U.S. uniformed services pay grades

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Pay grades are used by the uniformed services of the United States to determine wages and benefits based on the corresponding military rank of a member of the services. While different titles or ranks may be used among the seven uniformed services, pay grades are uniform and equivalent between the services and can be used to quickly determine seniority among a group of members from different services. They are also essential when determining a member's entitlements such as basic pay and allowances.

Pay grades are divided into three groups: enlisted (E), warrant officer (W), and officer (O). Enlisted pay grades begin at E-1 and finish at E-9; warrant officer pay grades begin at W-1 and finish at W-5; and officer pay grades begin at O-1 and finish at O-10. Not all of the uniformed services use all of the grades; for example, the Navy does not use the grade W-1, the Air Force discontinued use of the warrant grades in the 1960s, and both the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration do not use any of the enlisted or warrant grades.

Members in pay grades O-1, O-2, and O-3 with more than four years of prior cumulative service in an enlisted or warrant officer grade are paid increased wages using the special pay grades of O-1E, O-2E, and O-3E, respectively. This benefit does not affect their rank and is used simply for reward and incentive purposes in recognition of their prior enlisted experience.

For pay tables and information on specific pay grade wages and entitlements for members of the uniformed services, see United States military pay.

Equivalent grades in NATO armed forces[edit]

The enlisted grades correspond with the NATO rank codes, with E-1 being equivalent to OR-1, E-2 equivalent to OR-2, and so on. The officer grades are all one higher than their NATO equivalent (except O-1) as the O-1 and O-2 grades are both equivalent to the NATO code of OF-1. Hence O-3 is equivalent to OF-2, O-4 is equivalent to OF-3, and so on. The NATO system does not have an equivalent of the U.S. warrant officer grades.

Enlisted pay grades[edit]

Pay grade Rank by branch of service
Marine Corps Army Air Force Navy Coast Guard
E-1 Private Private Airman basic Seaman recruit Seaman recruit
E-2 Private first class Private Airman Seaman apprentice Seaman apprentice
E-3 Lance corporal Private first class Airman first class Seaman Seaman
E-4 Corporal Senior airman Petty officer third class Petty officer third class
E-5 Sergeant Sergeant Staff sergeant Petty officer second class Petty officer second class
E-6 Staff sergeant Staff sergeant Technical sergeant Petty officer first class Petty officer first class
E-7 Gunnery sergeant Sergeant first class Master sergeant Chief petty officer Chief petty officer
E-8 Senior master sergeant Senior chief petty officer Senior chief petty officer
E-9

Note: The Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps consist entirely of commissioned officers and do not use any of the enlisted pay grades.

Warrant officer pay grades[edit]

Pay grade Rank by branch of service
Army Marine Corps Navy Coast Guard Air Force Public Health
Service
Commissioned
Corps
NOAA
Commissioned
Officer
Corps
W-1 Warrant officer 1 Warrant officer 1 not used not used discontinued none none
W-2 Chief warrant officer 2 Chief warrant officer 2 Chief warrant officer 2 Chief warrant officer 2 discontinued none none
W-3 Chief warrant officer 3 Chief warrant officer 3 Chief warrant officer 3 Chief warrant officer 3 discontinued none none
W-4 Chief warrant officer 4 Chief warrant officer 4 Chief warrant officer 4 Chief warrant officer 4 discontinued none none
W-5 Chief warrant officer 5 Chief warrant officer 5 Chief warrant officer 5 not used none none none

Officer pay grades[edit]

Pay grade Rank by branch of services
Army Marine Corps Air Force Navy Coast Guard Public Health Service
Commissioned Corps
NOAA
Commissioned Officer Corps
O-1

O-1E*

Second lieutenant Second lieutenant Second lieutenant Ensign Ensign Ensign Ensign
O-2

O-2E*

First Lieutenant First lieutenant First lieutenant Lieutenant (junior grade) Lieutenant (junior grade) Lieutenant (junior grade) Lieutenant (junior grade)
O-3

O-3E*

Captain Captain Captain Lieutenant Lieutenant Lieutenant Lieutenant
O-4 Major Major Major Lieutenant commander Lieutenant commander Lieutenant commander Lieutenant commander
O-5 Lieutenant colonel Lieutenant colonel Lieutenant colonel Commander Commander Commander Commander
O-6 Colonel Colonel Colonel Captain Captain Captain Captain
O-7 Brigadier general Brigadier general Brigadier general Rear admiral (lower half) Rear admiral (lower half) Rear admiral (lower half) Rear admiral (lower half)
O-8 Major general Major general Major general Rear admiral Rear admiral Rear admiral Rear admiral
O-9 Lieutenant general Lieutenant general Lieutenant general Vice admiral Vice admiral Vice admiral Vice admiral
O-10 General General General Admiral Admiral Admiral Admiral (no appointments)**
O-11 General of the Army*** none General of the Air Force*** Fleet Admiral*** none none none

Notes:
* The pay grade designationS O-1E, O-2E, and O-3E pertain to certain officers who have prior enlisted service.
** The rank of Admiral (O-10) has been established for the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps, but the United States Congress has not authorized its use, and no NOAA Corps officer has ranked higher than Vice Admiral (O-9).
*** The O-11 ranks of General of the Army, General of the Air Force, and Fleet Admiral are considered special ranks that can be conferred in wartime only. While it is still possible for an officer to be selected for these ranks, they do not appear on the current military pay grade scale.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]