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The defense forces of the United States are considered as one of the most powerful armed forces in the world. The US military carries an impressive pack of soldiers and a mind-boggling number of weapons and other artillery used for the defense of the country. When an American citizen enrolls in a military school, the three words that he/she will often hear are Rank, Rate and Grade. The armed forces use the term "Rank" to understand the status of a fellow officer, while the navy addresses the term as "Rate". The term "Grade" is used to decide the pay structure of an officer.

The United States military forces consists of - United States Army, United States Air Force, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard. In each of these services, there exists a system which determines military rankings in order. Military ranks designate personnel positions in order of authority, importance and duties.

Disclaimer: The images provided in this article are solely for illustrative purposes.

The Army

Motto: This We'll Defend

Active Since: 1784

Important Engagements: Revolutionary War, Indian Wars, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Utah War, American Civil War, Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, Banana Wars, Boxer Rebellion, Border War, World War I and II, Russian Civil War, Korean War, Operation Power Pack, Vietnam War, Operation Eagle Claw, Invasion of Grenada, Invasion of Panama, Persian Gulf War, Somali Civil War, Kosovo War, Invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Army Ranks in Order

US Army Ranks in Order
Title Pay Grade
Private (PVT) E-1
Private 2 (PV2) E-2
Private First Class (PFC) E-3
Specialist (SPC) E-4
Corporal (CPL) E-4
Sergeant (SGT) E-5
Staff Sergeant (SSG) E-6
Sergeant First Class (SFC) E-7
Master Sergeant (MSG) E-8
First Sergeant (1SG) E-8
Sergeant Major (SGM) E-9
Command Sergeant Major (CSM) E-9
Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) E-9 (Special)
Warrant Officer (WO1) W-1
Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) W-2
Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3) W-3
Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4) W-4
Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5) W-5
Second Lieutenant (2LT) 0-1
First Lieutenant (1LT) 0-2
Captain (CPT) 0-3
Major (MAJ) 0-4
Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) 0-5
Colonel (COL) 0-6
Brigadier General (BG) 0-7
Major General (MG) 0-8
Lieutenant General (LTG) 0-9
General (GEN) 0-10
General of the Army (GA) Special

The Air Force

Motto: Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win

Active Since: 1947

Important Engagements: Korean War, Vietnam War, Iranian Hostage Rescue, Invasion of Grenada, Bombing of Libya (1986), Invasion of Panama, Persian Gulf War, Somali Civil War, Bosnian War, Kosovo War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War and, Bombing of Libya (2011)

Air Force Ranks in Order

US Air Force Ranks in Order
Title Pay Grade
Airman Basic (AB) E-1
Airman (Amn) E-2
Airman First Class (A1C) E-3
Senior Airman (SrA) E-4
Staff Sergeant (SSgt) E-5
Technical Sergeant (TSgt) E-6
Master Sergeant (MSgt) E-7
Master Sergeant (MSgt) E-7
Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) E-8
Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) E-8
Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) E-9
Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) E-9
Command Chief Master Sergeant (CCM) E-9
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF) E-9 (Special)
Second Lieutenant (2dLt) O-1
First Lieutenant (1st Lt) O-2
Captain (Capt) O-3
Major (Maj) O-4
Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) O-5
Colonel (Col) O-6
Brigadier General (Brig Gen) O-7
Major General (Maj Gen) O-8
Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) O-9
General Air Force Chief of Staff (Gen) O-10
General of the Air Force (GAF) Special

The Navy

Motto:: Strength and Honor

Active Since: 1775

Important Engagements: Revolutionary War, Quasi-War, Barbary Wars I and II, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iranian Hostage Rescue, Invasion of Grenada, Bombing of Libya (1986), Invasion of Panama, Persian Gulf War, Somali Civil War, Bosnian War, Kosovo War, War in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Bombing of Libya (2011)

Navy Ranks in Order

US Navy Ranks in Order
Title Pay Grade
Seaman Recruit (SR) E-1
Seaman Apprentice (SA) E-2
Seaman (SN) E-3
Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3) E-4
Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2) E-5
Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1) E-6
Chief Petty Officer (CPO) E-7
Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO) E-8
Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) E-9
Fleet/Command Master Chief Petty Officer E-9
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) E-9 (Special)
Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2) W-2
Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO3) W-3
Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4) W-4
Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CWO5) W-5
Ensign (ENS) O-1
Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) O-2
Lieutenant (LT) O-3
Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) O-4
Commander (CDR) O-5
Captain (CAPT) O-6
Rear Admiral lower half (RDML) O-7
Rear Admiral upper half (RADM) O-8
Vice Admiral (VADM) O-9
Admiral Chief of Naval Operations / Commandant of the Coast Guard (ADM) 0-10
Fleet Admiral (FADM) O-11

The Marine Corps

Motto: Semper Fidelis

Active Since: 1775

Important Engagements: American Revolutionary War, Quasi-War, First and Second Barbary Wars, War of 1812, Seminole Wars, Mexican-American War, American Civil War, Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, Boxer Rebellion, Banana Wars, World War I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iranian Hostage Rescue, Invasion of Grenada, 1986 bombing of Libya, Invasion of Panama, Persian Gulf War, Somali Civil War, Bosnian War, Bombing of Iraq, Kosovo War, War in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Operation Odyssey Dawn

US Marine Ranks in Order

US Marine Ranks in Order
Title Pay Grade
Private (PVT) E-1
Private First Class (PFC) E-2
Lance Corporal (LCpL) E-3
Corporal (Cpl) E-4
Sergeant (Sgt) E-5
Staff Sergeant (SSgt) E-6
Staff Sergeant (SSG) E-6
Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) E-7
Master Sergeant (MSgt) E-8
Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt) E-9
Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) E-9
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (SgtMajMarCor) E-9 (Special)
Warrant Officer (WO) W-1
Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2) W-2
Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO3) W-3
Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4) W-4
Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CWO5) W-5
Second Lieutenant (2ndLt) O-1
First Lieutenant (1stLt) O-2
Captain (Capt) O-3
Major (Maj) O-4
Lieutenant Colonel (LtCol) O-5
Colonel (Col) O-6
Brigadier General (BGen) O-7
Major General (MajGen) 0-8
Lieutenant General (LtGen) O-9
General (Gen) O-10

The Coast Guard

Motto:: Semper Paratus

Active Since: 1790

Important Engagements: Quasi-War, War of 1812, Seminole Wars, Mexican-American War, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, Operation Allied Force, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Afghanistan War, Operation Sea Dragon III, War on Terror, and Anti-piracy operations.

US Coast Guard Ranks in Order
Title Pay Grade
Seaman Recruit (SR) E-1
Seaman Apprentice (SA) E-2
Fireman Apprentice (FA) E-2
Airman Apprentice (AA) E-2
Seaman (SN) E-3
Fireman (FN) E-3
Airman (AN) E-3
Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3) E-4
Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2) E-5
Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1) E-6
Chief Petty Officer (CPO) E-7
Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO) E-8
Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) E-9
Command Master Chief Officer Petty (CMC) E-9
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) E-10
Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2) W-2
Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO3) W-3
Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CWO4) W-4
Ensign (ENS) O-1
Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) O-2
Lieutenant (LT) O-3
Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) O-4
Commander (CDR) O-5
Captain (CAPT) O-6
Rear Admiral lower half (RDML) 0-8
Vice Admiral (VADM) O-9
Admiral Chief of Naval Operations / Commandant of the Coast Guard (ADM) O-10

These are the various military ranks in order from the various departments of the United States Armed Forces. A career in the US military is the best option for people who want to do something good for the nation and who want to make their peers proud.