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United States Military Rank - Enlisted

The Navy Rate

In the Navy, rates identify enlisted Sailors occupationally by pay grades E-1 through E-9 and reflect levels of aptitude, training, experience, knowledge, skill, and responsibility. Enlisted rates are divided into three groups: general rates (E-1 through E-3 apprenticeships), Petty Officers (E-4 through E-6), and Chief Petty Officers (E-7 through E-9).

General rates are apprenticeships assigned to personnel at pay grades E-1 through E-3 to indicate their eligibility for entry into various ratings (their specific Navy job). These apprenticeships are: Airman (AN), Fireman (FN), and Seaman (SN).

Petty Officers (Third Class Petty Officer [PO3 -- E-4]; Second Class Petty Officer [PO2 -- E-5]; and First Class Petty Officer [PO1 -- E-6]) are the technicians and work managers within Navy ratings who possess increasing degrees of skill responsibility and authority as they advance in pay grade. Petty officers are capable of accomplishing tasks normal to their rating and pay grade and they provide the "hands on" skills required to maintain, repair, and operate systems and subsystems.

The Chief Petty Officer (CPO) (E-7) is the technical authority, expert, and supervisor within a rating. The CPO is capable of accomplishing all tasks normal to a rating using technical supervision, instruction, and training of lower rated personnel.

The Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO) (E-8) is the senior technical supervisor within a Navy rating with primary responsibilities for supervising and training enlisted personnel oriented to system and subsystem maintenance, repair, and operation. Based on wide ranging experience and specialized training, the SCPO provides the command with a higher level of technical and managerial expertise than is expected at the E-7 level.

The Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) (E-9) is the senior enlisted petty officer in the United States Navy. As such, the MCPO is vested with special command trust and confidence extending to administrative and managerial functions involving enlisted personnel. Based upon experience, proven performance, and technical knowledge necessary for advancement to the grade of MCPO, individuals of that rate within a command hold the senior enlisted positions and contribute to forming as well as implementing policy within their occupational field or across the full Navy rating spectrum.

Navy Active Duty High Year Tenure

Among its many manpower management tools, High Year Tenure (HYT) may be one of its most controversial. HYT is a move up or out force structure tool. For example, if an E-5 is unable to advance to E-6 before reaching the 14 year year of service, the E-5 will be forced to leave the Navy.

Per MILPERSMAN 1160-120, the current HYT years of service by pay grade allowed are as follows:

Navy Active Duty High Year Tenure (HYT) chart.
Pay GradeYears
E-1 and E-24
E-4 10
E-5 16
E-6 22

Per NAVADMIN 290/17, effective 1 Feb 2018, HYT policy will be amended to reflect a new LOS gate for pay grade E-3 for Active Component (AC) and Full Time Support (FTS) Sailors. The new E-3 HYT LOS gate will be as follows: E-3 (AC and FTS) 6 years (vice 5 years).

Military Enlisted Pay-Grade and Ranks Comparison Chart

Enlisted U.S. military pay-grade and rank comparison chart.
Enlisted Ranks and Pay grades
Pay gradeNavy
Coast Guard
MarinesArmyAir Force
E-9Master Chief Petty OfficerSGT Major
Master Gunnery SGT
SGT Major
Command SGT Major
Chief Master SGT
E-8Senior Chief Petty Officer1st SGT
Master SGT
First SGT
Master SGT
Senior Master SGT
E-7Chief Petty OfficerGunnery SGTSGT 1st ClassMaster SGT
E-61st Class Petty OfficerStaff SGTStaff SGTTechnical SGT
E-52nd Class Petty OfficerSergeantSergeantStaff SGT
E-43rd Class Petty OfficerCorporalCorporal
Senior Airman
Private First ClassAirman First Class
E-2Seaman ApprenticePrivate
First Class
E-1Seaman RecruitPrivatePrivateBasic

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