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Comparative military ranks

Rank is a system of categorizing the hierarchy of an armed force. See military rank for details on the history of the rank system.

British, US and German officer ranks

British ArmyUS Army, USAF & USMCRoyal NavyUS NavyRAFWehrmachtBundeswehr or LuftwaffeBundesmarine
Field MarshalGeneral of the Army
General of the Air Force
no USMC equiv
Admiral of the FleetFleet Admiral (FADM)Marshal of the Royal Air ForceGeneralfeldmarschall  
GeneralGeneralAdmiralAdmiral (ADM)Air Chief MarshalGeneraloberst GeneralAdmiral
Lieutenant GeneralLieutenant GeneralVice AdmiralVice Admiral (VADM)Air MarshalGeneral der Infanterie (Art., Pz.Tr., etc.)GeneralleutnantVizeadmiral
Major GeneralMajor GeneralRear AdmiralRear Admiral (RADM)Air Vice-MarshalGeneralleutnantGeneralmajorKonteradmiral
BrigadierBrigadier GeneralCommodoreRear Admiral (RDML)Air CommodoreGeneralmajorBrigadegeneralFlottillenadmiral
ColonelColonelCaptainCaptain (CAPT)Group CaptainOberstOberstKapitän zur See
Lieutenant ColonelLieutenant ColonelCommanderCommander (CDR)Wing CommanderOberstleutnantOberstleutnantFregattenkapitän
MajorMajorLieutenant-CommanderLieutenant Commander (LCDR)Squadron LeaderMajorMajorKorvettenkapitän

CaptainCaptainLieutenantLieutenant (LT)Flight LieutenantHauptmannHauptmannKapitänleutnant
LieutenantFirst LieutenantSub-LieutenantLieutenant, Junior Grade (LT(JG))Flying OfficerOberleutnantOberleutnantOberleutnant zur See
Second LieutenantSecond LieutenantMidshipmanEnsign (ENS)Pilot OfficerLeutnantLeutnantLeutnant zur See

CadetOfficer CadetMidshipman Acting Pilot Officer

Certain ranks, such as Fleet Admiral, General of the Army and General of the Air Force in the U.S., as well as Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal and Marshal of the RAF in the U.K., are usually assigned in war-time only.

In the British and Commonwealth Armies, a Brigadier is a Colonel in command of a brigade, who wears the insignia and title of such assignment. In the Royal and Commonwealth Navies, a Commodore is a Captain in command of a naval task group, flotilla or squadron, who wears the insignia and title of such assignment, and flies a broad pennant (as opposed to a flag) from his flagship.

In the Royal and Commonwealth Navies, a Midshipman is junior to an Army 2nd Lieutenant and an RAF Pilot Officer. This is because historically Midshipman was a training rank; nowadays however, officers only join as Midshipman if they are under 20 years of age. Because of the duration of training very few midshipmen reach their commissioning board before automatic promotion so the matter of what type of commission they are serving under is of little consequence.

Not listed are US warrant officers. In accordance with Army Regulation (AR) 135-100, Department of the Army Pamphlet (DA Pam) 600-11 and Army Field Manual (FM) 22-100 (para A-3), a warrant officer is an officer who can and does command, carry out military justice actions and sits both selection and promotion boards. A warrant officer is a single-track specialty officer, initially appointed by the Secretary of the Army, he/she receives a commission upon promotion to Chief Warrant Officer Two (CW2).

Enlisted ranks

Bundeswehr (Army)/Luftwaffe (Air Force)Bundesmarine (Navy)

see 1nominally supervisesUS ArmyUSAFUSMCUSNBritish ArmyRoyal MarinesRoyal NavyRAF
E-10the senior enlisted person in each serviceSergeant Major of the ArmyChief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSgtAF)Sergeant Major of the Marine CorpsMaster Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)
E-9Brigade (Army), Wing (USAF), Regiment (USN, USMC) or higherCommand Sergeant Major (CSM)Command Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt)Sergeant Major (SgtMaj)Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMCPO)Warrant Officer Class 1Warrant Officer Class 1Warrant OfficerWarrant Officer
E-9Battalion (Army, USN, USMC), Group (USAF)Sergeant Major (SGM)Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt)Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt)Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO)
E-8Company (Army, USN, USMC), Squadron (USAF)First Sergeant (1SG)Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt)First Sergeant (1st Sgt)Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO)Warrant Officer Class 2Warrant Officer Class 2
Master Sergeant (MSG)Master Sergeant (MSgt)Staff SergeantColour SergeantChief Petty OfficerFlight Sergeant
E-7Platoon (Army, USN, USMC), Flight (USAF)Sergeant First Class (SFC) or Platoon SergeantMaster Sergeant (MSgt)Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt)Chief Petty Officer (CPO)SergeantSergeantPetty OfficerSergeant
E-6Squad or SectionStaff Sergeant (SSG)Technical Sergeant (TSgt)Staff Sergeant (SSgt)Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1)CorporalCorporalLeading RateCorporal
E-5FireteamSergeant (SGT)Staff Sergeant (SSgt)Sergeant (Sgt)Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2)Lance CorporalLance Corporal
E-4Corporal (CPL) or Specialist Fourth Class (SP4)Senior Airman (SRA)Corporal (Cpl)Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3)PrivateMarineAble RateSenior Aircraftman
E-3Private First Class (PFC)Airman First Class (A1C)Lance Corporal (LCpl)Seaman (SN)Leading Aircraftman
E-2Private (PV2)Airman (Amn)Private First Class (PFC)Seaman Apprentice (SA)Ordinary RateAircraftman
E-1Private (PV1)Airman Basic (AB)Private (Pvt)Seaman Recruit (SR)

1 Paygrade is used in the US military as to normalize the equivalent enlisted and officer ranks respectively. For example, the base pay of an E-8 is the same in the Air Force and the Army. In theory, those two E-8s will have equivalent levels of seniority and responsibility. When enlisted men from several services are together, the senior enlisted man is responsible for the group.