US Air Force Military Ranks, Lowest to Highest
Providing all-encompassing “muscle” for the United States armed forces and NATO.
The USAF formally began its existence on September 18th, 1947 following the conclusion of World War 2 (September 2nd, 1945) but maintained a history as far back as 1907. Before 1947, the USAF operated as the air arm of the United States Army under the title of “United States Army Air Force” (USAAF). Under this banner, American airmen were able to participate in World War 1 and World War 2. The modern United States Air Force is a part of the United States Department of Defense and fields its headquarters out of The Pentagon. It has seen combat actions since the Korean War (1950-1953) and fields a variety of attack, bomber, helicopter, reconnaissance, trainer, transport and special purpose aircraft for all manner of mission types including strike, rescue, surveillance and humanitarian assistance around the entire globe.
USAF aircraft generally do not serve on US Navy carrier vessels, nor on any other warships for that matter, for the USN maintains its own fleet of aircraft independent of the USAF. Likewise, the US Army and US Marine Corps both maintain their own, albeit smaller, inventory of aircraft to fulfill specific battlefield requirements – mostly centered around Close-Air Support and transport roles.
NOTES: The Five Star rank is generally reserved for wartime only and may also be used as an honorary rank. Formally, United States Air Force rank abbreviations are not displayed with an ending period. Additionally, the United States Air Force does not maintain a First Sergeant rank common to other branches of service. Instead, Sergeant ranks are denoted by special additions within the insignia, such as the diamond differentiating the Master Sergeant and Senior Master Sergeant ranks. Similarly, the diamond is replaced by a star to differentiate between the Chief Master Sergeant and Command Chief Master Sergeant ranks.