP5 and SP6 ranks, the
SIDPERS database was initially authorized to continue using SP4 until such time as the change could be made at
little or no additional expense in conjunction with other system upgrades. The continued use of SP4 on automatically produced
documents (transfer orders, leave & earnings statements, unit manning reports, inter alia), hampered the adoption of the new
abbreviation (and, to a lesser extent, the absence of "-4" in the non-abbreviated rank) by individual soldiers who naturally
viewed the computer produced documents as the final word on what the proper term was. Today, the rank of Specialist is the typical
rank to which Privates First Class are promoted after two years of service. It is granted far more often than
corporal (E-4), which is now reserved for personnel who have either passed the leadership development course or have been
assigned low-level supervisory or clerical duties.
* E9 = Specialist 9
* E8 = Specialist 8
* E7 = Specialist 7
* E6 = Specialist 6
* E5 = Specialist 5
* E4 = Specialist 4
* CORPORAL (CPL): A military rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4. The rank of corporal nominally corresponds to commanding a section or squad of soldiers. However, in the United States Army, a corporal is usually a fire team leader or second-in-command of a squad of soldiers. In the United States Marine Corps, corporal is the Table of Organization rank for a rifle fire team leader, machine gun team leader, light mortar squad leader, and assault weapon team leader, as well as gunner on most larger crew served weapons (i.e., medium mortars, heavy machine guns, anti-tank missiles, and howitzers) and armored vehicles (e.g., tanks, light armored vehicles, and armored assault vehicles).
In most countries which derive their military structure from the British military system, it is a more senior rank than that of private. However, in several other countries, such as Canada, Italy and Norway, corporal is a junior rank, indicating a more experienced soldier than a private, and also on a higher pay scale, but having no particular command appointment corresponding to the rank, similar to specialist in the U.S.
* Etymology: The word is derived from the medieval Italian phrase capo corporale ("head of a body"). It may also be derived from
an appointment as an officer's bodyguard,originally being an adjective pertaining to the word "body".
* Australia: The second lowest of the non-commissioned officer ranks in the Australian Army, falling between Lance-Corporal and Sergeant.
A corporal is usually a Section Commander (Sect Comd), and is in charge of 7-14 men of private rank. He is assisted by a second-in-
command, a Lance-Corporal or a senior Private. The same ranks within artillery units are Bombardier and Lance-Bombardier respectively.
A corporal is frequently referred to as 'seco' (abbv. of Section Commander) by all ranks in everyday speech but never in
written correspondence. Corporal is also a rank of the Royal Australian Air Force, being equal to both the Australian Army and
Royal Air Force rank of Corporal. There is no RAAF equivalent to the Army rank of Lance-Corporal.
* Belgium: All branches of the Belgian Armed Forces, except the Naval Component, use three ranks of Corporal: Corporal (Dutch:
Korporaal, French: Caporal), Master Corporal (Dutch: Korporaal-chef, French: Caporal-chef) and 1st Master Corporal (Dutch:
1ste Korporaal-chef, French: 1e Caporal-chef). Corporal is equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-3, whereas Master Corporal and 1st
Master Corporal are equivalent to OR-4. The rank immediately below Corporal is 1st Private and the rank directly above 1st
Master Corporal is Sergeant.
* Canada: An Army and Air Force non-commissioned member rank of the Canadian Forces. Its Naval equivalent is Leading Seaman (LS).
It is senior to the rank of Private and its naval equivalent Able Seaman, and junior to Master Corporal (Caporal-Chef) and its
equivalent Master Seaman (Matelot-Chef). It is part of the cadre of junior non-commissioned officers, and one of the Junior Ranks. In
French the rank is caporal (cpl). The rank insignia of a corporal is a two-bar chevron, point down, worn in gold thread on both upper
sleeves of the Service Dress jacket; in rifle green (Army) or dark blue (Air Force) thread on CADPAT slip-ons for Operational Dress; in
old gold thread on blue slip-ons on other Air Force uniforms; and in gold metal and green enamel miniature pins on the collars of the
Army dress shirt and outerwear coats. On Army ceremonial uniforms, it is usually rendered in gold braid (black for rifle regiments), on
either both sleeves, or just the right, depending on unit custom. Corporal is the first non-commissioned officer rank, and the lowest
rank officially empowered to issue a lawful command. Corporals can lead troops if they have the formal qualifications to be promoted
to Master Corporal but have not been promoted yet. However, the rank of Corporal was severely downgraded after Unification, along
with the attendant responsibilities. A corporal in the Canadian Army in 1967 had the same duties and responsibilities that a sergeant
has today. In an infantry section a Corporal will sometimes command a assault team if a Master Corporal is leading the section or they
are pending promotion to Master Corporal. Another effect of Unification was to delete the appointments of Lance-Corporal and
Lance-Sergeant (a Corporal holding the acting rank of Sergeant). The former is still common in other Commonwealth
militaries. Corporal is deemed to be the substantive rank of the members carrying the appointment of Master Corporal. On pay
documents, Corporal was formerly listed as "Cpl (A)" and Master Corporal as "Cpl (B)". Privates in the Canadian Forces are considered to
be apprentices in their trades, and corporals are journeymen. To become a Corporal one must have served four years as a private, and
have achieved Qualification Level 5 trades training, or two years in the reserves but only require the completion of their
trades course (DP1). In some cases, privates having served a minimum of 3 years may be advance promoted to the rank of Corporal
with the approval of their superiors, providing they have shown dedication to the military and exemplary skills with reference to their
trade. The rank of corporal in artillery units follows the British convention and is styled Bombardier (Bdr) — thus a Master Corporal is
a Master Bombardier (MBdr). In rifle regiments, a distinction was historically drawn between a Corporal and an Acting Corporal;
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada has a special insignia to distinguish between the two. The equivalent of these in the
Naval Component are the Quartermaster, Chief Quartermaster, and the First Chief Quartermaster.
* Denmark: In the Danish military the rank of corporal (Korporal in Danish) is the lowest rank of the NCO group. Professional
(non-conscripted) soldiers, often those with the rank of "Overkonstabel" (somewhat similar to "Specialist" in the U.S. Army)
may sometimes get selected for the rank of corporal, if they have unique experience or skills. This can't be given as a battlefield
appointment and the aspiring corporal has to take a 3-week course in order to be promoted. A corporal will often be given a task similar
to that of other countries corporals; i.e. ad hoc assistance of squad-commanders. The rank of corporal was phased out but was
reintroduced into the Danish Army in October 2008.
* France: There are three ranks of corporal (caporal in French). In the French Army these are not NCO ranks, but enlisted ones. The
corporals are called "ranked" (gradés). NCO start at the rank of Sergent (OR-5).
- (Corporal) (caporal) is a NATO OR-3 level rank. The insignia is two chevrons of wool (vs. the two gold chevrons of a
- (Staff Corporal) (caporal-chef) is OR-4. The insignia is two chevrons of wool plus a gold chevron.
- (First Class Staff Corporal) (caporal-chef de première classe) is intermediate between OR-4 and OR-5. The insignia is one
red chevron and two gold chevrons.
In the regiments of cavalry traditions, the caporaux are called brigadiers, but not in Troupes de Marine where they are still called
caporaux whether they are infantry, cavalry or artillery.
* Germany: The German military had no direct equivalent to a corporal in either the Commonwealth or U.S. militaries, in terms of
duties and responsibilities. Some sources identify Unteroffizier as the traditional German equivalent to corporal, and this grade has
existed as a military rank since at least the 18th century. Other sources identify the lower rank of Gefreiter as being equivalent to a
Corporal of other armies, though in the German military this rank conferred a higher rate of pay without any of the duties and
responsibilities granted corporals in other armies (hence being more like ranks such as Private First Class). This and the rank
of Stabsgefreiter and Oberstabsgefreiter (highest ranks of Privates) are today classified by NATO as OR-4 ranks, with
Unteroffizier (lowest NCO-rank) being classified as OR-5. Given the vastly different status of the rank of Corporal in the British
(section commander) and American (section second-in-command) armies, identifying equivalents in the German military is largely
fruitless, though the American rank system corresponds better to the overall German NCO rank system. For
example: Sergeant (E-5)= Unteroffizier/Stabsunteroffizier, Staff Sergeant (E-6)= Feldwebel/Oberfeldwebel, Sergeant First Class(E-7)
= Hauptfeldwebel, Master Sergeant (E-8)= Stabsfeldwebel, First Sergeant (E-8)= is a German NCO duty in
Company. Ordinarily Hauptfeldwebel/Stabsfeldwebel, Sergeant Major/Command Sergeant Major (E-9) = Oberstabsfeldwebel.
In the years between 1934 and 1945 there were also the Unterscharführer a paramilitary rank as a part of the Nazi Party.
(discontinued) SS equivalent to Unteroffizier was Unterscharführer.
* Ireland: Corporal (Cpl) (Ceannaire in Irish) is the lowest rank of non-commissioned officer within the Irish Army and Air Corps. The
Naval Service equivalent is Leading Seaman (LS).
- Army: The main role of an Infantry Corporal is to either command a section as the section commander or to command the
Fire Support Group (FSG) as the 2I/C of the section. All corporals are qualified instructors on drill, section
weapons, and fieldcraft. In the Artillery Corps, the Corporal is normally assigned to a gun detachment
as a Layer, or a Detachment Commander. Artillery corporals can also find themselves in
charge of the battery signals section. The Army rank insignia consists of two winged chevrons (or "stripes"), the
dress uniform being red chevrons with a yellow border.
- Air Corps: Before 1994, the Air Corps was considered part of the Army and wore Army uniforms with distinct corps badges but
the same rank insignia. With the introduction of a unique Air Corps blue uniform in 1994, the same rank markings
in a white colour were worn, before the introduction of a new two-chevron badge with wing rank marking.
* United Kingdom: The second rank of non-commissioned officer in the British Army and Royal Marines, falling between Lance-Corporal
and Sergeant. The badge of rank is a two-bar chevron (also known as "stripes", "tapes" or "hooks"). A corporal's role varies
between regiments, but in the standard infantry role a corporal commands a section, with a Lance-Corporal as Second-in-Command
(2ic). When the section is split into fire teams, they command one each. In the Royal Armoured Corps, a Corporal commands an
individual tank. Their duties therefore largely correspond to those of sergeants in the United States Army and corporals are often
described as the "backbone" of the British Army. In the Household Cavalry all non-commissioned ranks are
designated as different grades of Corporal up to Regimental Corporal Major (who is a Warrant Officer class 1). There is no
effective actual rank of Corporal however, and the ranks progress directly from Lance-Corporal to Lance-Corporal of Horse (who
is effectively equivalent to a Corporal; technically a LCoH holds the rank of Corporal, but is automatically give the appointment of
LCoH). Similarly, in the Foot Guards the appointment of Lance-Sergeant is effectively used instead of Corporal, with the equivalent of
a Lance-Corporal being referred to as 'Corporal' and possessing two stripes: this is sometimes said to have originated
with Queen Victoria who did not like 'her own guardsmen' having only one chevron. Royal Artillery corporals are called
bombardiers, although until 1920 the Royal Artillery had corporals and bombardier was a lower rank. The rank of Second Corporal
existed in the Royal Engineers and Royal Army Ordnance Corps until 1920. A common nickname for a corporal is a "full screw", with
lance-corporals being known as "lance-jacks", e.g. in the popular television series 'Dad's Army', lance-corporal Jack Jones the
Butcher. Corporal is the lowest NCO rank in the Royal Air Force (aside from the RAF Regiment who have Lance-Corporals),
coming between Junior Technician or Senior Aircraftman (Technician) and Sergeant in the technical trades, or Senior Aircraftman
and Sergeant in the non technical trades. Between 1950 and 1964, corporals in technical trades were known as Corporal
Technicians and wore their chevrons point up. In the Royal Navy, a corporal is a Leading Hand or Leading Rate. Although
classified as NATO OR-4, British corporals frequently fill OR-5 equivalent posts. The Army Cadet Force,
Combined Cadet Force, Air Training Corps, Royal Marines sections of the Sea Cadet Corps and the Combined Cadet Force
all have the rank of corpora, reflecting the structure of their parent service; therefore it is the second NCO rank of the ACF, CCF and
Marine Cadets, and the first NCO rank in the ATC.
* United States Army: In the U.S. Army corporal (CPL) is preceded by the first three forms of private and the rank of specialist.
A corporal rank shares the same pay grade (E-4) as a specialist. Unlike a specialist, however, a corporal is a non-commissioned officer
and may direct the activities of other soldiers. A soldier may be promoted to corporal directly from the rank of private first
class or laterally promoted from specialist. Many corporals are found in recruiting units in which specialists are temporarily given a
lateral appointment to corporal as an incentive for recruiter duty. In rare cases, soldiers in regular units are permanently
promoted to corporal. The typical criterion for promotion to corporal is that the junior enlisted soldier must be serving in a leadership
position that would typically be occupied by an NCO such as a sergeant or higher. Normally these promotions are given to specialists
who work in an NCO position but who are prevented promotion to sergeant (E-5) due to promotion point quotas.
For a time, it was not uncommon to find paralegal corporals assigned to the legal assistance branch of a post's staff judge advocate's
office, despite often having little or no actual leadership duties. Army Regulation 27-55 Notarial Services conferred (under provisions of
10 U.S.C. §§ 936, 1044a) authority to act as a notary and consul of the United States upon JAG Corps NCOs.
Notarisation of powers of attorney and other documents is a "bread-and-butter" task in such offices, which necessitated the presence
of either NCOs or state notaries. AR 27-55 was later amended to confer the authority on such paralegal specialists who are so designated
by their respective staff judge advocate. It is common for a corporal to lead a fireteam; however, if a soldier is promoted to
corporal and there are too many soldiers of that rank, the new corporal will stay in his current position.
* United States Marine Corps: Corporal (Cpl) is the fourth enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, ranking immediately above
lance corporal and immediately below sergeant. The Marine Corps, unlike the Army, has no other rank at the pay grade of E-4. Corporal
is the lowest grade of non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, though promotion to corporal traditionally confers a
significant jump in authority and responsibility compared to promotion from private through lance corporal. Theoretically, Marine
corporals generally serve as "fire-team leaders," commanding a 4-man team or unit of similar size. In practice, however, the billet of fire
team leader is generally held by a lance corporal, while corporals serve in the squad leader billet that would normally be held by a
sergeant (E-5) in infantry units. In support units, they direct the activities of junior Marines and provide technical supervision. Due
to its emphasis on small-unit tactics, the Marine Corps usually places corporals in billets where other services would normally have an E-5
or E-6 in authority. Similarly, the term "Strategic Corporal" refers to the special responsibilities conferred upon a
Marine corporal over the other branches of the U.S. armed forces.
* PRIVATE FIRST CLASS (PFC): A junior enlisted military rank.
* United States Army: In the United States Army, recruits usually enter the army as private in pay grade E-1. Private (E-2),
designated by a single chevron, is typically an automatic promotion after six months of service, or for those who have achieved the rank
of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts or have been awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award in the Girl Scouts of the USA, are entitled to enlist
at this rank. Private First Class (E-3), equivalent to NATO grade OR-3, is designated by a single chevron and a rocker stripe and is
more common among soldiers who have served in the U.S. Army for one year or more. Soldiers with prior military training such as
JROTC, Sea Scouting or similar program, or whom have achieved an associate degree or its equivalent, are entitled
to enter the army at this pay grade. Advancement from private first class is typically to specialist, although occasionally it may be to
* United States Marine Corps: In the United States Marine Corps, the rank of private first class is the second lowest, just under
lance corporal and just above private, equivalent to NATO grade OR-2, being pay grade E-2. It was established in 1917 to match the
newly created army rank, although it is actually one grade lower. Enlistees that complete USMC boot camp and had obtained the rank
of Young Marine Sergeant or above in the Young Marines will graduate from USMC boot camp with the rank of PFC.
* PRIVATE (PVT): A private is a soldier of the lowest military rank (equivalent to NATO Rank Grades OR-1 to OR-3 depending on the force served in). In modern military parlance, 'private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.
* Etymology: The term derives from the medieval term "private soldiers" (a term still used in the United Kingdom), denoting soldiers who
were either hired, conscripted, or feudalized into service by a nobleman forming an army. The usage of "private" dates from the 18th
century, when the army of Napoleon Bonaparte first established the permanent rank of soldat.
* Australia: In the Australian Army, a soldier of private rank wears no insignia. Like its British Army counterpart, the Australian Army rank
of private (PTE) has other titles, depending on the corps and specification of that service member. The following alternative ranks
are available for privates in the Australian Army:
- Craftsman (CFN) - Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
- Gunner (GNR) - Royal Australian Artillery
- Sapper (SPR) - Royal Australian Engineers
- Musician (MUSN) - Australian Army Band Corps
- Signalman (SIG) - Royal Australian Corps of Signals
- Trooper (TPR) - Royal Australian Armoured Corps, Australian Army Aviation and the Australian Special Air Service Regiment
* Canada: In the Canadian Forces there are three levels of private: private (recruit), private (basic), and private (trained). All persons
holding the rank of private are referred to as such and the qualifier shown in brackets is used on employment records only. A private
is considered an "apprentice" in their trade, and there are no pay raises between the various levels of private except for time in rank
raise. The Canadian Army and Air Force have an identical rank structure.
- Private (recruit) (Pte(R)) - fresh recruit, untrained; holds this rank through recruit training.
- Private (basic) (Pte(B)) - after finishing recruit training, a member becomes a private (basic). This rank is held through
training and beyond.
- Private (trained) (Pte(T)) - A private (basic) becomes a private (trained) a year after completion of their DP 1
training depending on their regiment; some regiments may promote them right away. Typically in the Regular Force, this
rank is awarded after two and a half years of service, not a year after completion of one's trade qualifications. A
private (trained) is the only private to wear rank insignia, a single chevron.
An army private may also be known by other titles, depending on unit and/or branch:
- Craftsman - Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Branch
- Fusilier - Fusilier regiments (infantry)
- Guardsman - Foot Guards regiments (infantry)
- Gunner - Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery
- Highlander - Highland Regiments (infantry)
- Rifleman - Rifle regiments (infantry)
- Sapper - Canadian Military Engineers
- Signaller - Signals
- Trooper - Royal Canadian Armoured Corps
The Canadian Navy's equivalents are:
- Ordinary seaman (OS) - private (recruit/basic)
- Able seaman (AB) - private (trained)
* India and Pakistan: In the Indian Army and Pakistan Army the lowest enlisted rank is sepoy, literally meaning "soldier" in Urdu. A sepoy
does not wear any rank insignia on his uniform. Sipahis are sometimes also referred to as jawan, literally meaning "young" in Urdu.
* United Kingdom: In the British Army, a private (Pte) equates to both OR-1 and OR-2 on the NATO scale, although there is no difference
in rank. Privates wear no insignia. Many regiments and corps use other distinctive and descriptive names instead of private, some of
these ranks have been used for centuries, others are less than 100 years old. In the contemporary British Armed Forces, the army rank
of private is broadly equivalent to able seaman in the Royal Navy, aircraftman, leading aircraftman and senior aircraftman in the
Royal Air Force, and marine or bandsman, as appropriate equivalent rank in the Royal Marines. Also in the Boys Brigade the rank of
private is used when a boy moves from the junior section to the company section. Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell
are examples of rare, rapid career progression with the British Army, both rising from the rank of private to brigadier during World War
II. Distinctive equivalents for private include:
- Airtrooper (Atpr) - Army Air Corps
- Bugler (Bgr) - buglers in The Rifles and formerly also in other Rifle regiments
- Craftsman (Cfn) - Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (women as well as men use this rank)
- Drummer (Dmr) - drummers in infantry regiments
- Fusilier (Fus) - Fusilier regiments
- Gunner (Gnr) - Royal Artillery
- Guardsman (Gdsm) - Foot Guards
- Highlander (Hldr) - The Highlanders
- Kingsman (Kgn) - Duke of Lancaster's Regiment
- Musician (Mus) - military bands (formerly called bandsman)
- Piper (Ppr) - bagpipers in Scottish and Irish regiments
- Ranger (Rgr) - Royal Irish Regiment and Royal Irish Rangers
- Rifleman (Rfn) - Rifle regiments
- Sapper (Spr) - Royal Engineers
- Signaller (Sig) - Royal Corps of Signals (formerly called signalman)
- Trooper (Tpr) - Household Cavalry, Royal Armoured Corps, Special Air Service and Honourable Artillery Company
- Trumpeter (Tptr) - trumpeters in the Household Cavalry (and formerly in all cavalry regiments)
* United States: In the U.S. Army, Private (PVT) is used for the two lowest enlisted ranks, just below Private First Class. It is the lowest
rank (officially known as Private E-1 (PV1) and sometimes referred to as Recruit, but also held by some soldiers after
punishment through the Uniform Code of Military Justice or prisoners after conviction until they are dishonorably discharged). A
PVT wears no uniform insignia; since the advent of the Army Combat Uniform, the term "fuzzy" has come
into vogue, referring to the blank velcro patch on the ACU where the rank would normally be placed. The second rank, Private E-2
(PV2), wears a single chevron, known colloquially as "mosquito wings". Advancement to the higher rank is automatic after six months
time in service, but may get shortened to four months if given a waiver. In the U.S. Marine Corps, private (PVT) only refers to
the lowest enlisted rank, just below Private First Class. A Marine Corps Private wears no uniform insignia and is sometimes described
as having a "slick sleeve" for this reason. Most new, non-officer Marines begin their military career as a private. In the Marine
Corps, Privates First Class are not referred to as "Privates"; It is more appropriate to use either "Private First Class" or