The US Army is one of seven branches of the United States military. Within the different divisions or branches of the military, there exist specific ranking systems. The most commonly recognized branches of the military are the Coast Guard, Marines, Air Force, Navy and Army. Individuals of authority in the Army refer to other military personnel through the use of the US army ranks system.
The US military ranks system provides tiers of authoritative figures, delegation of responsibility and position of importance within a certain branch. Most branches refer to US military ranks with different terms to describe each tier of authority. Three general categories were created to help organize the separate tiers. The leading category in terms of authority is commissioned officers. The secondary category in terms of authority refers to warrant officers. And last, but not least among US army ranks are the enlisted personnel.
Ranks in the army are separated and filed in the order of smallest authority powers to largest authority powers. Enlisted personnel come first with regards to US army ranks. Military personnel of entry level authority are referred to as Privates. Advancements through the chain of authority are as follows: Private First Class, Specialist, Corporal, Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, Sergeant First Class, Master Sergeant and First Sergeant.
The advancements through the category of warrant officers are much simpler in reference to naming, than enlisted personnel. For instance, the individual with the least authority in this category is referred to as Warrant officer. Subsequently, the following US army ranks are Chief Warrant Officer 2, Chief Warrant Officer 3, Chief Warrant Officer 4 and Master Warrant Officer 5.
Commissioned officers have the highest level of authority within the Army ranks. The positions of authority progress as follows: Second Lieutenant, First Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General, General and General of the Army. In wartimes, the General of the Army does not assume the ultimate position of authority. Instead, the General determines the course of action in wartimes from within the US army ranks.
Army Rank Insignia
Each branch of the military wear specific insignia to display their position of authority and importance. Ranks in the army can be easily identified by looking at one’s army rank insignia.
A Private within US army ranks will wear the army rank insignia of a single, yellow stripe, shaped in a triangular fashion but missing the “bottom” portion of the triangle. This stripe is surrounded by a green border. For a Private First Class, another stripe is added to fix a convex “bottom” to the Private’s incomplete triangle as their army rank insignia. A Corporal wears two stripes in a similar fashion to the Private’s single stripe.
The Sergeant’s army rank insignia follows suit of the Private and Corporal but has a third strip added. The Staff Sergeant’s army rank insignia displays the Sergeant’s initial 3 stripes and adds a convex “bottom” to the last stripe of the original 3. A Sergeant First Class Army rank insignia resembles the Staff Sergeant’s insignia and adds an additional stripe below the convex, “bottom” of the triangle. The Master Sergeant follows suit by adding yet another stripe under the convex stripe. The Sergeant Major retains the same design as a Master Sergeants army rank insignia and displays their achievements by adding a star in the middle of the triangle. The Command Sergeant Major also retains the original design of the Sergeant Major’s insignia but a different symbol is used in the middle of the triangle.
The commissioned officers wear different styles of metallic emblems as their army rank insignia.