Military Rank Abbreviations

Article 3 min
Use this table to find the appropriate abbreviation for the following service's rank: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard Marines, Navy, and Space Force.

Paygrades also referred to as grades, each correlates to a rank throughout the services. When referencing a servicemember, always include their rank as a formal title before their name upon the first reference. If you are referring to a person conversationally, spell out the rank. For example, “His grandfather was a lieutenant general.” When referring to a person by their title, use their service and the abbreviated form of their rank. For example, “Army Sgt. John Doe is a photographer for the 173rd Airborne Brigade.”

Reference the table below to identify the correct abbreviation for each service.

Army

Army
GRADE RANK ABBREVIATION
O-10 general Gen.
O-9 lieutenant general Lt. Gen.
O-8 major general Maj. Gen.
O-7 brigadier general Brig. Gen.
O-6 colonel Col.
O-5 lieutenant colonel Lt. Col.
O-4 major Maj.
O-3 captain Capt.
O-2 first lieutenant 1st Lt.
O-1 second lieutenant 2nd Lt.
W-5 chief warrant officer 5 Chief Warrant Officer 5
W-4 chief warrant officer 4 Chief Warrant Officer 4
W-3 chief warrant officer 3 Chief Warrant Officer 3
W-2 chief warrant officer 2 Chief Warrant Officer 2
W-1 warrant officer Warrant Officer
E-9 sergeant major of the Army Sgt. Maj. of the Army
command sergeant major Command Sgt. Maj.
sergeant major Sgt. Maj.
E-8 first sergeant 1st Sgt.
E-8 master sergeant Master Sgt.
E-7 sergeant first class Sgt. 1st Class
E-6 staff sergeant Staff Sgt.
E-5 sergeant Sgt.
E-4 corporal Cpl.
E-4 specialist Spc.
E-3 private first class Pfc.
E-2 private Pvt.
E-1 private Pvt.

Air Force

Air Force
GRADE RANK ABBREVIATION
O-10 general Gen.
O-9 lieutenant general Lt. Gen.
O-8 major general Maj. Gen.
O-7 brigadier general Brig. Gen.
O-6 colonel Col.
O-5 lieutenant colonel Lt. Col.
O-4 major Maj.
O-3 captain Capt.
O-2 first lieutenant 1st Lt.
O-1 second lieutenant 2nd Lt.
E-9 chief master sergeant of the Air Force Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force
command chief master sergeant Command Chief Master Sgt.
chief master sergeant Chief Master Sgt.
E-8 senior master sergeant Senior Master Sgt.
E-7 master sergeant Master Sgt.
E-6 technical sergeant Tech. Sgt.
E-5 staff sergeant Staff Sgt.
E-4 senior airman Senior Airman
E-3 airman first class Airman 1st Class
E-2 airman Airman
E-1 airman basic Airman

Coast Guard

Coast Guard
GRADE RANK ABBREVIATION
O-10 admiral Adm.
O-9 vice admiral Vice Adm.
O-8 rear admiral Rear Adm.
O-7 rear admiral Rear Adm.
O-6 captain Capt.
O-5 commander Cmdr.
O-4 lieutenant commander Lt. Cmdr.
O-3 lieutenant Lt.
O-2 lieutenant junior grade Lt. j.g.
O-1 ensign Ensign
W-4 chief warrant officer 4 Chief Warrant Officer 4
W-3 chief warrant officer 3 Chief Warrant Officer 3
W-2 chief warrant officer 2 Chief Warrant Officer 2
E-9 master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
master chief petty officer Master Chief Petty Officer
E-8 senior chief petty officer Senior Chief Petty Officer
E-7 chief petty officer Chief Petty Officer
E-6 petty officer first class Petty Officer 1st Class
E-5 petty officer second class Petty Officer 2nd Class
E-4 petty officer third class Petty Officer 3rd Class
E-3 seaman Seaman**
E-2 seaman apprentice Seaman Apprentice**
E-1 seaman recruit Seaman Recruit

 

Marines

Marines
GRADE RANK ABBREVIATION
O-10 general Gen.
O-9 lieutenant general Lt. Gen.
O-8 major general Maj. Gen.
O-7 brigadier general Brig. Gen.
O-6 colonel Col.
O-5 lieutenant colonel Lt. Col.
O-4 major Maj.
O-3 captain Capt.
O-2 first lieutenant 1st Lt.
O-1 second lieutenant 2nd Lt.
W-5 chief warrant officer 5 Chief Warrant Officer 5
W-4 chief warrant officer 4 Chief Warrant Officer 4
W-3 chief warrant officer 3 Chief Warrant Officer 3
W-2 chief warrant officer 2 Chief Warrant Officer 2
W-1 warrant officer Warrant Officer
E-9 sergeant major of the Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps
sergeant major Sgt. Maj.
master gunnery sergeant Master Gunnery Sgt.
E-8 first sergeant 1st Sgt.
E-8 master sergeant Master Sgt.
E-7 gunnery sergeant Gunnery Sgt.
E-6 staff sergeant Staff Sgt.
E-5 sergeant Sgt.
E-4 corporal Cpl.
E-4 lance corporal Lance Cpl.
E-4 private first class Pfc.
E-4 private Pvt.

Navy

Navy
GRADE RANK ABBREVIATION
O-10 admiral Adm.
O-9 vice admiral Vice Adm.
O-8 rear admiral Rear Adm.
O-7 rear admiral Rear Adm.
O-6 captain Capt.
O-5 commander Cmdr.
O-4 lieutenant commander Lt. Cmdr.
O-3 lieutenant Lt.
O-2 lieutenant junior grade Lt. j.g.
O-1 ensign Ensign
W-5 chief warrant officer 5 Chief Warrant Officer 5
W-4 chief warrant officer 4 Chief Warrant Officer 4
W-3 chief warrant officer 3 Chief Warrant Officer 3
W-2 chief warrant officer 2 Chief Warrant Officer 2
E-9 master chief petty officer of the Navy Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
master chief petty officer Master Chief Petty Officer
E-8 senior chief petty officer Senior Chief Petty Officer
E-7 chief petty officer Chief Petty Officer
E-6 petty officer first class Petty Officer 1st Class
E-5 petty officer second class Petty Officer 2nd Class
E-4 petty officer third class Petty Officer 3rd Class
E-3 seaman Seaman**
E-2 seaman apprentice Seaman Apprentice**
E-1 seaman recruit Seaman Recruit

 

Space Force

Navy
GRADE RANK ABBREVIATION
O-10 general Gen.
O-9 lieutenant general Lt. Gen.
O-8 major general Maj. Gen.
O-7 brigadier general Brig. Gen.
O-6 colonel Col.
O-5 lieutenant colonel Lt. Col.
O-4 major Maj.
O-3 captain Capt.
O-2 first lieutenant 1st Lt.
O-1 second lieutenant 2nd Lt.
E-9 chief master sergeant of the Space Force Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force
chief master sergeant Chief Master Sgt.
E-8 senior master sergeant Senior Master Sgt.
E-7 master sergeant Master Sgt.
E-6 technical sergeant Tech. Sgt.
E-5 sergeant Sgt.
E-4 specialist 4 Spc. 4
E-3 specialist 3 Spc. 3
E-2 specialist 2 Spc. 2
E-1 specialist 1 Spc. 

 

 

*For VI products, include the number in the rank (Chief Warrant Officer 2). For PA products, don’t include the number (Chief Warrant Officer). W-5 is not a rank in the Coast Guard.

**For VI products, such as captions, refer to the person by their rate and rating (Machinist's Mate 2nd Class, Aviation Boatswain's Mate 1st Class, etc.), per the DoD Visual Information Style Guide. For PA products, use only the listed rank per the AP Stylebook (seaman, seaman apprentice, etc.).

References

Associated Press (2020). The Associated Press stylebook: 2020-2022 (55th ed). New York: Basic Books.

Department of Defense (2020). Visual Information Style Guide.