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spacer US Army Rank Insignia

The US Army and the Georgia State Defense Force rank insignia appear as a training aid.



United States Army Rank Insignia

The United States Army and the Georgia State Defense Force use the following  rank insignia & nomenclature for Enlisted, Warrant and Commissioned Personnel:

  1. Rank descriptions, pay grade, title of address and rank abbreviation appear in the left column:
     

    1.  Grade of rank appears first   Private
    2.  The Pay grade appears next   E-1
    3.  Title of Address [A] appears next
          BOLD and UNDERLINED
      Private
    4.  Rank abbreviation appears last   PV1

     

    A. The Title of Address is always used when speaking to the individual wearing the rank insignia along with the individual's name. See Notes
    IE: “Private Williamson,” “First Sergeant Rodriguez” or “Colonel Smith”.
     

  2. Designated rank insignia appear to the right of the rank descriptions, etc.

Reference: Army Regulation 600-20  PDF Document
Left click to read, right click to download.

US Army Rank Insignia
Enlisted Warrant Officer Commissioned Officer
Private
E-1
Private
PV1
No Rank
Insignia
Warrant
Officer, One
W-1
Mister *
WO1
Warrant Officer OneWarrant Officer One Second Lieutenant
O-1
Lieutenant
2LT
Second Lieutenant Second Lieutenant - Subdued
Private
E-2
Private
PV2
Private  Private Subdued Chief Warrant
Officer, Two
W-2
Mister *
CW2
Chief Warrant Officer TwoChief Warrant Officer Two First Lieutenant
O-2
Lieutenant
1LT
First LieutenantFirst Lieutenant - Subdued
Private First Class
E-3
Private
PFC
Private First Class  Private First Class Subdued Chief Warrant
Officer, Three
W-3
Mister *
CW3
Chief Warrant Officer ThreeChief Warrant Officer Three Captain
O-3
Captain
CPT
CaptainCaptain - Subdued
Specialist
E-4
Specialist
SPC
Specialist  Specialist Subdued Chief Warrant
Officer, Four
W-4
Mister *
CW4
Chief Warrant Officer FourChief Warrant Officer Four Major
O-4
Major
MAJ
MajorMajor
Corporal
E-4
Corporal
CPL
Corporal  Corporal Chief Warrant
Officer, Five
W-5
Mister *
CW5
Chief Warrant Officer FiveChief Warrant Officer Five Lieutenant Colonel
O-5
Colonel
LTC
Lieutenant Colonel
Sergeant
E-5
Sergeant
SGT
Sergeant  Sergeant     Colonel
O-6
Colonel
COL
Colonel
Staff Sergeant
E-6
Sergeant

SSG
Staff Sergeant  Staff Sergeant Subdued     Brigadier General
O-7
General
BG
Brigadier General
Sergeant First Class
E-7
Sergeant

SFC
Sergeant First Class  Sergeant First Class Subdued     Major General
O-8
General
MG
Major General
Master Sergeant
E-8
Sergeant
*
MSG
Master Sergeant  Master Sergeant Subdued     Lieutenant General
O-9
General
LTG
Lieutenant General
First Sergeant
E-8
First
Sergeant
1SG
First Sergeant  First Sergeant Subdued     General
O-10
General
GEN
General
Sergeant Major
E-9
Sergeant Major
SGM
Sergeant Major  Sergeant Major Subdued     General of the Army
Special
General
GA *
General Of The ArmyGeneral Of The Army
Command Sergeant Major
E-9
Sergeant Major
CSM
Command Sergeant Major  Command Sergeant Major Subdued        
Sergeant Major
of the Army
E-9
Sergeant Major
SMA
Sergeant Major Of The Army   Sergeant Major Of The Army Subdued        
NOTES:
  1. The approved address for Master Sergeants is Sergeant. However, the custom of addressing Master Sergeants as Master Sergeant is observed within most commands.
  2. The approved address for all Warrant Officers is Mister (Mrs./Miss/Ms.). However, the custom of addressing Chief Warrant Officers, WO2 - WO5 as Chief is observed within most commands.
  3. Other abbreviations authorized for use in correspondence with the general public and agencies outside DOD, on identification (ID) cards, and in personal correspondence are listed in AR 25-50 PDF Icon.

Notes On “Addressing The Ranks”.

A Brief History Of Rank Insignia.

Additional information on US Military Rank Insignia:

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Notes On "Addressing The Ranks"

In writing, refer to the soldier by either spelling out or abbreviating their rank, such as:

  • PFC, SPC, CPL, SGT, SSG, SFC, MSG, 1SG, SGM, CSM, SMA  (Enlisted)

  • WO1, CW2, CW3, CW4, CW5 (Warrant Officers)

  • 2LT, 1LT, CPT (Company Grade Commissioned Officers)

  • MAJ, LTC, COL (Field Grade Commissioned Officers)

  • BG, MG, LTG, GEN ("4 Star") (General Grade Commissioned Officers)

When speaking to or about a soldier, use the "core rank", not the "modifier":

  • Enlisted:
    Private, Specialist, Sergeant, Master Sergeant, 1st Sergeant, Sergeant Major

  • Warrant:
    Mister (Miss, Mrs, Ms), Chief

  • Commissioned:
    Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel, General

Enlisted Men & Women

Unless being spoken to by a Drill Sergeant (in which case all bets are off), newly enlisted personnel are addressed as "Private".  Once the enlistee has completed Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training (AIT), and a specialty course or two, they usually advance beyond the Private ranks and may be addressed as "Corporal" (E-4) or "Specialist" (E-4).

Non-Commissioned Officers

Sergeants (E-5), Staff Sergeants (E-6), Sergeants First Class (E-7), and Master Sergeants (E-8) may be addressed as "Sergeant". With the rank of First Sergeant  (E-8) you may address them as "1st Sergeant" or if it's OK with them, "Top" (as in Top Sergeant or highest NCO of the unit).

E-9s, the Sergeants Major, Command Sergeants Major, and the Command Sergeant Major of the Army (one person only), are to be addressed as "Sergeant Major".

Warrant Officers

Technically, all Warrant Officers (W0-1 and CW-2 through CW-5) may correctly be addressed "Mr." or "Ms.".  However, CW2 through CW5 are customarily addressed as "Chief".

Commissioned Officers

All Lieutenants (0-1 and 0-2) are addressed “Lieutenant”.  Captains (0-3) are addressed “Captain”; Majors (0-4) are addressed “Major”.  All Colonels, whether Lieutenant Colonel (0-5) or "full bird" Colonel (0-6) are addressed “Colonel”.  All Generals (regardless of General rank) are addressed “General”.

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A Brief History Of Rank Insignia

Most of our present rank titles and insignia first came into popular use in Europe during the Middle Ages.  For a more detailed historical perspective of rank insignia, read the American Forces Press Service article.

"Chevron" is an architectural term denoting the rafters of a roof meeting an angle at the upper apex. The chevron in heraldry was employed as a badge of honor to mark the main supporters of the head of the clan or "top of the house" and it came to be used in various forms as an emblem of rank for knights and men-at-arms in feudal days.  One legend is that the chevron was awarded to a knight to show he had taken part in capturing a castle, town, or other building, of which the chevron resembled the roofs.  The use of the chevron to signify position within the enlisted ranks continues to this day.

  • Private: having attained no title of rank, a ‘private soldier’.

  • Corporal: influenced by ‘corps’; head, chief.

  • Sergeant: servant; attendant upon a knight in the field.


Our present system of officers’ grade insignia began on 18 June 1780 when it was prescribed that Major Generals would wear two stars and Brigadier Generals one star on each epaulette. In 1832, the Colonel’s eagle was initiated and in 1836, leaves were adopted for Lieutenant Colonels and Majors, while Captains received two bars and one bar was prescribed for First Lieutenant. Second Lieutenants did not receive the gold bar until December, 1917.

Warrant Officers were provided with an insignia of identification on May 12, 1921, which also served as their insignia of grade. In 1942, Warrant Officers were graded and there were created a Chief Warrant Officer and a Warrant Officer (Junior Grade), and separate insignia of grade (gold and brown enamel bars) were approved June 14, 1942. A grade of Flight Officer came into being in 1942, and the insignia was prescribed to be identical to Warrant Officer (Junior Grade) except the enamel was blue instead of brown.

Some historical notes regarding the commissioned ranks:

  • Lieutenant: an officer representing and exercising powers on behalf of his lord or sovereign.

  • Captain: an officer entrusted with a command or fort under a sovereign or general.

  • Colonel: an officer commanding a ‘column’ of soldiers and support trains.

  • General: originally meant to be of similar ‘birth’ or ‘class’ with a sovereign.
    Currently, the use is to be familiar with all facets of the army,
    no longer a specialist in one area, a ‘general officer’.

Other than the dates of authorization, no information is available as to why the leaf and bar were selected for officer’s insignia. Military routinely incorporate the design representing their country in their insignia.  The eagle with shield, arrows and olive leaves was taken from the Coat of Arms of the United States.

 

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Rank & insignia information on this page has been researched from both military and commercial sources and may be changed without notice.

Last revision: 15-Dec-2008

 


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