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U.S. Army Rank Insignia Identification Guide

This is an identification guide for the Enlisted rank chevrons used by the U.S. Army. To the best of our knowledge, all the examples shown are original manufacture. If anyone has questions or suggestions, please contact Vern@GermanDaggers.com.

© 2000, 2015, 2018 by GermanDaggers.com


1821-1825.

Chevrons to identify rank were first used by the Army in 1821. A single chevron in white (Infantry) or yellow (Artillery, Dragoons, or Engineers) with the point up was used. A chevron on both upper sleeves was used for Sergeant Major or Quartermaster Sergeant. A chevron on both lower sleeves was used for the rank of Sergeant. A chevron on the right lower sleeve was used for Corporal.



1825-1832.

A change to the chevron was made in 1825. A chevron with an arc was worn on both upper sleeves for Sergeant Major or Quartermaster Sergeant. A chevron on both upper sleeves was used for the rank of Sergeant. A chevron on both lower sleeves was used for Corporal. Chevrons were still worn point up. Chevrons were abolished in 1832.



1846.

Chevrons to signify rank were brought back in 1846. Chevrons were worn point down, three chevrons for the rank of Sergeant and two chevrons for the rank of Corporal. Chevrons were still white or yellow, but a background color was added. White on a sky blue base identified Infantry. Yellow on a sky blue base identified Artillery, and yellow on a dark blue base identified Dragoons or Engineers. In addition to the chevrons, Sergeant Major and Quartermaster Sergeant wore a gold shoulder cord. Orderly Sergeants (later 1st Sergeants) worn a red waist sash.


1846 Pattern Chevrons.





Sergeant - Artillery



Corporal - Infantry






1847-1851.

Changes were made to the chevrons in 1847. Chevrons were now worn point up, and each rank received a seperate design. Background colors were retained, with white on a sky blue for Infantry, yellow on sky blue for Artillery, and yellow on dark blue for Dragoons or Engineers.


1847 Pattern Chevrons.





Sergeant Major - Infantry



Quartermaster Sergeant - Artillery



Orderly Sergeant - Dragoons



Sergeant - Infantry



Corporal - Artillery








1851-1872.

The chevrons were changed again in 1851. Chevrons were now worn point down. The chevrons were now in branch color, with the background matching the uniform. Chevron colors were sky blue for Infantry, red for Artillery, yellow for Cavalry, orange for Dragoonsdark green for Riflemen or Mounted Rifles, and green for Medical. Two ranks were added, as well as a special stripe for Hospital Stewarts. Dragoons were combined with Cavalry in 1861. Color Sergeant was added in 1861.


1851 Pattern Chevrons.





Sergeant Major - Cavalry



Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant - Infantry



Company Quartermaster Sergeant - Cavalry



Ordnance Sergeant - Artillery



Color Sergeant - Infantry



1st Sergeant - Infantry



Sergeant - Riflemen



Corporal - Dragoons



Hospital Stewart - Medical








1872-1902.

In 1872, the Chevron pattern was standardized. Color Sergeant was dropped and the rank of Trumpeter Sergeant was added. The Riflemen branch was combined with Infantry. Several specialty rates were added. In 1876, the Signal Corps chevron color was assigned as orange. Chevrons in dark blue/black were authorized for wear on the Great Coat in 1879. Infantry chevron color was changed from sky blue to white in 1886. Signal Corps chevron color was changed from orange to black in 1891.


1872 Pattern Chevrons.





Sergeant Major - Cavalry



Quartermaster Sergeant - Infantry



Company Quartermaster Sergeant - Cavalry



Ordnance Sergeant - Artillery



Trumpeter Sergeant - Artillery



1st Sergeant - Cavalry



Sergeant - Artillery



Corporal - Infantry



Hospital Stewart - Medical








1872 Specialty Chevrons.





Chief Trumpeter Sergeant - 1873



Saddler Sergeant - 1873



Baker/Cook Corporal - 1873



Post Commissary Sergeant - 1882



Post Quartermaster Sergeant - 1884



Hospital Stewart - 1888



Acting Hospital Stewart - 1888



Color Sergeant - 1888



Commissary Sergeant - 1888



Engineer Corps (1st Sergeant) - 1889



Ordnance Corps (Sergeant) - 1889



Signal Corps (Corporal) - 1889



Indian Scouts (1st Sergeant) - 1890



Lance Corporal - Cavalry - 1892



Chief Musician - Cavalry - 1899



Drum Major - Infantry - 1899



Electrican Sergeant - 1899



Squad Sergeant Major - 1899



Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant - Infantry - 1899



Hospital Stewart - 1901



First Sergeant - Bullion



Sergeant - Bullion



Post Quartermaster Sergeant - Bullion





1902-1926.

A system of smaller size enlisted chevrons was adopted in 1902. Initially, 13 pay grades were established for enlisted men. An additional 2 grades were added in 1903. Private and Private 1st Class did not have a shoulder patch, but the Career/Speciality Patch when worn alone was recognized as being a grade of Private 1st Class. By 1907, 45 different rank patches had been authorized. This trend continued until by 1919, some 128 different rank patches were in use, necessatating a complete re-organization of enlisted ranks. The changes began in 1920 by eliminating the Lance Corporal grade and using the chevron for the grade of Private 1st Class. As Collar Discs became readily available, the Branch/Specialty patches were phased out.


Dress Uniform Sergeant Chevrons by service branch color. Background color could be blue, white, or khaki depending on the uniform.





Infantry - Infantry Blue



Cavalry - Yellow



Artillery - Scarlet



Corps of Engineers - Scarlet/White



Medical Department - Maroon/White



Ordnance - Black Scarlet (later changed)



Quartermaster Corps - Buff



Signals Service - Orange/White






Chevrons by Grade.





Regimental Sergeant Major - 1st Grade



Regimental Supply Sergeant - 2nd Grade



Battalion Sergeant Major - 3rd Grade



Battalion Supply Sergeant - 4th Grade - 1903



Staff Sergeant - 4th Grade - 1903



Color Sergeant - 4th Grade



First Sergeant - 5th Grade



Commissary Sergeant - 6th Grade



Stable Sergeant - 7th Grade



Company Supply Sergeant - 8th Grade



Sergeant - 9th Grade



Corporal - 10th Grade



Lance Corporal - 11th Grade






Chevrons with Branch/Specialty Insignia. Unofficial insignia have been observed.





Master Band Leader



Assistant Band Leader



Master Drum Major



Drum Major Sergeant



Sergeant Bugler



Hospital Sergeant - Medical Branch



Sergeant 1st Class - Medical Branch



Sergeant - Medical Branch



Corporal - Medical Branch



Sergeant 1st Class - Corps of Engineers



Sergeant 1st Class - Signals Corps



Sergeant - Signals Corps



Corporal - Signals Corps



Master Ordnance Sergeant



Ordnance Sergeant 1st Class



Ordnance Sergeant



Ordnance Corporal



Master Quartermaster Sergeant



Quartermaster Sergeant 1st Class



Quartermaster Sergeant



Quartermaster Corporal



Coastal Artillery Master Electrician 1st Class



Coastal Artillery Master Electrician 2nd Class



Coastal Artillery Electrician Sergeant 1st Class



Avaition Sergeant 1st Class



Avaition Sergeant



Avaition Corporal



Transportation Sergeant 1st Class



Transportation Sergeant



Transportation Corporal



Mess Sergeant



Sergeant Band Member








Specialist Patches. These carry the rank of Sergeant and are further divided into Senior and Junior grades.





Master Hospital Sergeant



Master Engineer Sergeant - Senior Grade



Master Engineer Sergeant - Junior Grade



Master Signals Sergeant



Master Signals Electrician Sergeant



Quartermaster Sergeant - Senior Grade



Quartermaster Sergeant - Junior Grade



Field Artillery Chief Mechanic



Coastal Artillery Engineer - Senior Grade



Coastal Artillery Engineer - Junior Grade



Coastal Artillery Master Gunner



Coastal Artillery Master Electrician



Master Armor Mechanic - 1st pattern



Master Armor Mechanic - 2nd pattern



Master Avaition Electrician



Master Transportation Sergeant



Master Band Leader - Senior Grade



Master Band Leader - Junior Grade






Branch/Specialty Patches. These patches indicated that the wearer had completed training for his branch of service or career specialty. They carried a rank of Private 1st Class. Collar discs were introduced in October 1907. By 1926, the Branch/Specialty patches were phased out. Unofficial insignia have been observed.





Infantry



Cavalry



Artillery



Quartermaster



Signal Corps



Aviation



Aviation Mechanic



Corps of Engineers



Medical Service



Chemical Warfare - 1st pattern



Chemical Warfare - 2nd pattern



Armor - 1st pattern



Armor - 2nd pattern



Armor - 3rd pattern



Motor Transport



Wagoneer



Mess Cook



Ordnance Corps



Saddler



Bugler



Farrier



Farrier/Blacksmith



Artiticer



Electrician



Recuiting Service



Musician



Coastal Artillery - Gunner 1st Class



Coastal Artillery - Gunner 2nd Class



Coastal Artillery - Gun Commander



Coastal Artillery - Gun Pointer



Coastal Artillery - Mine Chief Planter



Coastal Artillery - Mine Planter



Coastal Artillery - Mine Loader



Coastal Artillery - Coxswain



Coastal Artillery - Gunnery Excellence - "1"



Coastal Artillery - Gunnery Excellence - "E"



Coastal Artillery - Observer 1st Class



Coastal Artillery - Observer 2nd Class



Coastal Artillery - Plotter





Rifle - Expert



Rifle - Sharpshooter



Rifle - Marksman



Pistol - Expert



Pistol - Marksman








1927-1954.

Chevrons to 1948.





First Sergeant - 1st Grade



Master Sergeant - 1st Grade



Technical Sergeant - 2nd Grade



Staff Sergeant - 3rd Grade



Technician 3rd (T/3) - 3rd Grade



Sergeant - 4th Grade



Technician 4th (T/4) - 4th Grade



Corporal - 5th Grade



Technician 5th (T/5) - 5th Grade



Private 1st Class - 6th Grade


WW2 Chevron variations. Chevrons were produced in colors for wear with specific uniforms.





WW2 Patch Color Variations


Chevrons from 1948 until 1954.





First Sergeant - E8



Master Sergeant - E7



Technical Sergeant - E6



Staff Sergeant - E5



Sergeant - E4



Corporal - E3



Private 1st Class - E2








Chevron variations. Chevrons were produced in colors for wear in specific Situations.





Korean War Chevron Color Variations


1954 to Date.

Chevron changes.





Chevron Color Changes


Chevrons after 1954.





Sergeant Major of the Army - E9



Command Sergeant Major - E9



Sergeant Major - E9



1st Sergeant - E9



Specialist 9 - E9 - Discontinued 1965



Master Sergeant - E8



Specialist 8 - E8 - Discontinued 1965



Sergeant 1st Class - E7



Specialist 7 - E7 - Discontinued 1978



Staff Sergeant - E6



Specialist 6 - E6 - Discontinued 1985



Sergeant - E5



Specialist 5 - E5 - Discontinued 1985



Corporal - E4



Specialist 4 - E4



Private 1st Class - E3



Private - E2








Enlisted Rank Pins authorized in 1979. Subdued Rank Pins were authorized for the Battle Dress Uniform in 1981.





Command Sergeant Major - E9



Sergeant Major - E9



1st Sergeant - E8



Master Sergeant - E8



Sergeant 1st Class - E7



Staff Sergeant - E6



Sergeant - E5



Corporal - E4



Technical Specialist - E4



Private 1st Class - E3



Private - E2





Staff Sergeant - E6 - Subdued Finish



Technical Specialist - E4 - Subdued Finish



Private 1st Class - E3 - Subdued Finish


Battle Dress Uniform Camouflage Chevron.





BDU Camouflage Chevron Colors.