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What are the ranks in the Army from lowest to highest in order 2024?

There are so many ranks in the US Army, which can be confusing. In this post, we’ll look at the US Army ranks in their correct order:

What are the ranks in the Army from the lowest to highest in order 2024?

Enlisted Army Ranks in Order

The following are the enlisted ranks in the Army:

Private (PVT)

  • Private (PVT) is the lowest enlisted rank without any significant responsibility.
  • Responsibility: Essentially a learner, has minimal responsibilities.
  • Notable: Usually in initial training phases.
  • Experience: None to minimal military experience required.

Private Second Class (PV2)

  • Private Second Class:  Soldiers receive this rank after completion of basic training
  • Responsibility: Begin minor leadership roles and additional duties as designated.
  • Achievement: Recognition of completion of basic training and entrance to advanced training.
  • Experience: Limited to basic training and initial Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) introduction.

Private First Class (PFC)

  • Private First Class: Soldiers get to this rank after one year of military service
  • Responsibility: Often placed as a team leader, overseeing a handful of soldiers.
  • Achievement: Demonstrated competency and reliability in initial roles.
  • Experience: Typically after one year of satisfactory military service.

Specialist/Corporal (SPC/CPL)

  • Specialist and Corporal: Specialist and Corporal both maintain an E4 pay grade but have distinct roles.
  • Distinction: While both have the same pay grade (E4), Corporals have more leadership responsibilities than Specialists.
  • Role: Specialists are skilled in their MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) but may have less leadership responsibility than a CPL.

Sergeant (SGT)

  • Sergeant: This is more of a leadership role.
  • Responsibility: Charged with the welfare, training, and development of soldiers under them.
  • Notable: Often first rank with substantial leadership duties.
  • Experience: Demonstrated proficiency in their MOS and initial leadership capabilities.

Staff Sergeant (SSG)

  • Staff Sergeant: This role has similar duties to a regular sergeant, but they’ll generally be in charge of a more significant number of soldiers. 
  • Role: Can serve as a squad leader and often has a hand in tactical planning.
  • Distinction: Greater leadership and administrative role than the SGT.
  • Experience: Proven leadership capabilities and tactical proficiency.

Sergeant First Class (SFC)

  • Sergeant First Class: They generally have 15 to 18 years of military experience. 
  • Veteran Leader: Often brings a wealth of experience to leadership roles.
  • Role: Possible platoon sergeant and involved in shaping company policy.
  • Expertise: Melds years of experience with leadership in practical and administrative areas.
  • Experience: Generally, 15-18 years of military experience, having demonstrated sustained leadership and technical proficiency.

Master Sergeant (MSG)

  • Master Sergeant (MSG) is the Principal Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) within a Battalion.
  • Responsibility: Overseeing the well-being, training, and professionalism of the Battalion’s enlisted personnel.
  • Role Clarity: Acts as a senior NCO across the company and higher echelons, ensuring the company meets its technical and tactical objectives.
  • Experience Requirement: Long-standing service with demonstrated technical and leadership skills.

First Sergeant (1SG)

  • Pivotal Role: Key figure in ensuring the day-to-day welfare and discipline of soldiers in their unit.
  • Responsibility: Key point of contact for all matters of discipline and counseling within their unit.
  • Duties: Overseeing logistical arrangements, leading company formations, and ensuring readiness of the soldiers.
  • Experience Requirement: Demonstrated leadership skills and proficiency as a Master Sergeant.

Sergeant Major (SGM)

  • Central Role: Acts as the highest-level NCO at most large army headquarters.
  • Responsibility: Handling intricate administrative tasks and ensuring effective communication between enlisted ranks and commissioned officers.
  • Specialty: Ensures enlisted personnel adhere to standards, while advising on policy and training methods.
  • Experience Requirement: Extensive service tenure and leadership experiences as an NCO.

Command Sergeant Major (CSM)

  • Elevated Role: Primary enlisted advisor to the commanding officer at a battalion or higher level.
  • Responsibility: Playing a vital role in decision-making processes and ensuring the enlisted personnel’s needs are communicated to the officers.
  • Duties: Provides feedback on operational and administrative matters, representing the enlisted voice.
  • Experience Requirement: Expertise in leadership, operations, and the tactical nuances of the Army, stemming from years of dedicated service.

Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA)

  • Peak Role: Highest-ranking enlisted member in the entire Army.
  • Uniqueness: Only one exists at any given time.
  • Responsibility: Acts as the main bridge between enlisted soldiers and the Army’s chief of staff, advising on all matters concerning Army enlisted personnel.
  • Specialty: Often sought out for insights on policy changes, discipline methods, and training standards.
  • Experience Requirement: Must have a vast depth and breadth of experience across various roles and responsibilities in the Army.

Warrant Officers Ranks in Order

Warrant Officers are the adaptive technical experts, combat leaders, trainers, and advisors.

The following are the Warrant Officers Ranks in the Army:

Warrant Officer 1 (WO1)

  • Technical Expert: As entry-level officers, they provide technical expertise to commanders and organizations.
  • Leader: Lead and direct specialized units and equipment.
  • Trainer: Train soldiers in their specialty, ensuring that the unit operates at its fullest capability.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2)

  • Advanced Technical Expert: They often serve in advanced-level technical positions.
  • Leader: May lead and direct smaller specialized units or teams.
  • Mentor: Begin taking on additional mentorship responsibilities for junior WOs and enlisted personnel.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3)

  • Senior Technical Expert: Provide advanced technical consultation and support.
  • Leader: Expected to have a deeper knowledge and role in leadership within their field.
  • Advisor: Typically serve as senior advisors to commanders and may also direct lower-ranking WOs.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4)

  • Master-Level Technical Expert: Offer top-level technical and tactical advice in their area of expertise.
  • Leader: Often take on broader leadership roles within their specialized units and may oversee lower-ranking WOs.
  • Policy Developer: Engage in policy development related to their expertise at the battalion and possibly brigade level.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5)

  • Authority in Technical Expertise: Recognized authorities in their field, providing expertise at the highest levels.
  • Leader: May hold significant leadership responsibilities, directing large units or multiple units within their specialty.
  • Senior Advisor: Serve as senior technical and tactical advisors to commanders at all levels, potentially up to the Department of the Army.

Commissioned Officers Ranks in Order

The following are the Commissioned Officers Ranks in the Army:

Second Lieutenant (2LT)

  • Second Lieutenant: This is the entry-level rank for most commissioned officers in the army.
  • Responsibility: Often leads a platoon of around 16 to 44 soldiers.
  • Role Clarity: Primarily, it focuses on leading troops, often under the mentorship of a more experienced officer.
  • Professional Development: Develops leadership and managerial skills, understanding Army structures, cultures, and protocols.

First Lieutenant (1LT)

  • Stepping Stone: Promoted after 18 to 24 months of service, depending on performance and unit needs.
  • Responsibility: Frequently serves as a platoon leader or takes on various administrative or logistical roles.
  • Professional Development: Continues leadership and career development, possibly taking on more significant responsibilities.
  • Experience Requirement: Seasoned through previous roles, often utilized to lead specialized weapon platoons and select teams.

Captain (CPT)

  • Command Role: Often leads a company comprising 62 to 190 soldiers.
  • Responsibility: Commands and controls the company, makes vital strategic and logistical decisions.
  • Role Clarity: Directly impacts the quality and readiness of their unit.
  • Experience Requirement: Demonstrated proficiency and effectiveness in leadership and decision-making.

Major (MAJ)

  • Strategic Role: Often serves as primary staff officers for brigade-sized units (approx. 3,000-5,000 soldiers).
  • Responsibility: Planning and coordinating operational matters of their respective sub-unit within the brigade.
  • Role Clarity: Engages in high-level planning and ensures compliance with strategic objectives.
  • Experience Requirement: Proven capability in managing and planning, often overseeing the operations of larger units.

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC)

  • Elevated Command Role: Commands battalion-sized units (approx. 300-1,000 soldiers).
  • Responsibility: Directs and coordinates both operational and administrative tasks within their battalion.
  • Role Clarity: Manages all facets of battalion functions, including operations, logistics, and personnel management.
  • Experience Requirement: Extensive leadership experience and strategic management capability.

Colonel (COL)

  • Senior Leadership Role: Commands brigade-sized units (approx. 3,000-5,000 soldiers) and carries significant decision-making responsibility.
  • Responsibility: Ultimate accountability for the brigade’s readiness, morale, and overall functionality.
  • Role Clarity: Navigates the brigade through operations, ensuring strategic compliance and readiness.
  • Experience Requirement: Comprehensive leadership and strategic planning experiences, often backed by specialized education and training.

Army General Ranks in Order

The following are the Generals’ Ranks in the Army:

Brigadier General (BG)

  • Deputy Role: Serves as the deputy commander to the commanding General for army divisions.
  • Responsibility: Engages in strategic planning and execution, assisting the commanding General.
  • Role Clarity: Primarily involved in strategic deployment and management of division-level troops and resources.
  • Positioning: Often a pivotal liaison between top-tier leadership and operational management on the ground.

Major General (MG)

  • Division Leadership: Typically takes command of a division unit.
  • Responsibility: Manages division-sized units and is vital in strategic planning and execution.
  • Role Clarity: Oversees all aspects of their division, ensuring operational readiness and strategic alignment.
  • Operational Insight: Ensures the cohesion of units and compliance with the broader strategic objectives.

Lieutenant General (LTG)

  • Corps Commander: Primary role consists of commanding corps-sized units.
  • Responsibility: Directs corps-level operations, ensuring tactical and strategic alignment.
  • Role Clarity: Engages in high-level strategic planning and execution, coordinating multiple divisions.
  • Strategic Input: Often involved in top-level military planning and policy-making due to their experience and operational knowledge.

General (GEN)

  • Top Tier Leadership: Commands all operations within their geographical area.
  • Responsibility: Overseeing entire armies or a significant subset of the Army’s operational capacity.
  • Role Clarity: Engaged in policy, strategy, and oversight of large-scale operations, ensuring military objectives are achieved.
  • Global Engagement: May liaise with political entities and international counterparts, navigating both military and diplomatic channels.

General of the Army (GA)

  • Wartime Role: Reserved for times of war, with substantial authority and operational control.
  • Responsibility: Manages enormous sections of the army during large-scale conflicts, with a focus on strategic victory.
  • Role Clarity: Involved in the highest level of military and strategic planning, often coordinating multiple armies and theatres of war.
  • Historical Note: Rarely appointed; carries a historical significance and embodies the highest level of leadership within the Army.

Understanding these roles, their respective responsibilities, and their progression, provides insights into the hierarchical structure, function, and operational flow of the United States Army. 

This overview elucidates the escalating obligations and expertise needed as individuals ascend the ranks.

Army Ranks In Order

Private Second ClassPV2E-2
Private First ClassPFCE-3
Staff SergeantSSGE-6
Sergeant First ClassSFCE-7
Master SergeantMSGE-8
First Sergeant1SGE-8
Sergeant MajorSGME-9
Command Sergeant MajorCSME-9
Sergeant Major of the ArmySMASpecial
Warrant Officer 1WO1W-1
Chief Warrant Officer 2CW2W-2
Chief Warrant Officer 3CW3W-3
Chief Warrant Officer 4CW4W-4
Chief Warrant Officer 5CW5W-5
Second Lieutenant2LTO-1
First Lieutenant1LTO-2
Lieutenant ColonelLTCO-5
Brigadier GeneralBGO-7
Major GeneralMGO-8
Lieutenant GeneralLTGO-9
General of the ArmyGOASpecial

Note: E = Enlisted, O = Officer. The grades indicate the pay grade and responsibility level associated with each rank.


Training and Advancement:

  • Expectation: Soldiers, as they progress through ranks, are expected to undertake further training and professional development.
  • Mentorship: Higher-ranked enlisted members often engage in mentorship of lower-ranked personnel.
  • Evaluation: Promotion to higher ranks typically involves evaluations and may involve additional training or schooling.

Leadership Development:

  • Gradual Increase: Leadership responsibilities increase gradually as one ascends through the ranks, from leading smaller teams to potentially overseeing large, complex units.
  • Tactical and Strategic: Higher ranks generally involve more strategic roles, whereas the lower ranks might focus more on tactical, on-the-ground leadership.


  • MOS (Military Occupational Specialty): As soldiers ascend, they might deepen their expertise in their MOS, becoming crucial technical and tactical experts in their fields.
  • Diverse Roles: Some ranks, like Specialists, might be deeply focused on a particular technical specialty, while others, like Sergeants, balance technical know-how with leadership.

Role Variation:

  • Different Environments: The exact responsibilities might shift based on whether the soldier is deployed, in garrison, in field training, etc.
  • Unit Type: The specific duties and day-to-day experiences of ranks can also change based on the type of unit (e.g., infantry, artillery, logistics, etc.)

Logistical and Administrative Duties:

  • Enhanced Responsibility: With progression, enlisted ranks may also take on more administrative and logistical duties, ensuring the smooth operation of their units.
  • Resource Management: This might include managing resources, ensuring the welfare of subordinates, and aiding in the planning and execution of operations.
George N.