Officer Ranks

Officer Ranks (grade O-1 to O-11) are given to officers of the Army who hold a position of command authority. Commissioned officers are typically the only persons, in a military environment, able to act as the commanding officer of a military unit.

There are several paths to becoming a commissioned officer including Army ROTC, the United States Military Academy at West Point or the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, and Officer Candidate School. Certain professionals, physicians, nurses, lawyers, and chaplains are commissioned directly into the Army. But no matter what road an officer takes, the rank insignias are the same.

Having officers is one requirement for combatant status under the laws of war, though these officers need not have obtained an official commission or warrant. Address all personnel with the Officer ranks of General as “General (last name)” regardless of the number of stars. Likewise, address both Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels as “Colonel (last name)” and first and second lieutenants as “Lieutenant (last name)”. Other Officer ranks are simply “(rank name) (last name)”, such as “Major Payne”. When talking to them directly, simply call them “Sir” or “Ma’am”.

2ND Lieutenant (2LT)

Grade: O1
Usually an executive officer to the 1LT in command.

Lieutenant Colonel (LTC)

Grade: O5
Usually in command of a Battalion. Battalion Commander (BC).

1ST Lieutenant (1LT)

Grade: O2
Usually in command of a platoon. Platoon Leader (PL)

Colonel (COL)

Grade: O6
Usually in command of a Brigade.

Captain (CPT)

Grade: O3
Usually in command of a company. Commanding Officer (CO)

Brigadier General (BG)

Grade: O7

Major (MAJ)

Grade: O4
Usually an executive officer to the LTC in command.

Major General (MG)

Grade: O8

Lieutenant General (LTG)

Grade: O9

General (GEN)

Grade: O10

General of the Army (GA)

Grade: O11

How much money do Officers make?

Officers in the Army are paid based on their Pay Grade (O-1 to O-11) and Time in Service. They also benefit from Annual Pay Raises (the annual raise varies every year).