military rank question!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Yossarian, Feb 20, 2005.

  1. Yossarian


    Jun 24, 2004
    So I was just thinking about Catch 22 the other day and PFC Wintergreen came to mind. Now, I know PFC means private first class, but can someone explain what the difference is between private first class and... just private? How does one achieve "first class" status? I'm just curious.
  2. It's just the rank above "private" so, private is an E2 i think (where as basic is E1) and then private first class is E3, then sergeant if im not mistaken...

    I know the air force has basically the same structure: Basic, Airman, Airman First Class, Staff Sergeant, Technical sergeant, Master Sergeant, etc etc...

    so all the "private first class" is is just the rank above "private"... just a couple more nickles to the pay salery...
  3. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    How high up is a Sergeant Major?
  4. zcwilkes

    zcwilkes Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2002
    Barboursville, WV
    Highest enlisted rank in the ARMY (E9)
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    PFC is E-2 in the Marine Corps, and E-3 in the Army. I know the Marines have a Sergeant Major, but I'm not sure where it sits on the rank structure. (they have some funny ranks at the top...)
  6. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    Basically, you have Enlisted rates E-1 through E-10. In the Army, E-1 is cockroach or worm, up to E-10, Sergeant Major of the Army. I think there have only been a couple of those, and they have more political pull than a Major (O-4)...Officer ranks go from O-1 (Ensign in the Navy, 2nd Lieutenant in the rest) up to O-10, which is Admiral, Chief of Naval Ops in the Navy, and General, Army or Air Force Chief of Staff, or General, Commandant of the Marine Corps. These are 4-stars. Five stars, which are rare, are reserved for wartime only, and there aren't many- Gens. of the Army Douglas MacArthur and Omar Bradley come to mind, as does Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. Hope that clears things up for you.
  7. Toasted


    May 26, 2003
    Leeds, UK
    My Girlfriends Dad was a Colonel in the Royal Engineers. It still scares the crap out of me when i see him at the top of his platoon picture when im taking a wizz in the downstairs toilet at their house... wait, wrong choice of metaphor for being scared, I, I, I've never done that...
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yuk yuk. You mean, taking a whizz "at their house" from the downstairs toilet? :D:D:D
  9. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Seeing as we're on the subject, what are Warrant Officers?

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    E9, it is a highly professional rank that can only be achived with years of highly compitent service .
  11. no. private is e-2, pfc is e-3, and then you get to spc. which is e-4 (no noncom status), corporal which is e-4 (noncom), and then sergeant which is e-5, then ssg which is e-6.
  12. spyingcracker


    May 27, 2004
    Warrant officers are between officers and enlisted men. I'm not sure how you get to be a warrant officer though. They have funny looking ranks, too. It's a bar with squares inside it.
  13. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    I think warrant officers are specialized experts, think of people with university Master of Engineering -level degrees and such, who just happen to work for the army, but also might have a few men under their command.

    I'm not sure about the US Army but that's the way local Defence Forces has it, as Finnish military engineers are called "pioneers", the specialist staff has low officer ranks like 1st engineer-lieutenant referring to the technical speciality.
  14. Sonorous


    Oct 1, 2003
    Denton, TX
    Cool. I know a Sergeant Major from WW2 and Vietnam. He is now mostly retired, but sometimes is a substitute teacher at my school and also chief of the volunteer fire department.

    He is definitely one of the most aware senior citizens I know of, he is incredibly sharp.

    He's a real grouch to most kids, but I believe its just because most kids these days are idiots. They like to mess with him, and ask stupid questions. I'd get pretty mad at them too if it were me.

    Him and I get along pretty well though. All you really have to do is give him respect, which I do. I'll see him in the hall during school sometimes and we'll discuss things.

    I really like the guy.
  15. Bassic83


    Jul 26, 2004
    Texas, USSA
    I know a guy in Georgia who is a W-4 (Warrant Officer). He flies Blackhawks. I think he's Army. Army pilots are usually Warrant Officers. Warrants are officers, but are neither non-commisioned nor commisioned. They are a seperate category unto themselves. They are all degreed professionals, with some sort of specialty.
  16. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Actually that's not quite right. Warrants are 'recognized experts in some militarily useful skill.' Helicopter pillots are a good example. The service recognizes that they have a particular skill level beyond that of a regular enlisted soldier, so they give them an advanced pay rate, without requiring or allowing as much as they do with commisioned officers.

    For the most part, in the Navy, Warrants are very senior enlisted men who got good enough at their job that they earned a bit of officer status. The Navy only recognizes three levels of Warrant rank, Chief Warrant Officer 2-4. For reasons I never understood, we didn't have W-1's. The Army has some Warrants who came 'up from the basement' in the Navy tradition. But most are like the helicopter pilots, who joined as Warrant Officer Candidates. The Air Force doesn't have Warrants at all anymore. The last one retired while I was still in the Navy.
  17. Regarding E-1 with the Army... Generally guys will enter as an E-1 (unless they have some enlistment bonus thing or ROTC type thing- I entered as an E-2 because a buddy of mine enlisted as a "referral" of mine). In any case, you're still a private, you just make a touch more money. You'll generally get your E-2 after you finish training and get your permanent party duty station.

    If you're referring to WWII the rank structure was a bit different. Back then they had "Tech Sergeant" which looked like regular NCO sleeve rank, but there was a letter T underneath the chevrons. I guess the concept was pretty similar to the Specialist system, getting the pay but not the NCO status. Up until 1988 there was a Specialist grade series, SP/4, SP/5, SP/6, etc. In 1988 they got rid of the Specialist grades, and made E-4 SPC (instead of SP/4 ) or Corporal as NCO.

    Here's a link to the most recent pay chart.,13964,49020,00.html

    Another thing to keep in mind is that even though a Lieutenant "outranks" a First Sergeant, a 1SG will generally have more "pull" within the unit. It's not that you go from private to sergeant to command sergeant major to lieutenant. Officer grades are an entirely different category.
  18. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I believe it was referring to current Air Force ranks - Technical Sergeant is an E6.
  19. I was referring to the sleeve insignia at the bottom of the pic.