Comparative military ranks of Korea

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Comparative military ranks of Korea refer to the ranks and insignia maintained by the three primary military powers present on the Korean Peninsula, those being the Republic of Korea Armed Forces (South Korea), the Korean People's Army of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), and the military forces of the United States in South Korea.

In the South Korean armed forces, ranks fall into one of four categories: commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer, and enlisted, in decreasing order of authority. Commissioned officer ranks are subdivided into "Janggwan"-level (general) officers, "Yeonggwan"-level (field-grade) officers, and "Wi-gwan"-level (company-grade) officers. The ranks of all three branches (the Army, Navy, and Air Force) of the South Korean Armed Forces share the same titles in Hangul. Most ranks of South and North Korea are identical, with some exceptions such as the supreme North Korean ranks.

The following table lists the comparative ranks of the militaries in Korea, including their rank titles and insignia. In this table, the North Korean military rank insignia shown is that of their Army field uniform shoulder boards; their parade uniforms and uniforms of other branches use alternative color schemes with the same basic design. The South Korean and U.S. militaries likewise have subdued versions of their insignia in each of their branches.

(Note on romanization: In the article, all South Korean ranks are spelled accordingly with the Revised Romanization of Korean system; all North Korean ranks use the McCune-Reischauer system.)

Special ranks[edit]

These ranks are honorary ranks and are not considered part of the main rank scheme.

North Korean rank North Korean insignia
대원수 Dae wonsu (Grand Marshal)[a]
Generalissimo rank insignia North Korea-V.svg
공화국원수 Konghwaguk Wonsu (Marshal of the Republic)[b]
Marshal of the DPRK rank insignia-V.svg

Officer ranks[edit]

The shoulder boards and sleeve stripes of American and South Korean ranks apply only to their navies. Neither the U.S. Marine Corps or ROK Marine Corps maintains a five star "General" rank. North Korea's People's Army does not maintain a separate marine corps or naval infantry branch as part of their armed forces, although it does maintain two "Amphibious Sniper Brigades" as part of the North Korean Special Operation Force (NKSOF). North Korean insignia follow the Soviet pattern, while South Korean insignia follow a mix of United States and British rank insignia traditions.

Equivalent
NATO Code
OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) and Student Officer
North Korea North Korea
(Edit)
Marshal of the PKA
Vice Marshal
Captain General Superior General Middle General Junior General
Captain Commander
Superior Commander
Middle Commander
Junior Commander
Captain Lieutenant
Superior Lieutenant
Middle Lieutenant
Junior Lieutenant
Unknown
Marshal of the KPA
(인민군원수)
Vice Marshal
(차수)
Army General
(대장)
Colonel General
(상장)
Lieutenant General
(중장)
Major General
(소장)
Senior Colonel
(대좌)
Colonel
(상좌)
Lieutenant Colonel
(중좌)
Major
(소좌)
Captain
(대위)
Senior Lieutenant
(상위)
Lieutenant
(중위)
Junior Lieutenant
(소위)


South Korea South Korea
(Edit)
Marshal of the RoK Superior General Middle General Junior General Lesser General
Superior Commander
Middle Commander
Junior Commander
Superior Lieutenant
Middle Lieutenant
Junior Lieutenant
Unknown
Marshal
(원수)
General
(대장)
Lieutenant General
(중장)
Major General
(소장)
Brigadier General
(준장)
Colonel
(대령)
Lieutenant Colonel
(중령)
Major
(소령)
Captain
(대위)
Lieutenant
(중위)
Junior Lieutenant
(소위)
Unknown


United States United States
(Edit)
General of the Army
General
Lieutenant General
Major General
Brigadier General
Colonel
Lieutenant Colonel
Major
Captain
First Lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Various Various
General of the Army1 General Lieutenant General Major General Brigadier General Colonel Lieutenant Colonel Major Captain First Lieutenant Second Lieutenant Officer Candidate Officer Cadet

Enlisted ranks[edit]

Both North Korea and South Korea share the same enlisted rank structure among all of their military branches. They also have enlisted ranks called "Corporal" and "Sergeant" in English, but they are not considered non-commissioned officer ranks, though they are treated as one if they hold an NCO position.

All branches of the South Korean armed forces maintain a single Warrant Officer rank known as Junwi. Warrant Officers fall in between non-commissioned and commissioned officers. The rank is denoted by a gold-colored Sowi insignia and, in the case of the South Korean Navy, a single broken sleeve stripe. The North Korean military does not maintain any equivalent Warrant Officer positions.

Enlisted rank insignia differ however: The ROKAF uses a mix of US, British and French practice while the KPA's insignia follow Soviet practice.

Equivalent
NATO Code
OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
North Korea North Korea
(Edit)
Chief Master Sergeant rank insignia North Korea-V.svg Senior Sergeant rank insignia North Korea-V.svg Sergeant rank insignia North Korea-V.svg Junior Sergeant rank insignia North Korea-V.svg Senior Corporal rank insignia North Korea-V.svg Corporal rank insignia North Korea-V.svg Lance Corporal rank insignia North Korea-V.svg Private rank insignia North Korea-V.svg No Equivalent
T'ŭkmu-sangsa
특무상사
Sangsa
상사
Chungsa
중사
Hasa
하사
Sanggŭp-pyŏngsa
상급병사
Chungŭp-pyŏngsa
중급병사
Hagŭp-pyŏngsa
하급병사
Chŏnsa
전사
Chief Master Sergeant Staff Sergeant Sergeant Junior Sergeant Corporal First Class Corporal Lance corporal Private


South Korea South Korea
(Edit)
8.SKA-SGM.svg 7.SKA-MSG.svg 6.SKA-SFC.svg 5.SKA-SSG.svg 4.SKA-SGT.svg 3.SKA-CPL.svg 2.SKA-PFC.svg 1.SKA-PV2.svg No Insignia
Wonsa
원사
Sangsa
상사
Jungsa
중사
Hasa
하사
Byeongjang
병장
Sangbyeong
상병
Ilbyeong
일병
Ibyeong
이병
Jangjeong
장정
Sergeant Major Master Sergeant Sergeant First Class Staff Sergeant Sergeant Corporal Private First Class Private Recruit


United States United States
(Edit)
Army-USA-OR-09a.svg Army-USA-OR-09b.svg Army-USA-OR-09c.svg Army-USA-OR-08a.svg Army-USA-OR-08b.svg Army-USA-OR-07.svg Army-USA-OR-06.svg Army-USA-OR-05.svg Army-USA-OR-04a.svg Army-USA-OR-04b.svg Army-USA-OR-03.svg Army-USA-OR-02.svg No Insignia
Sergeant Major of the Army Command Sergeant Major Sergeant Major First Sergeant Master Sergeant Sergeant First Class Staff Sergeant Sergeant Corporal Specialist Private First Class Private Private

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Highest possible political-military rank of North Korea and is intended to be an honorific title for the nation’s Great Leaders.
  2. ^ Highest political-military rank reserved only for Supreme Leader of North Korea.