The United States Navy exists as 1 of 7 armed and uniformed services in the United States military. The Navy works closely with The Coast Guard and Marines to provide protection and directed assault for off-shore military needs. The Navy ranks extend to individuals representing a division of this service called the Navy Reserve. The Department of the Navy administers orders, authoritative commands and directed guidance to enlisted personnel, warrant officers and commissioned officers within Naval ranks.
Commissioned officers sit among the top individuals in the chain of authority for Navy ranks. The following lists the chain of authority within this category from least to greatest: Ensign (ENS), Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG), Lieutenant (LT), Lieutenant Commander (LCDR), Commander (CDR), Captain (CAPT), Rear Admiral (RDML), Vice Admiral (VADM), Admiral (ADM), and Fleet Admiral (FADM). Commissioned officers within the highest order of Navy rank wear insignia similar to those of Marine Corps. The biggest difference in insignia for naval ranks pertains to the addition of pieces to be worn on the collar and cap. Each promotion in ranks adds a stripe to the additional pieces worn on the cap and collar. All Admiral Positions progress in the number of stars for their main insignia piece as their Navy rank becomes higher.
Warrant officers follow commissioned officers in the chain of command and are rather easy to refer to: Warrant Officer 1 (WO), Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2), Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO3), and Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4). The highest warrant officer, CWO4, wears navy rank insignia as metallic emblems. One emblem represents 2 silver bars surrounded by a blue border. The other is an elongated pentagon with a single stripe at the bottom, interrupted by a blue stripe. The Navy symbol of two anchors crossing at an intersection sits just above the single stripe on the bottom half.
Enlisted personnel follow commissioned officers and warrant officers within naval ranks. In order to advance through these positions, the individual will begin as a Seaman Recruit and become promoted in the following order: Seaman Recruit (SR), Seaman Apprentice (SA), Seaman (SN), Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3), Petty Officer 2rd Class (PO2), Petty Officer 1rd Class (PO1), Chief Petty Officer (CPO), Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO), Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO), and the Mst. Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. The SR, SA and SN wear Navy Rank insignia displaying two anchors crossed at an intersection and are presented with an additional stripe of honor as they advance through the ranks. PO3 through PO1 wear navy rank insignia of a bald eagle perched on the subsequent stripes of additional order in achievements for rank. They also wear a metallic emblem on other parts of the uniform. The CPO, SCPO, MCPO and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy wear a similar navy rank insignia to PO’s, with additional stars to represent rank. Instead of a red stripe as worn on PO’s insignia, these commissioned officers wear yellow stripes. These officers are also presented with a metallic symbol to wear on other parts of the uniform to further identify their achievements in progressing through the naval ranks.
The United States Naval Department employs nearly ½ a million individuals active in duty. There is a good sum of personnel “on call” in the Navy Reserve. For personnel “active” in duty, almost 80% comprise the naval ranks among enlisted personnel. Commissioned officers delegate 15% of the remaining individuals. As with the Army, there is a NROTC group of individuals dispersed throughout the country in high schools and universities.