What Are the Rankings in the Navy?


Rank forms a fundamental backbone of structure for the United States Navy. Rank is like a chain that links the lowest enlisted personnel in a command to the highest ranking official in the Navy. This allows for smooth operating procedures at peace and in time of war. Responsibility with each rank earned increases for both enlisted and officer personnel.

E1 to E3

  • Low ranking enlisted staff in the United States Navy are divided into identifiable units. The enlisted unit designations for E1 through E3 are separated by rate. For general deck and the administrative community an E1 is Seaman Recruit, E2 Seaman Apprentice and E3 Seaman. In the case of firemen ranks are E1 Fireman recruit, E2 Fireman Apprentice and E3 Fireman. On the aviation side an E1 is an Airman Recruit, E2 is Airman Apprentice and E3 is an Airman.

E4 to E6

  • E4 through E6 are non commissioned officers (NCOs) in the U.S. Navy. E4 is a third class petty officer, E5 a second class petty officer and E6 a first class petty officer. Petty officers in the Navy are expected to not only perform the necessities of their specific rate, but also to be role models for junior personnel.

E7 to E9

  • Although E7 through E9 are still considered petty officers they are considered to be in a separate community from the E4 through E6 petty officers. E7 is a chief petty officer, E8 senior chief petty officer and E9 master chief petty officer.

Command Master Chief

  • Once the rank of master chief petty officer is obtained a person is offered the chance to further his career by becoming a command master chief. The command master chief (cmc) is the most senior enlisted personnel in a command.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

  • The master chief petty officer of the Navy (MCPON) is the top ranked enlisted person in the entire U.S. Navy, and is selected to her position by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) to serve as a representative to address the issues of junior enlisted personnel to the highest ranked officials in the Navy.

Chief Warrant Officer and Limited Duty Officer

  • Chief warrant officers (CWO) in the Navy are ranked CWO1 through CWO5. Limited Duty Officers (LDO) are enlisted personnel promoted due to the expertise they hold in their rate and are not required to have a college degree. LDOs are considered technical officer managers and CWOs are technical officer specialists.

Commissioned Officer

  • Officer rankings in the Navy range from O1 to O10. The ranks of O1 through O4 are considered junior officers and are as follows O1 ensign, O2 lieutenant junior grade, O3 lieutenant and O4 lieutenant commander. O5 and O6 are senior officers and their titles are O5 commander and O6 captain. O7 through O10 are titled flag officers in the U.S. Navy and their ranks are O7 rear admiral lower half, O8 rear admiral upper half, O9 vice admiral, and O10 admiral.

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