11.18.2013

The Ranks of the U.S. Army

The ranks of U.S. Army personnel are often worn on their military uniforms to distguish their status. Army rank patches are worn on shoulder (or in some cases the on sleeve) of the uniform.

There are 9 levels of enlisted ranks in the U.S. Army. The first of the U.S. Army ranks commence with the Private and conclude with Sergeant Major of the Army.

Alongside each proper Army rank name is the abbreviated rank identifier and the enlisted grade (or pay grade.) An enlisted grade begins at E1 and ends at E9. Grades E9, E8, E7 and E4 are distinguished since each of them has multiple ranks linked to them.

Below is a list of each rank found the U.S. Army and there distiguished chevrons (or stripes) that define each rank insignia
  • Private, PV1, E1 is a basic recruit grade and rank. Their collar and sleeve are bare as they wear no insignia.
  • Private, PV2, E2 wears insignia of one chevron on the collar and sleeves.
  • Private First Class, PFC, E2 wears insignia of one chevron and a rocker
  • Specialist 4, SP4, E4 is somewhat a unique rank. It is the only enlisted rank which doesn't bear rockers or chevrons. Instead, its rank is a solid shield with one eagle centered on it.
  • Corporal, CPL, E4 wears the insignia of 2 chevrons.
  • Sergeant, SGT, E5 sometimes referred to as 'Buck Sergeant', wears the insignia of 3 chevrons.
  • Staff Sergeant, SSG, E6 wears insignia of 3 chevrons and one rocker.
  • Sergeant First Class, E7 wears insignia of 3 chevrons and 2 rockers. Platoon Sergeant, E7 is of the same rank as Sergeant First Class and so wears the same number of Army rank patches- 3 chevrons and 2 rockers.
  • Master Sergeant, E8 wears insignia of 3 chevrons and 3 rockers.
  • First Sergeant, E8 wears insignia of 3 chevrons and 3 rockers but has more authority than Master Sergeant. One small diamond resides in the space of the rockers and chevrons.
  • Sergeant Major, E9 wears 3 chevrons and 3 rockers. A small 5-pointed star resides inside the space of the rockers and chevrons.
  • Command Sergeant Major, E9 wears a small 5-pointed star with a wreath within the space of 3 chevrons and 3 rockers.
  • Sergeant Major of the Army, E9 is the highest enlisted rank and he represents all the Army enlisted soldiers. Centered between 2 5-pointed stars is the eagle from the United States Great Seal. This is centered horizontally within the 3 chevrons and 3 rockers.
Each one of the U.S. Army rank insignia patches. There are specific patches for certain types of military uniforms, such as MultiCam or ACU Army rank patches. There are even rank patches in sew-on and Velcro options, depending on the standards of the Army or military branch.

Each Army rank is special in its own unique way and holds a valuable position in the military hierarchy. Soldiers serving at any level of the order of military are equally as essential as their fellow service members even though their duties, responsibilities and ranks may vary.

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