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Military Rank Chart

A military rank chart lists the ranks of those serving in the Army, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force, and Marines. To denote the rank on paper, a special acronym is used; to communicate the rank on uniforms, special insignias such as patches or pins are secured to the cloth, usually on the collar (although very rare), lapel, or upper sleeve. Each of the ranks of the four arms of the military are listed below.

Military Rank Chart

Military Rank Chart for the Army

When you first enlist you may start as a Private (PVT) and you'll bear no insignia. From there:

  • Private 2 (PV2)
  • Private First Class (PFC)
  • Specialist (SPC)—this rank is reserved for those who have obtained a four-year degree, those with civilian job skills, or Officer Candidates who have just enlisted.
  • Corporal (CPL)
  • Sergeant (SGT)
  • Staff Sergeant (SSG)—in charge of small squads in a larger platoon.
  • Sergeant First Class (SGC)
  • Master Sergeant (MSG)
  • First Sergeant (1SG)
  • Sergeant Major (SGM)
  • Command Sergeant Major (CSM)
  • Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA)
  • Warrant Officer (WO1)—pin insignias start here
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2-5 (CW2, CW3, CW4, CW5)
  • Second Lieutenant (2LT)
  • First Lieutenant (1LT)
  • Captain (CPT)
  • Major (MAJ)
  • Lieutenant Colonel (LTC)
  • Colonel (COL)
  • Brigadier General (BG)
  • Major General (MG)
  • Lieutenant General (LTG)
  • General (GEN)
  • General of the Army (GA)—denoted by five stars on the uniform and is the second highest rank in the Army. General of the Armies is the highest rank, but it has only been used twice.

Marine Corp Ranks

Many titles in the Marine Corps' military rank chart are similar to the Army.

  • Private (Pvt)—no insignia used
  • Private First Class (PFC)
  • Lance Corporal (LCpl)
  • Corporal (Cpl)
  • Sergeant (Sgt)
  • Staff Sergeant (SSgt)
  • Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt)
  • Master Sergeant (MSgt)
  • First Sergeant (1stSgt)
  • Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt)
  • Sergeant Major (SgtMaj)
  • Sergeant Major of the Marine Corp (SgtMajMarCor)
  • Warrant Officer 1 (WO1)—pin insignias start here
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2-5 (CW2, CW3, CW4, CW5)
  • Second Lieutenant (2ndLt)
  • First Lieutenant (1stLt)
  • Captain (Capt)
  • Major (Maj)
  • Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol)
  • Colonel (Col)
  • Brigadier General (BGen)
  • Major General (MajGen)
  • Lieutenant General (LtGen)
  • General (Gen)—four-star insignia

Air Force Ranks

  • Airman Basic (AB)—no insignia used
  • Airman (Amn)
  • Airman First Class (A1C)
  • Senior Airman or Sergeant (SrA)
  • Staff Sergeant (SSgt)
  • Technical Sergeant (TSgt)
  • Master Sergeant (MSgt)
  • Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt)
  • Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt)
  • Command Chief Master Sergeant (CCM)
  • Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF)
  • Second Lieutenant (2d Lt)—pin insignias start here
  • First Lieutenant (1st Lt)
  • Captain (Capt)
  • Major (Maj)
  • Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col)
  • Colonel (Col)
  • Brigadier General (Brig Gen)
  • Major General (Maj Gen)
  • Lieutenant General (Lt Gen)
  • General Air Force Chief of Staff (Gen)
  • General of the Air Force (GOAF)—five-star insignia

Navy/Coast Guard Military Ranks

The Navy includes similar types of abbreviations and insignias as other branches of the military.

  • Seaman Recruit (SR)—no insignia used
  • Seaman Apprentice (SA)
  • Seaman (SN)
  • Petty Officer 3rd through 1st Class (PO3, PO2, PO1)
  • Chief Petty Officer (CPO)
  • Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO)
  • Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO)
  • Command Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPOC)
  • Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer (FORCM)
  • Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MPCOCG)
  • Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)
  • Warrant Officer (WO1)—pins start here
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2-5 (CWO2, CWO3, CWO4, CWO5)
  • Ensign (ENS)
  • Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTJG)
  • Lieutenant (LT)
  • Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)
  • Commander (CDR)
  • Captain (CAPT)
  • Rear Admiral (lower half) (RDML)
  • Rear Admiral (upper half) (RADM)
  • Vice Admiral (VADM)
  • Admiral Chief of Naval Operations/Commandant of the Coast Guard (ADM)
  • Fleet Admiral (FADM)—five-star insignia

Looking over the military rank chart of the U.S. Armed Forces is a good way to familiarize yourself with how the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force promote the troops and how commands are divided.