Sergeant (abbreviated to Sgt and capitalized when used as a named
person's title) is a rank in many uniformed organizations, principally
military and policing forces. The alternate spelling, 'serjeant', is
The Rifles and other units that draw their heritage from the
British Light Infantry. Its origin is the Latin serviens, "one who
serves", through the French term sergent.
The term "sergeant" refers to a non-commissioned officer placed above
the rank of a corporal and a police officer immediately below a
lieutenant or, in the UK below an inspector. In most armies the
rank of sergeant corresponds to command of a squad (or section). In
Commonwealth armies, it is a more senior rank, corresponding roughly
to a platoon second-in-command. In the United States Army, sergeant is
a more junior rank corresponding to a four-soldier fireteam leader.
More senior non-commissioned ranks are often variations on sergeant,
for example staff sergeant, first sergeant and sergeant major.
Many countries use sergeant rank, whether in English or using a
cognate with the same origin in another language. The equivalent rank
in Arab armies is raqeeb, meaning "overseer" or "watcher".
2 Types of sergeant
3 Current adaptations
3.7 Hong Kong
3.7.1 Army and air force
3.9 India and Pakistan
3.9.3 Air Force
3.11.1 Defense forces
3.15 New Zealand
3.18 Russian Federation
3.19.1 Armed forces
3.19.3 Uniformed Youth Organsiations
3.19.4 Sri Lanka
3.19.6 Air Force
3.20 South Korea
3.23.1 Turkish Armed Forces
3.24 United Kingdom
Royal Marines and British Army
3.24.2 Royal Air Force
3.25 United States
18.104.22.168 American Civil War
3.25.2 Marine Corps
3.25.3 Air Force
Police departments and prisons
4 See also
See also: Serjeanty
In medieval European usage, a sergeant was simply any attendant or
officer with a protective duty. Any medieval knight or military order
of knighthood might have "sergeants-at-arms", meaning servants able to
fight if needed. The etymology of the term is from Anglo-French
sergant, serjant "servant, valet, court official, soldier", from
Middle Latin servientem "servant, vassal, soldier".
Later, a "soldier sergeant" was a man of what would now be thought of
as the "middle class", fulfilling a slightly junior role to the knight
in the medieval hierarchy. Sergeants could fight either as heavy to
light cavalry, or as well trained professional infantry, either
spearmen or crossbowmen. Most notable medieval mercenaries fell into
the "sergeant" class, such as Flemish crossbowmen and spearmen, who
were seen as reliable quality troops. The sergeant class was deemed to
be 'worth half of a knight' in military value.
A specific kind of military sergeant was the serjeant-at-arms, one of
a body of armed men retained by English lords and monarchs. The title
is now given to an officer in modern legislative bodies who is charged
with keeping order during meetings and, if necessary, forcibly
removing disruptive members.
The term had also civilian applications quite distinct and different
from the military sergeant, though sharing the etymological origin -
for example the serjeant-at-law, historically an important and
prestigious order of English lawyers.
Types of sergeant
"Sergeant" is generally the lowest rank of sergeant, with individual
military entities choosing some additional words to signify higher
ranking individuals. What terms are used, and what seniority they
signify, is to a great extent dependent on the individual armed
service. The term "sergeant" is also used in many appointment titles.
Chief master sergeant
Sergeant of the Air Force
Command sergeant major
Master gunnery sergeant
Senior master sergeant
Senior staff sergeant
Sergeant first class
Major of the Army
Major of the Marine Corps
Academy sergeant major
Band sergeant major
Company quartermaster sergeant
Company sergeant major
Garrison sergeant major
Platoon sergeant major
Quartermaster sergeant instructor
Regimental quartermaster sergeant
Regimental sergeant major
Sergeant major instructor
Squadron quartermaster sergeant
Squadron sergeant major
Staff sergeant major
Troop sergeant major
In most non-naval military or paramilitary organizations, the various
grades of sergeant are non-commissioned officers (NCOs) ranking above
privates and corporals, and below warrant officers and commissioned
officers. The responsibilities of a sergeant differ from army to army.
There are usually several ranks of sergeant, each corresponding to
greater experience and responsibility for the daily lives of the
soldiers of larger units. Sergeants are usually team leaders in charge
of an entire team of constables to senior constables at large
stations, to being in charge of sectors involving several police
stations. In country areas, sergeants are often in charge of an entire
station and its constabulary. Senior sergeants are usually in
specialist areas and are in charge of sergeants and thus act as middle
Army sergeant insignia
Sergeant (Sgt) is a rank in both the
Australian Army and the Royal
Australian Air Force. The ranks are equivalent to each other and the
Royal Australian Navy
Royal Australian Navy rank of petty officer.
Although the rank insignia of the RAAF rank of flight sergeant (Flt
Sgt) and the
Australian Army rank of staff sergeant (SSgt) are
identical, flight sergeant in fact outranks the rank of staff sergeant
in the classification of rank equivalencies. The
Australian Army rank
of staff sergeant is now redundant and is no longer awarded, due to
being outside the rank equivalencies and the next promotional rank is
warrant officer class two. Chief petty officers and flight sergeants
are not required to call a warrant officer class two "sir" in
accordance with Australian Defence Force Regulations 1952 (Regulation
The insignia of an Australian police sergeant
The rank of sergeant exists in all Australian police forces and is of
higher ranking than a constable or senior constable, but lower than an
The sergeant structure varies among state police forces, generally two
sergeant ranks are commonly classed as non-commissioned officers:
Sergeant (Sgt) (three chevrons); and
Senior sergeant (Sen Sgt) (three chevrons, crown surmounted by a
South Australia Police
South Australia Police has the additional rank of brevet sergeant (two
chevrons below an inverted arrow head) which is an authorization for a
temporarily higher rank. A brevet sergeant is less senior than a
New South Wales Police Force
New South Wales Police Force has the additional rank of incremental
sergeant (three chevrons and a crown). This is an incremental
progression, following appointment as a sergeant for seven years. An
incremental sergeant rank is less senior than a senior sergeant but is
more senior than a sergeant.
Upon appointment as a sergeant or senior sergeant, the sergeant is
A warrant of appointment under the commissioner's hand and seal.
A navy blue backing (which replaces a light blue backing to the
officer's police badge)
A navy blue nameplate (which replaces a light blue nameplate)
A silver chinstrap positioned above his peaked cap on his headdress,
replacing a black chinstrap.
Within the New South Wales
Police Force, sergeant is a team leader or
supervisory rank, whilst the rank of senior sergeant is a middle
management rank with coordination responsibilities over human and
All three sergeant ranks are informally referred to as "sergeant", or
"sarge". However at the New South Wales
Police Academy, recruits must
address all ranks of sergeants as "sergeant", and senior sergeant as
Sergeant (Sgt) (French: sergent or sgt) is an Army or Air Force
non-commissioned officer rank of the Canadian Armed Forces. Its naval
equivalent is petty officer 2nd class (French: maître de 2e classe).
It is senior to the appointment of master corporal and its equivalent
naval appointment, master seaman, and junior to warrant officer and
its naval equivalent, petty officer 1st class. Sergeants and petty
officers 2nd class are the only senior non-commissioned officers in
the Canadian Armed Forces, as WOs, MWOs and CWOs are warrant officers,
not senior NCOs in accordance with the Queens Regulations and Orders.
Volume 1, Article 102 "Definitions".
In army units, sergeants usually serve as section commanders; they may
often be called to fill positions normally held by warrant officers,
such as platoon or troop warrant, company quartermaster sergeant,
chief clerk, etc.
The rank insignia of a sergeant is a three-bar chevron, worn point
down, surmounted by a maple leaf. Embroidered rank badges are worn in
"CF gold" thread on rifle green melton, stitched to the upper sleeves
of the service dress jacket; as miniature gold metal and rifle-green
enamel badges on the collars of the army dress shirt and army
outerwear jackets; in "old-gold" thread on air force blue slip-ons on
air force shirts, sweaters, and coats; and in tan thread on CADPAT
slip-ons (army) or dark blue thread on olive-drab slip-ons (air force)
on the operational dress uniform.
Colour sergeant in the
Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Armed Forces is not a rank of
sergeant, but a warrant officer in one of the two Foot Guards
regiments (the Governor General's
Foot Guards and the Canadian
Grenadier Guards). Likewise, a sergeant-major (including regimental
sergeant-major) is not a sergeant rank, but an appointment held by a
master warrant officer or chief warrant officer.
Sergeants generally mess and billet with warrant officers, master
warrant officers, and chief warrant officers, and their naval
counterparts, chief petty officers and petty officers. Their mess on
military bases or installations is generally named the warrant
officers' and sergeants' mess.
Historically, the rank of sergeant was severely downgraded after
unification of the three services in 1968. An army sergeant before
unification was generally employed in supervisory positions, such as
the second in command of a platoon-sized unit (i.e. an infantry
platoon sergeant, or troop sergeant in an armoured unit). After
unification, sergeants were downgraded in status to section commander,
a job previously held by corporals, and the former "platoon/troop
sergeants" were replaced by "platoon/troop warrant officers."
Police forces across Canada also use the rank of sergeant and staff
sergeant for senior non-commissioned officers above the rank of
constable or corporal. Except in the province of Quebec and in the
Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the insignia for a police sergeant is a
three chevrons, worn point down. Staff sergeants rank above sergeants
and are responsible for a unit or team within a station or division.
The insignia for a staff sergeant is three chevrons, worn point down
surmounted by a royal crown. In the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the
insignia for a sergeant is three chevrons, worn point down surmounted
by a royal crown (which is the insignia of a staff sergeant in other
Canadian police forces). The insignia of a staff sergeant in the Royal
Police is four chevrons worn point up.
The collar and sleeve insignia of kersantti
Kersantti is in
Finnish Defence Forces
Finnish Defence Forces the second and highest
non-commissioned officer rank that a conscript can possibly reach
before entering the reserve. The beginning and most common
non-commissioned officer rank is alikersantti (lit. "lower sergeant");
Only a few non-commissioned officers in each conscript company reach
the higher rank of full three-chevron kersantti. There's no difference
between the 4-month squad leader training and service time of
alikersantti and kersantti; all start their squad leader tour with the
lower rank and the optional promotion is based on superior's
assessment of individual performance and intended duties in the
wartime organization; special roles such as that of platoon sergeant
or company first sergeant are typically reserved for kersantti and
A corporal can also obtain the rank of sergeant (and possibly above,
the next rank being four-chevron ylikersantti, which is comparable to
staff sergeant) by taking some military refresher courses while in
reserve, or by enlisting to (short-term) professional service in the
French sergeant ranks are used by the air force, engineers, infantry,
Foreign Legion, Troupes de marine, communications, administrative
service, and Gendarmerie mobile. Other branches of the army and
gendarmerie use the equivalent ranks of maréchal des logis ("marshal
of lodgings" in English) instead of sergeant ranks.
There were three sergeant ranks in France, although the most junior,
contract sergeant, has been superseded by student sub-officer now that
conscription has been suspended. When the army contained a large
proportion of conscripts, contract sergeant was very common as a rank
for conscripts considered to have leadership potential. In general the
term sergeant was used for both contract sergeant and career sergeant.
Contract sergeant was classified as the lowest sub-officer rank,
the rank below being chief corporal.
Student sub-officer, élève sous-officier (formerly "contract
sergeant", sergent sous contrat): One chevron, gold or silver.
"Contract sergeant" was a rank used for junior sergeants, either
conscripts or reservists. The rank insignia is used nowadays for
students. After a certain amount of time, a student sub-officer is
entitled to be addressed "sergeant".
Sergeant, sergent (formerly "career sergeant", sergent de carrière):
Normal sergeant rank, though normally directly recruited from civilian
life into the sub-officer ranks, so the rank implies less experience
and higher academic requirements than for a commonwealth sergeant. As
a typical rank for the command of a squad (typically eight soldiers),
this rank is roughly equivalent to a commonwealth corporal or a US
Principal sergeant, sergent-chef: Three chevrons.
With long service, a sergeant's promotion to chief sergeant is
automatic. Typically being a platoon second-in-command, the holder of
this rank is therefore equivalent to a commonwealth sergeant or a US
"sergeant first class". The next rank up is adjutant.
In modern-day usage within the German
Bundeswehr the rank of sergeant
is known as Unteroffizier, historically it was the German army rank of
corporal. The rank has existed since the 18th century, with usage
as a title dating back to the Middle Ages. The ranks of the
Unteroffiziere (NCOs) are divided into two categories, the
Unteroffiziere ohne Portepee making up the cadre of junior
non-commissioned officers and the Unteroffiziere mit Portepee making
up the cadre of senior non-commissioned officers. The duties of a
Unteroffizier can vary greatly with its rank: In a typical
Bundeswehr company, the
Unteroffizier ohne Portepee (OR-5) are only
leading one Zugtrupp (squad) whereas the position of Zugführer
(platoon leader) are held by a higher ranked NCOs (typically
Hauptfeldwebel OR-7) with according training. The platoon's "second in
command", is usually held by a "Feldwebel / Oberfeldwebel" (OR-6).
The German Army rank order is:
Unteroffizier OR-5, Fahnenjunker OR-5,
Stabsunteroffizier OR-5, Feldwebel OR-6, Fähnrich OR-6, Oberfeldwebel
OR-6, Hauptfeldwebel OR-7, Oberfähnrich OR-7, Stabsfeldwebel OR-8 and
Maat is a naval rank of the German navy equivalent to the army rank of
Unteroffizier. A Maat is considered the equivalent of a junior petty
officer in the navies of many other nations.
The term is derived from the low German māt (comrade). Via the Dutch
language, the word became a nautical term and described the assistant
to a deck officer. Since the second half of the 17th century Maate
were the lowest class of non-commissioned officers aboard a warship.
The German Navy rank order is: Maat OR-5, Seekadett OR-5, Obermaat
OR-5, Bootsmann OR-6, Fähnrich OR-6, Oberbootsmann OR-6,
Hauptbootsmann OR-7, Oberfähnrich OR-7, Stabsbootsmann OR-8 and
The rank of sergeant in the Hellenic armed forces corresponds to NATO
grade OR-6 according to STANAG 2116, and it is called the following in
the three branches: lochías (Greek: Λοχίας) in the land army,
sminías (Greek: Σμηνίας) in the air force and kelefstís
(Greek: Κελευστής) in the navy. There are differentiations
depending on permanence and studies of the personnel. In the land
army, the insignia are colored differently depending on the command in
which the personnel belongs, e.g., red-orange for infantry and
green-blue for armoured cavalry.
Insignia of sergeants in the Hellenic armed forces
Army and air force
During British rule, the rank of sergeant was held by members of the
RAF (flight sergeant or sergeant (air crew)) or
British Army serving
in Hong Kong.
The rank was held by local enlisted men with the Royal Hong Kong
Regiment (The Volunteers) and Royal
Hong Kong Regiment (The
Volunteers) Regimental Police.
Police Force sergeants are in charge of a section or command
a vehicle on patrol. Their rank is symbolized by three chevrons and
worn on their arm and/or lapel. The rank is also used by the Hong Kong
Police Force (station sergeant (auxiliary) and sergeant
(auxiliary)). There also sergeants in the
Police Force Pipe
Band, who carry their rank from their regular policing duties.
Two other non-military organizations use the ranks of sergeant:
Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps
Hong Kong Adventure Corps
Cadet staff sergeant
Main article: Indonesian military ranks
Indonesian Air Force
In the Indonesian military, the rank "sergeant" is known as sersan.
There are four levels, which are: second sergeant (sersan dua),
first sergeant (sersan satu), master sergeant (sersan kepala), and
sergeant major (sersan mayor).
Brigadier § Indonesia
Police rank § Indonesia
In the ranking system of the Indonesian police force, this rank is
known as brigadir or "brigadier" which is roughly equivalent to the
police constable ranks.
Police brigadier rank
India and Pakistan
In many metropolitan police forces in both India and Pakistan, a
sergeant (called armed sub-inspectors in some states) is equivalent to
a police sub-inspector. They are subordinate to police inspectors in
rank but are senior to assistant sub-inspectors, head constables,
naiks (corporals) and police constables in Indian police forces. In
British-India days, the practice began of transferring British Army
NCOs to Indian constabularies to teach them foot and rifle drill and
weapons handling (called "musketry") and to maintain disciplinary
standards. This is the historical origin of the rank of sergeant in
the forces of today’s Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata (their equivalents
in state forces are called armed sub-inspectors). Sergeants have
always served in the non-investigative branches of the 'protective
police' [e.g., armed and mounted branches; port, river and traffic
police, reserve forces, etc.] and one per police station. Their use is
focused more upon security and public order situations than
investigating routine domestic, commercial and street crime which is
the purview of the investigative branches of the 'detective police'
where their counterparts are called sub-inspectors. Head constables
(not to be confused with sergeants) wear three chevrons (rank
insignia) point-down on their sleeve or three bars on their
In the British Indian Army, the equivalent rank to sergeant was
daffadar in cavalry regiments and havaldar in other units. These ranks
are still used in the armies of India and Pakistan.
Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force and the Pakistan Air Force, the rank of
sergeant is above a corporal and below of junior warrant officer. The
rank insignia is a three pointed-down chevron. The rank of flight
sergeant is now obsolete with the renomination given as junior warrant
The rank of a sergeant is designated as a senior non-commissioned
Ranks of the
Indian Air Force
Indian Air Force – enlisted ranks
Junior commissioned officer
Indian Navy and the Pakistan Navy, the rank of petty officer is
roughly equivalent to sergeant.
Sergeant (Sgt) (sáirsint in Gaelach) is the second rank of
non-commissioned officer within the Irish Army. The Naval equivalent
is petty officer.
The army rank insignia consists of three winged chevrons (or
"stripes"). The service dress insignia consists of three wavy red
chevrons 9 cm wide bordered in yellow. The main infantry role of
a sergeant is as second-in-command of a platoon or commander of a fire
support section of a weapons platoon, such as an anti-tank or mortar
platoon. Another role is that of company clerk and instructor. There
are higher ranks of company sergeant and company quartermaster
sergeant. Artillery sergeants are usually assigned as detachment and
section commanders, as well as in administrative roles. The difference
in roles of sergeant and corporal in the artillery corps is not as
clearly defined as in the infantry corps.
Sergeant is also the second rank of non-commissioned officer in the
Irish Air Corps. Before 1994, the Air Corps was considered part of the
army and wore army uniforms with distinct corps badges, but the same
rank insignia. With the introduction of a unique Air Corps blue
uniform in 1994, the same rank markings in a white colour were worn,
before the introduction of a new three-chevron with wing rank marking.
There are higher ranks of flight sergeant and flight quartermaster
Sergeant is the second rank in the Garda Síochána, above Garda and
Sergeants appointed as detectives use the rank title 'Detective
Sergeant (DS)'. They do not out rank regular Sergeants, the
'Detective' prefix indicates that they are permanently allocated to
For further information, see
Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces ranks.
In the Israel Defense Forces, soldiers are promoted from corporal to
sergeant (, originally the Hebrew abbreviation for non-commissioned
officer) after approximately 18 months of service, if they performed
their duties appropriately during this time, and did not have
disciplinary problems. Soldiers who take a commander's course may
become sergeants earlier. Sergeants get a symbolic pay raise of 1.80
NIS. The Hebrew name for the rank is samál originated as an acronym
for סגן מחוץ למנין segen mi-khutz la-minyan
("supernumerary lieutenant") (inspired by the abbreviation "NCO").
Nowadays is no longer treated as an acronym or an abbreviation  (in
Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces ranks : נגדים חוגרים
hogrim - enlisted
More details at
Israel Defense Forces ranks & IDF 2012 - Ranks
Italian Army the rank of sergente, ("sergeant"), is the first
rank of the warrant officers sergeant role, equivalent to NATO OR-5
grade. The two next senior ranks are sergente maggiore (literally
"major sergeant") and sergente maggiore capo (literally "chief major
sergeant"). For paratroopers, the ranks of sergente and sergente
maggiore are bordered in blue.
In the Mexican Army the corporal is junior to sargento segundo (second
sergeant) and sargento primero (first sergeant).
Military ranks of the Dutch armed forces
The Royal Netherlands Army,
Royal Netherlands Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy and Royal
Netherlands Air Force all use the rank of sergeant. Within the
cavalry, artillery and in the
Royal Marechaussee a sergeant is called
a "wachtmeester". Within the air force and navy a sergeant is
identified by three chevrons. In the army a sergeant has one gold
chevron (or silver if a wachtmeester).
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Royal New Zealand Air Force and
New Zealand Army
New Zealand Army use sergeant
as a rank, identifiable by the three chevrons. The Royal New Zealand
Navy has the equivalent rank of petty officer. Promotion to sergeant
New Zealand Defence Force
New Zealand Defence Force is usually around nine to ten years
service and commands considerable responsibility and an increase in
The rank of sergeant (Spanish: sargento) existed during the Philippine
Revolution. The badge of rank was two chevrons sewn onto the Rayadillo
The ranks of sergeant, staff sergeant, master sergeant and chief
master sergeant are today used in the Philippine Army, Philippine
Marine Corps and Philippine Air Force. Rank insignia is very similar
to that used in the United States. First chief master sergeant is an
appointment rather than a rank and is somewhat equivalent to a
sergeant major in the United States.
Sergeant, Army and Marine Corps, battledress collar insignia
Sergeant, Air Force, service dress insignia
Polish Army rank insignia system there are two grades of
sergeant: sierżant (OR-6 in NATO code) and starszy sierżant (OR-7).
The rank first appeared in Henryk Dąbrowski's Polish Legions in Italy
in the late 18th century. Both ranks are used in the infantry,
armoured forces, air force. In the cavalry the equivalent is
wachmistrz (literally wachtmeister). In the artillery the equivalent
is ogniomistrz (literally firemaster). In the Polish Navy, the
equivalent is bosman (literally boatswain).
There are three ranks in the
Russian Armed Forces
Russian Armed Forces which are explicitly
sergeant ranks: junior sergeant (младший сержант,
mladshy serzhant), sergeant (сержант, serzhant) and senior
sergeant (старший сержант, starshy serzhant). There is
also a rank called "starshina" (старшина), which is often
translated as "master sergeant". These ranks are inherited from the
army of the Soviet Union.
In the Soviet army, most sergeants (with the exception of the
aforementioned starshina) were not career non-commissioned officers
but specially trained conscripts; the rank of starshina was reserved
for career non-commissioned officers. In the modern Russian army,
there are attempts to change this system and make most or all
sergeants career non-commissioned officers; they are met with limited
Junior sergeant OR-4
Senior sergeant OR-6
Unlike most police forces of the world, in the
Russian police sergeant
is a starting, entry-level rank. Ranks of "policeman" or "senior
policeman" are not used in Russia (the rank of "private of police"
technically exists but is rare, and most recruits become sergeants
right away). It is divided into three grades the same way as the army
Singapore Armed Forces
Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), there are five different grades
of sergeant: third sergeant (3SG), second sergeant (2SG), first
sergeant (1SG), staff sergeant (SSG), and master sergeant (MSG).
Sergeants are considered specialists in the SAF. They are equivalent
to the non-commissioned officers of other militaries.
Soldiers must complete their specialist course at the Specialist Cadet
School, formerly known as the
School of Infantry Specialists (SISPEC)
or other training institutes before being promoted to third sergeant.
While active duty national servicemen may be promoted to second
sergeant, most personnel holding ranks above that are career
Promotion from third sergeant to staff sergeant takes an average of 6
years, although there are many factors which may cause a soldier's
promotion to cease. These factors include failure to pass an annual
physical fitness proficiency test, poor performance, or being charged
for offences.
Third sergeants are usually section commanders. They may also hold
certain logistics or administrative posts such as company
quartermaster sergeant. Second sergeants usually serve as platoon
sergeants. First sergeants, staff sergeants and master sergeants
usually serve as company sergeant majors or administrative specialists
at company level or higher.
In the Singapore
Police Force, Singapore Civil Defence Force,
Singapore Prison Service
Singapore Prison Service and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority,
the rank of sergeant lies between corporal and staff sergeant. Unlike
most police forces in the world, the rank of sergeant has been changed
since the late 1990s to an entry-level rank for Diploma/GCE "A" Level
holders rather than a supervisory one.
Uniformed Youth Organsiations
In the National
Police Cadet Corps, National Cadet Corps (Singapore)
and the National Civil Defence Cadet Corps, the rank of
attained in the second or third year out of the 4 to 5 years a
secondary school student is in the organisation. To attain the rank,
cadets must attain certain proficiency badges which will be specified
by their individual units. For the National
Police Cadet Corps, the
Sergeant is usually the rank where most cadets are appointed
as Non-Commissioned Officers in their units, however, some cadets are
appointed at corporal rank.
Sergeant is used as a rank in the Sri Lanka Army. It is senior to
corporal and junior to staff sergeant. It is denoted by three
Sergeant is also used as a rank in the Sri Lanka Air Force. It is
senior to corporal and junior to flight sergeant. It is denoted by
The rank of sergeant exists in the Sri Lanka
Police Service. It is
senior to constable but junior to sub-inspector.
Police sergeant class 1 (PS)
Police sergeant class 2 (PS)
South Korean armed forces share the same rank system to each other's
(Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine). So here we only note the army.
In the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, byeong-jang (Korean: 병장) is
the highest enlisted rank below non-commissioned officers. The rank
insignia for 'byung-jang is four horizontal bars.
In addition, there are four non-commissioned officer ranks above
byeong-jang: ha-sa (Korean: 하사), jung-sa (Korean: 중사), sang-sa
(Korean: 상사), and won-sa (Korean: 원사). Ha-sa is equivalent to
U.S. Army's rank of staff sergeant and its rank is one chevron.
Jung-sa is equivalent to the U.S. Army's sergeant first class and its
rank is denoted by two chevrons. Sang-sa is equivalent to the U.S.
Army master sergeant and its rank is denoted by three chevrons.
Won-sa, the most senior non-commissioned officer rank, is denoted by
three chevrons and a star above the chevrons and is equivalent to the
U.S. Army sergeant major rank.
Sergeant (Chinese: 上士; pinyin: Shàng Shi) of the R.O.C Armed
Taiwan ranks above Staff
Sergeant and below Master Sergeant
Third Class, making it different from the armed forces of other
countries where sergeant ranks lower than staff sergeant. The rank of
Sergeant exists in the Army, Air Force and the Marine Corps, and is
equivalent to the
Petty officer 1st Class in the Navy.
In Sweden, sergeant is a military rank above korpral ("corporal") and
below förste sergeant ("first sergeant"). The insignia of rank was
changed in 2009 to resemble American and British sergeants.
Turkish Armed Forces
In Turkey, the rank of
Çavuş (Sergeant) is above the rank of
Insignia is two inverted chevrons, in red or camouflage pattern,
depending on the dress.
Royal Marines and British Army
A sergeant in the
Royal Marines and
British Army wears three
point-down chevrons on their sleeve and usually serves as a platoon or
troop sergeant, or in a specialist position.
Staff sergeant (in
technical units) or colour sergeant (In the
Royal Marines and the
infantry), is the next most senior rank, above which come warrant
Household Cavalry use the rank of corporal of horse
instead, the only regiments to preserve the old cavalry tradition of
having corporals but not sergeants.
A lance-sergeant (LSgt) was formerly a corporal acting in the capacity
of a sergeant. The appointment now survives only in the Foot Guards
and Honourable Artillery Company, where it is awarded to all
corporals. A lance-sergeant wears three chevrons and belongs to the
sergeants' mess, however, functionally he remains a corporal rather
than an acting sergeant (e.g., he will typically command a section).
In the Household Cavalry, the equivalent appointment is lance-corporal
A sergeant in infantry regiments usually holds the appointment of
"platoon sergeant" and is second in command of a platoon. In the Royal
Marines a sergeant is sometimes the commander of a platoon-sized Close
Combat Rifle Troop.
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force also has the rank of sergeant, wearing the same
three chevrons. The rank lies between corporal and flight sergeant (or
chief technician for technicians and musicians).
Between 1950 and 1964 in technical trades there was a rank of senior
technician which was the equivalent of a sergeant. Senior technicians
wore their chevrons point up.
On 1 July 1946, aircrew sergeants were re-designated as aircrew IV,
III or II, replacing the chevrons with one, two or three six-pointed
stars within a wreath and surmounted by an eagle. This was unpopular
and in 1950 they returned to the old rank, but have worn an eagle
above their chevrons ever since.
Sergeants of the
Royal Flying Corps
Royal Flying Corps wore a four-bladed propeller above
The spelling "serjeant" was never used in the Royal Air Force.
Law enforcement in the United Kingdom
Law enforcement in the United Kingdom and
Police ranks of
the United Kingdom
Patrol sergeant's epaulette
Within the British police, sergeant is the first supervisory rank.
Sergeant is senior to the rank of constable, and junior to inspector.
The rank is mostly operational, meaning that sergeants are directly
concerned with day-to-day policing. Uniformed sergeants are often
responsible for supervising a shift of constables and allocating
duties to them. Prisoner-handling stations will also have one or more
separate custody sergeants who are responsible for authorising and
supervising the detention of arrested persons in accordance with the
Police and Criminal Evidence Act, along with the daily management and
effective running of the custody suite.
Detective sergeants are equal in rank to their uniformed counterparts;
only the prefix 'detective' identifies them as having completed at
least one of the various detective training courses authorising them
to conduct and/or manage investigations into serious and/or complex
crime. In British police services, not all officers deployed in plain
clothes are detectives, and not all detectives are deployed within the
CID. Thus, it is not unusual for detectives to supervise uniformed
officers and vice versa.
Uniformed sergeants' epaulettes feature three down-pointed chevrons,
below a personal identification number. Sergeants (and constables) in
service with the Metropolitan
Police – responsible for law
enforcement in Greater London, have a "shoulder number", analogous to
the collar number of regional forces, which is distinct from the
warrant number on their warrant card. This is a simply a management
device to help order what is by far the largest police service in the
UK. In the case of the
Police Service of Northern Ireland, sergeants'
chevrons point upwards. This is derived from the practices of the
Royal Irish Constabulary, who were a mounted police force and followed
a tradition of upward-pointing ranks.
Until the abolition of first-class detective sergeants in 1973,
Police detective sergeants when initially promoted were
officially known as second-class detective sergeants.
Unlike the military and allowing for regional variations, addressing a
police sergeant as "sarge" is not always seen as incorrect.
Additionally in some forces (especially the Metropolitan Police)
sergeants are referred to as "skippers" and again allowing for
regional variations, context and expectations it is not necessarily
wrong for a constable to address his/her sergeant as "skip" or
U.S. Army sergeant's sleeve insignia
U.S. Army sergeant's shoulder insignia
In the United States Army, although there are several ranks of
sergeant, the lowest carries the title of sergeant.
Sergeant is the
enlisted rank in the U.S. Army above specialist and corporal and below
staff sergeant, and is the second-lowest grade of non-commissioned
officer. The rank was often nicknamed "buck sergeant" to distinguish
it from other senior grades of sergeants. Sergeants in the
infantry, for example, lead fire teams of four men. There are two fire
teams in a 9-man rifle squad, which is led by a staff sergeant.
Sergeants are normally section and team leaders and are a critical
link in the NCO channel. These non-commissioned officers live and work
with their soldiers every day and are responsible for their health,
welfare and safety. These section and team leaders ensure that their
soldiers meet standards in personal appearance and teach them to
maintain and account for their individual and unit equipment and
property. The NCO enforces standards and develops and trains soldiers
daily in their military occupational specialty and unit mission.
In the United States Army, sergeants, staff sergeants, sergeants first
class, and master sergeants are typically referred to in short form by
their subordinates as "sergeant", except in some training
environments. Higher ranked sergeants are referred to as "first
sergeant" in the case of first sergeants and "sergeant major" in the
case of sergeants major, command sergeants major and the Sergeant
Major of the Army.
Drill sergeants are typically addressed as "drill sergeant" regardless
of rank, though this term is used depending on post policy. When
serving a tour as drill sergeant this is indicated by the traditional
campaign hat, commonly referred to as the "brown round" or "smokey
bear". In late 1971, Headquarters, Continental Army
Command (CONARC) received approval from the Chief of Staff of the Army
for permission to include women in the
Drill Sergeant Program. In
February 1972, six Woman Army Corps (WAC) noncommissioned officers
from Fort McClellan, Alabama, were enrolled in the Drill Sergeant
Program, at Fort Jackson, South Carolina(ArmyStudyGuide.com, n.d.).
Upon graduation, the women were authorized to wear the female drill
sergeant campaign hat. Today, women drill sergeants are also referred
to as "Drill Sergeant", regardless of their rank. Both men and women
drill sergeants will always wear the drill sergeant badge indicating
they completed the required training program at an authorized drill
sergeant academy. The army drill sergeant badge appears on the right
breast pocket(ArmyStudyGuide.com, n.d.).
The rank of sergeant was “inherited” from its use in the British
Army and American colonial regulars and militia of the several
colonies. The sergeant has historically been the senior
non-commissioned officer (NCO) rank immediately subordinate to an
officer and superior to corporal. Commonly, in the
British Army and
American colonial forces there was one sergeant for each officer with
the sergeants serving as the senior NCO of a section/squad (the two
terms were often used interchangeably), or platoon/company (the
platoon, in the British and American colonial single-platoon system
simply being the company formed for battle, much as the battalion was
the regiment deployed in battle formation).
In British and American colonial forces, infantry companies usually
had three officers and three sergeants, with the sergeants’ primary
role in combat being to protect the officers. In battle formation, the
company was marched into formation as a single platoon of three ranks
consisting of the “rank and file” (i.e., the corporals and
privates), also referred to as the “bayonet strength”, in order to
present volley fire by rank or massed bayonets for assault or defense.
Therefore, the sergeants played little direct leadership role in
combat as the massed company/platoon was under the direct control of
Beginning in 1775, the American Continental Army began to organize
under the Continental European (i.e., Prussian-French) model, which in
addition to organizing infantry companies into two platoons and
forming each platoon into two ranks by section/squad, vice the three
ranks of the British model, gave a more direct leadership role to
sergeants by assigning two sergeants to each platoon as section/squad
leaders. Sergeants began to transition from serving as battlefield
“body-guards” of aristocratic officers into being combat leaders
integral to the tactical situation. In 1781, a fifth sergeant was
authorized in each company to serve as company first sergeant,
although a separate grade of rank was not established until 1831.
However, from 1775, each regiment/battalion (these two terms were also
used interchangeable during this time period as mentioned above) was
authorized a sergeant major and a quartermaster sergeant.
While the number of sergeants (including the first sergeant)
authorized in an infantry company fluctuated from three to five during
various periods of history, by the
American Civil War
American Civil War it was
relatively fixed at four sergeants, a first sergeant, and a company
quartermaster sergeant (added in 1861). In 1898 the infantry company
was expanded to three platoons, increasing the number of sergeants in
each company to six, along with a first sergeant and a company
quartermaster sergeant. In 1905 the company quartermaster sergeant was
renamed as company supply sergeant and a mess sergeant was added to
In 1917, the Army reorganized under the “square division” plan.
The size of units from company up increased significantly and there
were now four rifle platoons and 12 sergeants per company, along with
three “staff” NCOs (first sergeant, supply sergeant, and mess
sergeant). While there were still two sergeants assigned as section
leaders in each platoon, a new position of “assistant to platoon
commander” was filled by the senior ranking sergeant of the three
assigned to assist the lieutenant in leading the unit.
The 1939 “triangular division” reorganization eliminated sections
in rifle platoons. In 1940, rifle squad leaders, who had been
corporals, became sergeants (with two staff sergeants – one as a
platoon leader and the other as a platoon guide in the platoon
headquarters; the lieutenant was still titled platoon commander), with
three squads/sergeants per rifle platoon. In 1942, sergeants became
assistant squad leaders, with staff sergeants as squad leaders (and a
technical sergeant and a staff sergeant, as platoon leader and platoon
guide, respectively, in the platoon headquarters).
In 1943 platoon leaders (technical sergeants) were re-designated as
platoon sergeants, while platoon commanders (officers – usually
second or first lieutenants) became platoon leaders, with only company
and higher-level commanding officers known as a "commander". (Of note,
while the U.S. Marine Corps followed the Army's lead in re-designating
the senior NCO in a platoon from "assistant to platoon commander" to
platoon leader and then as the platoon sergeant, the Marine Corps
continues to style an officer commanding a platoon as "platoon
commander"). In 1948, squad leaders again became sergeants (with
corporals as assistant squad leaders) and finally, in 1958, sergeants
became fire-team leaders under a staff sergeant as squad leader.
American Civil War
The rank was used by both the
Union Army and the Confederate Army
during the American Civil War. The same rank insignia was used
similarly by both armies. Both varied the color of the stripes by
assigning red for artillery, yellow for cavalry, blue for infantry and
later in the war, green for sharpshooters. Some militia units varied
these colors even further and had other colors including black and red
with gold piping for various units. The rank was just below first
sergeant and just above corporal. They usually commanded a section of
twenty men with two corporals under him. As the war progressed these
men were often in command of platoons and even companies as the units
were depleted of officers during combat.
United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps has several ranks that include the
title of "sergeant", the lowest of which is sergeant (E-5). Marine
sergeants are the fifth enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps,
ranking above corporal and below staff sergeant, and are often
referred to as the backbone of the Marine Corps.
Infantry sergeants typically serve as squad leaders in either a rifle
or weapons platoon or as the platoon guide (i.e., assistant platoon
sergeant) in a rifle platoon.
Once a Marine attains the rank of sergeant, promotions no longer
derive from a composite and cutting score-based system; instead, they
receive a Fitness Report, or FITREP (i.e., a formal written
evaluation, grading attributes from appearance and bearing to
leadership and technical proficiency).
In the Marine Corps, enlisted ranks above sergeant are referred to as
staff non-commissioned officers, or SNCOs. These ranks, staff sergeant
through sergeant major, are always referred to by their full rank and
never merely as "sergeant".
Staff sergeant is usually the lowest enlisted rank that reports
directly to an officer. In the infantry this would typically be as a
rifle platoon sergeant or as a section leader in a weapons platoon
(i.e., machine guns, mortars, anti-tank/assault weapons).
Infantry gunnery sergeants usually serve as platoon sergeants for
weapons platoons before moving up to a company gunnery sergeant
billet. This position is filled by an experienced gunnery sergeant who
is typically in charge of coordinating operations, logistics, and
individual training for a company-sized group of Marines
(approximately 180 personnel). Owing to their involvement in the
management of unit supply/re-supply the "Company Gunny" is
colloquially known to be in charge of the "3 Bs": beans, bullets, and
band-aids. Gunnery sergeants are commonly addressed as "Gunny", but
never officially. Use of this informality by subordinates is permitted
solely at the rank holder's discretion.
Infantry master sergeants typically serve as the operations chief of a
weapons company (in lieu of the Company Gunnery
Sergeant located in
the rifle companies) or as the assistant operations chief in the
headquarters of an infantry regiment. Master sergeants are addressed
as either "Master Sergeant" or "Top" at the preference of the
incumbent and dependent upon the commonly accepted practice within the
MOS community. For example, in Intelligence (the 02 MOS field), use of
"Top" is common; in the
Infantry (the 03 MOS field) its use is nearly
unheard of and aggressively discouraged.
First sergeants serve as the senior enlisted advisor (SEA) to a
company or battery commander and are always addressed by their full
rank title as "First Sergeant".
Infantry master gunnery sergeants serve as the operations chief in the
headquarters of an infantry battalion or higher level organization
(viz., Marine Expeditionary Unit, regiment, Marine Expeditionary
Brigade, division, Marine Expeditionary Force) and follow the same
verbal address protocol as master sergeants but are commonly referred
to as "Master Guns", or "Master Gunny".
Sergeants major serve as the SEA to a battalion or squadron, or higher
level, commander, and are always addressed by their full rank title as
The history of the rank of sergeant in the USMC roughly parallels that
of the USA until 1942. From 1775 until WWII the Marine Corps used
essentially the same rank and organizational structure as its common
British and colonial forebearers with the Army, as well as the later
Continental and U.S. Armies. In 1942, as the Army modified its
triangular-division infantry organization to best fight in the
European/North African/Middle Eastern theatre, the Marine Corps began
modifying the triangular-division plan to best employ its
amphibious-warfare doctrine in the Pacific Theatre. This meant that
for the Corps, squad leaders would remain as sergeants and the rifle
squad would be sub-divided into three four-man fire teams, each led by
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Air Force
Sergeant rank insignia.
See also: Senior airman
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Air Force title "Sergeant" (E-4, equivalent to an Army or
Corporal and Navy/Coast Guard Petty Officer Third Class),
commonly and informally referred to as "buck sergeant", was used
beginning in October 1967 in the hope that the prestige of being an
NCO would increase the re-enlistment rate. The title was phased out
again in the 1990s.
From 1952 through October 1967, E4s were titled "
Airman First Class"
(A/1c) and there was no rank titled "Sergeant", though A/1cs were
often called "sarge" or "sergeant" informally. During the period when
the E4 title was "Sergeant", senior airmen, earlier known as Airmen
Second Class (A/2c, pay grade E3), were promoted to sergeant and
granted non-commissioned officer status after 12 months time in grade;
this lateral promotion is no longer conferred and senior airmen
compete directly for promotion to staff sergeant. The current title
for airmen at the E4 grade is "Senior Airman". From 1976 - 1995)
senior airman rank insignia had a subdued central star (light blue
vice silver for sergeant and above), as did airman first class (E3)
and airman (E2) (
Airman Basic, E1, has no rank insignia).
In today's Air Force, the term sergeant refers to all Air Force
non-commissioned officers up to senior master sergeant (E-8). An
airman who has achieved the rank of chief master sergeant (E-9) is
referred to as "Chief". Those in the grade of staff sergeant (E-5) and
technical sergeant (E-6) are referred to as non-commissioned officers,
while those in the grade of master sergeant (E-7) through chief master
sergeant (E-9) are referred to as senior non-commissioned officers.
Police departments and prisons
Sergeant is also a commonly used rank within United States police
departments. It ranks above "officer" and "corporal", and it
represents the first level of management within the organization. Most
major departments, including the Atlanta
Police Department, Baltimore
Police Department, Chicago
Police Department, Dallas Police
Police Department, Houston
Police Department, Los Angeles Police
Department, Maryland State Police, Miami-Dade
Michigan State Police, New Jersey State Police, New Orleans Police
Department, New York State Police, New York
Police Department, San Diego
Police Department, San Jose
Police Department, Seattle
Police Department and the Virginia State
Police have the rank of sergeant.
The rank of sergeant is also often used in American prisons. It is a
supervisory rank above the rank-and-file prison officer.
In Vietnam People's Army, sergeant (trung sĩ) is the second highest
rank of non-commissioned officer.
Sergeant is below master sergeant
and above corporal.
Media related to
Sergeant at Wikimedia Commons
Comparative military ranks
Police Rank Structure". policeuk.com. Retrieved
^ "sergeant". www.dictionary.com. dictionary.com. Retrieved 12 March
^ The French military, as many others, does not use the term
"non-commissioned officer" but instead sous-officier, meaning
"sub-officer" (compare to German unteroffizier).
^ The color of the chevrons of the sergeant depends on his unit: the
vast majority of infantry units use gold, but a few, such as the
chasseurs alpins, use silver.
^ Duden; Origin and meaning of "Korporal", in German. 
^ Avraham Akavia, "Milon le-munkhey tzava" (1951), p. 220, 270;
Avraham Even-Shoshan, "Ha-milon ha-khadash" (1967), vol. 4, p.
1814 ; Yaakov Kna'ani, "Otzar ha-lashon ha-ivrit" (1972), p.
4078; Zeev Shiff, Eitan Habber, "Leksikon le-bitkhon Yisrael" (1976),
p. 114; "Milon Sapir" (ed. Eitan Avnian) (1998), vol. 5, p. 2019;
Avraham Even-Shoshan, "Milon Even-Shoshan be-shisha krakhim" (2003),
ISBN 965-517-059-4, vol. 4, p. 1302; "Entziklopedya Karta" (5th
edition, 2004), ISBN 965-220-534-6, p. 409; "Milon Ariel" (ed.
prof. Daniel Sivan and prof. Maya Fruchtman) (2007),
ISBN 978-965-515-009-4, p. 765.
^ "Act of Commission for Officers and Noncommissioned Officers of the
Armed Forces Commission Act for Officers and Noncommissioned Officers
of the Armed Forces (陸海空軍軍官士官任官條例)". Laws and
Regulations Database , Ministry of National Defense, R.O.C. Archived
from the original on 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
^ "Chinese-English translation chart (中英對照表)". Military
Service Bureau, Kaohsiung City Government. Archived from the original
on 2016-12-28. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
^ e3. "Ranks & roles". www.royalnavy.mod.uk. Retrieved 14 March
^ "Join PSNI". Retrieved 15 September 2016.
^ p.21 Morton, Jerry Reluctant Lieutenant: From Basic to OCS in the
Sixties Texas A&M University Press, 13/04/2004
^ Non-Commissioned Officer Guide FM 7-22.7 page 2-22
United States enlisted ranks
Pay grade →
Branch of service ↓
SPC – CPL
MSG – 1SG
SGM – CSM – SMA
MSgt – 1stSgt
MGySgt – SgtMaj – SgtMajMarCor
SCPO – CMDCS
MCPO – CMDCM – FORCM, FLTCM – MCPON
MSgt – 1st Sgt
SMSgt – 1st Sgt
CMSgt – 1st Sgt – CCM – CMSAF
MCPO – CMC – Area CMC,