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By William S. Frisbee Jr.

Enlisted

Junior Officers

Warrant Officers

Officers

 

Military units vary in thier ranks structure as much as anything else. For instance a Corporal in the US Marines usually commands a fireteam, but in the British Royal Marines a Corporal commands a squad (which they call a section). This makes it impossible to properly compare different ranks between different militaries.

A Captain in the Marines is not the same as a Captain in the Navy. This makes tradition interesting, since there is only one Captain on a ship what do you call a Marine Captain who commands a company of troops? Major, the next rank up (c'mon ya can't demote the fella, he gets a brevet!).

Below is an attempt compare the rank structures of different militaries with the US. It should be noted that some militaries have different classes that have no comparison with the US. For instance, in India, there is a class of 'junior' commisioned officers, and the Cubans also have a sub class of officers. This list is by no means perfect! (although I would appreciate comments on how to make it so!) This list is designed to give you some idea of how things work. You should consider doing some in depth research on the country in question if you are going to write about it in any kind of detail.

Until recently, the Chinese did not recognize different ranks because of their communist view. Soldiers were recognized by their position, like Company Commander, Squad Leader, ect. The Soviet Army did this once also, but quickly abandoned the method because it lowered morale and just didn't work. The reason this was done was to stay in line with the communist theory that everyone is equal but responsibilities are different. Assigning rank was a very definate way of saying who is better than who.

The Soviet Military has many similar ranks but there is a great deal of distinction between an Engineer Captain and a combat arms Captain and the two are not interchangeable like in many other militaries.

In a combat environment a person may be given a 'brevet' rank, like brevet Captain. Basically this is a temporary promotion (or demotion) and lasts only for the duration of the assignment or duty.

The Cuban Military is called Cuba's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR). World War 2 ranks are listed as WW2. In the WW2 listings G- stands for Germany (or as the Natives call it Deutschland). Kreigsmarines were the Deutsch Navy, Wehrmacht was the regular army and Luftwaffe was the airforce. The SS was of course the elite. The Geheimstatspolizei (Gestapo) and Sicherheitsdienst (SD) ranks are the same as, or similar to, the Waffen SS.

 

ENLISTED

PRIVATES (E-1)

Private

Spanish Marines: Soldado
Japanese Military: Nitto Hei
US Airforce: Airman Basic
US Army: Private (E-1)
US Marines: Private
US Navy: Seaman Recruit
WW2 British Army: Private or Sapper
WW2 G-Kreigsmarine: Matrosengefrieter
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Flieger or Gefrieter
WW2 G-Waffen-SS: SS-Schutze
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Schutze (after Nov. 1942: Grenadier)
WW2 Red Army AirForce: Krasnoarmeyets
WW2 Royal Air Force: Aircraftsman 2nd Class
WW2 Royal Navy: Ordinary Seaman
WW2 US Army AirForce: Private
WW2 US Army: Private
WW2 US Navy: Seaman Recruit

PRIVATES (E-2)

Private First Class

Cuban Army: Soldado
Cuban Navy: Marinero
Japanese Military: Itto Hei
Iraq: Jundi
Spanish Marines: Soldado de la
US AirForce: Airman
US Army: Private (E-2)
US Marines: Private First Class
US Navy: Seaman Apprentice
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Matrosenobergefrieter
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Obergefrieter
WW2 G-Waffen-SS: SS-Obershutze
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Obershutze
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Yefreyto
WW2 Royal Air Force: Aircraftsman First Class
WW2 Royal Navy: Able Seaman
WW2 US Army AirForce: Private First Class
WW2 US Army: Private
WW2 US Navy: Seaman Apprentice
In the Japanese Military an additional rank exists between E-2 and E-3 called Joto hei.

PRIVATES (E-3)

Lance Corporal

Cuban Army: Soldado de Primera
Cuban Navy: Marinero-de-Primera
Japanese Military: Heicho
India: Sepoy
Iraq: Jundi Awwal
Spanish Marines: Cabo
US AirForce: Airman First Class
US Army: Private First Class
US Marines: Lance Corporal
US Navy: Seaman
WW2 British Army: Lance Corporal or Lance Bombardier
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Matrosenhauptgefrieter, Matrosenstabsgefrieter, Matrosenoberstabsgefreiter
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Hauptgefrieter
WW2 G-Waffen SS: Rottenfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Gefreiter
WW2 Royal Air Force: Leading Aircraftsman
WW2 US Army Air Force: Private First Class
WW2 US Army: Private First Class
WW2 US Navy: Seaman

JUNIOR NON-COMMISIONED OFFICERS (E-4)

Corporal

India: Lance Naik
Iraq: Naib Arif
Japanese Military: Gocho
Spanish Marines: Cabo lo
US AirForce: Sergeant or Senior Airman
US Army: Corporal (or Specialist-4)
US Marines: Corporal
US Navy: Petty Officer 3rd Class
WW2 British Army: Corporal or Bombardier
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Steurmann, Obermaat, Maat
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Unteroffizier
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Sturmmann
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Obergefreiter
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Mladshiy Serzhant (Junior Sergeant)
WW2 Royal AirForce: Corporal
WW2 Royal Navy: Leading Seaman
WW2 US Army Air Force: Corporal
WW2 US Army: Corporal
WW2 US Navy: Petty Officer 3rd Class
(The WW2 G-Wehrmacht has two ranks without an equivelent between E-4 and E-5; Stabsgefreiter (Senior Corporal) and Unteroffizier (Lance Sergeant)

JUNIOR NON-COMMISIONED OFFICERS (E-5)

Sergeant

Cuban Army: Sargento de Tercera
Cuban Navy: Sargento de Tercera
Japanese Military: Gunso
India: NaikIraq: Arif
Spanish Marines: Sargento
US AirForce: Staff SergeantUS Army: Sergeant (or Specialist-5)
US Marines: Sergeant
US Navy: Petty Officer 2nd Class
WW2 British Army: Sergeant
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Stabssteurmann
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Unterfeldwebel
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Hauptscharfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Unterfeldwebel
WW2 Red Army Air Force:
WW2 Royal Air Force: Sergeant
WW2 Royal Navy: Petty Officer
WW2 US Army AirForce: Sergeant
WW2 US Army: Sergeant
WW2 US Navy: Petty Officer 2nd Class

SENIOR NON-COMMISIONED OFFICERS (E-6)

Staff Sergeant

Cuban Army: Sargento de Segunda
Cuban Navy: Sargento de Segunda
India: Havildar
Iraq: Rais Urafa
Spanish Marines: Sargento Primero
US AirForce: Technical Sergeant
US Army: Staff Sergeant (or Specialist-6)
US Marines: Staff Sergeant
US Navy: Petty Officer First Class
WW2 British Army: Sergeant Major;Warrant Officer Class 2
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Obersteurmann
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Feldwebel
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Sturmscharfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Feldwebel, Oberfeldwebel, Stabsfeldwebel, Stabswachtsmeister
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Starshiy Serzhant (Senior Sergeant); Starshina also roughly corresponds to this rank.
WW2 Royal Air Force: Flight Sergeant
WW2 US Army Air Force: Staff Sergeant
WW2 US Army: Staff Sergeant
WW2 US Navy: Petty Officer First Class

SENIOR NON-COMMISIONED OFFICERS (E-7)

Sergeant First Class

Cuban Army: Sargento de Primera
Cuban Navy: Sargento de Primara
India: Company Havildar Major
Iraq: Rais Urafa
Spanish Marines: Brigada
US AirForce: Master Sergeant
US Army: Sergeant First Class or Platoon Sergeant (or Specialist-7)
US Marines: Gunnery Sergeant
US Navy: Chief Petty Officer
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Stabsobersteurmann
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Oberfeldwebel
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Mladshiy Leytenant (Junior Lieutenant) also corresponds with Midshipman.
WW2 Royal Navy: Chief Petty Officer
WW2 US Army Air Force: Sergeant First
WW2 US Army: Sergeant First Class
WW2 US Navy: Chief Petty Officer

SENIOR NON-COMMISIONED OFFICERS (E-8)

First Sergeant

Spanish Marines: Brigada
US AirForce: Senior Master Sergeant
US Army: First Sergeant (Master Sergeant)
US Marines: First Sergeant (Master Sergeant)
US Navy: Senior Chief Petty Officer

SENIOR NON-COMMISIONED OFFICERS (E-9)

Sergeant Major

Spanish Marines: Subteniente
Japanese Military: Socho
US AirForce: Chief Master Sergeant
US Army: Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major (also Sergeant Major of the Army)
US Marines: Sergeant Major (also Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps) and Master Gunnery Sergeant
US Navy: Master Chief Petty Officer (also Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy)

Warrant Officers

WARRANT OFFICERS (WO-1)

Iraq: Naib Zabet
Japanese Military: Jun-i
US All forces: Warrant Officer

WARRANT OFFICERS (WO-2)

US All Forces: Chief Warrant Officer (WO-2)

WARRANT OFFICERS (WO-3)

US ALL Forces: Chief Warrant Officer (WO-3)

WARRANT OFFICERS (WO-4)

US All Forces: Chief Warrant Officer (WO-4)

WARRANT OFFICERS (WO-5)

US All Forces: Chief Warrant Officer (WO-5)

 

JUNIOR OFFICERS

JUNIOR OFFICERS (JCO-1)

Cuban Army: Sub Oficial
Cuban Navy: Sub-Oficial
Japanese Military: Seito (Cadet)
India: Naib Subedar

JUNIOR OFFICERS (JCO-2)

Cuban Army: Primer Sub Oficial
Cuban Navy: Primer-Sub-Oficial
India: Subedar

JUNIOR OFFICERS (JCO-3)

Cuban Army: Sub Teniente
Cuban Navy: Alferez
India: Subedar Major

OFFICERS

COMPANY GRADE OFFICERS (0-1)

2nd Lieutenant

Cuban Army: Teniente
Cuban Navy: Teniente de Corbeta
Japanese Military: Sho-i
India: 2nd Lieutenant
Iraq: Mulazim
Spanish Marines: Alferez
Spanish Navy: Alferez de Fragata
US AirForce: 2nd Lieutenant
US Army: 2nd Lieutenant
US Marines: 2nd Lieutenant
US Navy: Ensign
WW2 British Army: 2nd Lieutenant
WW2 G-Kriegmsarine: Leutnant zur See
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Leutnant
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Untersturmfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Leutnant
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Leytenant
WW2 Royal AirForce: Pilot Officer
WW2 Royal Navy: Sub-Lieutenant
WW2 US Army Air Force: 2nd Lieutenant
WW2 US Army: 2nd Lieutenant
WW2 US Navy: Ensign

COMPANY GRADE OFFICERS (0-2)

1st Lieutenant

Cuban Army: Primer Teniente
Cuban Navy: Teniente-de-Fragata
Japanese Military: Chu-i
India: Lieutenant
Iraq: Mulazim Awwal
Spanish Marines: Teniente
Spanish Navy: Alferez de Navio
US AirForce: 2nd Lieutenant
US Army: 1st Lieutenant
US Marines: 1st Lieutenant
US Navy: Lieutenant JG (Junior Grade)
WW2 British Army: Lieutenant
WW2 G-Kriegmarine: Oberleutnant zur See
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Oberleutnant
WW2 G-Waffen SS: Ss-Obersturmfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Oberleutnant
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Starshiyi Leytenant (Senior Lieutenant)
WW2 Royal Air Force: Flying Officer
WW2 Royal Navy: Sub-Lieutenant
WW2 US Army Air Force: 1st Lieutenant
WW2 US Army: 1st Lieutenant
WW2 US Navy: Lieutenant JG (Junior Grade)

COMPANY GRADE OFFICERS (0-3)

Captain

Cuban Army: Capitan
Cuban Navy: Teniente de Navio
India: Captain
Japanese Military: Tai-i
Iraq: Naqib
Spanish Marines: Capitan
Spanish Navy: Teniente de Navio
US AirForce: Captain
US Army: Captain
US Marines: Captain
US Navy: Lieutenant
WW2 British Army: Captain
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Kapitanleutnant
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Hauptmann
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Hauptmann, Rittmeister
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Kapitan
WW2 Royal Air Force: Flight Lieutenant
WW2 Royal Navy: Lieutenant
WW2 US Army Air Force: Captain
WW2 US Army: Captain
WW2 US Navy: Lieutenant

FIELD GRADE OFFICERS (0-4)

Major

Cuban Army: Mayor
Cuban Navy: Capitan de Corbeta
Japanese Military: Shosa
India: Major
Iraq: Raid
Spanish Marines: Comandante
Spanish Navy: Capitan de Corbeta
US Airforce: Major
US Army: Major
US Marines: Major
US Navy: Lieutenant Commander
WW2 British Army: Major
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Korvettenkapitan
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Major
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Sturmbannfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Major
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Major
WW2 Royal Air Force: Squadron Leader
WW2 Royal Navy: Lieutenant-Commander
WW2 US Army Air Force: Major
WW2 US Army: Major
WW2 US Navy: Lieutenant Commander

FIELD GRADE OFFICERS (0-5)

Lieutenant Colonel

Cuban Army/Airforce: Teniente Coronel
Cuban Navy: Capitan de Fragata
Japanese Military: Chusa
India: Lieutenant Colonel
Iraq: Muqaddam
Spanish Marines: Teniente Coronel
Spanish Navy: Capitan de Corbeta
US AirForce: Lieutenant Colonel
US Army: Lieutenant Colonel
US Marines: Lieutenant Colonel
US Navy: Commander
WW2 British Army: Lieutenant Colonel
WW2 G-Lufwaffe: Oberstleutnant
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Oberstleutnant
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Podpolkovnik
WW2 Royal Air Force: Wing Commander
WW2 Royal Navy: Commander
WW2 US Army Air Force: Lieutenant Colonel
WW2 US Army: Lieutenant Colonel
WW2 US Navy: Commander

STAFF OFFICERS (0-6)

Colonel

Cuban Army/AirForce: Coronel
Cuban Navy: Capitan de Navio
Japanese Military: TaisaIndia: Colonel
Iraq: Aqid
Spanish Marines: Coronel
Spanish Navy: Capitan de Navio
US AirForce: Colonel
US Army: Colonel
US Marines: Colonel
US Navy: Captain
WW2 British Army: Colonel
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Fregattenkapitan
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Oberst
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Standartenfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Oberst
WW2 Royal Air Force: Group Captain
WW2 Royal Navy: Captain
WW2 US ARmy Air Force: Colonel
WW2 US Army: Colonel
WW2 US Navy: Captain

STAFF OFFICERS (0-7)

Brigadier General

Cuban Army/AirForce: General de Brigada
Cuban Navy: Contra-Almirante
India: Brigadier
Iraq: Amid
Spanish Marines: General de Brigada
Spanish Navy: Contralmirante
US AirForce: Brigadeir General
US Army: Brigadier General
US Marines: Brigadier General
US Navy: Commodore
WW2 British Army: Brigadier
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Kapitan zur See
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: General Major
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Brigadefuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: General Major
WW2 Red Army Air Force: General Major
WW2 Royal Air Force: Air Commodore
WW2 Royal Navy: Commodore 2nd Class or Commodore First Class
WW2 US Army Air Force: Brigadier General
WW2 US Army: Brigadier General
WW2 US Navy: Rear Admiral (Lower Half) also sometimesreferred to as Commodore

GENERAL OFFICER (0-8)

Major General

Cuban Army/AirForce: General de Division
Cuban Navy: Vice Almirante
Japanese Military: Shosho
India: Major General
Iraq: Fariq
Spanish Marines: General de Division
Spanish Navy: Vicealmirante
US AirForce: Major General
US Army: Major General
US Marines: Major General
US Navy: Rear Admiral (Upper Half)
WW2 British Army: Major General
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Vizeadmiral or Konteradmiral
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: General Leutnant
WW2 G-Waffen-SS: SS-Gruppenfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: General-Leutnant
WW2 Red Army Air Force: General Leytenant
WW2 Royal Air Force: Air Vice Marshal
WW2 Royal Navy: Rear Admiral
WW2 US ARmy Air Force: Major General
WW2 US Army: Major General
WW2 US Navy: Rear Admiral (Upper Half)

GENERAL OFFICER (O-9)

Lieutenant General

Cuban Army/AirForce: General de Cuerpo de Ejercito
Cuban Navy: Almirante
Japanese Military: Chujo
India: Lieutenant General
Iraq: Fariq Awwal
Spanish Navy: Almirante Capitan
US Airforce: Lieutenant General
US Army: Lieutenant General
US Marines: Lieutenant General
US Navy: Vice Admiral
WW2 British Army: Lieutenant General
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Admiral
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Generaloberst
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Obergruppenfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: General
WW2 Red Army Air Force: General Polkovnik
WW2 Royal Air Force: Air Marshal
WW2 Royal Navy: Vice Admiral
WW2 US Army Air Force: Lieutenant-General
WW2 US Army: Lieutenant General
WW2 US Navy: Vice Adimiral

GENERAL OFFICER (O-10)

General

Cuban Army/AirForce: General de Ejercito

Japanese Military: Taisho
India: General (Field Marshal)
Iraq: Mushir
US AirForce: General
US Army: General
US Marines: General
US Navy: Admiral
WW2 British Army: General
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Generaladmiral
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: General
WW2 G-Waffen SS: SS-Oberstgruppenfuhrer
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: General Oberst
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Marshal Aviatsiyi (Air Marshal)
WW2 Royal Air Force: Air Chief Marshal
WW2 Royal Navy: Admiral
WW2 US Army Air Force: General
WW2 US Army: General
WW2 US Navy: Admiral

GENERAL

Highest Ranking General

Cuban: Comandante en Jefe
Japanese Military: Gensui
US Army: General (5 star only awarded in war time)
US Navy: Fleet Admiral
WW2 British Army: Field Marshal
WW2 G-Kriegsmarine: Grossadmiral
WW2 G-Luftwaffe: Generalfeldmarschall then Reichsmarschall
WW2 G-Waffen SS: Reichsfuhrer-SS
WW2 G-Wehrmacht: Generalfeldmarschal
WW2 Red Army Air Force: Glavnyy Marshal Aviatsiyi (Supreme Air Marshal)
WW2 Royal Air Force: Marshal of the Royal Air Force
WW2 Royal Navy: Admiral of the Fleet
WW2 US Army Air Force: General of the Army
WW2 US Army: General of the Army
WW2 US Navy: Fleet Admiral

 

In the US Armed Forces, the ranks of General of the Air Force, General of the Army and Fleet Admirals are refered to by the US as Five Star ranks. These ranks were created during WW2 to give parity with the British Commonwealth rank of Field Marshal, Marshal of the RAF, and Admiral of the Fleet and are very rarely rewarded. General Schwartzkopf of the Gulf war was considered for the rank of Five Star General, but not given the rank. It is said that George Washinton was given a unique Six Star rank.

The rank of Specialist (notably in the US Army starting at Corporal) is a non-command designation. In effect a specialist is nothing more than a more higher paid, respected private first class who is not really trusted with a command billet. At one time the US Marine Corps used the specialist rank structure but it was phased out.

 

Billets and Duties Designing Militaries Insertion/Extraction Military Billets Military Targets and Objectives Missions Munitions Mission Complications Ranks Ship types and classes Sensors Weaponry

 

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