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Commissioned officers are distinguished from other officers by their commission, which is the formal written authority, issued in the name of the President of the United States, that confers the rank and authority of a Marine Officer. Commissioned officers carry the "special trust and confidence" of the President of the United States. Commissioned officer ranks are further subdivided into general officers, field-grade officers, and company-grade officers. The highest billets in the Marine Corps, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps are, by statute, four-star ranks, as the Marine Corps is considered a separate naval service under the Department of the Navy.
|Company-grade officers||Field-grade officers||General officers|
Warrant Officers provide leadership and training in specialized fields and skills. Much like many other militaries, the United States military confers warrants and commissions on its Warrant Officers, though they are generally not responsible for leadership outside of their specialty. Warrant officers come primarily from the senior Non-Commissioned Officer ranks.
A Chief Warrant Officer, CWO2–CWO5, serving in the MOS 0306 "Infantry Weapons Officer" carries a special title, "Marine Gunner", which does not replace his rank. A Marine Gunner replaces the Chief Warrant Officer insignia on the left collar with a bursting bomb insignia. Other warrant officers are sometimes informally and erroneously referred to as "Gunner".
|Infantry Weapons Officer|
|Chief Warrant Officer-2|
|Chief Warrant Officer-3|
|Chief Warrant Officer-4|
|Chief Warrant Officer-5|
Enlisted Marines with paygrades of E-4 and E-5 are considered non-commissioned officers (NCOs) while those at E-6 and higher are considered Staff Noncommissioned Officers (SNCOs). The E-8 and E-9 levels each have two ranks per pay grade, each with different responsibilities. Gunnery Sergeants (E-7) indicate on their annual evaluations (called "fitness reports") their preferred promotional track: Master Sergeant or First Sergeant. The First Sergeant and Sergeant Major ranks are command-oriented Senior Enlisted Advisors, with Marines of these ranks serving as the senior enlisted Marines in a unit, charged to assist the commanding officer in matters of discipline, administration, and the morale and welfare of the unit. Master Sergeants and Master Gunnery Sergeants provide technical leadership as occupational specialists in their specific MOS. First Sergeants typically serve as the senior enlisted Marine in a company, battery, or other unit at similar echelon, while Sergeants Major serve the same role in battalions, squadrons, or larger units..
The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is a billet and special rank, conferred on the senior enlisted Marine of the entire Marine Corps, personally selected by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. It and the Marine Gunner are the only billets which rate modified rank insignia in place of the traditional rank insignia.
|Junior enlisted||Non-commissioned Officers (NCOs)||Staff Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs)|
|Private First Class|
|Master Gunnery Sergeant|
|Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps|
Different styles of rank insignia are worn on different Marine uniforms:
The gold stripes on red flash are worn on the Dress Blue coat, green stripes on red flash are worn on the Service "A" uniform coat; the rank insignia are worn on the upper sleeve of both blouses. The khaki uniforms use green stripes on khaki flash, and again are worn on the upper sleeves of both long and short-sleeved service blouses. Utility uniform rank insignia are black metal pins and are worn on the collars, or black embroidered insignia sewn into patches of material to match the appropriate camouflage uniform. Musicians in the "President's Own United States Marine Band" (commonly yet incorrectly referred to simply as The United States Marine Band) wear insignia with the crossed rifles replaced by a lyre to denote their lack of a combat mission; full-service Marines who are attached to the 10 Fleet Marine Force Bands continue to wear their normal rank insignia.
Marines address all enlisted personnel by rank, and all Commissioned officers with "sir" or "ma'am". Warrant Officers, regardless of rank, are addressed just as commissioned officers, but may also be addressed as "Warrant Officer", or "Gunner", although the latter is sometimes considered improper unless the officer is an Infantry Weapons Officer (MOS 0306). During recruit training, recruits are indoctrinated to address all superiors as "sir" or "ma'am". Addressing a commissioned officer (or any rank) as "Mister" has long been considered a grievous insult towards the individual. The most junior ranks between pay grades E-1 and E-3 (Privates, Privates First Class, and Lance Corporals) are commonly referred to by their last name only, using their rank only in a formal situation. "Marine" is also a common form of address for junior Marines.
During recruit training, recruits are not considered Marines until they graduate and must address all Marines who have completed recruit training, including instructors, as "sir" or "ma'am." Incoming recruits must also refer to themselves in the third person (i.e. "this recruit"), and their rank is replaced with the word "Recruit." This usually continues until the last week of recruit training when, in most instances, recruits are then considered Marines. Likewise, during officer training, officer candidates are not yet commissioned Marine officers and must refer to themselves as "this candidate" or "the candidate," even though some officer candidates may hold an enlisted rank. During Officer Candidate School, each candidate is referred to as "candidate" and not "Marine." Unlike their enlisted counterparts, officer candidates refer to enlisted Marines, including their instructors, by their full and proper rank; only commissioned officers are addressed as "sir" or "ma'am."
Informally, some enlisted ranks have commonly used nicknames, though they are not official and may be improper for use in formal situations. The acceptability of nickname use by juniors is at the discretion of the individual rank holder. A Gunnery Sergeant is typically called "Gunny" and occasionally "Guns", a Master Sergeant is commonly called "Top", and a Master Gunnery Sergeant is "Master Gunny" or "Master Guns". Differing from the Army and Air Force, all ranks containing "Sergeant" are always addressed by their full rank and never shortened to simply "Sergeant" or "Sarge". A Private First Class is usually referred to as a PFC, instead of simply "private"; similarly, Lance Corporal is not shortened to "Corporal". Senior Officers may informally address junior officers by first name. Marines of the same rank may also address each other by first name when among peers only and never in the presence of junior or senior Marines.
Finally, Marines consider it a grievous insult to be called a "soldier" or to be referred to as "troops" as soldiers and troops are army terms; the proper term is always Marine. When writing journalism or scholarly references to the Marine Corps, its elements, and/or individual Marines, the correct attribution is Marine(s).
|United States commissioned officer and officer candidate ranks|
|Pay grade / Branch of service||Officer|
|Air Force||Cadet / OT / OC||2d Lt||1st Lt||Capt||Maj||Lt Col||Col||Brig Gen||Maj Gen||Lt Gen||Gen||GAF|||
|Army||CDT / OC||2LT||1LT||CPT||MAJ||LTC||COL||BG||MG||LTG||GEN||GA||GAS|
|Marine Corps||Midn / Cand||2ndLt||1stLt||Capt||Maj||LtCol||Col||BGen||MajGen||LtGen||Gen|||||
|Navy||MIDN / OC||ENS||LTJG||LT||LCDR||CDR||CAPT||RDML||RADM||VADM||ADM||FADM||AN|
|Coast Guard||CDT / OC||ENS||LTJG||LT||LCDR||CDR||CAPT||RDML||RADM||VADM||ADM|||||
|Public Health Service||[OC]||ENS||LTJG||LT||LCDR||CDR||CAPT||RADM||RADM||VADM||ADM|||||
Unofficial 1945 proposal for General of the Armies insignia; John J. Pershing's GAS insignia: ; George Dewey's AN insignia:
 Rank used for specific officers during World War II and Korea only, not permanent addition to rank structure
 Grade is authorized by the U.S. Code for use but has not been created
 Grade has never been created or authorized
|United States warrant officer ranks|
|Public Health Service|||||||||||
|National Oceanic and|
 Grade is authorized for use by U.S. Code but has not been created
 Grade never created or authorized
|United States enlisted ranks|
|Pay Grade →|
Branch of Service ↓
MSgt - 1st Sgt
SMSgt - 1st Sgt
CMSgt - 1st Sgt - CCM - CMSAF
SPC - CPL
MSG - 1SG
SGM - CSM - SMA
MSgt - 1stSgt
MGySgt - SgtMaj - SgtMajMarCor
MCPO - CMDCM - FORCM - FLTCM - MCPON
MCPO - CMC - Area Command Master Chief, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Reserve - MCPOCG