In the United States Navy, officers have various ranks. Equivalency between services is by pay grade. United States Navy commissioned officer ranks have two distinct sets of rank insignia: On dress uniform a series of stripes similar to Commonwealth naval ranks are worn; on service khaki, working uniforms (Navy Working Uniform [NWU], and coveralls), and special uniform situations (combat utilities, flight suits, and USMC uniforms when worn by Navy officers assigned or attached to USMC units), the rank insignia are identical to the equivalent rank in the US Marine Corps.

Commissioned officer ranks

Commissioned officer rank structure of the United States Navy[1]
US DoD Pay Grade Special Grade O-10 O-9 O-8 O-7 O-6 O-5 O-4 O-3 O-2 O-1
NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1
Insignia
US Navy O11 insignia.svg
US Navy O10 insignia.svg
US Navy O9 insignia.svg
US Navy O8 insignia.svg
US Navy O7 insignia.svg
US Navy O6 insignia.svg
US Navy O5 insignia.svg
US Navy O4 insignia.svg
US Navy O3 insignia.svg
US Navy O2 insignia.svg
US Navy O1 insignia.svg
Title Fleet admiral Admiral Vice admiral Rear admiral Rear admiral
(lower half)
Captain Commander Lieutenant
commander
Lieutenant Lieutenant
(junior grade)
Ensign
Abbreviation FADM[a] ADM VADM RADM[2][3] RDML CAPT CDR LCDR LT LTJG[2][3] ENS

Warrant officer ranks

Warrant officer and commissioned warrant officers
US DoD Pay Grade W-5 W-4 W-3 W-2 W-1
NATO Code WO-5 WO-4 WO-3 WO-2 WO-1
Insignia
US Navy CW5 insignia.svg
US Navy CW4 insignia.svg
US Navy CW3 insignia.svg
US Navy CW2 insignia.svg
US Navy WO1 insignia.svg
Title Chief warrant officer five Chief warrant officer four Chief warrant officer three Chief warrant officer two Warrant officer one
Abbreviation CWO-5 CWO-4 CWO-3 CWO-2 WO-1

Rank categories

In the U.S. Navy, pay grades for officers are:

Rank and promotion system

If an officer demonstrates superior performance and proves themselves capable of performing at the next higher pay grade, then they are given an increase in pay grade. The official term for this process is a promotion.

Commissioned naval officers originate from the United States Naval Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, other Service Academies (United States Military Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy, or United States Air Force Academy), Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC), Officer Candidate School (OCS), the since-disestablished Aviation Officer Candidate School (AOCS), and a host of other commissioning programs such as the "Seaman to Admiral-21" program and the limited duty officer/chief warrant officer (LDO/CWO) selection program. There are also a small number of direct commissioned officers, primarily staff corps officers in the medical, dental, nurse, chaplain and judge advocate general career fields.

Commissioned officers can generally be divided into line officers and staff corps:

Note 2: See also Commodore (United States) — today an honorific title (but not a pay grade) for selected URL captains (O-6) in major command of multiple subordinate operational units, and formerly a rank (O-7).[10]

Note 3: The term "line officer of the naval service" includes line officers of both the Navy and the Marine Corps. All U.S. Marine Corps officers are considered "of the line," including Marine Corps limited duty officers, chief warrant officers, and warrant officers, regardless of grade or specialty.[11]

"Tombstone promotions"

The Act of Congress of March 4, 1925, provided for Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard officers to be promoted one grade upon retirement, if they had been specially commended for performance of duty in actual combat, known as "tombstone promotions". Officers who received such tombstone promotions, or also known as "tombstone officer", carried the loftier title but did not draw the additional retirement pay of their higher rank. The Act of Congress of February 23, 1942, enabled promotions to three- and four-star grades. Promotions were subsequently restricted to citations issued before January 1, 1947, and finally eliminated altogether effective November 1, 1959.[12]

Any officer who served honorably in a grade while on active duty receives precedence on the retirement list over any "tombstone officers" of the same grade, while "tombstone officers" of the same grade rank among each other according to their dates of rank in their highest active duty grade.[13]

Officer designator devices

The Navy uses the term designator, instead of the term, military occupational specialty (MOS), to determine an officer's job specialty. Navy officers are designated as either as a line officer or as a staff corps officer. Unrestricted Line (URL) and Restricted Line (RL) officers wear an embroidered gold star above their rank of the naval service dress uniform while staff corps officers, and chief warrant officers wear unique designator devices.[14][15]

Type Line officer Medical Corps Dental Corps Nurse Corps Medical Service Corps Judge Advocate General's Corps
Insignia
USN Line Officer.png
USN Med-corp.gif
USN Dental.gif
USN Nurse.gif
USN Msc.gif
USN Jag-corp.gif
Designator1 1XXX 210X 220X 290X 230X 250X
Chaplain Corps
(Christian Faith)
Chaplain Corps
(Jewish Faith)
Chaplain Corps
(Muslim Faith)
Chaplain Corps
(Buddhist Faith)
Supply Corps Civil Engineer Corps Law Community
(Limited Duty Officer)
USN Chapchr.gif
USN Chap-jew.gif
USN Chap-mus.gif
USN - Chaplian Insignia - Buddhist 2.jpg
United States Navy Supply Corps insignia.gif
USN Ce-corp.gif
USN Law Community.png
410X 410X 410X 410X 310X 510X 655X

USN Chief Warrant Officer Specialty Devices.png

1 An officer designator describes their general community or profession. The final (fourth) digit (X) denotes whether the officer has a regular (0), reserve (5), or full-time support (7) commission.[16]

The chief warrant officer and staff corps devices are also worn on the left collar of uniforms.

Timeline of changes

This table shows changes in insignia based on the date they appeared in or were removed from uniform regulations or official orders.[17]

US DoD Pay Grade Special Grade O-10 O-9 O-8 O-7 O-6 O-5 O-4 O-3 O-2 O-1
Title Admiral of the Navy
and
Fleet Admiral
Admiral Vice admiral Rear admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant
commander
Lieutenant Lieutenant
(junior grade)
Ensign
United States
(March 1852)
No equivalent
Blank.svg
Blank.svg
No equivalent
Blank.svg
Blank.svg
No equivalent
United States
(July 1862)
No equivalent
US-Navy-Rear Admiral (1862-1864).svg
US-Navy-Commodore (1862-1864).svg
Blank.svg
Blank.svg
Blank.svg
US-Navy-Lieutenant (1862-1864).svg
US-Navy-Master (1862-1864).svg
US-Navy-Ensign (1862-1864).svg
United States
(May 1863)
No equivalent
US-Navy-Rear Admiral (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Commodore (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Captain (1864-1866).svg
Blank.svg
Blank.svg
US-Navy-Lieutenant (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Master (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Ensign (1864-1866).svg
United States
(Jan. 1864)
No equivalent
US-Navy-Rear Admiral (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Commodore (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Captain (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Commander (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Lieutenant Commander (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Lieutenant (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Master (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Ensign (1864-1866).svg
United States
(Jan. 1865)
No equivalent
US-Navy-Vice Admiral 1865.svg
US-Navy-Rear Admiral 1865.svg
US-Navy-Commodore (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Captain (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Commander (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Lieutenant Commander (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Lieutenant (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Master (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Ensign (1864-1866).svg
United States
(Dec. 1866)
No equivalent
Blank.svg
US-Navy-Vice Admiral 1865.svg
US-Navy-Rear Admiral 1865.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
USN commodore rank insignia.jpg
US-Navy-Captain (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Commander (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Lieutenant Commander (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Lieutenant (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Master (1864-1866).svg
US-Navy-Ensign (1864-1866).svg
United States
(March 1869)
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-(star)-O11.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O10.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O4.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O2.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O0.svg
United States
(May 1869)
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-(star)-O11.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O10.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O7.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O2.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O0.svg
United States
(Nov. 1874)
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-(star)-O11.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O10.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O7.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O4.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O0.svg
United States
(Aug. 1881)
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-(star)-O11.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O10.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O7.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O4.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O2.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
United States
(July 1897)
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O7.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O4.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O2.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
United States
(May 1899)
No equivalent
Blank.svg
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-(star)-O7.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O4.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O2.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
United States
(Jan. 1905)
US Admiral of Navy insignia.svg
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O7.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O4.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O2.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
United States
(Jan. 1913)
US Admiral of Navy insignia.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O11.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O10.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O7.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O4.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O2.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
United States
(Sept. 1922)
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-(star)-O11.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O10.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O7.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O4.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O2.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
United States
(Jan. 1945)
Generic-Navy-(star)-O12.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O11.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O10.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O9.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O8.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O7.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O5.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O4.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O3.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O2.svg
Generic-Navy-(star)-O1.svg
Title Admiral of the Navy
and
Fleet Admiral
Admiral Vice admiral Rear admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant
commander
Lieutenant Lieutenant
(junior grade)
Ensign
NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The rank of Fleet Admiral is currently inactive. It was last awarded to four officers during World War II: (in order of precedence).

References

  1. ^ Rank Insignia of Navy commissioned and warrant officers
  2. ^ a b 10 USC 5501 Navy: grades above chief warrant officer, W–5
  3. ^ a b 37 USC 201 Pay grades: assignment to; general rules
  4. ^ a b 10 U.S. Code § 571. Warrant officers: grades, the President may grant appointments of warrant officers in the grade of W-1 via commission at any time and the Secretary of the Navy may also appoint warrant officers in that grade via commission, through additional regulations.
  5. ^ 10 U.S. Code § 531. Original appointments of commissioned officers
  6. ^ Defenselink.mil
  7. ^ Defenselink.mil
  8. ^ "Public Law 333, 79TH CONG., CHS. 109, 110, 112, MAR. 22, 23, 1946" (PDF). LegisWorks.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2016. "This law in 1946 provided that each of the 8 Five-Star officers at the end of WWII was permanently appointed as O-11, and whether retired or not would continue to draw full pay and allowances for the rest of their life, as if on active duty. The same benefit was provided for the serving Commandants of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard (both O-10, four-star General, and Admiral, respectively), who were in office on 14 August 1945. No provisions were made for these officers' successors to have the same benefits; only one more O-11 was appointed, General Omar Bradley was appointed in 1950 as General of the Army, and his benefits followed the model of PL 333. The grade of O-11 itself was temporary in that while Congress provided for appointments to serve in it, once the last appointed officer (Bradley d. 1982) died, there have been no further appointments to O-11.
  9. ^ "Specialty Insignia - Staff Corps".
  10. ^ 14 USC 271: Promotions; appointments (1985—Pub. L. 99–145 substituted "rear admirals (lower half)" for "commodores," repealing 1983—Section 4 of Pub. L. 97–417, Permanent Grades and Titles for Officers Holding Certain Grades on January 3, 1983. After 1985, the O-7 Commodore rank was replaced by O-7 "Rear Admiral (Lower Half)")
  11. ^ "United States Navy Regulations" (PDF). Chapter 10. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  12. ^ "14 United States Code 239 (repealed)". U.S. Govt. Printing Office. Retrieved 15 September 2016. Section 10(b) of Pub. L. 86–155 provided that repeal of this section and section 309 of this title shall become effective on Nov. 1, 1959.
  13. ^ United States Navy Regulations, 1920 with changes up to and including No. 19 1938 Article 1668(3)
  14. ^ U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, 4102 - Sleeve Designs for Line and Staff Corps, updated 28 January 2011, accessed 22 January 2012
  15. ^ U.S. Navy Personnel Command, Officer, Community Managers, LDO/CWO OCM, References, LDO/CWO Designators Archived 2013-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, rout page updated 4 October 2011, accessed 22 January 2012
  16. ^ "Navy Full-Time Support (FTS) Program". Navy.com. Retrieved 16 September 2016. Navy Full-Time Support (FTS) – This program allows Reservists to perform full-time Active Duty service in positions that support the training and administration of the Navy Reserve Force. Members receive the same pay, allowances and benefits as Active Duty members. One advantage of FTS over regular Active Duty is that members typically serve for longer periods at any assigned locations, up to and including a full career on active duty (albeit as a reservist serving on active duty for the specific purpose of providing support and expertise to integrate the active and reserve components.
  17. ^ "U.S. Navy Officer Sleeve Rank Insignia Timeline". uniform-reference.net. Retrieved 12 April 2020.