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Army Rank

Army rank is a system of organizing the military structure based on seniority and command. This system clearly defines the area of responsibility and authority for different army ranks. With each increase in army rank, the responsibility for personnel, equipment, and mission increases. Therefore, there are separate training programs for different levels of personnel in the army.

Most of the modern military services categorize the army ranks in three broad categories. The US Army follows the same structure. The three army rank categories are "commissioned officers", "non-commissioned officers" and "men".

The category of commissioned officer covers four army ranks. On top is the Flag Officer who commands a brigade or a larger unit. Such units operate independently for extended periods. Next is the Field Grade Officer who leads a battalion or a regiment. These units can operate independently for short periods. The next is the Company Grade or Junior Officer. The unit under his command cannot operate independently for any significant length of time. The Warrant Officer comes in the last army rank of the commissioned officers. The Warrant Officers do not serve in command positions. They get the position of commissioned officers because of their technical skills.

The non commissioned officers in army are the enlisted personnel with significant administrative responsibilities. Generally, they supervise other soldiers. The army ranks in the non-commissioned category include a number of grades of Sergeant (for Army, Air Force or Marines) or Petty officer (for Naval). The specialists and the private soldiers also come in the enlisted army rank.

Army rank is not synonymous with pay grade. The pay grades such as E-1, W-2 and O-5 are administrative classifications for organizing the pay structure in the military services. Soldiers of similar pay grade may have different army ranks. For example, Master Gunnery Sergeants and Sergeant Majors share the same pay grade of E-9s. However, the Sergeant Major is higher in rank.

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