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US Air Force Military Ranks, Lowest to Highest

The USAF formally began operations on September 18th, 1947 following the conclusion of World War 2 (September 2nd, 1945) but maintained a history as far back as 1907. Before 1947, the USAF operated as the air arm of the United States Army under the title of "United States Army Air Force" (USAAF). Under this banner, American airmen were able to participate in World War 1 and World War 2. The modern United States Air Force falls under the collective banner of the United States Department of Defense and fields its headquarters at The Pentagon. It has seen combat actions since the Korean War (1950-1953) and fields a variety of attack, bomber, helicopter, reconnaissance, training, transport and special purpose aircraft to cover all manner of mission types including strike, rescue, surveillance and humanitarian assistance. USAF aircraft generally do not serve on US Navy carrier vessels, nor on any other warships for that matter, for the USN maintains its own fleet of aircraft independent of the USAF. Likewise, the US Army and US Marine Corps both maintain their own, albeit smaller, inventory of aircraft to fulfill specific battlefield requirements - mostly centered around Close-Air Support and transport roles.


NOTES: The Five Star rank is generally reserved for wartime only and may also be used as an honorary rank. Formally, United States Air Force rank abbreviations are not displayed with an ending period. Additionally, the United States Air Force does not maintain a First Sergeant rank common to other branches of service. Instead, Sergeant ranks are denoted by special additions within the insignia, such as the diamond differentiating the Master Sergeant and Senior Master Sergeant ranks. Similarly, the diamond is replaced by a star to differentiate between the Chief Master Sergeant and Command Chief Master Sergeant ranks.

Listed Below From Lowest to Highest
Pay Grade
Insignia
Abbrv.
Title
Pay
E-1
NONE
AB
Airman Basic
2014 Pay Scale
E-2
Amn
Airman
2014 Pay Scale
E-3
A1C
Airman First Class
2014 Pay Scale
E-4
SrA
Senior Airman
2014 Pay Scale
E-5
SSgt
Staff Sergeant
2014 Pay Scale
E-6
TSgt
Technical Sergeant
2014 Pay Scale
E-7
MSgt
Master Sergeant
2014 Pay Scale
E-7
MSgt
Master Sergeant
(Note Diamond)
2014 Pay Scale
E-8
SMSgt
Senior Master Sergeant
2014 Pay Scale
E-8
SMSgt
Senior Master Sergeant
(note diamond)
2014 Pay Scale
E-9
CMSgt
Chief Master Sergeant
2014 Pay Scale
E-9
CMSgt
Chief Master Sergeant
(note diamond)
2014 Pay Scale
E-9
CCM
Command Chief Master Sergeant
2014 Pay Scale
E-9
Special
CMSAF
Chief Master Sergeant
of the Air Force
2014 Pay Scale
O-1
2d Lt
Second Lieutenant
2014 Pay Scale
O-2
1st Lt
First Lieutenant
2014 Pay Scale
O-3
Capt
Captain
2014 Pay Scale
O-4
Maj
Major
2014 Pay Scale
O-5
Lt Col
Lieutenant Colonel
2014 Pay Scale
O-6
Col
Colonel
2014 Pay Scale
O-7
Brig Gen
Brigadier General
2014 Pay Scale
O-8
Maj Gen
Major General
2014 Pay Scale
O-9
Lt Gen
Lieutenant General
2014 Pay Scale
O-10
Gen
General Air Force Chief of Staff
2014 Pay Scale
Special
GAF
General of the Air Force
Reserved for Wartime
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US Marine Corps Seal
US Air Force Seal
US Navy Seal
US Coast Guard Seal
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