Armucation: Ranks and Organization

One of the things that I had the hardest time learning, and still get confused about, are the rankings and how the troops are organized.

Here is the quick and dirty on how the Army does things.

army jrotc ranks

image via

This chart is awesome to remember the insignia and titles for each rank. Most of the time for officers, Tom refers to them as Sir, so I usually have no idea who he is talking about.

They have to wear these insignia all over their uniforms. So if you know what they mean, you should be able to just look at a soldier and know where they stand.

A soldier gets to different ranks by time, experience, and credentials. (Also, I think there is sometimes a little luck and being in the right place at the right time that goes in there. But this is just my opinion) A promotion happens in different ways. For E1 up to E4, you will be granted a new rank once you have the time and service. For E5 and E6, you have to go to a board to receive the new rank. A board consists of three parts:  a PT test, hands on (medical, range, assembling weapons, etc.), and lastly a formal oral board. E7 and above, there is a list that comes out each year for whoever ranks up. From what I could gather about officers, they just earn a new rank with time and service and once a position opens. (Admittedly though, I don’t know much about officers since Tom is not in that arena.)

Here is a website that explains more about what happens at each rank.  I found it to be really interesting!

The other titles I get confused on are the types of organization and groupings.

Here is the breakdown of how soldiers are organized in the Infantry. Let’s start small.

Team:  3-4 enlisted soldiers.

Squad:  2 teams

Platoon:  4 squads

Company:  4 platoons

Battalion:  4-5 companies

Brigade:  2-3 Infantry battalions and sustainment units

Division:  3-4 brigades

Each level has a leader. Team and squads only have an enlisted leader. Starting with the platoon level, there will be both an enlisted leader as well as an officer as the leadership.

So if I were to write out Tom’s full unit description, this is what it would look like:

101st Airborne Division, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Battalion, 187 Infantry Regiment, Angel Company, Headquarters Platoon.

Before he moved to Headquarters where there are not squads or teams, he would have had this:  2nd Platoon, 3rd Squad, Bravo Team.

If you noticed the 187th Infantry Regiment in that listing but not in my earlier breakdown, I promise you I didn’t mess up. Regiments don’t really exist anymore as far as how things are broken down. They just are there now.

I hope this breakdown, helps you to understand the inner-workings of the Army. You can see how I get confused often!

It seems like I learn things about the Army every day.  I am by no means an expert at all things Army, but I love exploring new topics and sharing what I see as a military spouse.

Hope you enjoyed today’s Armucation.

Do you have any questions about military life? Do you have any topic you would like me to write about? Feel free to ask away!

8 thoughts on “Armucation: Ranks and Organization

  1. Officers go in front of boards, maybe not for 1st Lt, but I think for all other ranks. Then after the boards, it’s still awhile before the results are released – like a few months.

  2. I was trying to get all the enlisted ranks figured out, but now that Will is going WOC, that’ll probably wait. I just go by the rule that the more black you see, the more appropriate you should act 😉 Great breakdown!

  3. So I’m the granddaughter, daughter, and wife of officers. After spending my entire life around the military, I still can’t keep the enlisted insignia apart.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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