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US Army Ranks (From Lowest to Highest)

I have a test coming up for a promotion in the Army National Guard.There is a portion about ranks, and I created this article to help me study.

This is my way of studying for something I have coming up for the Army National Guard here in California. Use this for your knowledge if you wish,who knows, it might just come handy one day ;)

Also,all the images that I’m using are copyrighted by their original holders.

Military Ranks- Lowest to Highest along with pay grades

Here is a diagram I made on MSpaint to help you understand my lingo :)

  • Private (E1)(PVT) - The very bottom of the barrel.Also known as the “fuzzy patch” rank,since there is no insignia on the army combat uniform where an actual patch is  supposed to be.
  • Private (E2)(PV2)  – same rank as E1 Private, except slightly higher pay grade, and no more “fuzzy patch”. Congratulations! you have an insignia!
  • Private First Class (E3)(PFC) – The insignia has both Chevron and a rocker
  • Specialist (E4) a.k.a Corporal (in some cases)(SPC)- Specialist insignia has an Eagle holding an olive branch on one claw, and arrows on the other.The Corporal insignia has two chevrons. I tried to find out how many arrows the Eagle is holding on the specialist insignia, but came up short. If anyone knows the answer, please tell me :)
  • Sergent (E5) – If you see SGT infront of anyone’s name, it means Sargent. Insignia has three Chevrons.
  • Staff Sergeant (E6)- If you see SSG infront of anyone’s name, it means Staff Sargent. Three Chevrons and One Rocker
  • Sergeant First Class (E7)- or SFC. Patch has Three Chevrons and Two rockers.
  • Master Sergeant (E8) – or MSG.Three Chevrons and Three Rockers
  • First Sergeant (E8)- or 1SG.Has Three Chevrons,Three Rockers,and a Diamond in the middle.
  • Sergeant Major (E9) – A.K.A. SM. Has Three Chevrons,Three Rockers, and one star
  • Command Sergeant Major (E9) - CSM. Three Chevrons, three rockers, and star between two olive branches
  • Sergeant Major of the Army (E9) -SMA. Three Chevrons,three rockers,and an eagle with olive branches and arrows in its claws between TWO stars.


  • 2nd Lieutenant (O-1) or 2LT- single gold bar (just for your information, in the army, Silver is higher than Gold)
  • 1st Lieutenant (O-2) or 1LT – single silver bar
  • Captain (O-3) or CPT – Two silver bars (connected)
  • Major (O-4) or MAJ- A Gold Clover
  • Lieutenant Colonel (O-5) or LTC- Silver Clover
  • Colonel (O-6) or COL -  I call this one the full bird. Has a large eagle holding a case of arrows.
  • Brigadier General (O-7) or BG - One Star as the insignia
  • Major General (O-8) or MG – Two Stars
  • Lieutenant General (O-9) or LTG – Three Stars
  • General (O-10) or GEN - Four Stars
  • General of the Army (O-11) or GOA – Has 5 Stars,in a circle

Warrant Officers

  • Warrant Officer 1 (WO1)- One silver bar with single Black box inside
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) – Silver bar with TWO black boxes inside
  • Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3)-silver bar with Three black boxers inside
  • Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4)-a silver bar with FOUR black boxes inside.
  • Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5) – A silver bar with a single solid vertical black line in the middle.

Well there you have it.Once again, I just made this for my use, but feel free to use it for yourself. Don’t mind my weird grammar, maybe some spelling is off and I’m sure sentence structure is off as always, but there you go :) Thanks :)

If you want a full chart of the ranks, here’s a link you can check out.

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User Comments
  1. raptor22

    On August 13, 2009 at 8:25 am

    Seems very complicated, but my daughter has found your article interesting and useful as she’s writing a story which involves wolves with military rank. Thanks.

  2. MySoldiersSweetheart

    On September 1, 2009 at 3:29 am

    Because I am taking the time to learn all of this for my sake and because my boyfriend is in the army. I was going to answer your question, but the stuff I am using to learn from, It doesnt show to well. But hey I tried. Thanks I think this will help me alittle bit I didnt know what a chevron or rocker was.

  3. GeminiBot

    On September 1, 2009 at 4:09 am

    Hey thanks . no problem :)
    you should check out

    it as a lot of useful info :]

  4. Dean Christ

    On September 20, 2009 at 3:03 am

    Very interesting, Geminibot. Good Article

  5. MeHere

    On March 23, 2010 at 9:23 am

    For the rank of Major, by “clover” you mean “cluster” – as in “oak leaf cluster” right?

  6. Cagedstowgee

    On October 15, 2010 at 12:27 am

    but my uncle is in the army and im pretty sure glod is still higher then silver.

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