A military rank is a title and specifies an individual’s place in the military hierarchy, meaning the person’s level of authority and responsibility. If the rank is higher, the military member has more authority and responsibility. The military ranks are privates, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, colonels, generals. The rank insignia of the American army is adopted from the British.
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  • Basic function:  An E-1 is the lowest enlisted rank, while an E-9 is the highest. The military adopted this technician grades during World War II. Each number is a member’s level of authority and responsibility. Officers are O-1, which is the lowest enlisted rank, through O-10. An E-9 is a subordinate of an O-10. To excel in rank, there is a test you need to pass first. A captain leads a company of soldiers and is relatively a low-ranking officer in his late 20s or early 30s.
  • The ranks in the military: The United States military has four major branches of service; there is the Army, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force and the Marines.
  • Symbols: Through the ages, the badge of ranks in the army has included feathers, sashes, stripes and showy uniforms, and even different weapons carried in the army signified a rank. These badges were worn on shoulders, hats and chest. Today, a good indication of rank is how many stripes an enlisted individual has on the top; one stripe is for private, three stripes are for sergeant and so on. Officers have different insignias such as silver oak leaves that represent lieutenant colonels, gold oak leaves for majors, while generals have one to five stars, captains have a silver double bar, first lieutenant has a silver single bar and second lieutenant has a gold single bar.
  • Misconception: A common misconception is that a gold rank title is higher than a silver one: with officers silver is higher than gold. With generals if they have more stars is better, and a five star general is found only in time of war. With sergeants, a star in the middle makes the individual higher than the one with no star.
  • Other interesting ranks were: Coronet, subaltern and ensign which are now-obsolete ranks.

Finally, a rank insignia is very important in the Army, but during the Civil War officers have learned that sometimes is better to take off the rank insignia as they approach the battle line.

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