When it comes to the US Army, ranks determine who gets to order whom around. The higher the rank, the more authority one has. Sometimes, ranks in the Army can be confusing. The following is some information on the various ranks in the US Army.
Army Junior Enlisted Ranks
? Private 2nd Class
? Private First Class
? Army Specialist
The use of the term ?Private? is said to come from the 16th century when individuals had the opportunity to enlist in the army via private contracts. Both privates and specialists are promoted based on the amount of time they have served and their pay grade. After completing six months of service, Privates are promoted to Private 2nd Class. Soldiers in the US Army earn the rank of specialist after attending a specific training program or after a minimum of two years.
Non Commissioned Officers
? Staff Sergeant
Those who serve in the United States Army in ranks E-4 to E-6 are considered to be Non-Commissioned Officers. Corporals (E-4) are considered to be junior NCOs. The rank of the ?Corporal? was established in 1775, with the birth of NCO corps within the Army. The rank of Corporal is placed at the beginning of the NCO ranks, which is followed by Sergeant (E-5) and Staff Sergeant (E-6). While both Corporals and Sergeants are responsible for the training and personal appearance of the soldiers under their command.
The main difference between Sergeants and Staff Sergeants is that the latter is in charge of more equipment and Army property, and is in contact with a large number of soldiers on a daily basis. A Staff Sergeant will often have a couple of Sergeants working under their direct command. It is up to the Staff Sergeant to deploy Sergeants and troops in their squad. Unlike the promotion processes that are used in the case of Privates, Specialists, and Corporals, the promotion to Sergeant or Staff Sergeant is determined by a competition that is carried out Army-wide. This includes, Education level, physical fitness, firing range scores, performance evaluations, ranking on the promotion board and awards.
Senior Non Commissioned Officers
? Sergeant First Class
? Master Sergeant
? First Sergeant
? Sergeant Major
? Command Sergeant Major
? Sergeant Major of the Army
Senior NCOs are usually referred to as Sergeant First Class. This rank carries increased responsibility and commands more respect. While there are only three pay grades with the SNCO ranks, there are actually six distinctive designations. Unlike the promotion process of Privates all the way through Staff Sergeant ranks, the unit commander has little to do with the selection process of the SNCO officers. These promotions are mainly carried out at the Head Quarters of the Department of the Army. In order to get promoted, candidates are required to meet a prerequisite ?Time-In-Grade? requirement also referred to as TIG. For Sergeant First Class its 6 years, while Master Sergeant and Sergeant Major need to be serving in their ranks for 8 and 9 years respectively.
Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major
The experience of a Sergeant Major is equal to that of a Command Sergeant Major, with the only difference being of the sphere of influence and responsibility. Soldiers who obtain the rank of Command Sergeant Major are considered to be highly successful in their chosen fields. A CSM can function completely without supervision, since they are only out ranked by the Sergeant Major of the Army.
Sergeant Major of the Army
The soldier that holds this rank is the most senior member of the Army and is only held by a single member of the army at a time. Duties of an SMA include enlisting soldiers at the highest levels of the Army, and acting as advisor to the Army Chief of Staff, who also determines the SMA?s duties.