United States Army enlisted rank insignia of World War I

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The United States Army 's enlisted rank insignia that was used during World War I differs from the current system. The color scheme used for the insignia's chevron was olive drab for field use uniforms or one of several colors (depending on the corps) on dress uniforms. The chevron system used by enlisted men during World War I came into being in 1895, and was changed to a different system in 1919. Specification 760, which was dated May 31, 1905 contained 45 different enlisted insignia that varied designs and titles by different corps of the army. General Order Number 169, which was enacted on August 14, 1907, created an even larger variety of enlisted rank insignia. Pay grades were not yet in use by the U.S. Army. The pay system identified the job assignment of the soldier. By the end of World War I, the system contained 128 different insignia designs. [1]


Field service rank insignia

1st grade2nd grade3rd grade4th grade5th grade6th grade7th grade8th grade9th grade10th grade11th grade12th grade
WW1-RegSgtMajor.svg WW1-RegSupplSgt.svg WW1-BattSgtMaj.svg WW1-ColorSgt.svg WW1-1sgt.svg WW1-MessSgt.svg WW1-StableSgt.svg WW1-CompanySupplySgt.svg WW1-Sergeant.svg WW1-Corporal.svg WW1-Private.svg No insignia
Regimental sergeant major Regimental supply sergeantBattalion sergeant major Color sergeant First sergeant Mess sergeantStable sergeantCompany supply sergeant Sergeant Corporal Lance corporal/Private first class (from 1920) Private

Other rank insignia

Other ranks and pay grades that held distinctive insignia not shown here included:


Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg
Regimental sergeant major Chief musician Chief trumpeter Drum major Corporal Farrier/blacksmith
Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg
Regimental quartermaster sergeant Squadron sergeant major Principal musicianSergeant Lance corporal Saddler
Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg Blank.svg
Regimental commissary sergeantColor sergeantFirst sergeantTroop quartermaster sergeant Cook Trumpeter


  • Chief musician
  • Battalion sergeant major
  • Color sergeant
  • Principal musician
  • First sergeant
  • Drum major

Coast artillery corps


  • Chief trumpeter
  • Principal musician
  • First sergeant
  • Drum major
  • Sergeant
  • Company quartermaster sergeant
  • Corporal
  • Lance corporal
  • Fireman
  • Cook
  • Casemate electrician
  • Observer first class
  • Observer second class
  • Plotter
  • Chief planter - mine company
  • Chief loader - gun or mortar company
  • Gun commander
  • Gun pointer
  • First class gunner - gun or mortar company
  • Second class gunner - gun or mortar company
  • First class gunner - mine company
  • Second class gunner - mine company
  • Mechanic

Field artillery

  • Regimental sergeant major
  • Regimental quartermaster sergeant
  • Regimental commissary sergeant
  • Chief musician
  • Battalion sergeant major
  • Color sergeant
  • Chief trumpeter
  • Principal musician
  • Company quartermaster sergeant
  • Stable sergeant
  • Corporal
  • Lance corporal
  • Cook
  • Chief mechanic
  • Mechanic
  • First class gunner
  • Second class gunner
  • Farrier
  • Saddler

Signal corps

Engineer corps

Medical department

Ordnance department

Post non-commission staff

  • Bandleader
  • Assistant bandleader
  • Sergeant drum major
  • Sergeant bugler
  • Bugler corporal
  • Bugler
  • Master hospital sergeant - medical dept.
  • Hospital sergeant - medical dept.
  • Farrier - medical dept.
  • Master engineer senior grade - engineer corps
  • Master engineer junior grade - engineer corps
  • Sergeant 1st class - engineer corps
  • Battalion supply sergeant - engineer corps
  • Master signal electrician
  • Sergeant 1st class - signal corps
  • Sergeant - signal corps
  • Corporal - signal corps
  • Ordnance sergeant
  • Sergeant 1st class - ordnance dept.
  • Quartermaster sergeant senior grade
  • Quartermaster sergeant - quartermaster corps
  • Sergeant 1st class - quartermaster corps
  • Sergeant - quartermaster corps
  • Corporal - quartermaster corps
  • Assistant engineer - coastal artillery corps

See also

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  1. "U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry-History of Enlisted Ranks". Archived from the original on 2010-06-29. Retrieved 2017-04-30.
  2. Berhow, Mark. Insignia of the Coast Artillery Corps (PDF). Coast Defense Study Group Reprint. pp. 11–12. Retrieved 2 June 2021.