Will You Ace This Military Ranks Quiz?

By: Heather Cahill
Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

The military is made up of five different branches, which each have their own ranks. Without the ranks, the order of the military may be completely different. Ranks are used to identify and simplify the structure to make everything run smoothly. Let's find out just how well you know them!

Do you know what rank a First Shirt is? Do you know what the insignias for Fleet Admiral or Private First Class look like? Can you name a rank that no longer exists within the Navy? If you knew those, can you tell us what "S-1" stands for? You'll need to know the history and slang used for different ranks in the military to ace this quiz!

Do you know a few famous people who served in the military and what their ranks were? What about the branch in which you find the Master Gunnery Sergeant? Can you tell which rank is highest out of the four options given? You might be surprised about a few famous faces that served and protected the country!

So, if you know a Private from a Corporal, or a Seaman Recruit from a Staff Officer, you might have what it takes to ace this one. Take the quiz to see how well you really know your military ranks!

What does "NCO" mean?

"NCO" stands for noncommissioned officer. This type of officer has not started earning a commission as of yet. Once they do, they become commissioned officers.

How many lines are on the insignia for the Airman of the Coast Guard branch?

There are three lines that are green on the insignia for the Coast Guard Airman. The Airman is not the lowest rank in the Coast Guard branch, but it is higher than the apprentice ranks.

If you're called a First Shirt, what is your rank?

If you're a first shirt, your rank is First Sergeant. First Sergeants are noncommissioned senior officers that can be found in the Air Force, Army and the Marines.

A higher ranking officer in the military is likely to be wearing which of these precious metals?

Silver indicates a higher ranking official in the military. Gold indicates a lower-ranked official despite typically costing more than silver.

Is it true or false that a Specialist in the Army gets paid less than a Corporal?

This is false. Both ranks are paid the same, Corporal has more responsibility. However, both are eligible for raises based on their time.

What is "Pvt." short for?

"Pvt." is short for the military rank of Private. The short form is commonly used in front of the name of the officer in question.

Private is the lowest rank in which branch of the military?

A Private is the lowest rank that you can be in the Marines. When getting your start in the Marines, you would likely be a Private.

What rank was Mel Brooks?

Mel Brooks held the rank of Corporal in the Army in the mid-40s. He fought in World War II before crossing over into show business.

In the Army, which of the following ranks is the highest?

Sergeant Major is the highest rank in the Army. The Sergeant Major has many responsibilities, including supervision of personnel and communication within the Army.

Who does the Chief Petty Officer lead in the Navy?

The Chief Petty Officer leads sailors in the Navy. They are often tasked with training and guiding the lesser ranks in the branch.

Is it true or false that the Commodore rank no longer exists in the Navy?

This is true. The Commodore rank existed at the time of World War II, but has since been removed as a rank. The term is still used however, for anyone who is considered an honorary Commodore.

Which rank is higher than a Major General?

Lieutenant Generals are a higher rank than the Major General. This can be confusing due to a Major typically being a higher rank than a Lieutenant.

What rank may others refer to as "Perfect for Cleaning"?

Private First Class can sometimes be referred to as "Perfect for Cleaning", typically by higher ranks. This is because individuals in this ranks are commonly tasked with cleaning or other similar jobs.

Is it true or false that the Airman Basic in the Air Force has an insignia?

This is false. The Airman Basic in the Air Force does not have an insignia. The Airman Basic is the lowest rank in the Air Force and when promoted, they become part of the E-2 pay grade.

What rank is "PO1" short for?

PO1 is short for Petty Officer First Class. This rank is a noncommissioned rank and you may recognize their insignia by its eagle.

Is it true or false that Johnny Cash was a Staff Sergeant in the military?

This is true. Johnny Cash was Staff Sergeant in the military when he served in the 1950s. The military was the place where Johnny truly jumped into music.

What is the highest rank in the Navy?

The highest rank in the Navy is Fleet Admiral. The Fleet Admiral is not currently held by anyone, with the last person holding the rank in 1966.

What rank can be referred to as a "Butter Bar" in slang terms?

"Butter Bar" is a name for the rank 2nd Lieutenant. They get this nickname from the gold bar that they wear after achieving this rank.

Which rank is known to be a "placeholder"?

The Lieutenant is known to be a "placeholder" not just because its name is derived from the French meaning. They are also known as this as they can take the place of the higher up ranks if they cannot be there.

What position does the president of the United States hold in the military?

The president is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. The president has authority over the military to a certain extent.

In which branch of the military would you find the Master Gunnery Sergeant?

The Master Gunnery Sergeant is part of the Marines. This rank is one of the highest in the branch, and sometimes individuals of this rank can even take on the responsibility of a Sergeant Major.

What is the lowest rank in the Coast Guard branch?

The lowest rank in the branch of the Coast Guard is the Seaman Recruit. The next rank up from this is the Seaman Apprentice.

What rank was Morgan Freeman in the Air Force?

Morgan Freeman was Airman First Class in the Air Force. He spent almost four years with the Force before leaving to pursue a career in acting.

Which rank is the E-3 pay grade in the Marines?

E-3 is the pay grade used for a Lance Corporal. The Lance Corporal is part of the Marines, and individuals in this rank are noncommissioned.

What rank was Jeanine McIntosh?

Jeanine McIntosh is the rank of Lieutenant Commander. She is known for being the first African-American to become an aviator in the Coast Guard branch.

How many stars are on the insignia for the Fleet Admiral of the Navy?

The Fleet Admiral has five stars on the insignia. The Fleet Admiral is still a rank in the military despite not having anyone fill the position since the 1960s.

What does "Cdr." stand for?

"Cdr." stands for Commander, typically used when referring to the individual by their name. Commander is a rank that is often used in organizations other than the military as well.

What rank did Michelle Howard achieve in the Navy?

Michelle Howard became a four star Admiral, which made her the first woman to achieve this. She retired in 2017 after a long and revolutionary career.

The term "Lance Coolie" refers to what rank in the Marines?

"Lance Coolie" is another word used for the rank of Lance Corporal. Lance Corporal is a rank in the Marines as well as the Army.

What was in the middle of the insignia for the Sergeant Major of the Army in the 1960s?

There was a star on the insignia of the Sergeant Major of the Army in the 1960s. It has been changed throughout the years and currently depicts an eagle.

What color is the insignia of the Private First Class in the Marines?

The insignia for the Private First Class in the Marines is red and yellow. As you work up the ranks, the number of bands on the insignia also increases.

What does "S-1" mean?

"S-1" in the military refers to staff officers or personnel. The term is typically used to refer to commissioned officers rather than noncommissioned officers.

What rank was Drew Carey in the Marines?

Drew Carey was a Sergeant in the Marines in the early '80s. He developed a love for comedy in the Marines which launched him into pursuing it as a career.

Every time you move up a rank in the military, what happens?

When moving up ranks in the military, you start to take on more responsibility each time. Often, but not always, you'll move up a pay grade as well.

If you're in the pay grade E-9 in the Coast Guard branch, what are you?

Individuals in the pay grade E-9 are Master Chief Petty Officers. This is also the same as in the Navy, as the two branches work together and they are similar in many ways.

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