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 Continental Congress' navy committee, led by John Adams, copied it as they set up our Navy. Today's military ranks are divided into Officers and Enlisted groups. The following links offer background and current descriptions of the ranks that the U.S. Armed Forces use today.

Enlisted Ranks

Officer Ranks

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