Special Report

Every Rank in the US Army

Roberto Galan / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

The United States Army is the largest branch of the U.S. military, with over 480,000 active personnel. Army ranks are divided into three categories: enlisted soldiers, warrant officers, and commissioned officers. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed every rank and insignia from the official U.S. Army website.

Among the enlisted members, there are 13 ranks, broken into three groups: junior enlisted (pay-grades E-1 through E-4), non-commissioned officers (E-4 through E-6), and senior non-commissioned officers (E-7 through E-9). Junior enlisted members are promoted automatically, based on their time in service and their time in their particular pay-grade. New recruits start as privates and eventually reach the rank of private first class. They may then become specialists (E-4) after serving a minimum of two years and undergoing specific training in their field, and eventually corporals (E-4) after taking the Army’s Basic Leadership Course.

Advancing further up the ranks to sergeant (E-5) or staff sergeant (E-6) requires leadership training as well as high performance in a graded Army-wide competition that awards points for physical fitness, education, firing range scores, awards, and other attributes. Seargents oversee soldiers in their daily activities and serve as first-line leaders who have the most direct impact on the soldiers. Sergeant major (E-9) is the highest position possible for enlisted personnel. There is only one sergeant major in the army, who oversees all non-commissioned officers and serves as an advisor to the four-star general.

To become a warrant officer 1 (WO1) – the highest of non-commissioned officers – enlisted officers must have several years of expertise, a recommendation from their commanding officer, and approval from a selection board. There are five warrant officer ranks, who serve as combat leaders, experts, trainers, and operations managers.

Commissioned officers plan missions, give orders, and serve as the key problem solvers in the Army. There are eleven commissioned officer ranks, including lieutenants, captains, majors, colonels, and generals. Four star general is the highest rank and the senior commissioned officer, except in wartime, when a five star general of the Army may be appointed. The last five star generals of the Army served during and after World War II, and included General Dwight D. Eisenhower and General Douglas MacArthur. Here are 50 of the most decorated war heroes in American history.

Click here to see every rank in the U.S. Army.

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

1. Private

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

2. Private First Class

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

3. Specialist

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

4. Corporal

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

5. Sergeant

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

6. Staff Sergeant

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

7. Sergeant First Class

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

8. Master Sergeant

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9. First Sergeant

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

10. Sergeant Major

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11. Command Sergeant Major

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

12. Sergeant Major of the Army

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13. Warrant Officer 1

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14. Chief Warrant Officer 2

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

15. Chief Warrant Officer 3

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16. Chief Warrant Officer 4

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

17. Chief Warrant Officer 5

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18. Second Lieutenant

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19. First Lieutenant

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

20. Captain

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21. Major

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

22. Lieutenant Colonel

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23. Colonel

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24. Brigadier General

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

25. Major General

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

26. Lieutenant General

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Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

27. General

Source: Courtesy of U.S. Army via army.mil

28. General of the Army

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