Do you know when you need to salute?


By: Scott Nordlund

4 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

A quiz that looks at the various military ranks within the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. A little history, and maybe even some bonus questions. Good Luck Cadet.

Who is the Commander in Chief of the US Military

The Commander in Chief of the United States military is the President of the United States. If he is incapacitated or missing, the Commander in Chief would move to the Vice-President.


When does the US Army ranking system date back to?

The US armies ranking structure dates back from 1775. The Riflemen were created by the Continental Congress before the War of Independence, and they have maintained the ranking structure since.


What is the lowest rank in the US Army?

The lowest rank in the US Army is a private. It is also the only rank in the US Army without an insignia.


What is the highest non-war time ranking?

A General is the highest peace time ranking within the US Army. This rank is shown with four stars, and is only outranked by the General of the Army during war time who is a five star General.


What is the highest non-commissioned officer position?

The Sergeant Major of the Army is the highest non-commissioned officer position. This position is seen as an honor, and only one person holds it during their time.


Which Navy rank's insignia is two silver bars?

The captain is represented by two silver bars. The rank below them first lieutenant is represented by one silver bar.


Who was the first commander of the Marine Corps?

The first commander of the Marine Corps was Samuel Nicholas. He was in charge of the unit during the revolutionary war in 1776.


During what conflict did the Marine Corps receive their modern image

The modern image of the Marine Corps was born during World War II. Battles throughout the Pacific proved to the nation, and the world the Marine Corps were major players.


The Marine Corps ranking structure is based off of what other branch?

The Marine Corps ranking structure is based off of the Army ranks. This is not surprising as they were both formed just before the War of Independence.


Insignia's for non-commissioned officers are red and what color?

The insignia for the Marine Corps non-commissioned officers are red and yellow. Although there is no history on the color scheme, many have alluded to excess red and yellow dye as the reasoning.


Which non-commissioned officer has a star in the middle of their insignia?

A Master Sergeant has a red and yellow insignia with a star in the middle. This rank is one of the higher on the NCO side, and can also be addressed as 'Top' by lower ranking personal.


When was the modern day coast guard born?

The modern US Coast Guard was born in 1915. When the Revenue Cutting Service and Life Saving Service was combined to form the US Coast Guard


What is the lowest rank in the Coast Guard?

A seaman recruit is the lowest rank in the Coast Guard. Upon graduation from basic, a seaman recruit quickly will make the rank of seaman apprentice with good behaviour and service time.


At the third rank, there are three disciplines, seaman, airman and what?

A fireman is the third discipline at the third rank. You can also choose to be a seaman or airman as well.


What rank does not have an insignia in the Coast Guard?

Unlike the Army, the Coast Guard has insignias for all of their ranks. The seaman recruit has a blue square with a single silver diagonal line through it.


What is the lowest officer rank in the Coast Guard?

The lowest officer rank in the Coast Guard is the Chief Warrant Officer 2. The Coast Guard does not have a base Chief Warrant Officer currently, which is a little interesting.


Which Navy has the largest fleet?

The United States Navy was generally considered a mediocre merchant marine at the turn of the century. However today, the US Navy has the largest fleet in the world.


An ensign has what insignia?

The ensign, which is the first rank after warrant officer, has one gold bar. These men and woman are in direct line to one day captain these powerful vessels.


Three stars is what rank?

A Vice Admiral has three stars as there insignia. These men and woman are only one step away from being the top Naval officer in the country.


A seaman recruit has what insignia?

A seaman recruit, has no insignia. However, once they become a seaman apprentice they literally earns their stripes and receive a blue box and a single diagonal stripe


What is the highest ranking within the US Navy?

The fleet admiral is the highest rank within the US Navy, but it has not been given in over 60 years. The rank is only given at ceremonies or within war time, otherwise, the Admiral Chief of Naval Operation is the top officer.


What signifies a submariner from their surface counterparts?

US Submariners are given a insignia with mermaids on it for their service. It is a time honored tradition, and like getting your wings as a pilot, those who hold these mermaids are a proud bunch.


What service did the US Air Force break away from to start their own branch?

The Air Force was created after the service moved away from the army. During World War I and II, USAF was called the US Army Air Force, and fought under the Army until they broke away officially in 1947.


How is airman abbreviated according to USAF policy?

According to USAF policy, Airman is abbreviated to AMN and only that. You also do not put a period at the end of the abbreviation unlike the other branches.


What is the lowest rank within the USAF?

The lowest rank in the USAF is the Airman Basic. Unlike the other branches that have recruits, the Air Force decided that there new recruits would just a basic airman, that simple.


Insignia of the Non-Commissioned Officers in the USAF are white and what other color?

The USAF non-commissioned officers insignias are blue and white. This also matches the dress uniform of the USAF, which is also blue and white, and the name of their demo team, the Blue Angels.


The human remains from the Vietnam War that had rested in the US Tomb of the Unknowns were finally identified by Mitochondrial DNA testing. What rank was this soldier?

On May 11, 1972, First Lieutenant Michael J. Blassie flew for the Air Force and piloted an A-37B Dragonfly aircraft over An Loc, about 60 miles north of Saigon in South Vietnam when he was shot down. Major James Connally was his flight commander and watched helplessly as Blassie's plane turned over, took a nose-dive, and exploded on impact. The crash took place in a heavily controlled enemy force area, making it virtually impossible for an immediate attempt in recovering their comrade.


What rank was the first purple heart?

Sgt. Elizah Churchill was awarded the purple heart. This was for his attack on Fort St. Charles on Nov. 23, 1780, during the Revolutionary War.


The four star general, George Patton was quoting Iliad and Odyssey at age 7. His military destiny was forged from a very young age. Which military college did he graduate from in 1909?

Patton didn't start his school education until the age of 12. He graduated from West Point in 1909, ranked 46th from a class of 103.


Who offered Washington a Lt. General position?

President Adams offered Washington a commission as lieutenant general and Commander-in-chief of the armies raised or to be raised for service in a prospective war. He accepted, and served as the senior officer of the United States Army from July 13, 1798 until his death seventeen months later.


What does SCAP mean?

SCAP stands for Supreme Commander of Allied Powers. This designation was given by President Truman when Japan surrendered, and to this day has not been used ever again.


What is a shoe clerk in the USAF

In the USAF, if you are a shoe clerk, you are working a desk job. This is a derogatory meaning, as it generally means those who desk jockey, are convinced they are running the USAF.


When were the bell bottom trousers the Navy is famous for introduced?

The Navy’s bell-bottom trousers, are commonly believed to be introduced in 1817 to permit men to roll them above the knee when washing down the decks and to make it easier to remove them in a hurry when forced to abandon ship or when washed overboard. In addition the trousers may be used as a life preserver by knotting the legs and swinging them over your head to fill the legs with air.


What branch had non-commissioned officers and officers on the Lewis and Clarke Expedition

The Army was in charge of exploring and mapping much of America. For example, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was comprised of Army officers and non-commissioned officers.


There have been two Presidents to hold a five star general, Washington and who?

It was Eisenhower. 30 of the 43 Presidents served in the Army, 24 during time of war, two earned the rank of 5-star General (President Washington and President Eisenhower) and one earned the Medal of Honor (President Theodore Roosevelt)


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