Army Rank Nicknames and Obvservations
I have never served in the millitary but have worked closely with many vetrans and learned to appreciate the colorful way things are presented that you hear. To be clear I did not write this it was shamelessly Stolen from Austin Jolly on Quora
E1: Private (No insignia)— Fuzzy, E-Nothing
If you are unfortunate enough to carry this rank, you will give everything and receive nothing. Nobody respects you. You have no idea what you’re doing, but everyone lets you know. Everyone calls you a burden. That’s exactly what you are.
E2: Private — Mosquito wings
Dont think anything has changed. Nobody respects you. Not even the Fuzzies who envy that patch on your chest, which is the whole reason behind you feeling a little bit cooler in uniform.
E3: Private First Class — Perfect For Cleaning
The only people who respect you are Fuzzies. E2s are in the same playing field as you. You, alongside your peasant brethren, are usually subject to cleaning more than doing your job. You’re still confused on what your recruiter told you. Watch out for the Sham Shields.
E4: Specialist — Sham Shield, E4 mafia, Full-bird Private
“Hey PFC, 1SG needs you to…”
Welcome to the E4 Mafia. Here you are subject to all the work and all the details, but after work you will learn the refined art of the Shamurai. After a few details, you can find loopholes in rules smaller than a flies rectum and crawl right through. PFCs fear you because PFCs are the first people you will turn to in order to relieve yourself of 1SGs details. The medics and doctors on base know you on a first name basis. Hell, you probably schedule an appointment just to drink with them at the strip club next to ranger joes where you can watch the colonels daughter do her thing. Cigarettes and Monster Energy are your personal combat insignia.
E4: Corporal — Sarn’ts little bitch, Sarn’ts personal whore
The worst rank in the army rank structure. The Army says you are junior enlisted with E5 responsibilities and authority. The Army says Corporal is just a waiting list for Sergeant. You are exactly the opposite. You are the actual Sergeants personal whore. You are dazed and confused. You don’t know if you should sit with the privates or the NCOs. You are regretting your decision on joining the army 4 years ago. Oh, by the way, you are not in the E4 Mafia. The Sham Shield does not protect you. If you see a Corporal who likes the E5 responsibilities as an E4, just dont talk to them. You dont need that kind of negativity in your life.
E5: Sergeant — Sarn’t, TL
“It would BEHOOVE you…”
New Sarn’ts like to practice and exercise their authority on anyone who is below E5. But that won’t last long. The E4 Mafia will remind you of who you were, and who you have become. The only people who tell you what to do are people that actually matter. E6 and above. In training companies, they all know at least 1 drill sergeant is nearby with the ability to smoke you to kingdom come.
E6: Staff Sergeant — Sarn’t, SQDL
Congrats. You get to tell E5s what to do, but you usually dont. You have a squad now, and you babysit privates more than you do your job. Your hair might be getting grey at this point. But maybe not. Maintain your humanity. Oddly enough, he seems to be passing barracks room inspections with a 6 pack of beer in his hand…
E7: Sergeant First Class — Sarn’t, PSG, platoon daddy
“17 years of service and my pay still sucks.”
You make the rules. At least thats what the Army tells you. That’s not what 1SG says. Whatever. At least you can bitchslap a power playing 2LT. Oh, by the way, congratulations. You didnt hear? You just adopted 30+ kids. How do you feel? Who cares, they all listen to you anyway. Be proud, you are approaching high-ranking status. Keep that 2LT in line. For some reason, you adopted him, too.
E8: Master Sergeant — Master, Mass Sarn’t, “3 up 3 down"
Life is getting good now. You’ve got a lot of power, and a lot of people under your wing that you usually dont need to interact with. You’re happy, because you don’t deal with the BS that 1SG deals with. You’re good at what you do and everyone knows it. You know that they know, too.
E8: First Sergeant — 1SG, Firs Sarn’t, “3 up, 3 down, with a diamond”, Top
The guy who you see almost every day. If he’s any good. All the news he brings is either his own bad news, or good news that comes from the CO. He will always continue off of what the commander said. He is either your best friend or your worst nightmare. He can bring you fields of riches or a world of pain. You just never know which side you are on at any given day. As the saying goes, “Firs Sarn’ts pissed. Get ready.”
E9: Sergeant Major
Tied for the highest enlisted pay grade, but with none of the headaches of babysitting hundreds of thousands of Soldiers. Their stripes have a star on the inside, but they mostly sit behind desks and work with staff officers. They are a walking god, and they answer only to senior officers. They still haven’t seen a lightsaber in their 30+ years of service.
E9: Command Sergeant Major
The one who actually makes the rules for the colonels and generals, his star has a wreath around it. He is the hand of the grim reaper, and the blade of the scythe. He has so much power and authority, and you’d better stay off his grass. They have an uncanny ability to teleport behind you when you least expect it and fuck you up for something you did wrong. Nobody knows how, why, or when they do this. He is a step up from staff-oriented SGM, but that’s about as far apart as they go. If you get assigned to battalion/brigade/division HQ, you might see CSM walk around. He’s still never seen a real life lightsaber.
E9: Sergeant Major of the Army
Like the Highlander, there can be only one. The only thing he does is give speeches and change the tattoo policy.
W1: Warrant Officer 1 — Unicorn, Baby Wizard, Mister
Nobody fucks with them because nobody knows who is in charge of them. They can do whatever they want and nobody can tell them otherwise. They’re the weird warrant rank where they’re actually not commissioned officers yet, and they’re still learning. Except for pilots, most were damned good E6-E8 before they crossed over.
CW2-4: Chief Warrant Officer 2-4 — Chief Unicorn (W4 is AKA Tower or Castle)
This dude exists, and thrives, in the grey area. He’s started saying “sup bro” to passing officers. He shows up late to formation with an offensive coffee mug. Nobody says anything because nobody recognizes him, he hasn’t been seen in weeks. He’s mostly been off base going hunting with the 10 day pass he awarded himself.
W5: Chief Warrant Officer 5 — Chief Unicorn, Lightsaber, Ghost
Do they even exist? You dont know, your CO doesn’t know, SGM doesn’t know, either. They are the ultimate authority and answer to no one. If the Lightsaber speaks, Colonels shut the fuck up and Generals wait until he finishes his thoughts. Any word spoken from CWO5 is then made law. They can bend space-time to their will, and they can manipulate the laws of physics before your very eyes. Their most powerful ability is rendering anyone mute and awestruck simply being present with a 50-75 foot radius. At this point, if they aren’t commissioned officers, they are probably enjoying life sipping margaritas on a hammock off the grid with nobody to bother them. They get paid to do that, too. Yes, they can do that. No, you won’t have any idea.
O1: Second Lieutenant — Fresh meat, butter bar, butterfinger
Give that 2LT a map, a compass, and a platoon of Soldiers on a land nav exercise. Do it, I dare you.
Meet the E-nothing of the officer ranks, the 2nd Lieutenant. You already know he got commissioned from ROTC. He had fun playing drill cadet with the privates at Benning, and it all went to his head. Now he thinks he has authority. You get to deal with that. Have fun and try not to kill him, alright? Oh, by the way, there is no significant difference between a Private and a 2LT. You won the lottery with a mustang.
O2: First Lieutenant — Hershey bar (1LT bar is black on OCP)
The 2LT who made it a full year with their PSG. they have probably become executive officers for a company. They might think they have authority, but PSG taught them to bother nobody and be a good leader.
O3: Captain — Train tracks
Usually your company commander, and he makes up the rules as he goes along. He has enough experience and authority to verbally bitchslap SGMs, but the size of his balls will make the difference. If he is combat arms, that’s the pinnacle of his career. He is 1SGs daddy, but a lot of times leaves him alone and does his own thing. 1SG loves being left alone. Dont worry, captain still does PT. He makes privates very uncomfortable. He gets the classic “I didnt see him" bit from privates who dont know what to do in captains presence. He either thinks it’s funny or he’s offended by it. No in-between.
O4: Major — Desk Jockey level 1, gold oak
You will have forgotten the Majors name by nightfall. You can forget about trying to memorize his face. You never see him. He sits in his desk all day long. Nobody misses him. It’s a mystery if he still does PT. He thinks he’s important because he works with the command staff at HQ.
O5: Lieutenant Colonel — almost full bird, light oak, Desk Jockey level 2
The first real rank achieved by officers. They are pretty god damn close to getting their full bird. He commands the Battalion, and he is always met by privates on staff duty who address him incorrectly. He’s still deemed a good officer if he still does PT with his men. He makes all junior enlisted very uncomfortable.
O6: Colonel — Full bird
He’s stopped doing PT. Nobody questions it. He commands the Brigade. If you see him, you better know what to do. He is a demigod, and his presence alone should be enough to put you in your place. He is a very important man, and is most likely your bosses bosses bosses boss. In a training company, a visit from the brigade commander will put your company commander on edge, which puts 1SG on edge, which puts your senior drills on edge, which puts your drills on edge, which ends with you paying the price for fucking something up somewhere.
O7: Brigadier General - Little Star
The old dude who’s probably got 40 years in by now. He usually runs large military installations and follows his CSM to his next doctors appointment. Don’t worry, the Sham Shields will have popped smoke and egressed the AO by the time the little star comes walking in. He likes to give speeches. He thinks his people listen, and are inspired. Neither are true.
O8-10: Major General, Lieutenant General, General - Stars
A walking God-King. They are at the peak of authority, and have no equal, not even lightsabers. If you had time to notice his rank, you are probably already being chewed to pieces by his pet CSM for not doing something in the Generals presence. He commands anything and everything in his geographical area, and even has his own neat little flag that lets everybody know the big boss is in town. You just better hope you dont do anything to ruin his mood. Remember, his pet CSM is constantly looking for something to do. He’s also looking at his grass. Stay off the grass.