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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.