What is Rank?

What is Rank?

So your spouse is in the military…whether you’re a new spouse, a seasoned spouse, or a retiree spouse, knowing how the ranking system works is a useful tool.  As a spouse, you yourself have no rank, but it is helpful to have an understanding of it regardless. For example, if you’re meeting your spouses’ commander or if your spouse is introducing you to an airman they supervise, you will feel much more comfortable in social settings if you have somewhat of a grasp on the rank system.  

Each military branch has its own system when it comes to ranks (which can be super overwhelming) so I recommend concentrating on what branch is relevant to you and your situation.  Some who function on joint bases may benefit from knowing more branches than just the one their spouse is affiliated with. For the most part, being able to recognize the rank insignia and where they fall in the chain of command will be sufficient.  

If you are interested in learning more this website is a fantastic reference for this here. The site makes it easy to choose your branch, see the rank name, abbreviation, classification, visual insignia and even the pay range!  You can see where your spouse falls and start practicing recognizing the ranks on uniforms the next time you're in the commissary!

If you’re more of a visual person, this chart lays out all the branches in an easy to read and easy to follow way. this chart lays out all the branches in an easy to read and easy to follow way.  Also, check out this site here to learn where on different uniforms to look for rank!

All the references in the world can prepare you, but if you don’t put it into practice, it’s all for not. 

Take some time to discuss it with your spouse. Let them know it’s important to you to be able to hold your own in the social settings you will inevitably be in.  It’s a great feeling when you are at a promotion ceremony, an awards ceremony, the military ball, or just stopping by the office and come face to face with someone who you’re not only able to address properly, but carry on a conversation with and not feel like you’re doing something foreign.  

Take pride in being a military spouse!  You may not be the active duty member, but you ARE a military spouse and working together as a team will help your active duty member excel in their career.  

My name is Rebekah and I am a proud milspouse!  As a seasoned spouse, I am familiar with the Air Force ranking system (after a lot of practice) but it has defiantly made me feel more confident!  I’m happy to talk more extensively contact me at rthomashunis@milspouseadvocacynetwork.org.

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