Army Officer Ranks

Two soldiers salute the American flag during a ceremony at Camp Taji, Iraq.
U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Isbell, left, incoming base command sergeant major, and Lt. Col. Mark Tyndall, incoming base commander, salute the American flag during the base command transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Taji, Iraq, March 18, 2020. The Australian and New Zealand army transferred base command to the U.S. Army. (Caroline Schofer/U.S. Army)

In the Army hierarchy, officer ranks are structured into three tiers: company grade, field grade, and general.

Company grade officers, designated in the ranks of O-1 to O-3, form the initial tier. Field grade officers, encompassing pay grades O-4 to O-6, make up the middle level of leadership. General officers are categorized in the pay grades O-7 and above.

Commissioned officers, the highest of the Army ranks, wield presidential commissions and undergo Senate confirmation for their respective ranks. 

Army Officer Ranks and Their Insignia

Second Lieutenant (2LT) (O1) insignia

Second Lieutenant (2LT)(O1)

Addressed as lieutenant. Typically the entry-level rank for most commissioned officers. Leads platoon-size elements consisting of the platoon sergeant and two or more squads (16-44 soldiers).


First Lieutenant (1LT) (O2) insignia

First Lieutenant (1LT)(O2)

Addressed as lieutenant. A seasoned lieutenant with 18-24 months of service. Leads more specialized weapons platoons and indirect fire computation centers. As a senior lieutenant, they often are selected to be the executive officer of a company-sized unit (110-140 personnel).


Captain (CPT) (O3) insignia

Captain (CPT)(O3)

Addressed as captain. Commands and controls company-sized units (62-190 soldiers), together with a principal NCO assistant. Instructs skills at service schools and Army combat training centers and is often a staff officer at the battalion level.


Major (MAJ)(O4) insignia

Major (MAJ)(O4)

Addressed as major. Serves as primary staff officer for brigade and task force command regarding personnel, logistical and operational missions.


Lieutenant Colonel insignia

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC)(O5)

Addressed as lieutenant colonel or colonel. Typically commands battalion-sized units (300-1,000 soldiers), with a CSM as principal NCO assistant. May be selected for brigade and task force executive officer.


Colonel (COL) (O6) insignia

Colonel (COL)(O6)

Addressed as colonel. Typically commands brigade-sized units (3,000-5,000 soldiers), with a CSM as principal NCO assistant. Also found as the chief of divisional-level staff agencies.

Army Officer Ranks: Generals

Brigadier General (BG) (O7) insignia

Brigadier General (BG)(O7)

Addressed as general. Serves as deputy commander to the commanding general for Army divisions. Assists in overseeing the staff's planning and coordination of a mission.

Major General (MG) (O8) insignia

Major General (MG)(O8)

Addressed as general. Typically commands division-sized units (10,000-15,000 soldiers).

Lieutenant General (LTG) (O9) insignia

Lieutenant General (LTG)(O9)

Addressed as general. Typically commands corps-sized units (20,000-45,000 soldiers).

General (GEN) (O10) insignia

General (GEN)(O10)

Addressed as general. The senior level of commissioned officer typically has more than 30 years of experience and service. Commands all operations that fall within their geographical area. The chief of staff of Staff of the Army is a four-star general.

General of the Army (GOA) insignia

General of the Army (GOA)

This is only used in time of war where the commanding officer must be equal or of higher rank than those commanding armies from other nations. The last officers to hold this rank served during and immediately after WWII.

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