Can You Earn Your Stripes on This Chain of Command Test?

John Miller

What's the lowest rank in the Air Force?

Before you get your fighter jet, you're still an Airman Basic.

What is the highest rank (called "rate" in this branch) in the entire U.S. Navy?

Truthfully, we're never going to achieve the rank of Fleet Admiral. These officers are off-the-charts powerful and even have their own special pay grade.

Which of the following Sergeants has the most power?

Command Sergeant Majors are major advisors to commanding officers. They offer insights on the performance of soldiers in the unit.

Which of these Lieutenants ranks highest?

There actually is no Third Lieutenant in the Army. And First Lieutenants outrank Second.

Which of the following ranks is the LOWEST?

Corporals are the fundamental first rank of non-commissoned officers. Corporals have actual responsibility, like babysitting unruly Privates.

What's the second lowest rank in the U.S. Navy?

In the Navy, enlisted personnel start out as Seaman Recruits. Then they move up to Seaman Apprentice.

How many stars does a Major General have?

A Major General is a big deal.

What's the greatest number of stars a general can earn in the Army?

At five stars, a general has gone as far as he or she can go. They are noted as some of the most powerful minds in American military history.

Which of the following ranks is higher than the other two?

New troops go from Private, to Private Second Class to Private First Class. Many soldiers can make it to First Class in less than a year provided they aren't rebellious or otherwise having trouble.

Which of these ranks is the highest of the bunch?

When officers graduate from places like West Point, they immediately become Second Lieutenants. That jumps them past many men who've served for years as sergeants.

What is the highest rank an airman can achieve during peacetime?

During peacetime, generals can only get two stars and no more.

In the Navy, which of the following ranks calls the shots?

"Commander" sounds more commanding. But it's actually Captains who outrank them.

What rank does an Airman First Class move up to?

After Airman First Class, you move up to Senior Airman. On average, it takes about three years to become a Senior Airman.

In the Army, what's an "E-1"?

In the Army, this is as low as rank goes. E-1 is the official designation for Privates.

Which of these Air Force sergeants has the highest rank?

In the Air Force, Chief Master Sergeant is an E-9 rank. It's the highest of the three listed here, but there are still three ranks of sergeants above it.

In the Army, how many stars does a Brigadier General have?

As generals go, these guys are on the low end. Brigadier Generals are one-star affairs, and likely aiming for at least one more before they retire.

Which of these generals has the highest rank?

It's just General, and that's all these guys need. They are four-star military masters, and they will destroy your city with their bare hands.

In the Army, which rank is noted for its large numbers and nicknamed the "Mafia"?

Army specialists are a dime a dozen. They are the "E-4 Mafia," and many of them have no desire to advance any further in the Army, thank you very much.

Do you know which of these Air Force ranks is highest?

If you hit Airman First Class, you've survived the opening rounds of your military career. On average, it takes about 16 months to make Airman First Class.

Can you pick the highest-ranking Admiral from this list?

If you have an entire fleet at your disposal, you know you've made it in the Navy. Fleet Admirals are five-star celebrities.

In order to make Corporal, soldiers need a minimum of how much time in the service?

It's only a couple years of your life, soldier! You need a minimum of 26 months of service to move from Private First Class to Corporal.

Which of these Army ranks is highest?

Those lower officers get stuck with bars and leaves on their uniforms. Colonels get screaming bloody eagles, so you know they're way up the food chain.

Which of these Navy positions is the most powerful?

They are the "MCPO," at E-9. Master Chief Petty Officers are the highest of these three rates.

What's the highest rank possible in the Air Force?

As in the Army, the Air Force uses the star ranking system for generals. A five-star Air Force general is a General of the Air Force.

In the Navy, Seamen move up to which rank?

They are the few, the proud, the PO3. They are Petty Officer, Third Class, the rank just above Seaman.

Which of these Warrant Officer ranks is lowest?

Chief Warrant Officers are renowned for the specific technical knowledge. At level 2, they have intermediate knowledge. The CW rank goes all the way to 5.

In the Army, what rank has no insignia whatsoever?

Welcome to the bottom of the totem pole! In the Army, Private is the is the lowest rank. During basic training, or boot camp, these soldiers receive no insignia whatsoever.

Which of these Air Force sergeants has the highest rank?

Master Sergeants sit at E-7, and they are likely career Air Force personnel. It takes more than 17 years for most people to reach this lofty rank.

In the Navy, can you pick out the lowest rate listed here?

Lieutenant (junior grade) is a junior commissioned officer in the Navy. They are listed below Lieutenant, but above Ensign.

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About This Quiz

Ten-hut! Do you really understand the command hierarchy of the United States Armed Forces?

In both peace and war, the chain of command is an indispensable aspect of the U.S. military. Without it, there’s no one to give orders and no one to follow them. With a specific ranking system – called “rate” in the Navy – service personnel are categorized by their seniority, skills, combat experience, and more. Do you have what it takes to run the gauntlet of this commanding quiz?

Fall in, soldier! This test is a true challenge for new recruits and seasoned soldiers alike. Because ranking systems vary by service branch, the concept can be downright tricky. Take this military chain of command quiz to rank your knowledge now - sir, yes sir! 

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