For many years, the recruiting slogan for the navy was �Join the navy, see the world’. Hundreds and thousands of young people thirsting for adventure joined for this very reason, to serve their country while exploring other parts of the world. The US navy is currently the largest in the world and is made up of over 300,000 personnel on active duty with another 110,000 and more on reserve. US navy ranks differ according to education, training and experience and the most common categories are enlisted, warrant and commissioned officers with admirals at the top of the organization supervising the activities of the whole navy.

  1. US Navy Ranks Enlisted personnel

Enlisted sailors are usually referred to as the foundation of the navy and other military branches. These personnel perform tasks which require hands on attention and are specially trained to handle different tasks within the navy. Personnel listed under this category are not classified using ranks but only rates. You can determine the rate of an enlisted Sailor by looking at their rating badge which shows their pay grade and the type of job they do. Rating badges are differentiated by the number and type of stripes on each badge as well as the symbol that appears just above the stripes. Subsequent promotion up the rates results in increased pay as well as the responsibility to supervise personnel in lower rates. Rates under this category include:


  • Apprentice
  • Petty Officer
  • Chief Petty officer
  • Master Chief Petty Officer of the US Navy.

US navy ranks

  1. Warrant Officers US Navy Ranks

Warrant Officers are an important part of the US navy ranks, being highly trained and specialized professional who provide technical expertise to commanders and departments within the navy. In addition, they help to supervise activities surrounding the use of armored navy vehicles, help to deploy personnel and generally provide training, leadership and coaching for people employed within the navy. Warrant officers outrank enlisted officers in US navy ranks but are not required to have a college degree like Commissioned officers. Ranks under this category begin from Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2) up to Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CWO5).


  1. Commissioned officers

Commissioned officers hold a commission detailing the duties of their particular rank. As one of the most important members of the US navy ranks, they are required to hold at least a bachelors degree before they can be promoted to the next level. They are assigned to various bases and departments through commissioning programs such as the ROTC. US navy ranks under this category include:

  • Ensign
  • Lieutenant, Junior grade
  • Lieutenant
  • Lieutenant commander
  • Commander
  • Captain
  1. Admirals

Admirals are the highest ranking members in the US navy ranks and command various naval groups and fleets such as the carrier cruiser groups, expeditionary strike groups, amphibious groups and numbered fleets. Admirals at higher levels are responsible for regional and joint commands and naval operations. Admirals in the US navy ranks include:

  • Rear Admiral Lower Half
  • Rear Admiral Upper Half
  • Vice Admiral
  • Admiral
  • Fleet Admiral (war time designation only)

Members of the US navy ranks, no matter what their level or position is, play an integral role in keeping US waters safe and ensuring that enemy factions do not infiltrate the US for dubious purposes. From ensuring that ships run smoothly, that personnel are well trained and motivated to commanding large fleets of ships, each person in the US navy ranks makes an important contribution to protecting the citizens of the United States of America.