How to Join

See the step-by-step process it takes to join the Army—from talking to a Recruiter to finding the best position for you.

Enlisted Soldier Or Officer?

Learn how these two types of Soldiers are different, yet work together to create the world's strongest fighting force.

About the Army
 Drill Sergeant Olson - Meet DS 2012
Private (PV2)

PRIVATE (PVT/PV2)

Private is the lowest rank. Most Soldiers who are beginning Basic Combat Training (BCT) start out at this rank. Their primary role is to carry out orders. The PVT rank does not have an insignia.

Specialist (SPC)

SPECIALIST (SPC)

A Specialist can manage other lower-ranked enlisted Soldiers. A Soldier can be promoted to this rank after serving a minimum of two years and attending a training class. Recruits with a four-year degree may enter Basic Combat Training as a Specialist.

Sergeant (SGT)

SERGEANT (SGT)

Sergeants typically command a squad of 9 to 10 Soldiers. Sergeants oversee Soldiers in their daily tasks, and are expected to set an example and standard for Privates to live up to.

Sergeant First Class (SFC)

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS (SFC)

As the key assistant and advisor to the platoon leader, the Sergeant First Class generally has 15 to 18 years of Army experience and makes decisions that are in the best interests of the Soldiers in his unit.

First Sergeant (1SG)

FIRST SERGEANT (1SG)

The First Sergeant is the principal NCO and life-blood of a company. He is the disciplinarian and counselor. He instructs other Sergeants, advises the commander and helps train all enlisted Soldiers. He assists Officers at the company level (62 to 190 Soldiers).

Command Sergeant Major (CSM)

COMMAND SERGEANT MAJOR (CSM)

Command Sergeants Major are the senior enlisted advisors to the commanding Officer. They carry out policies and standards, and advise the commander on the performance, training, appearance, and conduct of enlisted Soldiers. A Command Sergeant Major is assignable to battalion level or higher.

Warrant Officer 1 (WO1)

WARRANT OFFICER (WO1)

Warrant Officers are the technical and tactical experts of the Army. At the base-level rank, Warrant Officers primarily support operations from team or detachment through battalion. Warrant Officers are appointed by the Secretary of the Army.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3)

CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 3 (CW3)

The CW3 is an advanced-level technical and tactical expert. They primarily support operations from team or detachment through brigade.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5)

CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 5 (CW5)

The CW5 is a master-level technical and tactical expert. The CW5 primarily supports brigade, division, corps, echelons above corps, and major command operations. CW5's have special Warrant Officer leadership and representation responsibilities within their respective commands.

Second Lieutenant (2LT)

SECOND LIEUTENANT (2LT)

Most Officers enter the Army as a Second Lieutenant. He or she leads platoon-size units consisting of a platoon Sergeant and two or more squads (16 to 44 Soldiers).

Captain (CPT)

CAPTAIN (CPT)

The Captain commands and controls company-sized units (62 to 190 Soldiers). He or she may also instruct at service schools and combat training centers and often serves as a Staff Officer at the battalion level.

Lieutunant Colonel (LTC)

LIEUTENANT COLONEL (LTC)

The Lieutenant Colonel typically commands battalion-sized units (300 to 1,000 Soldiers), with a Command Sergeant Major as an NCO assistant. He or she may also be selected for brigade and task force Executive Officer.

Brigadier General (BG)

BRIGADIER GENERAL (BG)

The Brigadier General serves as deputy commander to the commanding general for Army divisions. This rank is responsible for overseeing the staff's planning and coordination of a mission.

Lieutenant General (LTG)

LIEUTENANT GENERAL (LTG)

The Lieutenant General typically commands corps-sized units (20,000 to 45,000 Soldiers).

General of the Army (GOA)

GENERAL OF THE ARMY (GOA)

This rank is only achievable in times of war, where the Commanding Officer must be equal or of higher rank than those commanding armies from allied nations. The last Officers to hold this rank served during and immediately following WWII.