Тема 2. Military Ranks
One big problem throughout military history has been identifying who's in charge. From the earliest days of warfare to the present, special rank badges meant survival. In the heat of battle, knowing who to listen to was as important as the fighting skills soldiers and sailors developed. They had to know at a glance whose shouted orders to obey.
The U.S. military services still use many of the ranks they started with when they began in 1775 at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The leaders adopted the organization, regulations and ranks of the British army and navy with just minor changes. This is not surprising because the Revolutionary Army was made up of colonial militia units that had been organized and drilled by British methods for many years.
Revolutionary Army rank insignia, however, did not follow the British patterns but was similar to the insignia used by the French. After the war the U.S. Army often used the uniform styles and some insignia of the British as well as the French armies.
Military rank is more than just who salutes whom. Military rank is a badge of leadership. Responsibility for personnel, equipment, and mission grows with each increase in rank.
Officer ranks in the United States military consist of commissioned officers (ComOs) and warrant officers (WOs). The commissioned ranks are the highest in the military. These officers hold presidential commissions and are confirmed at their ranks by the Senate. Army, Air Force and Marine Corps officers are called company grade officers in the pay grades of O-1 to O-3, field grade officers in pay grades O-4 to O-6 and
general officers in pay grades O-7 and higher. The equivalent officer groupings in the Navy are called junior grade, mid-grade and flag.
Warrant officers hold warrants from their service secretary and are specialists and experts in certain military technologies or capabilities. The lowest ranking warrant officers serve under a warrant, but they receive commissions from the president upon promotion to chief warrant officer 2. These commissioned warrant officers are direct representatives of the president of the United States. They derive their authority from the same source as commissioned officers but remain specialists, in contrast to commissioned officers, who are generalists. There are no warrant officers in the Air Force.
Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) are servicepeople who have received neither a commission nor a warrant but hold positions requiring responsibility for personnel and its training. They may be sergeants or petty officers in the Navy.
The lowest in the rank are the enlisted personnel. However, depending on their qualification and service aptitudes they are also differentiated in rank.
Do not confuse rank with pay grades, such as E-1, W-2 and O-5. Pay grades are administrative classifications used primarily to standardize compensation across the military services. The “E” in E-1 stands for “enlisted” while the “1” indicates the pay grade for that position. The other pay categories are “W” for warrant officers and “O” for commissioned officers. Some enlisted pay grades have two ranks.
The Army, for example, has the ranks of corporal and specialist at the pay grade of E-4. A corporal is expected to fill a leadership role and has a higher rank than a specialist even though both receive the same amount of pay.
Pay grade is used in the US military as to normalize the equivalent enlisted and officer ranks respectively. For example, the base pay of an E-8 are the same in the Air Force and the Army. In theory, those two E-8s will have equivalent levels of seniority and responsibility.
The table shows current ranks in the US military service branches, but they can serve as a fair guide throughout the twentieth century.