Military Ranks

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Should you want to include a military figure in a story, this section lists the ranks that exist in the army, navy and airforce, along with a brief description of how old such a person would be, and what their insignia is. Remember, this deals with the real army. If the Consortium used a military person to do their dirty work there is no guarantee they'd follow standard heirarchies. In X-Files terms, a fairly lowly soldier who was in with the Consortium could well be more powerful an enemy than a high- ranking officer who knew nothing of it.

Thanks for Christian Webb for providing the information for this page.

Want to see what these rank insignia look like?

Officers Rank Insignia, all Branches | Enlisted Rank Insignia, all Branches

Army / Air Force / Navy / Marines



5 star General- General of the Army. He'd be in his 60's. The US military does not use 5 star rank during peace time.

4 star- General. High political position or division commander, commander of entire armies.

3 star- Lieutenant General- political position or command of divisions.

2 star - Brigadier General- Commander of "Commands", like all the troops in one certain country, like Germany or South America.

1 star general would hold low level political position or some kind of token command, not actually being in charge of anything. Could be in charge of a specific branch, like Cavalry or Infantry units. At least fifty years old, age goes up to 60's, from here on up, the age can pretty much be the same.

Colonel- Full (bird) Colonel-(insignia is a silver eagle, wings outspread) in charge of BRIGADES. Could be as young as mid forties

Lieutenant(Lt.) Colonel- (insignia is a silver oak leaf) in charge of BATTALIONS. Could be in low forties, not very likely, but possible.

Major- (insignia is a gold or bronze oak leaf) usually executive officers for Lt. Colonels, or in command of very small units or battalions, or administrative jobs. Can be as young as mid thirties.

Captain-(insig. is two silver bars) Commands COMPANIES, or admin. duties. Can be as young as 25, if they got their degree early.

1st Lieutenant-(one silver bar) Executive officers for Captains, administrative duties mostly, would be given command of a platoon or large squad.

2nd Lt.- (one gold or bronze bar) Can be an executive officer for a captain, youngest officer, fresh out of training school.

Enlisted ranks

These are arranged from lowest to highest, and include an illustration of the rank stripes. These are side ways. Turn them pointed side up for what they really look like. Ex. <<<) is staff sergeant stripes. Three up, one down. The up's are called chevrons, the down's Pica's. Remember that enlisted men/women are always under an officer, even the CSM of the Army. A 2nd Lieutenant can give a CSM orders, theoretically, although this is extremely unlikely. Officers are in command, Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO's) are in CHARGE.

Private/E-1(abbreviation, Pvt.): Lowest rank, trainee. Fresh into Basic Training. No rank insignia. Age does not matter.

Private/E-2 (Pvt2): Same name, but one pay grade up. E-1 is promoted to E-2 automatically after 1 year if h/she has nothing on their record. You can go into basic as E-2, based on experience, college and things like that. Age does not matter. Insignia is 1 chevron on each collar. <

Private first class/E-3(PFC): Usually called just Private casually. E-2 can be promoted to E-3 after one year, earlier upon request by a supervisor. You can go in basic as a PFC like with E-2 with experience, or prior military training. Age does not matter. Insignia is one chevron and one pica. <) The center of the rank is not filled in with color.

Corporal/E-4(Corp.): First Non-Commissioned Officer rank, great responsibility for lower enlisted. Can be put in charge of other enlisted men of lower rank. Must serve two years and go to a special NCO school to get this promotion, called PLDC, or Primary Leadership Development Course. Age doesn't necessarily matter, but would have to be enlisted for at least two years. Rank insignia is two chevrons <<

Specialist/ E-4(Spec.): Same pay grade as Corporal, but not so much responsibility or pressure. Does not have to go to PLDC for this promotion, but must go for any more. Can be laterally promoted to Corporal after completion of PLDC, must accrue promotion points for sergeant as well as be selected for promotion. See Sergeant explanation for promotion point explanation. Age does not matter, but would have to serve some time enlisted before being selected for promotion, or have a associates degree (2 year). If you have a degree, you can enlist into basic training as a Specialist. Insignia is similar to PFC ( "<)" ), but upside down, and solid with an eagle in the center.

Seargant/E-5(Sgt.): Very important rank, arguably the most important (other is specialist). Very responsible in the development of lower enlisted ranks. Takes responsibility in day to day care of troops, training, and discipline. Most sergeants are very good soldiers, and have worked hard to earn the rank. Must be selected for promotion, go thru rigorous physical and mental tests. Must be dedicated to a degree. Rank insignia is three chevrons <<<. Age is relative to time in service, but after eight years, if a Specialist/Corporal isn't promoted to sergeant, he will be kicked out of the Army - though the unit commander can let you finish your enlistment before discharge. Must serve three years enlisted before considered for promotion, but can be considered early with a waiver, or recommendation. Must accrue points for promotion by going to college, taking correspondence courses, military schools, and awards and accommodations. Accretion of points begins at Private/E-1.

Staff Seargant/E-6(SSgt.): Given a little more responsibility than sergeant. Can be given charge of a platoon/section, or administrative duties. Must be technically proficient in his job, an expert. From here on, promotion points do not matter, must be selected for promotion to Sergeant First Class. Insignia is three chevrons, one pica- <<<) Age is relative, to be a young Ssg., one must be highly motivated in getting promoted.

Sergeant First Class/E-7(SFC): Considered high ranking in enlisted ranks, given very much responsibility, taking charge over many soldiers of all ranks below him/her. Usually in charge of a platoon/section. Can be an acting First Sergeant, if the First Sergeant is unavailable, on leave, sick, or if there is no First Sergeant. Insignia is three up, two down- <<<)) record for youngest SFC is 28 I think, usually over 30.

Master Seargant/E-8 (MSG): Same pay grade as First Sergeant, but less responsibility. May be in charge of more than one platoon/section. Can be acting First Sergeant for same reasons as SFC. Insignia is three up, three down- <<<))) Usually works hand in hand with a Lieutenant, in the command of troops and administrative duties. Over 30 years old.

First Seargant/E-8 (1stSgt.): In charge of an entire Company, works with a Captain in the care of the company troops and admin. duties. Insignia is three up and three down, with a diamond in the middle (between the chevrons and pica's). Usually in upper 30's, on into 40's.

Sergeant Major/E-9 (SGM): Stepping stone between First Sergeant and Sergeant Major In Command, or Command Sergeant Major. Usually holds administrative duties to a CSM, on Battalion level. Usually 40+, insignia is three up and down, with star in the center- <<<*)))

Command Sergeant Major/E-9 (CSM): In charge of entire battalions, works with Lt. Colonels on this level. This rank has many levels. Battalion, Brigade, Post (works with Post Commander, usually a Two Star General), Regimental, and SGM of the Army. All have the same insignia except for SGM of the Army. Three up and down, with a star in the center with a wreath around it.

SGM of the Army- Highest enlisted level, insignia is three up and down with two stars with a wreath. Works at Pentagon/White House level.

Air Force

The Air Force is set up the same way as the army, but with different names and insignias.

Enlisted ranks:

1. Airman Basic / E-1 (AB)

2. Airman / E-2 (AMN)

3. Airman First Class / E-3 (A1C)

4. Senior Airman / E-4 (SrA)

5. Staff Sergeant / E-5 (SSG)

6. Technical Sergeant / E-6 (TRG)

7. Master Sergeant / E-7

8. Senior Master Sergeant / E-8

9. Chief Master Sergeant / E-9

Officers - Exactly the same as Army


The navy is also set up the same as the army, but with different names.

1. E-1/Seaman Recruit (SR)

2. E-2/Seaman Apprentice (SA)

3. E-3/Seaman (SN)

4. E-4Petty Officer Third Class (PO3)

5. E-5/Petty Officer Second Class (PO2)

6. E-6/Petty Officer First Class (PO1)

7. E-7/Chief Petty Officer (CPO)

8. E-8/Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO)

9. E-9/Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO)

10.E-9Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)

Click here to be taken to a web page about Navy ranks

Navy Officers

1. O-1/Ensign (ENS)

2. O-2/Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG)

3. O-3/Lieutenant (LT)

4. O-4/Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)

5. O-5/Commander (CDR)

6. O-6/Captain (CAPT)

7. O-7/Rear Admiral (lower half) (RDML)

8. O-8/Rear Admiral (upper half) (RADM)

9. O-9/Vice Admiral (VADM)

10. O-10/Admiral (ADM)

11. O-11/Fleet Admiral* (FADM) The rank of Fleet Admiral has been reserved for war time use only. The last Fleet Admirals were in World War II. Fleet Admirals during that war were Chester W. Nimitz, William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King, and William F. Halsey.


Click here for the Marines' Home Page

1. Private/E-1

2. Private First Class, one chevron p.u.

3. Lance Corporal/E-3 - insignia same as Pvt, but with crossed rifles below the chevron

4. Corporal/E-4 - two chevrons with crossed rifles

5. Seargant/E-5 - three chevrons with crossed rifles

6. Staff Seargant/E-6 - three chevrons, with rocker below, crossed rifles in center

7. Gunnery Seargant/E-7 - three chevrons, with two rockers and crossed rifles

8. Master Gunnery Seargant/E-8 - one pay grade, two ranks: First Sergeant - three chevrons, three rockers, with a diamond in the center; Master Sergeant - three chevrons, three rockers, with crossed rifles in the center

9. E-9 - one pay grade, two ranks: Sergeant Major - three chevrons, four rockers, with star in the center; Master Gunnery Sergeant - three chevrons, four rockers, with a bursting bomb

First Sergeant and Sergeant Major are administrative ranks, whereas with the Master Sergeant and Master Gunnery Sergeant ranks, the Marine remains in his occupational field.

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