Marine Corps Ranks

A Marine’s rank determines their status and power. Don’t confuse this with a Marine’s “grade”, which is more of a pay grade. Every branch of the military pays the same base rates for various ranks, but they do have different names for the ranks.

In the Marine Corps, the lowest enlisted rank is called “Private”. That’s the rank of all newly enlisted Marines entering boot camp. The “grade”, however, is called E1. In the army, an E1 is also called a private. In the navy, an E1 is called a seaman recruit, and so on. Some privates will move on to pay grade E2 upon graduating boot camp. The highest pay grades is E9.

There are three categories of rank. They are: enlisted personnel, Warrant Officers, and Commissioned Officers. All Commissioned Officers outrank all Warrant Officers and all Warrant Officers outrank all enlisted Marines. This means that a E9 Warrant Officer would be outranked by an E1 Commissioned Officer.

You can tell what a Marine’s rank is by the stripes and bars on their uniform. These stripes and bars are referred to as their “insignia”.

Marine Corps Ranks Structure

6 thoughts on “Marine Corps Ranks”

  1. A small correction if I can. WO1 is an appointment for 18 months, at which time the Marine is promoted to CWO2. Upon promotion to CWO2 (and through CWO5) the Warrant Officer is Commissioned. They have all the authorities to perform promotions, re-enlistments, etc.

  2. There is no such rank as E10 in the Marine Corps. The Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is a billet, not a rank. It matters not if it has a different insignia, it is the same rank as sergeant major and master guns. Come on people, that is boot camp knowledge.

    Also, in response to another comment–the one from the LCDR: warrant officers go from WO-1 (warrant officer 1)- CWO5. One must not forget about the low guy. Also, they are not commissioned. If they were they would be a LT/Ensign. They are their own breed.

    1. Figured out how to reply to others. There is no such rank as E10. But, yes. Even though an E9 would be in charge of a battalion and an 01 would be in charge of a platoon, the SgtMaj would always have to salute the O1–if he is wearing his cover of course. The one person all have to salute subordinately, even generals and the president, is those with the MOH (medal of honor).

  3. this is worded incorrectly. “This means that a E9 Warrant Officer would be outranked by an E1 Commissioned Officer.”
    Warrant Officers rank from CWO2 through CWO5, Commissioned is from 0-1 to 0-10 and enlisted from E-1 to E-9.

    While it is true that an O-1 (Ensign or second LT) technically outranks a Chief Warrant Officer of any grade, in all reality -the Chief Warrant Officer due being a former enlisted man with years of acrued service and exerience is held in a much higher regard than a 0-1 – unless the 0-1 is also former enlisted. Chief Warrant Officers are also commissioned officers. Chief Warrant Officers are technical specialists and are placed in very demanding billets (jobs) where often the succcesses of the command rests directly upon him. Commanding Officers hold CWO’s in extremely high regard as they do also for the Limited Duty Officer (LDO).

    The Navy and Marines have commissioning programs for CWO/LDO.

    Selected by Merit alone on sustained superior performance and the Commanding Officers endorsement, selection for CWO comes from the Chief Petty Officer community (E-7 tyo E-9) and the LDO (Limited Duty Officer) from E-6 and above.
    Both of these programs are highly competetive with only a very small percentage of applicants selected for commissioning, normally lower than 10% of hundreds of applicants will succeed in being selected for a commission.

    LCDR David Christopherson, USN, 6330, Ret.
    Aviaiton Maintenance Limited Duty Officer

    1. Warrant Officer 1 is also a WO. Also, they are not commissioned officers, thus is why they are not O1-O10. The latter are commissioned officers, depending on the branch they are broken down more so. Warrant Officers are just that, WO, not CO.

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