Military "Super Ranks"

Right now the top rank someone can achieve in the U.S. military is "O-10" (four star general or admiral), but there are ranks that aren't in service right now that have existed and may exist again in the future. I find this fascinating.

So, the 5 star rank only exists in times of war.

Five-star ranks were created in the U.S. military during World War II because of the awkward situation created when some American senior commanders were placed in positions commanding allied officers of higher rank. U.S. officers holding five-star rank never retire; they draw full active duty pay for life. The five-star ranks were retired in 1981 on the death of General Omar Bradley.

Nine Americans have been promoted to five-star rank, one of them, Henry H. Arnold, in two services.

As part of the bicentennial celebration, George Washington was, 177 years after his death, permanently made superior to any other five-star general/admiral with the title general of the armies effective on July 4, 1776.




Fleet Admiral:

Fleet admiral of the United States Navy, or more commonly referred to as fleet admiral (FADM), is a five-star flag officer rank, and it is considered to be the highest possible rank attainable in the United States Navy. Fleet admiral ranks immediately above admiral and is equivalent to general of the army and general of the Air Force. The fleet admiral rank is reserved for wartime use only and the grade is not currently active.

A special grade of admiral of the Navy, which ranks above fleet admiral, was once conferred to Admiral George Dewey following the Spanish–American War (1898) in 1903, but it ceased to exist after his death on 16 January 1917.

The insignia for a fleet admiral is composed of five silver stars in a pentagonal design. Worn on the service dress uniform sleeve is a two-inch rank stripe, then four half inch stripes, and then a single five-pointed star, point down.

In keeping with a tradition dating back to the 18th-century Royal Navy, a fleet admiral is entitled to full admiral's pay and fringe benefits, including a small staff, for the remainder of his life.

George Washington (possible six star General):

Since his death, George Washington had been listed on the United States Army rolls as a retired lieutenant general. During the American Revolution, George Washington was not answerable to the Continental Congress (or its President) and actively commanded with complete authority all branches of military forces within the United States. In this respect, he had 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 outranked by later four and five-star generals and admirals of the Civil War, World War I, and World War II.

In recognition of Washington's permanent place in United States history, on October 11, 1976, he 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 congressional joint resolution on January 19, 1976 which recommended Washington's promotion. It further declared that no officer of the United States Army should outrank Washington on the Army list.


Proposed insignia:


Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold, the only man to hold five star ranks in two services.

US-O11 insignia.svg General of the Army

US-O11 insignia.svg General of the Air Force

Pretty cool Phone Post

Although the term six-star rank has never been explicitly established by any nation, the American supreme rank of general of the armies came to be associated with a six-star insignia towards the end of World War II.

The term six-star is based on the proposed, but never adopted, insignia for the U.S. rank of general of the armies (note plural). The relative position of some U.S. ranks that used the word 'supreme', awarded prior to the creation of the explicitly five-star ranks of general of the army and fleet admiral, in December 1944, is unclear.

The United States military has never explicitly endorsed a six-star rank. The rank of general of the armies was first created in 1799, but not awarded, thus the determination of the number of stars was never an issue. At the time, the highest number of stars used had been the three, worn by George Washington as the "General and Commander in Chief" of the Continental Army.

Tt Phone Post

The specific notion of a six-star insignia only emerged with the inter-related history of General John Pershing's 1919 promotion to "general of the armies", and the 1944 creation of the five-star rank "general of the army". Pershing was promoted to general of the armies in 1919, from what was then the highest rank, the four-star rank of general. Under the regulations of the time he was permitted to choose his insignia, and he chose four gold stars (in contrast to the four silver stars used by U.S. generals and admirals). General Pershing was still alive in 1944 when the specific five-star ranks of "general of the army" and "fleet admiral" were created. It was explicitly stated that he remained senior to the new five-star appointments, though there was no mention of this meaning a change to his insignia.

In 1945, in preparation for the invasion of Japan, it was proposed that five-star General of the Army Douglas MacArthur be promoted to General of the Armies in preparation for the planned Operation Downfall,and that this would explicitly be a six-star rank.However, this and subsequent proposals were never completed because Japan surrendered before the invasion took place. The Institute of Heraldry produced a single sketch of how the insignia for a six-star rank would appear; this sketch was later filed in Douglas MacArthur's service record.

I've found this stuff fascinating as well. Isn't the rank of Commodore in the Navy only given in war time as well?

Mas Tisu - 

I've found this stuff fascinating as well. Isn't the rank of Commodore in the Navy only given in war time as well?

The U.S. Navy no longer maintains a rank of commodore, but the term has survived as a title. Modern-day commodores are senior captains in major operational command of functional or "type" air wings or air groups (exclusive of carrier air wings); patrol and reconnaissance aircraft wings; training air wings; destroyer squadrons; submarine squadrons; amphibious squadrons; mine countermeasures squadrons; riverine squadrons; coastal warfare groups; special warfare (SEAL) groups; explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) groups; logistics task forces; and naval construction regiments.

With the exception of the naval construction regiments commanded by senior captains of the U.S. Navy's Civil Engineer Corps, all others are senior captains who are warfare-qualified unrestricted line (URL) officers in that combat specialty (i.e., naval aviators and naval flight officers commanding "functional" or "type" air wings or air groups, surface warfare officers commanding destroyer squadrons, submarine warfare officers commanding submarine squadrons, SEAL officers commanding special warfare groups, etc.).

Such officers employ the term "commander" in their organizational command title, this in keeping with the naval tradition of officers commanding a single ship, unit or installation being referred to as a "commanding officer" or "CO", while those captains and flag officers commanding multiple ships, multiple aviation squadrons, etc., being known as a "commander". With the exception of commanders of carrier air wings, captains in this latter category are referred to, both orally and in correspondence, as "commodore", but continue to wear the rank insignia of a captain.Captains in command of carrier air wings continue to use the traditional title of "CAG" which dates from when these units were known as carrier air groups.

Captains holding a commodore billet also rate a blue and white broad pennant, known as a "command pennant", which is normally flown from their headquarters facilities ashore and/or from ships on which they are embarked when they are the senior officer afloat. This swallow-tailed pennant has a white field bounded by two horizontal blue stripes, with the numerical designation or the initials of the command title in blue centered on the white field.

Thanks Sagiv....I don't know where I picked up the notion of a wartime-only appointment,,,,,

The Navy has always been the most confusing concerning rank to me. I grew up an Air Force Brat, lived in several Navy base housing units, and worked on a Navy base for 8 years (civil service, PWC), and I still get confused by Navy ranks/insignia.

I'd shine their boots... Phone Post 3.0

41 ranking in Team Snipers in Halo 2 - dizz