US Army Ranks: Everything You Need to Know

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Knowing the U.S. Army ranks is essential for each Soldier, but in this increasingly interconnected world, it’s important for members of each service branch to have a working knowledge of the rank structure in their sister services.

Army rank insignias offer a visual representation of each rank, and each Army rank is associated with a pay grade. While ranks aren’t universal across all U.S. military branches, pay grades are — so by developing a good understanding of Army ranks, members of other service branches can also better understand the organizational hierarch in joint-force operations.

In the U.S. Navy, for instance, the rank of Captain is associated with the pay grade O-6, whereas in the Army ranks structure, the rank of Captain is associated with the pay grade of O-3. Both branches use the title “captain” to reflect different levels of the organizational hierarchy. If that sounds confusing, that’s because it is, but learning the Army ranks and their associated pay grades can help you beat back that confusion and ensure you know who you’re talking to, when you’re talking to them.

Pay Grades, Army Ranks and Insignias

E-1

Private (Recruit)

No insignia


E-2

Private


E-3

Private First Class


E-4

Corporal

Specialist


E-5

Sergeant


E-6

Staff Sergeant


E-7

Sergeant First Class


E-8

Master Sergeant

First Sergeant


E-9

Sergeant Major

Command Sergeant Major

Sergeant Major of the Army


W-1

Warrant Officer 1


W-2

Chief Warrant Officer 2


W-3

Chief Warrant Officer 3


W-4

Chief Warrant Officer 4


W-5

Chief Warrant Officer 5


O-1

Second Lieutenant


O-2

First Lieutenant


O-3

Captain


O-4

Major


O-5

Lieutenant Colonel


O-6

Colonel


O-7

Brigadier General


O-8

Major General


O-9

Lieutenant General


O-10

General


General of the Army (for wartime only)

Alex Hollings

Alex Hollings is a writer, dad, and Marine veteran.

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