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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 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.