As with any other large professional organization, modern global militaries rely on a strict, proven structure involving ranks.
The United States military became one of the largest fighting forces in the world during World War 2 and the subsequent 'Cold War' only served to solidify its place on the global stage for decades to come. Its command structure can appear bewildering at times, sometimes regardless of whether one attempts to understand it on either a professional or a casual level. The information presented on the following pages provides the visitor with the available ranks and structure of the four major American military branches of service (the Coast Guard falls under the banner of the Navy and is included here as well). Each rank is listed from lowest-to-highest in their respective chain-of-command and include applicable ranks and shoulder patches. Also consider the current U.S. military pay scale and past military pay scales.
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