Definitions

ordinary rating

United Kingdom and United States military ranks compared

UK and US Officer Ranks Compared

(Rank codes are at each side of the table.)
NATO Rank code British Army and Royal Marines3 U.S. Army, USAF
and USMC
Royal Navy U.S. Navy and
U.S. Coast Guard
RAF1 U.S. code7
OF-102 Field Marshal (FM) General of the Army
General of the Air Force
(Commandant of the Marine Corps)
Admiral of the Fleet Fleet Admiral (FADM) (U.S. Navy only) Marshal of the Royal Air Force (MRAF) -
OF-9 General (Gen) General (GEN/Gen/Gen) Admiral (Adm) Admiral (ADM) Air Chief Marshal (Air Chf Mshl) O-10
OF-8 Lieutenant‑General (Lt Gen) Lieutenant General (LTG/Lt Gen/LtGen) Vice‑Admiral (VAdm) Vice Admiral (VADM) Air Marshal (Air Mshl) O-9
OF-7 Major‑General (Maj Gen) Major General (MG/Maj Gen/MajGen) Rear‑Admiral (RAdm) Rear Admiral (Upper Half) (RADM) Air Vice‑Marshal (AVM) O-8
OF-6 Brigadier (Brig) Brigadier General (BG/Brig Gen/BGen) Commodore (Cdre) Rear Admiral (Lower Half) (RDML) Air Commodore (Air Cdre) O-7
OF-5 Colonel (Col) Colonel (COL/Col/Col) Captain (Capt) Captain (CAPT) Group Captain (Gp Capt) O-6
OF-4 Lieutenant‑Colonel (Lt Col) Lieutenant Colonel (LTC/Lt Col/LtCol) Commander (Cdr) Commander (CDR) Wing Commander (Wg Cdr) O-5
OF-3 Major (Maj) Major (MAJ/Maj/Maj) Lieutenant‑Commander (Lt Cdr) Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Squadron Leader (Sqn Ldr) O-4
OF-2 Captain (Capt) Captain (CPT/Capt/Capt) Lieutenant (Lt) Lieutenant (LT) Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) O-3
OF-1 Lieutenant (Lt) First Lieutenant (1LT/1Lt/1Lt) Sub‑Lieutenant (SLt) Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTJG) Flying Officer (Fg Off) O-2
Second Lieutenant (2Lt) Second Lieutenant (2LT/2Lt/2Lt) Ensign (ENS) Pilot Officer (Plt Off) O-1
OF(D) Midshipman (Mid)
Student Officer Officer Cadet (OCdt) 4 Cadet / USMC Midshipman (MIDN) / Officer Candidate / Officer Trainee Officer Cadet (O/C) 5 USN Midshipman (MIDN) / USCG Cadet or Officer Candidate (OC) 6 Officer Cadet (OCdt)

Not listed are U.S. 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).

Notes to table above

  1. RAF-style ranks are also used by the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Nigerian Air Force, Indian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force, Bangladesh Air Force and Sri Lanka Air Force. The Ghana Air Force and Air Force of Zimbabwe (previously Royal Rhodesian Air Force) also use the same basic system, but replace Pilot Officer and Flying Officer with Air Sub Lieutenant and Air Lieutenant. The Royal Thai Air Force uses the RAF ranks also. The Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force also previously used the system.
  2. OF-10 ranks in the United States can only be attained during war time. This is also now generally the case in the UK, although provision is made to award them under special circumstances in peacetime (no promotions to these ranks have been made since they were generally suspended in 1997).
  3. The Royal Marines rank alongside their army equivalents. However, when borne on the books of any of HM Ships or Naval Establishments Royal Marines are subject to the Naval Discipline Act 1957; in those circumstances, many officer ranks in the Royal Marines formerly enjoyed greater status. Second Lieutenants were equivalent to Sub Lieutenants and ranks from Lieutenant to Major were considered equivalent to one rank higher (OF-2 to OF-4). Lieutenant Colonels were considered equivalent to RN Captains with less than six years in the rank, and Colonels were equivalent to Captains with more than six years seniority. Higher ranks followed the equivalence on the table above. This state of affairs ended on 1 July 1999, when Royal Marine officer ranks were fully aligned with those of the Army.
  4. Not used in the Royal Marines. Royal Marines officers join as Second Lieutenants; after two years service, provided that Phase 2 training has been successfully completed, they are promoted to the rank of Lieutenant (if under 21 at the time of joining) or Captain (if 21 or older at the time of joining).
  5. No longer used in the Royal Navy. Officers join BRNC Dartmouth as Midshipmen (if non-graduates) or Sub-Lieutenants (if graduates), but use the non-substantive rank of Officer Cadet during the pre-Initial Sea Training phase.
  6. Depends on Officer commissioning Program, Naval Academy, Merchant Marine Academy and NROTC are MIDN; U.S. Coast Guard Academy are Cadets, U.S. Navy Seaman-to-Admiral 21 (STA-21), and [[Officer Candidate School are OC.
  7. Note that the U.S. military usually uses O-1 to O-10 to symbolize officers, and not the NATO codes of OF-1 to OF-10 in which all subaltern officers are classed as OF-1 (O-1 and O-2 in US). O-11 is sometimes used for the U.S. OF-10 ranks, but is not official.

US "Enlisted" and UK "Other" ranks compared

Comparison between other ranks is equally simple, UK and US ranks being categorised in the NATO rank code system OR-1 to OR-9. Ranks with the same code are equivalent.

NATO Rank code US Army USAF USMC USN and USCG British Army Royal Marines Royal Navy RAF
OR-9 Sergeant Major of the Army Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF) Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) or Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) (most senior appointments) Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) (Regimental Sergeant Major) Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) Warrant Officer (WO)/Master Aircrew (MAcr)
Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Command Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt) Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMCPO) Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) (Regimental Sergeant Major etc)
Sergeant Major (SGM) Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) (other appointments) Warrant Officer Class 1 (WO1) (other appointments)
OR-8 First Sergeant (1SG) Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) First Sergeant (1st Sgt) Master Sergeant (MSgt) Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO) Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) (Company Sergeant Major etc) Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) (Company Sergeant Major) Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) No OR-8 equivalent
Master Sergeant (MSG) Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) (other appointments) Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) (other appointments)
OR-7 Sergeant First Class (SFC)/Platoon Sergeant Master Sergeant (MSgt) Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Staff Sergeant (SSgt) / Colour Sergeant (CSgt) / Staff Corporal (SCpl) Colour Sergeant (CSgt) Chief Petty Officer (CPO) Flight Sergeant (FS)
Chief Technician (Chf Tech or CT)
OR-6 Staff Sergeant (SSG) Technical Sergeant (TSgt) Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Petty Officer 1st Class (PO1) Sergeant (Sgt) / Corporal of Horse (CoH) Sergeant (Sgt) Petty Officer (PO) Sergeant (Sgt)
OR-5 Sergeant (SGT) Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Sergeant (Sgt) Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2)
OR-4 Corporal (CPL)/Specialist (SPC) Senior Airman (SrA) Corporal (Cpl) Petty Officer 3rd Class (PO3) Corporal (Cpl) / Bombardier (Bdr) / Lance-Sergeant (LSgt) / Lance-Corporal of Horse (LCoH) Corporal (Cpl) Leading Rating/Leading Hand(LH) Corporal (Cpl)
OR-3 Private First Class (PFC) Airman First Class (A1C) Lance Corporal (LCpl) Seaman (SN) Lance-Corporal (LCpl) / Lance-Bombardier (LBdr) Lance-Corporal (LCpl) No OR-3 equivalent No OR-3 equivalent
OR-2 Private (PV2) Airman (Amn) Private First Class (PFC) Seaman Apprentice (SA) Private (Pte) etc (Classes 1 to 3) etc Marine (Mne) / Musician (Mus) / Bugler Able Seaman Junior Technician (Jnr Tech or JT) Replaced by Senior Aircraftman Technician (SAC Tech)
Senior Aircraft (wo)man (SAC(W))
Leading Aircraft (wo)man (LAC(W))
OR-1 Private (PV1) Airman Basic (AB) Private (Pvt) Seaman Recruit (SR) Private (Pte) etc (Class 4) / Junior Marine (Mne) / Musician (Mus) / Bugler New Entry Aircraft (wo)man (AC(W))
Notes to table above

  1. Note that the British Armed Forces do not actually use the term Enlisted Ranks. The equivalent in the Royal Navy is Ratings and in the other services is Other Ranks (divided into Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers).
  2. A Warrant Officer in UK service is a senior non-commissioned rank not comparable to the various grades of Warrant Officer in the US, although holding the Queen's Warrant and with certain privileges similar to those of officers. In the Army and Royal Marines, they are referred to by their appointment, of which there are many (for example, Regimental Sergeant Major is a WO1 appointment). The US rank is held by single track career specialists (ranking between Enlisted Ranks and 2nd Lieutenant) and have no NATO equivalent. A RN Warrant Officer Class 1 incorporated the former rank of Fleet Chief Petty Officer.
  3. The RN created the rate of Warrant Officer Class 2 on 1 April 2004. Previously, there was a rate of Charge Chief Petty Officer, who usually ranked as OR-7, although above other CPOs. A Charge Chief Artificer (a highly-qualified technical CCPO) could be given a NATO OR-8 status, but still ranked below WO2 in the Army and Royal Marines. On the creation of WO2, all CCPOs were upgraded to this rate.
  4. British Sergeants/Petty Officers are seen as equal to E5 and E6 although Corporals as well as Sergeants may be appointed to an official OR-5 (i.e. E-5) military role as is suited to the particular situation.
  5. From April 1, 1999 Able Rating and Ordinary Rating merged and the rate Operator Maintainer was created to replace them, Marine 1st Class and Marine 2nd Class merged, and Junior Rating and Junior Marine were abolished.
  6. Technical trades and musicians only. Obsolescent rank (no promotions since 2005).
  7. Household Cavalry.
  8. The most senior WO1s are, in descending order, the Conductors (Cdr) of the Royal Logistic Corps, the Academy Sergeant Major (AcSM), and the Garrison Sergeant Major (GSM) of the London District
  9. The rank of Junior Corporal is used by the RAF Section of the Combined Cadet Force as an equivalent to OR-3.
  10. Includes Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM), Garrison Sergeant Major (GSM), and Household Cavalry Regimental Corporal Major (RCM). These appointments are similar in function to the equivalent US rank indicated, but are equal in rank to other WO1 appointments.
  11. Includes Company Sergeant Major (CSM), Squadron Sergeant Major (SSM), Royal Artillery Battery Sergeant Major (BSM), Household Cavalry Squadron Corporal Major (SCM), and Band Sergeant Major. These appointments are similar in function to the equivalent US rank indicated, but are equal in rank to other WO2 appointments.
  12. Infantry regiments.
  13. Staff Sergeants can also hold other appointments, such as Company Quartermaster Sergeant.
  14. Royal Artillery.
  15. Brigade of Guards.
  16. The alternatives to the rank of Private are as follows:
  17. In the USMC, the OR-8 ranks and OR-9 ranks are equivalent, but on separate tracks. (I.E. a MSgt is promoted directly to MGySgt)

See also

External links

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