We’ll Give You Two Uniforms, You Tell Us Who Outranks Whom

By: Lauren Lubas

We’ll Give You Two Uniforms, You Tell Us Who Outranks Whom
Image: Wiki Commons by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Suits / Released

About This Quiz

Uniforms have become a way we identify people in our culture. If you're wearing your uniform, someone can tell you what school you go to, what team you play for, where you work, or even what social club you represent. Large companies like putting people in uniforms to ensure customers feel as though they are getting the same service every time they walk into a location. 

However, if you ask them, most people will tell you that they associate uniforms with the armed forces. Why? Because uniforms are incredibly important to members of the military and armed forces, but few know that the type of uniform a member of the armed forces wears can actually tell you their rank. In the military, your uniform is your identity. You're a part of something bigger than yourself, and your uniform tells people whether you're the one giving the orders, relaying the orders or carrying out the orders. Can you tell the difference in ranking by a uniform?  

Check out these side-by-sides, and see if you can ace this quiz. We'll give you two uniforms, and you tell us who outranks whom. Even the biggest military buffs we know get at least one wrong. Can you beat them?

1 First Lieutenant - Captain In the US Air Force, which of these ranks higher, a first lieutenant or a captain?
First Lieutenant
First lieutenant is the second-lowest rank for an officer in the United States Air Force. Depending on the career field, you can either get promoted or commissioned to be a first lieutenant.
Captain

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2 Major - Colonel Can you identify which of these ranks higher, a major or a colonel in the US Air Force?
Major
Colonel
The rank of colonel is the highest ranking field officer for the United States Air Force. It's equivalent to a naval captain. One of the most famous US Air Force colonels was a self-taught pilot named Eddie Rickenbacker.

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3 Petty Officer Third Class - Seaman Apprentice In the US Navy, who would be a higher rank, a seaman apprentice or a petty officer third class?
Petty Officer Third Class
A petty officer third class is a self-sufficient leader. Nearly everyone at this rank made it to the Fleet. Their salaries can be up to $2,500 per month ... which isn't a lot, but there is plenty of room for growth.
Seaman Apprentice

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4 Command Sergeant Major - Master Sergeant In the United States Army, who ranks higher?
Command Sergeant Major
Command sergeant majors are at the E-9 level. They are generally the ones who oversee training programs within the unit, and they are trusted advisers to the commander in the unit.
Master Sergeant

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5 Colonel - Brigadier General Who outranks whom in the US Army: A colonel or a brigadier general?
Colonel
Brigadier General
A brigadier general is usually the commanding general's deputy commander. They assist in planning and mission coordination. In the US Army, this is the lowest level general, but it is an important position.

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6 First Lieutenant - Chief Master Sergeant Would a US Air Force first lieutenant or a chief master sergeant be the highest rank?
First Lieutenant
A first lieutenant can become a pilot, air battle manager, or a combat systems officer. If a first lieutenant works in intelligence are usually found supervising flights.
Chief Master Sergeant

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7 Major General - Lieutenant General Who outranks whom in the US Air Force, a lieutenant general or a major general of the US Air Force?
Major General
Lieutenant General
The three-star general (Lieutenant General) is just above Major General. These are career officers who show great leadership. Lieutenant generals are considered career officers, and must be great leaders.

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8 Chief Warrant Officer 4 - Ensign Which of these is the higher rank in the US Navy, an ensign or a chief warrant officer 4?
Chief Warrant Officer 4
Ensign
While an ensign is the lowest level officer, they outrank chief warrant officers, because chief warrant officers are division officers. Ensigns are usually in training for specific jobs.

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9 Captain - Second Lieutenant Who outranks whom, a second lieutenant or a captain in the US Army?
Captain
Captains command companies up to 200 soldiers, and also work at combat training centers. They generally receive their orders from the company commander and are commissioned for the position.
Second Lieutenant

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10 Rear Admiral - Vice Admiral In the US Navy, is the "rear" or "vice" admiral higher in rank?
Rear Admiral
Vice Admiral
Three stars means this is a vice admiral's uniform. The vice admiral can be in charge of the highest Navy commands and are the third highest position one can have in the US Navy.

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11 Admiral - Fleet Admiral In the US Navy, who outranks whom, an admiral or a fleet admiral?
Admiral
Fleet Admiral
The fleet admiral has five stars and has a position that is comparable to that of the General of the Army. They are normally incredibly decorated officers of the Navy and are classified as flag officers.

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12 Chief Master Sergeant - Senior Master Sergeant Which of these sergeants is the higher rank in the US Air Force, a senior master sergeant or a chief master sergeant?
Chief Master Sergeant
The chief master sergeant rank cannot be commissioned. They are considered the highest ranked enlisted members of the Air Force, and are comparable to lieutenant generals.
Senior Master Sergeant

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13 Senior Airman - Airman First Class Which airman is the higher rank in the US Air Force, a senior airman or an airman first class?
Senior Airman
The senior airman is the fourth-lowest enlisted rank. They are only higher than airman basic, airman and airman first class ranks. A senior airman is generally thought of as effective in their skill.
Airman First Class

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14 Chief Warrant Officer 3 - Chief Petty Officer Which "chief" ranks higher, a chief petty officer or a chief warrant officer 3 of the US Navy?
Chief Warrant Officer 3
The chief warrant officer 3 is six ranks higher than a chief petty officer. They are considered technical and warfare specialists, and they are considered "warfare specialists" surpassing chief petty officers.
Chief Petty Officer

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15 Sergeant - Corporal Who ranks higher in the US Army, a corporal or a sergeant?
Sergeant
Sergeants are the first line leaders. They oversee a soldier's daily tasks. Sergeants are expected to lead by example, as the privates need some understanding of how to act to succeed.
Corporal

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16 Sergeant - Staff Sergeant Which sergeant is a higher rank in the US Army, a sergeant or a staff sergeant?
Sergeant
Staff Sergeant
Staff sergeants enforce standards and train soldiers for missions. They usually have at least one sergeant under them, and command squads of around ten soldiers to ensure the soldiers reach their full potential.

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17 Sergeant Major of the Army - Command Sergeant Major Which sergeant major is the higher rank in the US Army?
Sergeant Major of the Army
While a command sergeant major outranks a sergeant major, the sergeant major of the Army is the highest ranking sergeant, and there can only be one. After 30 years of service, he makes just over $7,000 per month.
Command Sergeant Major

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18 General - Colonel Who outranks whom in the US Air Force, a general or a colonel?
General
The general is the second-highest ranking in the US Air Force. The only one who outranks them is the General of the Air Force. Generals can be spotted by the four stars on their uniforms.
Colonel

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19 Staff Sergeant - Technical Sergeant Which rank is higher in the US Army, a staff sergeant or a technical sergeant?
Staff Sergeant
Technical Sergeant
The technical sergeant is directly above the staff sergeant. They have a lot of responsibilities and exceptional proficiency in their skills. For the most part, they are mentors to other enlisted under them.

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20 Seaman Recruit - Seaman Apprentice Which seaman is a higher rank in the US Navy, a seaman recruit or a seaman apprentice?
Seaman Recruit
Seaman Apprentice
A seaman recruit doesn't even have an insignia to tell their rank. There is very little difference between a recruit and an apprentice. For the most part, both ranks are learning while they perform other tasks.

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21 Rear Admiral - Commander Who has a higher rank in the US Navy, a rear admiral or commander?
Rear Admiral
Rear admirals are generally at sea and oversee operations for large groups of ships. They have two stars on their uniform, and when they're at sea, they are always on the "flagship."
Commander

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22 Major - Second Lieutenant Who ranks higher, a major or a second lieutenant in the US Air Force?
Major
A major in the US Air Force is equivalent to a lieutenant commander in the US Navy. Younger officers at lower ranks will look to the majors for advice, guidance and other information.
Second Lieutenant

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23 Captain - Commander Which of these is a higher rank in the US Navy, a captain or a commander?
Captain
Captains usually serve as the commanding officer of major commands, including aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships. They are ranked just below a rear admiral and just above a commander.
Commander

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24 Senior Chief Petty Officer - Master Chief Petty Officer Which chief petty officer outranks the other, a senior chief petty officer or master chief petty officer of the US Navy?
Senior Chief Petty Officer
Master Chief Petty Officer
The master chief petty officer is responsible for unity, communications and cooperation. They are considered senior non-commissioned officer, which means that their salaries are on the small side.

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25 Specialist - Corporal In the US Army, who is a higher rank, a specialist or a corporal?
Specialist
Corporal
Corporals are designated team leaders for smaller army units. They're mainly responsible for the appearance and cleanliness of the soldiers. However, they're also closely involved in the training.

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26 Private First Class - Specialist Is a private first class or a specialist higher in rank in the US Army?
Private First Class
Specialist
Specialists actually manage lower-ranked enlisted soldiers. They are eligible for sergeant positions, but only after 11 months of the specialist rank if they have served for 47 months.

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27 First Sergeant - Sergeant First Class Which sergeant is the higher rank in the US Army, a first sergeant or sergeant first class?
First Sergeant
First sergeants are disciplinarians and counselors to their companies. Additionally, they ensure that morale stays high for the soldiers. They also instruct sergeants and advise commanders.
Sergeant First Class

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28 Sergeant Major - Master Sergeant Of the major or master, who outranks whom in the US Army?
Sergeant Major
The sergeant major assists battalion officers, including the commander. This means that they help with discipline and morale. They are usually subject matter experts in technical fields.
Master Sergeant

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29 Major - Colonel Who outranks whom, a major or a colonel in the US Air Force?
Major
Colonel
Just like with the US Air Force, the colonel outranks the major. A US Army colonel usually commands up to 3,200 soldiers. They spend much of their time with administrations and operations on their base.

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30 General - Major General Which general is the higher rank in the US Army?
General
A major general has two stars while a general has four. Generally, generals have served over 30 years. If you didn't get this one wrong, it's probably because you're used to hearing generals referred to by how many stars they have.
Major General

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31 First Lieutenant - Colonel Who outranks whom, a first lieutenant or a colonel in the US Air Force?
First Lieutenant
Colonel
A colonel is ranked just under the generals in the Air Force. They are usually group or wing commanders. Colonels are often in charge of training schools and military colleges as well.

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32 Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy - Master Chief Petty Officer Which master chief petty officer has a higher rank in the US Navy?
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
The master chief petty officer of the Navy is the adviser to the chief of Naval Operations, but only for personnel issues. They are enlisted officers, but they are considered senior in the Navy.
Master Chief Petty Officer

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33 Senior Airman - Staff Sergeant Who outranks whom, a senior airman or a staff sergeant in the US Air Force?
Senior Airman
Staff Sergeant
A staff sergeant in the US Air Force is at the same level as a sergeant in the US Army. They are leaders and the go-to supervisors and usually have direct contact with several soldiers.

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34 Fleet Admiral - Commander In the US Navy, who has a higher rank, a fleet admiral or a commander?
Fleet Admiral
The fleet admiral is the highest rank in the US Army. This rank is equal to the general of the Army. This five-star officer is normally only used in times of war, and is considered a temporary position.
Commander

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35 Chief Warrant Officer 5 - Commander Who outranks whom in the US Navy, a chief warrant officer 5 or a commander?
Chief Warrant Officer 5
Commander
A commander can command at sea, on shore, and special operations teams. They are referred to as "Skipper." When they aren't at sea, commanders can be put in political positions.

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36 First Lieutenant - Second Lieutenant Which lieutenant has a higher rank in the US Army?
First Lieutenant
A first lieutenant generally has served at least 18 to 24 months. They lead specialized weapons platoons, but they only make around $3,000 to $5,000 per month for all of their troubles.
Second Lieutenant

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37 Second Lieutenant - Technical Sergeant In the US Air Force, who has a higher rank, a second lieutenant or a technical sergeant?
Second Lieutenant
The second lieutenant rank is reserved for new officers, and offers that were commissioned. Their duties can vary; however, they are usually based on the career fields of the officers.
Technical Sergeant

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38 Captain - Ensign Which of these outranks the other in the US Navy, a captain or an ensign?
Captain
When it comes to shore-based commands, Captains can be in any number of positions based on how close they are toward a flag position, including political positions.
Ensign

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39 Brigadier General - General Which general is a higher rank in the US Air Force?
Brigadier General
General
The brigadier general has one star and generally commands bases or wings, while generals are only found at the highest command positions and can be spotted by the four stars on their uniforms.

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40 General of the Army - Major General Who is ranked higher, the general of the Army or a major general?
General of the Army
A little known fact is that the General of the Army is only used when a war is going on and the commanding officer is to be of a higher rank than someone commanding another country's army.
Major General

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