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Military Ranks and Insignia At a Glance

Today's U.S. military services continue to use many of the ranks that were adopted in 1775 at the start of our Revolutionary War. Our early military leadership and congress adopted the organization, regulations and ranks of the British army and navy with just minor changes, some of which were influenced by our close association with France. Considering the British navy was the most successful in the world at that time it was natural that the ... more

Coast Guard Officer Ranks

Officers Admirals Officers Ensign (ENS) Ensigns are generally inducted after Naval Officer training and obtaining a four-year degree. Their rank is equivalent to Second Lieutenant in other branches. Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) Lieutenant Junior Grades are generally promoted one year and six months after becoming an Ensign. They serve as billeted division officers. Lieutenant (LT) Equivalent to captains in other branch... more

Air Force Officer Ranks

Officers Generals Officers Second Lieutenant (2nd Lt) The rank of Second Lieutenant is shown through a single gold bar. Proper forms of address include “Second Lieutenant” or “Lieutenant.” Commissioned Airman may sometimes skip this rank. First Lieutenant (1st Lt) First Lieutenants have roughly the same responsibilities as a Second Lieutenant, but receive higher pay and are given more responsibility. Captain (Capt) Capta... more

Marine Corps Officer Ranks

Officers Generals Officers Warrant Officer 1 (WO1) The first step for enlisted Marines to become a Warrant Officer 1 is submitting a written application. They are typically promoted from the rank of Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Marines of this rank are expected to be able to take responsibility for a battalion. The second lowest officer rank in the Marine Corps, Chief Warrant Officer 2... more

Army Officer Ranks

Officers Generals Officers Second Lieutenant (2LT) Addressed as "Lieutenant." Typically the entry-level rank for most Commissioned Officers. Leads platoon-size elements consisting of the platoon SGT and two or more squads (16 to 44 Soldiers). First Lieutenant (1LT) Addressed as "Lieutenant." A seasoned lieutenant with 18 to 24 months service. Leads more specialized weapons platoons and indirect fire computation centers. A... more

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The Recruit


One of the most important choices you will make when joining the military is what job you want to do. With hundreds of jobs to choose from, it can be very tough to narrow it down to just one. This section will give you some insight into many of the different jobs each service has to offer.

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