|General of the Army|
|Service branch||United States Army|
|NATO rank code||OF-10|
|Non-NATO rank||Five-star rank|
|Formation||25 July 1866|
|Next higher rank||General of the Armies|
|Next lower rank||General|
General of the Army (abbreviated as GA)  is a five-star general officer and the second-highest possible rank in the United States Army. It is generally equivalent to the rank of Field Marshal in other countries. In the United States, a General of the Army ranks above generals and is equivalent to a fleet admiral and a general of the Air Force.  The General of the Army insignia consisted of five 3⁄8-inch (9.5 mm) stars in a pentagonal pattern, with touching points. The insignia was paired with the gold and enameled United States Coat of Arms on service coat shoulder loops. The silver colored five-star metal insignia alone would be worn for use as a collar insignia of grade and on the garrison cap. Soft shoulder epaulettes with five 7⁄16-inch (11 mm) stars in silver thread and gold-threaded United States Coat of Arms on green cloth were worn with shirts and sweaters.
The rank of "General of the Army" has had two incarnations. The first was introduced in 1866, following the American Civil War. It was a four-star rank reserved for the Commanding General of the United States Army, and was held by three different men from 1866 to 1888: Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Philip Sheridan. The rank was revived during World War II as the modern five-star rank, and may be awarded to more than one serving officer at a time. It has been held by five different men since 1944: George C. Marshall, Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Henry H. Arnold, and Omar Bradley.
A special rank of General of the Armies, which ranks above the second incarnation of General of the Army, exists but has been conferred only twice to World War I's John J. Pershing, and posthumously to George Washington. In December 2022, the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 authorized Ulysses S. Grant to be posthumously promoted to the rank, 137 years after his death.   However, the president of the United States has yet to appoint him to the rank.
On 25 July 1866, the U.S. Congress established the rank of "General of the Army of the United States" for General Ulysses S. Grant. His pay was "four hundred dollars per month, and his allowance for fuel and quarters", except "when his headquarters are in Washington, shall be at the rate of three hundred dollars per month."  (His combined monthly pay and allowance of seven hundred dollars in 1866 is equivalent to $13,000in 2021). When appointed General of the Army, Grant wore the rank insignia of four stars and coat buttons arranged in three groups of four.
Unlike the World War II rank with a similar title, the 1866 rank of General of the Army was a four-star rank. This rank held all the authority and power of a 1799 proposal for a rank of "General of the Armies", even though Grant was never called by this title. Despite being titled General of the Army instead of General of the Armies, the Comptroller General of the United States would rule in 1924 that the grade revived in 1866 for Grant (and later William T. Sherman and Philip H. Sheridan) was the same grade that had been proposed for Washington in 1799 and revived for Pershing in 1919. 
In contrast to the modern four-star rank of general, only one officer at a time could hold the 1866–1888 rank of General of the Army. For a few months in 1885, as he was dying, Grant was accorded a special honor and his rank was restored by Congressional legislation.
After Grant became U.S. president, he was succeeded as General of the Army by William T. Sherman, effective 4 March 1869. In 1872, Sherman ordered the insignia changed to two stars, with the coat of arms of the United States in between.  
By an Act of Congress on 1 June 1888, the grade was conferred upon Philip Sheridan, who by then was in failing health. The rank of General of the Army ceased to exist with Sheridan's death on 5 August 1888. 
|Portrait||Name||Date of Rank||Ref.|
| Ulysses S. Grant |
|25 July 1866|
| William T. Sherman |
|4 March 1869|
| Philip Sheridan |
|1 June 1888|
As the logistics and military leadership requirements of World War II escalated after the June 1944 Normandy landings, the United States government created a new version of General of the Army. The five-star rank and authority of General of the Army and equivalent naval Fleet Admiral were created by an Act of Congress on a temporary basis when Pub. L. 78–482 was passed on 14 December 1944,  which provided only 75% of pay and allowances to the grade for those on the retired list.  The rank was temporary, subject to reversion to permanent rank six months after the end of the war. The temporary rank was then declared permanent on 23 March 1946 by Pub. L. 79–333, which also awarded full pay and allowances in the grade to those on the retired list.   It was created to give the most senior American commanders parity of rank with their British counterparts holding the ranks of field marshal and admiral of the fleet. This second General of the Army rank is not the same as the post-Civil War era version because of its purpose and five stars.
The insignia for the 1944 General of the Army rank consists of five stars in a pentagonal pattern, with points touching. The five officers who have held the 1944 version of General of the Army and the date of each's appointment are as follows:
|Portrait||Name||Date of Rank|
| George C. Marshall |
|16 December 1944|
| Douglas MacArthur |
|18 December 1944|
| Dwight D. Eisenhower |
|20 December 1944|
| Henry H. Arnold |
|21 December 1944|
| Omar Bradley |
|22 September 1950|
The timing of the first four of these appointments was coordinated with the first three of the following appointments of the U.S. Navy's first five-star Fleet Admirals:
|•||William D. Leahy||15 December 1944|
|•||Ernest King||17 December 1944|
|•||Chester W. Nimitz||19 December 1944|
|•||William Halsey Jr.||11 December 1945|
This was to establish both an order of seniority among the generals and a near-equivalence between the services.
Although briefly considered,  the U.S. Army did not introduce a rank of Field Marshal. In the United States, the term "Marshal" has traditionally been used for civilian law enforcement officers, particularly the U.S. Marshals, as well as formerly for state and local police chiefs. In addition, giving the rank the name "marshal" would have resulted in George Marshall being designated as "Field Marshal Marshall", which was considered undignified.    
Eisenhower resigned his army commission on 31 May 1952 to run for the U.S. presidency. After Eisenhower was elected and served two terms, President John F. Kennedy on 22 March 1961 signed Pub. L. 87–3,  which authorized reappointing Eisenhower "to the active list of the Regular Army in his former grade, of General of the Army with his former date of rank in such grade".   This rank is today commemorated on the signs denoting Interstate Highways as part of the Eisenhower Interstate System, which display five silver stars on a light blue background.  
Arnold, a general in the Army, was the Commanding General of the Army Air Forces throughout World War II, when he was promoted. After his United States Air Force became a separate service on 18 September 1947, Arnold's rank was carried over to the Air Force, just as all Army Air Forces airmen's rank carried over. Arnold was the first and, to date, only General of the Air Force. He is also the only person to have ever held a five-star rank in two branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. 
These officers who held the rank of General of the Army remained officers of the United States Army for life, with an annual $20,000 in pay and allowances, equivalent to $308,000in 2021. They were entitled to an office maintained by the Army along with an aide (of the rank of colonel), a secretary, and an orderly. 
No officers have been appointed to the rank of General of the Army since Omar Bradley (who was also the last living officer of such rank when he died in 1981).  The rank is still maintained in the Army's structure, and could be awarded by the president with the consent of the United States Senate.  
Although the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), Omar Bradley, was eventually awarded a fifth star, such a promotion does not come with that office; Bradley's elevation ensured that he would not be outranked by his subordinate, Douglas MacArthur.  
In the 1990s, there were proposals in Department of Defense academic circles to bestow a five-star rank on the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.   
After the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War, but before his tenure as Secretary of State, there was talk of awarding a fifth star to General Colin Powell, who had served as CJCS during the conflict. But even in the face of public and Congressional pressure to do so,   Clinton presidential transition team staffers decided against it for political reasons, fearing that a fifth star may have assisted Powell (a Republican) had he decided to run for office.    An effort was also made to promote General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. to General of the Army, although it was not carried out. 
As recently as the late 2000s, some commentators proposed that the military leader in the Global War on Terrorism be promoted to a five-star rank.  In January 2011, the founders of the Vets for Freedom political advocacy group published an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal calling for David Petraeus to be awarded a fifth star in recognition of his work and the importance of his mission.  Earlier, in July 2010, D.B. Grady wrote an article in The Atlantic supporting the same promotion. 
This section needs additional citations for verification .(November 2020)
The rank of General of the Armies is senior to General of the Army, and the rank by this name has been bestowed on only three officers in U.S. history. In 1919, John J. Pershing was promoted to General of the Armies for his services in World War I. In 1976, during the United States Bicentennial, George Washington was posthumously promoted to this rank for his service as the first commanding general of the United States Army.   In 2022, Ulysses S. Grant was posthumously promoted to the rank of General of the Armies to celebrate 200 years since his birth.   In 1903, retroactive to 1899, George Dewey was promoted to Admiral of the Navy, a rank equated to that of a five-star admiral. The promotion of Admiral Dewey is the only time an Admiral of the Navy has been named and the rank ceased to exist after his death.
Section 7 of Public Law 78-482 read: "Nothing in this Act shall affect the provisions of the Act of September 3, 1919 (41 Stat. 283: 10 U.S.C. 671a), or any other law relating to the office of General of the Armies of the United States." 
George Washington was posthumously promoted to the rank of General of the Armies on 15 March 1978 by Secretary of the Army Clifford Alexander. In relation to America's bicentennial celebration, Congress passed legislation on 19 January 1976 urging Washington's promotion and President Gerald Ford approved it in October 1976, but historians found that Congressional and Presidential actions were not enough, and that the Army had to issue orders to make the promotion official. According to Public Law 94-479, General of the Armies of the United States is established as having "rank and precedence over all other grades of the Army, past or present."  Thus, Washington will always be the most senior general of the United States. During his lifetime, Washington was appointed a general in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and a three-star lieutenant general in the Regular Army during the Quasi-War with France.
Field marshal is the most senior military rank, ordinarily senior to the general officer ranks. Usually, it is the highest rank in an army, and as such, few persons are appointed to it. It is considered as a five-star rank (OF-10) in modern-day armed forces in many countries. Promotion to the rank of field marshal in many countries historically required extraordinary military achievement by a general. However, the rank has also been used as a divisional command rank and also as a brigade command rank. Examples of the different uses of the rank include Austria-Hungary, Pakistan, Prussia/Germany, India and Sri Lanka for an extraordinary achievement; Spain and Mexico for a divisional command ; and France, Portugal and Brazil for a brigade command.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) is the presiding officer of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). The chairman is the highest-ranking and most senior military officer in the United States Armed Forces and the principal military advisor to the president, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the secretary of defense. While the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff outranks all other commissioned officers, the chairman is prohibited by law from having operational command authority over the armed forces; however, the chairman assists the president and the secretary of defense in exercising their command functions.
In the United States Navy, officers have various ranks. Equivalency between services is by pay grade. United States Navy commissioned officer ranks have two distinct sets of rank insignia: On dress uniform a series of stripes similar to Commonwealth naval ranks are worn; on service khaki, working uniforms, and special uniform situations, the rank insignia are identical to the equivalent rank in the US Marine Corps.
General of the Armies of the United States, more commonly referred to as General of the Armies, is the highest military rank in the United States Army. The rank has been conferred three times: to John J. Pershing in 1919, as a personal accolade for his command of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I; to George Washington in 1976, as a posthumous honor during the United States Bicentennial celebrations; and posthumously for Ulysses S. Grant in 2022 to commemorate the 200th birthday of the Army's first four-star general.
Admiral of the Navy was the highest-possible rank in the United States Navy, prior to the creation of fleet admiral in 1944. The rank is considered to be at least equivalent to that of a five-star admiral, with Admiral George Dewey being the only officer to be appointed to the rank.
Fleet admiral is a five-star flag officer rank in the United States Navy whose rewards uniquely include active duty pay for life. Fleet admiral ranks immediately above admiral and is equivalent to General of the Army and General of the Air Force.
General in Chief has been a military rank or title in various armed forces around the world.
Admiral is a four-star commissioned officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below fleet admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health Service do not have an established grade above admiral. Admiral is equivalent to the rank of general in the other uniformed services. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps has never had an officer hold the grade of admiral. However, 37 U.S.C. § 201 of the U.S. Code established the grade for the NOAA Corps, in case a position is created that merits the four-star grade.
In the United States military, a general is the most senior general-grade officer; it is the highest achievable commissioned officer rank that may be attained in the United States Armed Forces, with exception of the Navy and Coast Guard, which have the equivalent rank of admiral instead. The official and formal insignia of "general" is defined by its four stars.
In the United States Armed Forces, a lieutenant general is a three-star general officer in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force.
United States Army commissioned officers rank insignia in use today.
A five-star rank is the highest military rank in many countries. The rank is that of the most senior operational military commanders, and within NATO's standard rank scale it is designated by the code OF-10. Not all armed forces have such a rank, and in those that do the actual insignia of the five-star ranks may not contain five stars. For example: the insignia for the French OF-10 rank maréchal de France contains seven stars; the insignia for the Portuguese marechal contains four gold stars. The stars used on the rank insignias of various Commonwealth of Nations are sometimes referred to colloquially as pips, but are stars of the orders of the Garter, Thistle or Bath or Eversleigh stars depending on the wearer's original regiment or corps, and are used in combination with other heraldic items, such as batons, crowns, swords or maple leaves.
In the United States Armed Forces, a brigadier general is a one-star general officer in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force.
In the United States Armed Forces, a major general is a two-star general officer in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force.
General of the Air Force (GAF) is a five-star general officer rank and is the highest possible rank in the United States Air Force. General of the Air Force ranks immediately above a general and is equivalent to General of the Army in the United States Army and fleet admiral in the United States Navy. The rank has been held only once, by General Henry H. Arnold, who had served as head of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.
A rear admiral in the uniformed services of the United States is either of two different ranks of commissioned officers: one-star flag officers and two-star flag officers. By contrast, in most other countries, the term "rear admiral" refers only to an officer of two-star rank.
A general officer is an officer of high military rank; in the uniformed services of the United States, general officers are commissioned officers above the field officer ranks, the highest of which is colonel in the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force and captain, in the Navy, Coast Guard, Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps (NOAACC).
In the United States Armed Forces, a six-star rank is a proposed rank immediately superior to a five-star rank, possibly to be worn by the General of the Armies or Admiral of the Navy; however, this correlation was never officially recognized by the military or by Congress.
In many nations, the highest military ranks are classed as being equivalent to, or are officially described as, five-star ranks. However, a number of nations have used or proposed ranks such as generalissimo, which are senior to their five-star equivalent ranks.
The Military ranks of Philippines are the military insignia used by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
...there is a movement afoot in the U.S. Senate to award an historic fifth star to the nation's first Black Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Colin L. Powell for his military proficiency.
Mack asked me to secretly research the procedure for awarding a fifth star to a general. [...] If Powell did challenge Clinton, the fifth star would forestall criticism of the general's military record.
Bradley received his fifth star in 1950 when he became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff so he would not be outranked by MacArthur.
MacArthur, having been army chief of staff before World War II, was senior to everyone on the Joint Chiefs, and some observers felt that Bradley was given his fifth star in order to deal with the vainglorious field commander on an equal footing.
There was some discussion of the proposal to grant the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs five-star rank, as a symbol of his status as the most senior officer in the armed forces.
Promoting the Chairman to the five-star rank and ceding to him operational and administrative control of all U.S. Armed Forces would enable him to provide a unifying vision...
...Chairman's title be changed to Commander of the Armed Forces and commensurate with the title and authority he be assigned the grade of five stars.
Others want to make him a five-star general. [...] Congress is talking about giving him a fifth silver star, which is very rare.
Moreover, for the very reason he admired Colin Powell as the most distinguished living black American, Clinton also feared the general as a potential rival. [...] Bill Clinton had denied Powell his rightful fifth star...
They checked it out and found that the last general to get a fifth star was Omar Bradley forty-three years earlier. Powell, they decided, was not Bradley. Besides, as George Stephanopoulos noted, if they gave him one more star, it might help him one day politically.
Dazzled by America's blitzkrieg victory over Iraq, Sen. Bob Kasten, R-Wis., has put forth a resolution that the architects of this triumph, Gens. Colin L. Powell and H. Norman Schwarzkopf, be promoted to five-star rank.
The speedy, complete, and relatively bloodless victory for the allies-less than 200 Americans were killed in the Persian Gulf War-turned Powell, Schwarzkopf, and the rest of the U.S. military into national heroes. Congressmen proposed to promote the two men to rank of General of the Army, which would make them the first generals to wear five stars since Omar N. Bradley was accorded that honor in 1950.
The development of a four- or even five- star commander with staff to run the war on terror...