How to Abbreviate Military Ranks

Service-Specific Abbreviations

In many countries, the department or ministry of defense uses service-specific abbreviations for military ranks.
——Abbreviations used in civilian situations are punctuated and non-service-specific in form: Gen., Lt. Gen., Maj. Gen., Brig. Gen., and Col.
——
Service-specific abbreviations have the advantage of identifying an Army General (GEN) from a Marine General (Gen) at a glance. Use of service-specific abbreviations is correct in both civilian and military circumstances: anyone can use them anytime.
——The United States Department of Defense (DoD) styles abbreviations for ranks and ratings as follows:

——-U.S. Army, DoD Service-Specific

—-U.S. Marine Corps, DoD Service-Specific

——-U.S. Navy, DoD Service-Specific

——-U.S. Air Force, DoD Service-Specific

——-U.S. Coast Guard, DoD Service-Specific

—— Civilian-style, U. S. Army, Marine Corps and Air Force

——-Civilian-style, U.S. Navy and Coast Guard

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

U.S. Army

General | GEN How to Abbreviate Military Ranks
Lieutenant general | LTG
Major general | MG
Brigadier general | BG
Colonel | COL

Lieutenant colonel | LTC
Major | MAJ
Captain | CPT
First lieutenant | 1LT
Second lieutenant | 2LT

Chief warrant officers W-5 to W-2 | CW5 | CW4 | CW3 | CW2
Warrant officer W-1 | WO1

Sergeant major of the Army | SMA
Command sergeant major | CSM
Sergeant major | SGM
First sergeant | 1SG
Master sergeant | MSG

Sergeant first class | SFC
Staff sergeant | SSG
Sergeant | SGT
Corporal | CPL
Specialist | SPC

Private, first class | PFC
Private E-2 | PV2
Private E-1 | PV1

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

U.S. Marine Corps

General | Gen   How to Abbreviate Military Ranks
Lieutenant general | LtGen
Major general | MajGen
Brigadier general | BGen
Colonel | Col

Lieutenant colonel | LtCol
Major | Maj
Captain | Capt
First lieutenant | 1stLt
Second lieutenant | 2ndLt

Chief warrant officers W-5 To 2 | CWO5 | CWO4 | CWO3 | CWO2
W-1 Warrant officer | WO

Sergeant major of the Marine Corps | SgtMajMC
Sergeant major | SgtMaj
Master gunnery sergeant | MGySgt
First sergeant | 1stSgt
Master sergeant | MSgt

Gunnery sergeant | GySgt
Staff sergeant | SSgt
Sergeant | Sgt
Corporal | Cpl
Lance corporal | LCpl

Private first class | PFC
Private | Pvt

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

U.S. Navy

Fleet admiral | FADM
Admiral | ADM
Vice admiral | VADM
Rear admiral, upper half | RADM or RADM U
Rear admiral, lower half | RDML or RADM L

Captain | CAPT
Commander | CDR
Lieutenant commander | LCDR
Lieutenant | LT
Lieutenant, junior grade | LTJG
Ensign | ENS

Chief warrant officers W-5 To 2 | CWO2 | CWO3 | CWO4 | CWO5
Warrant officer W-1 | WO1

Master chief petty officer of the Navy | MCPON
Fleet command master chief petty officer | FLTMC
Force command master chief petty officer | FORMC
Command master chief petty officer | CMDCM

Master chief petty officer | MCPO
Senior chief petty officer | SCPO
Chief petty officer | CPO
Petty officer first class | PO1
Petty officer second class | PO2

Petty officer third class | PO3
Seaman | SN
Seaman apprentice | SA
Seaman recruit | SR

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

U.S. Air Force

General | Gen   How to Abbreviate Military Ranks
Lieutenant general | Lt Gen
Major general | Maj Gen
Brigadier general | Brig Gen
Colonel | Col

Lieutenant colonel | Lt Col
Major | Maj
Captain | Capt
First lieutenant | 1st Lt
Second lieutenant | 2nd Lt

Chief master sergeant of the Air Force | CMSAF
Command chief master sergeant | CCMSgt
First sergeant, E-9 | 1stSgt
Chief master sergeant | CMSgt
First sergeant, E-8 | 1stSgt

Senior master sergeant | SMSgt
First sergeant, E-7 | 1stSgt
Master sergeant | MSgt
Technical sergeant | TSgt
Staff sergeant | SSgt

Senior airman | SrA
Airman first class | A1C
Airman | Amn
Airman basic | AB

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

U.S. Coast Guard

Admiral | ADM   How to Abbreviate Military Ranks
Vice admiral | VADM
Rear admiral, upper half | RADM / RADM U
Rear admiral, lower half | RDML / RADM L
Captain | CAPT

Commander | CDR
Lieutenant commander | LCDR
Lieutenant | LT
Lieutenant, junior grade | LTJG
Ensign | ENS

Chief warrant officers W-5 To 2  | CWO2CWO3CWO4CWO5
Warrant officer W-1 | WO1

Master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard | MCPO-CG
Command master chief | CMC
Master chief petty officer | MCPO
Senior chief petty officer | SCPO
Chief petty officer | CPO

Petty officer first class | PO1
Petty officer second class | PO2
Petty officer third class | PO3
Seaman | SN
Seaman apprentice | SA
Seaman recruit | SR

Forms of Address: How a conversation begins can have a huge impact on how the conversation - even the entire relationship - develops.

Civilian-style, U.S. Army, Marine Corps & Air Force

General | Gen. How to Abbreviate Military Ranks
Lieutenant general | Lt. Gen.
Major general | Maj. Gen.
Brigadier general | Brig. Gen.
Colonel | Col.

Lieutenant colonel | Lt. Col.
Major | Maj.
Captain | Capt.
First lieutenant | 1st Lt.
Second lieutenant | 2nd Lt.
Cadet | Cdt.

Warrant Officer, USA and USMC

Chief warrant officers W-5 | Chief Warrant Officer 5
Chief warrant officers W-4 | Chief Warrant Officer 4
Chief warrant officers W-3 | Chief Warrant Officer 3
Chief warrant officers W-2 | Chief Warrant Officer 2
Warrant officer W-1 | Warrant Officer

Army Enlisted Ranks

Sergeant major of the Army | Sgt. Maj. of the Army
Command sergeant major | Command Sgt. Maj.
Sergeant major | Sgt. Maj.
First sergeant | 1st Sgt.
Master sergeant | Master Sgt.

Platoon Sergeant | P. Sgt.
Sergeant first class | Sgt. 1st Class
Staff sergeant | Staff Sgt.
Sergeant | Sgt.
Corporal | Cpl.
Specialist | Spc.

Private, first class | Pfc.
Private E-2 | Pvt.
Private E-1 | Pvt.

Marine Corps Enlisted Ranks

Sergeant major of the Marine Corps | Sgt. Major of the Marine Corps
Sergeant major | Sgt. Major
Master gunnery sergeant | Master Gunnery Sgt.
First sergeant | 1st Sgt.
Master sergeant | Master Sgt.

Gunnery sergeant | Gunnery Sgt.
Staff sergeant | Staff Sgt.
Sergeant | Sgt.
Corporal | Cpl.
Lance corporal | Lance Cpl.

Private first class | Private 1st Class
Private | Pvt.

Air Force Enlisted Ranks

Chief master sergeant of the Air Force | Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force
Chief master sergeant | Chief Master Sgt. | CM Sgt.
Command chief master sergeant | Command Chief Master Sgt. | CCM Sgt.
Senior master sergeant | Senior Master Sgt.
Master sergeant | Master Sgt.
Technical sergeant | Tech. Sgt.

Staff sergeant | Staff Sgt.
Senior airman | Senior Airman
Airman first class | Airman 1st Class
Airman | Airman
Airman basic | Airman

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

Civilian-style, U.S. Navy & Coast Guard

Admiral | Adm.   How to Abbreviate Military Ranks
Vice admiral | Vice Adm.
Rear admiral, upper half | Rear Adm.
Rear admiral, lower half | Rear Adm.
Captain | Capt.

Commander | Cmdr.
Lieutenant commander | Lt. Cmdr.
Lieutenant | Lt.
Lieutenant, junior grade | Lt. j.g.
Ensign | Ensign

Chief warrant officers W-5 To 2  | Chief Warrant Officer
Warrant officer W-1 | Warrant Officer

Master chief petty officer of the Navy | Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
Master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard | Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
Command master chief | Command Master Chief
Master chief petty officer | Master Chief Petty Officer
Senior chief petty officer | Senior Chief Petty Officer
Chief petty officer | Chief Petty Officer

Petty officer first class | Petty Officer 1st Class
Petty officer second class | Petty Officer 2nd Class
Petty officer third class | Petty Officer 3rd Class
Seaman | Seaman
Seaman apprentice | Seaman Apprentice
Seaman recruit | Seaman Recruit

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"