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Ranks and Insignia

A list of all Marine enlisted ranks and their respected description and requirements.

Recruit



RCT, E-0

Description
This is where everyone begins
Prerequisites
16+
Private



PVT, E-1

Description
In the U.S. Marine Corps, private (Pvt) refers only to the lowest enlisted rank, just below private first class. A Marine Corps private wears no uniform insignia and is sometimes described as having a "slick sleeve" for this reason. Most new, non-officer marines begin their military career as a private. In the Marine Corps, privates first class are not referred to as "private"; it is more appropriate to use either "private first class" or "PFC".
Prerequisites
Passed ICT (Infantry Combat Training)
Private First Class



PFC, E-2

Description
In the United States Marine Corps, the rank of Private First Class is the second lowest, just under Lance Corporal and just above Private, equivalent to NATO grade OR-2, being pay grade E-2. It was established on June 3, 1916 to match the already existing Army rank, primarily because US Marine units were "often called upon to serve" with US Army organizations, such as in the American Expeditionary Force that served in Europe during WWI (e.g. 4th Marine Brigade of the US Army 2nd Infantry Division). At the time the two ranks were directly equivalent. However, since 1968 when the US Army redesignated the E-3 paygrade as PFC (eliminating lance corporal) and created two grades of Private (PVT and PV2), the USMC rank of PFC is one grade lower (E-2) than the similarly titled US Army rank. Enlistees that complete United States Marine Corps Recruit Training and had obtained the rank of Young Marine sergeant or above in the Young Marines, will graduate from USMC Recruit Training with the rank of PFC.
Prerequisites
Completion of MCT's (Marine Combat Training)<br /><br />20 Days TIU
Lance Corporal



LCpl, E-3

Description
Lance Corporal (LCpl) is the third enlisted rank in order of seniority in the U.S. Marine Corps, just above private first class and below corporal. It is not a non-commissioned officer rank.<br /><br />The USMC is the only component of the U.S. Armed Forces to currently have lance corporals. Promotion to lance corporal is based on time in grade, time in service, and the conduct of the Marine. Further promotion to the NCO ranks (Corporal and above) is competitive and takes into account the individual service record of the Marine. There can only be a certain number of corporals and sergeants in each MOS, so even with a qualifying score, promotions may be delayed due to an excessive number of corporals occupying billets in a certain MOS.<br /><br />From the earliest years of the Corps, the ranks of lance corporal and lance sergeant were in common usage. The rank of Lance Corporal has been in the Marine Corps since the 1830s. Marines were appointed temporarily from the next lower rank to the higher grade but were still paid at the lower rank. As the rank structure became more firmly defined, the rank of lance sergeant fell out of use, with rank of lance corporal serving in the Corps into the 1930s, but this unofficial rank became redundant when the rank of private first class was established in 1917. The lance corporal fell out of usage prior to World War II, before it was permanently established in the sweeping rank restructuring of 1958
Prerequisites
Merit based.
Corporal



Cpl, E-4

Description
Corporal is the fourth enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, ranking immediately above Lance Corporal and immediately below Sergeant. The Marine Corps, unlike the Army, has no other rank at the pay grade of E-4. Corporal is the lowest grade of non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, though promotion to Corporal traditionally confers a significant jump in authority and responsibility compared to promotion from Private through Lance Corporal. Marine infantry Corporals generally serve as "fire-team leaders," leading a 4-man team or weapons crew of similar size (e.g., assault weapons squad, medium machine gun team, or LWCMS mortar squad).<br /><br />In practice, however, the billet of fire team leader is generally held by a lance Corporal, while Corporals serve in the squad leader billet that would normally be held by a Sergeant (E-5) in infantry units. In support units, Corporals generally serve in "journeyman" level roles in which they direct the activities of junior Marines and provide technical supervision, on a very limited scope, under the direct supervision of a Sergeant or SNCO. Due to its emphasis on small-unit tactics, its infantry-centric ethos, and its tradition of empowering junior NCO's to exercise first-level leadership, the U.S. Marine Corps' Tables of Organization (TOs) usually place Corporals (as well as Sergeants and staff Sergeants) in billets where other services would normally have higher ranking NCO's in authority. Similarly, the term "Strategic Corporal" refers to the special responsibilities conferred upon a Marine Corporal over the other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.<br /><br />Until the mid-to-late 1980s, Corporals were the lowest USMC rank eligible for selection as a drill instructor for USMC recruit training.
Prerequisites
Merit based.
Sergeant



Sgt, E-5

Description
The United States Marine Corps has several ranks that carry the title of Sergeant, the lowest of which is Sergeant (E-5). Marine Sergeants are the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, above Corporal and below Staff Sergeant. Once a Marine reaches Sergeant, their promotions no longer derive from a composite score- and cutting score-based system; instead, they receive a FITREP, or fitness report (i.e., a formal written evaluation, grading attributes from appearance and bearing to leadership and technical proficiency). Sergeants serve as squad leaders or platoon guide in an infantry platoon, while Staff Sergeants serve in the billet of "platoon sergeant" in rifle platoons and "section leader" in weapons platoons (i.e., machine guns, mortars, anti-tank/assault weapons). In some units, however, depending on total strength, Sergeants may serve in a "+1" billet, meaning that although a particular billet specifies a Staff Sergeant (E6), it is being filled by a Sergeant (E5 "+1"). In top-heavy units with a glut of NCOs, Sergeants may also serve in a "-1" billet, acting as a "team leader" in the place of a Corporal (E4, effectively E5 "-1").
Prerequisites
TBC
Staff Sergeant



SSgt, E-6

Description
Staff Sergeant (SSgt) is E-6 rank in the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), just above Sergeant and below Gunnery Sergeant. A Marine Staff Sergeant is a staff non-commissioned officer rank. Staff NCOs are career Marines serving in grades E-6 through E-9. Together they are responsible to the commanding officer for the welfare, morale, discipline, and efficiency of Marines in their charge. This grade is normally achieved after 7 to 10 years in service. The NATO code is OR-6. In the combat arms units, a Staff Sergeant usually is billeted as a platoon sergeant for 30+ Marines. Staff Sergeants also serve as section leaders in crew-served weapons platoons (e.g., mortars, machine guns, anti-tank missiles) and in tank/armored vehicle platoons under a Gunnery Sergeant serving as platoon sergeant. They may also be tasked as a company gunnery sergeant, or a platoon commander if required. They are the senior tactical advisor to a platoon commander by virtue of time in service, previous deployments, and experience and are responsible for the proficiency, training and administrative issue of their Marines. They are referred to by their complete rank (i.e. "Staff Sergeant Jones" or simply "Staff Sergeant," with the abbreviation "SSgt").

The rank of Staff Sergeant in the USMC was created in 1923 to coincide with the U.S. Army's ranks. Until the end of WW2, the insignia of platoon sergeant was three chevrons and a rocker, with Staff Sergeant having a horizontal stripe instead of a rocker below the chevrons. After the separate rank of Platoon Sergeant was eliminated, the Staff Sergeant rank switched over to the rocker insignia and Staff Sergeants held the platoon sergeant's billet.
Prerequisites
TBC
Gunnery Sergeant



GySgt, E-7

Description
Gunnery sergeant (GySgt) is the seventh enlisted rank in the United States Marine Corps, just above staff sergeant and below master sergeant and first sergeant, and is a staff non-commissioned officer (SNCO). It has a pay grade of E-7.
Prerequisites
TBC
Master Sergeant



MSgt, E-8

Description
The eighth enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, just above gunnery sergeant, below master gunnery sergeant, sergeant major, and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. It is equal in grade to first sergeant, and is abbreviated MSgt. In the U.S. Marine Corps, master sergeants provide technical leadership as occupational specialists at the E-8 level. Most infantry master sergeants serve as the operations chief of a weapons company, in place of the gunnery sergeant found in the company headquarters of a rifle company. Infantry master sergeants also serve as the assistant operations chief in the S-3 section of the headquarters of an infantry regiment and Marine Expeditionary Unit and in the G-3 section of the headquarters of a Marine Expeditionary Brigade. The Marine division and Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters contains two infantry master sergeants, one as the training NCO and the other as the readiness chief. While some combat support battalions have master sergeants at the company level (e.g., one as the tank leader, again replacing the company gunnery sergeant, in the operations section of the tank company headquarters, and two in the company headquarters of an assault amphibian company, one master sergeant as the company gunnery sergeant in the headquarters section and the other as the section leader of the company headquarters AMTRAC Section), most non-infantry master sergeants serve as section chief/NCOIC of their MOS type staff section in a battalion or higher level headquarters. General command leadership at this paygrade is provided by the separate rank of first sergeant. Only in the Marine Corps are master sergeants required to be addressed as "master sergeant". In the Marine Corps, master sergeants may be referred to by the nickname of "Top". This usage is an informal one, however, and would not be used in an official or formal setting. Use of this nickname by Marines of subordinate rank is at the rank holder's discretion. In the U.S. Armed Forces, all master sergeants (Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps) are senior non-commissioned officers (i.e., pay grades E-7 through E-9). However, in the U.S. Marine Corps, the non-commissioned officer ranks of staff sergeant and above, are classified as Staff Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs), a classification that is unique in U.S. usage to the USMC.
Prerequisites
TBC
First Sergeant



1stSgt, E-8

Description
In the United States Marine Corps, first sergeant (abbreviated 1stSgt) is one rank above gunnery sergeant and one pay grade below sergeant major and master gunnery sergeant. It is equal in grade to master sergeant (E8), although the two ranks have different responsibilities. A first sergeant has command leadership responsibilities and serves as the senior enlisted adviser to the commander at the company, battery or detachment level, while master sergeants have technical responsibilities within their respective occupational fields, and serve important leadership roles within various company or battery sections. Master sergeants may also perform staff functions at the battalion/squadron level or above. Unlike first sergeants and master sergeants in the U.S. Army, no lateral movement is possible between the two ranks in the Marine Corps; they're permanent appointments and require a change in occupational specialty. Rather, gunnery sergeants elect a preference on their fitness reports, which are considered before promotion. Ultimately, those selected for either rank are appointed based on suitability, previous duty assignments, and the needs of the Marine Corps. Later in their careers, first sergeants are eligible to be considered for promotion to sergeant major, while master sergeants would be on the career track for master gunnery sergeant.
Prerequisites
TBC
Master Gunnery Sergeant



MGySgt, E-9

Description
Master Gunnery Sergeant (MGySgt) is the 9th and highest enlisted rank (along with the grade-equivalent ranks of Sergeant Major and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps) in the United States Marine Corps. Master Gunnery Sergeants are senior staff non-commissioned officers (SNCOs), and are assigned a pay grade of E-9.

Master Gunnery Sergeants are sometimes referred to by the nicknames "Master Guns" or "Master Gunny". These nicknames are considered unacceptable in formal or ceremonial situations and, at the rank holder's discretion, may also be unacceptable for use by lower-ranking Marines. However, the vast majority of Master Gunnery Sergeants are less concerned with "proper" titles compared to those who hold administrative ranks such as First Sergeants and Sergeants Major. "Master Guns" has become the standard greeting used in every setting.

The Master Gunnery Sergeant insignia consists of a bursting bomb (colloquially referred to as a "pineapple" due to the similarity of its appearance as stylized) centered vertically between three chevrons and four rockers.
Prerequisites
TBC
Sergeant Major



SgtMaj, E-9

Description
In the United States Marine Corps, sergeant major is the ninth and highest enlisted rank, just above first sergeant, and equal in grade to master gunnery sergeant, although the two have different responsibilities. Sergeant major is both a rank and a military billet. Marine Corps sergeants major serve as the senior enlisted marine in the Corps' units of battalion, squadron or higher echelon, as the unit commander's senior enlisted advisor and to handle matters of discipline and morale among the enlisted marines. Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is a separate and unique position.
Prerequisites
TBC
Second Lieutenant



2ndLt, O-1

Description
In the Army and Marine Corps, a second lieutenant typically leads a platoon-size element (16 to 44 soldiers or Marines). In the army, until December 1917 the rank bore no insignia other than a brown sleeve braid on blouses and an officer's cap device and hat cord. In December 1917, a brass bar similar to the silver bar of a first lieutenant was introduced.
Prerequisites
TBC
First Lieutenant



1stLt, O-2

Description
In the United States Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force, a first lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer. It is just above the rank of second lieutenant and just below the rank of captain. It is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) in the other uniformed services.

Promotion to first lieutenant is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest all "fully qualified" officers should be promoted to first lieutenant. A second lieutenant (grade O-1) is usually promoted to first lieutenant (grade O-2) after 18 months in the Army or 24 months in the Marine Corps and Air Force. The difference between the two ranks is slight, primarily being experienced and having higher pay. It is not uncommon to see officers moved to positions requiring more experience after promotion to first lieutenant. For example, in the Army and Marine Corps these positions can include leading a specialty platoon, or assignment as the executive officer for a company-sized unit (70–250 soldiers or marines). In the Air Force, a first lieutenant may be a flight commander or section's officer in charge with varied supervisory responsibilities, including supervision of as many as 100+ personnel, although in a flying unit, a first lieutenant is a rated officer (pilot, navigator, or air battle manager) who has just finished training for his career field and has few supervisory responsibilities.
Prerequisites
TBC
Captain



Cpt, O-3

Description
For the naval rank, a captain is a senior officer of pay grade O-6 (the sixth officer rank), typically commanding seagoing vessels, major aviation commands and shore installations. This rank is used by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the NOAA Commissioned Corps, and the U.S. Maritime Service.

Of note, and to further complicate the confusion, seaborne services of the United States and many other nations refer to the officer in charge of any seagoing vessel as "captain" regardless of actual rank. While not an official rank as in pay grade it is an official title and can confuse many individuals who are new to or unfamiliar with naval traditions. One exception to this is when an officer of higher rank than captain, such as admiral, is the officer in charge of one or more seagoing vessel(s), such as a Carrier battle group. An admiral is never referred to as "captain." An additional item of note is that in the seaborne services, especially for submarine and aviation commands, the commanding officer is often referred to informally as "skipper" whether the officer is a captain or below.

For the ground and air forces rank, a captain is of pay grade O-3 (the third officer rank), usually serving as the commander of a company-sized unit in the ground forces, as a flight leader or other squadron officer in air units, or serving as an executive officer or staff officer for a larger unit such as a battalion or squadron. This rank is used by the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps.
Prerequisites
TBC
Major



Maj, O-4

Description
In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, major is a field grade military officer rank above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the other uniformed services. Although lieutenant commanders are considered junior officers by their respective services, the rank of major is considered field grade.

The pay grade for the rank of major is O-4. The insignia for the rank consists of a golden oak leaf, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Marine Corps version. Promotion to major is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980.
Prerequisites
TBC
Lieutenant Colonel



LtCol, O-5

Description
In the United States Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.

The pay grade for the rank of lieutenant colonel is O-5. The insignia for the rank consists of a silver oak leaf, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Navy/Marine Corps version.

Promotion to lieutenant colonel is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest 70% of majors should be promoted to lieutenant colonel after serving a minimum of three years at their present rank and after attaining 15–17 years of cumulative commissioned service.
Prerequisites
TBC