The Army, for example, has the ranks of corporal and specialist at the paygrade of E-4. A corporal is expected to fill a leadership role and has a higher rank than a specialist, even though both ...
General of the Armies of the United States, more commonly referred to as General of the Armies, is the highest ranking grade in the United States Army.It has been conferred only twice: to John J. Pershing in 1919, as a personal accolade for his command of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I; and to George Washington in 1976, as a posthumous honor during the United States ...
- United States
- September 3, 1919
- United States Army
General Officer: O-8: Major General: MG: General Officer: O-9: Lieutenant General: LTG: General Officer: O-10: General: GEN: General Officer: O-10: General of the Army: GA: General Officer
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- General of The Army / General of The Armies
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The structure of U.S. ranks has its roots in British military traditions. At the start of the American Revolutionary War, uniforms, let alone insignia, were barely affordable and recognition of ranks in the field was problematic. To solve this, General George Washington wrote:"As the Continental Army has unfortunately no uniforms, and consequently many inconveniences must arise from not being able to distinguish the commissioned officers from the privates, it is desired that some badge of distinction be immediately provided; for instance that the field officers may have red or pink colored cockades in their hats, the captains yellow or buff, and the subalterns green."From 1780, regulations prescribed two stars for major generals and one star for brigadier generals, worn on epaulettes. The period of 1821 to 1832 witnessed a brief period of using chevrons to identify officer grades, a practice that is still observed at West Pointfor cadet officers. Colonels received their eagle in 183...
While not currently in use today, special insignia were authorized by Congress for ten General officers who were promoted to the highest ranks in the United States Army: General of the Army, designed as a "five star" rank, and General of the Armies, considered to be the equivalent of a "six star" rank. Eight Generals were promoted to the rank and title General of the Army (Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip Sheridan, George Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry H. Arnold, and Omar Bradley), while two Generals were promoted to the higher rank and title of General of the Armies (George Washington and John J. Pershing). Congress created the rank of General of the Armies specifically for Washington, although while living he never officially accepted the honor. Pershing received the rank in 1919 and was allowed to choose his own insignia; he chose to use four gold stars, but never actually wore the rank on his uniform. While a conjectural design for the...US Army Rank and Insignia Courtesy of Georgia State Defense Force
From there, promotional rankings continue to the Captain (O-3), Major, (O-4) Lieutenant Colonel (O-5), Colonel (O-6), Brigadier General (O-7) Major General (O-8), Lieutenant General (O-9), General (O-10), General of the Army (O-11), and General of the Armies of the United States (O-12).
- Creation and Early Usage
- World War I and John Pershing
- World War II and Six Star Rank
- Douglas Macarthur and The Renewed Effort
- George Washington and The Final Version
- Equivalent Ranks
- See Also
- Further Reading
- External Links
The rank of General of the Armies of the United States has a history spanning over two centuries and, during the course of the rank's existence, the rank has held different authority, seniority, and perceptions by both the American public and the military establishment. In all, there have been six versions of the rank General of the Armies, of which only two were ever formally bestowed: 1. A rank created in 1799 (but never bestowed) to replace the rank of Lieutenant General 2. A rank created for Ulysses S. Grant after the American Civil War, but named "General of the Army of the United States" 3. A rank created in 1919 for John J. Pershing for services rendered during World War I. 4. A proposed rank during World War II (never approved), which would have been an actual six star general rank 5. A further proposal in 1955, also seen as a six star rank and also never approved 6. A final version in 1976, held by George Washington, with this version holding seniority over all previous ver...
John Pershing's promotion to General of the Armies is rooted in the former title "General of the Army" from the days of the American Civil War. The Civil War version of this rank was considered the same as a "four star" general, unequal in status to the later version of General of the Army, which was used during World War II.After the Civil War, the United States military lapsed into a period where the highest possible general officer rank was that of the two star Major General. During World War I, the United States Congress authorized the appointment of three star Lieutenant Generals and four star "full" Generals. The four star rank was considered the "successor rank" to the Civil War title "General of the Army" in that both were considered four star positions.Tasker H. Bliss and John J. Pershing were promoted to Army General in October 1917, and Peyton C. March was promoted in May 1918. Hunter Liggett and Robert Lee Bullardwere both promoted to Army Lieutenant General on 16 Octobe...
On 14 December 1944, the United States Army established a five star general position and named this new rank "General of the Army" which was a title that had not been used since the 1880s after the Civil War. Unlike the Civil War version, however, the new rank was clearly a five star position (whereas the old version was considered a four star rank) and was appointed to several officers whereas the Civil War rank had only been held by Ulysses S. Grant. General of the Armies Pershing was still living during World War II, albeit very elderly by this point. Nevertheless, the question was immediately raised by both the media and the public as to whether Pershing's rank "fit in" with the new five star position. The situation was touchy from a diplomatic viewpoint, since the five star General of the Army rank had been created largely to give American officers equal rank with British Army Field Marshals. The United States government was very hesitant to declare that Pershing held a senior...
In the early 1950s, supporters of Douglas MacArthur began to petition the United States government to authorize a "promotion" to the rank of General of the Armies. MacArthur was at this time a retired five star general and, with the movement to promote him, it was clear that (Army regulations notwithstanding) the general public felt that the rank of General of the Armies was a six star position. In 1955, the United States Congress considered a bill authorizing President Dwight D. Eisenhowerto promote MacArthur to the rank of General of the Armies. The language used in the bill states that the rank was to be "re-activated" and that MacArthur was to be "promoted" to the position. With such terms, the Congressional legislation all but confirmed that General of the Armies was a senior rank to that of General of the Army; however, the Army itself still did not declare that General of the Armies was a six star rank. Had Douglas MacArthur actually been promoted, much of the confusion regar...
Since his death, George Washington had been listed on the United States Army rolls as a retired Lieutenant General. During the years of the American Revolution, George Washington was not answerable to the Continental Congress (or its President) and actively commanded with complete authority, over all branches of military forces within the United States. In this respect he commanded with the same authority as a General of the Armies of the United States, although he never held that exact title in his lifetime. Washington retired as a Lieutenant General (three stars) and, as a result, was technically "out ranked" by later four and five star generals from the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. In recognition of George Washington's permanent place in United States history, on 11 October 1976 George Washington was posthumously promoted to the full grade of General of the Armies of the United States by Executive Order of President Gerald R. Ford. The promotion was authorized by a c...
None of the other military branches of the United States armed forces have a rank as deeply complicated and rooted in history as General of the Armies. The highest present day rank in the U.S. military is that of four star general (or admiral in the Navy); the five star officer ranks are inactive and are reserved for situations during a "time of War where the Commanding Officer must be equal or of higher rank than those commanding armies from other nations". The United States Navy maintain one "super rank" known as Admiral of the Navy. The rank of Admiral of the Navy has only been held by one person in history, George Dewey, and at the time of its creation this rank was considered little more than a four star Admiral with an added honorary title. George Dewey was deceased by the time John Pershing was appointed to the rank of General of the Armies, and no formal attempt was ever made by the military to compare the two positions. During World War II, Naval tradition declared that Adm...Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff (United States Army Center of Military History)How many U.S. Army five-star generals have there been and who were they? from the United States Army Center of Military HistoryMilitary service record of Douglas MacArthur, Military Personnel Records CenterNaval service record of Chester Nimitz, Military Personnel Records Center
Basic Pay. $16,442/mo. General is a four-star General Officer rank, and the highest rank attainable by an officer besides the wartime-only General of the Army rank. The Army can have a maximum of seven four-star generals at any one time, with several of these slots filled permanently, like the Army Chief of Staff, who is a four-star general.
- O-10 (DoD Paygrade)OF-9 (NATO Code)
- General Officer
- General (last name)
- U.S. Army General Ranks. Pay Grade. Insignia. Uniform Insignia. Title. Abbreviation. O-10. General of the Armies. General of the Army. GA. General. GEN. O-9. Lieutenant.
- U.S. Army Officer Ranks. Pay Grade. Insignia. Uniform Insignia. Title. Abbreviation. O-5. Lieutenant Colonel. LTC. O-4. Major. MAJ. O-3. Captain. CPT. O-2. First Lieutenant. 1LT. O-1. Second Lieutenant.
- General of the Army. A General of the Army is a five-star General. The title is temporary and only used during wartime. A General of the Army is appointed when the commanding officer must be of higher rank than armies of other nations.
- General. Besides the General of the Army, a General is the highest rank in the U.S. Army. A General is a four-star General Officer. There can only be seven four-star Generals at one time.
War Department General Orders No. 75, September 5, 1866, prescribed that the insignia for the newly authorized General of the Army grade would be four stars.