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What are the different military ranks in France?

Military ranks are governed by the general status of French military personnel. They are identical in terms of status for all the French Armed Forces.

However, the names and insignia differ depending on the army. Thus, a colonel in the Army is equivalent to a captain in the French Navy. To help you see things more clearly, we have prepared a comparative explanation of the different military ranks according to the armies.

Thanks to this, you will become an educated soldier who knows all about the military ranks of the French Armed Forces !

Military ranks in the French Navy

military rank national navy

Military ranks for soldiers in the French Navy are classified into 6 rank levels : General Officers, Senior Officers, Junior Officers, Senior Petty Officers, Junior Petty Officers and Non-commissioned officers.

Military ranks for General Officers

The General Officers of the National Navy are the highest ranking military personnel in this army. In ascending hierarchical order we find the Rear Admiral, the Vice Admiral, the Wing Vice Admiral and the Admiral.

General Officers have extensive experience in the French Navy and a high level of knowledge. They are responsible for the strategic management of the French Navy.

It should be noted that the rank of Admiral of France is not a rank, but a dignity of the State (equivalent to that of Marshal of France for the Army). The last known Admiral of France was François Thomas Tréhouart in 1869.

Military ranks for senior officers

military rank officer

Senior Officers must have great expertise and excellent knowledge in their area of ​​specialization. There we find the Lieutenant Commander, the Frigate Captain and the Navy Captain.

Senior Officers are responsible for the operational management of Navy units.

Military ranks for junior officers

Junior Officers are novice officers. This rank is awarded to junior officers and those entering training. Junior Officers are, in ascending hierarchical order, Midshipmen, Ensigns 2nd Class, Ensigns 1st Class and Lieutenants.

Their mission is to supervise daily operations on board French Navy ships.

If you are interested in joining the French Navy as a junior officer, this army recruits from bac +3 under contract, but also by competitive examination after a scientific preparatory class or from bac +4 to enter the Naval Academy.

Military ranks for senior petty officers

non-commissioned military rank

Senior petty officers have the military rank of non-commissioned officers . They have great expertise in their field of specialty. They are responsible for supervising operations on board ships. There we find the First Master, the Senior Master and the Major.

Military ranks for junior petty officers

The military ranks of Junior Petty Officers are granted to junior non-commissioned officers and those entering training. The military ranks of this echelon of the French Navy are the cadet Maistrancier, the Second Master Maistrancier, the Second Master and the Master.

Junior Petty Officers supervise operations on board ships along with senior Petty Officers.

The French Navy recruits its non-commissioned officers from the post-baccalaureate level to occupy positions such as team leader. If you wish to join, you must be between 18 and 30 years old and have your baccalaureate. After your recruitment, you will join the Maistrance School for a contract of 8 to 10 years.

Military ranks for enlisted personnel

national navy soldier

Non-commissioned officers are part of the crew of French Navy ships. The military ranks granted in ascending hierarchical order begin with Moss, Able Seaman, Quartermaster 2nd Class and Quartermaster 1st Class.

Crew members are essential to the proper functioning of this army and handle operational tasks .

If you want to know more about the habits of the military , read our article on the military alphabet !

Military ranks for the Army, the Air and Space Force and the National Gendarmerie

army military rank

Military ranks are identical for the Army, the Air and Space Force and the National Gendarmerie. Military ranks are classified hierarchically into 4 levels : general officers, officers, non-commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers.

Are you interested in the Air and Space Force? Discover our articles on the best military planes and fighter pilots !

Military ranks for General Officers

General Officers of the French Army hold the most prestigious military ranks . There we find the Brigadier General, the Division General, the Lieutenant General and the Army General.

The highest rank, Marshal of France , is not a rank strictly speaking, but a dignity of the State in the same way as the Admiral of the National Navy.

These prestigious ranks are obtained by highly qualified soldiers with extensive military experience .

Military ranks for officers

military rank army officer

Officers have high ranks and high responsibilities . In ascending hierarchical order, the military ranks granted to Officers are those of Midshipmen, Second Lieutenants, Lieutenants, Captains, Commanders, Lieutenant-Colonels and Colonels.

Officers are responsible for regimental traditions and guarantors of order in the troops. They must maintain order and execute tasks, prepare for combat as well as train new recruits .

Thus, Officers have many skills and are both instructors and educators.

Military ranks for non-commissioned officers

military non-commissioned officer

Formerly called non-commissioned officers, the name of these soldiers was modified after the evolution of morals to adopt a less derogatory term: that of Non-Commissioned Officers . Non-commissioned officers are Sergeants, Chief Sergeants, BM2 Chief Sergeants, Warrant Officers, Chief Warrant Officers and Majors.

The military rank of Sergeant-Chef is also called Marshal of the Logis Chefs. The Sergeant is also known as the Logis Marshal because he was formerly responsible for the stables. The rank of gendarme , specific to the National Gendarmerie, is hierarchically between that of Sergeant and that of Chief Sergeant.

NCOs supervise Officers in carrying out tasks and maintaining order. For example, Warrant Officers manage the transmission and logistical operations of the armies. They also have responsibilities, notably the execution of unforeseen orders.

For a little history, know that the military rank of Major is quite recent. It was created in 1972 for use as a functional distinction.

Military ranks for enlisted soldiers

soldier military rank

Rank-and-file soldiers are also called “ low-ranking officers”. In ascending hierarchical order, we find soldiers, privates 1st class, corporals, master corporals and master corporals 1st class. The Chief Corporal is also called Chief Brigadier. The Corporal, for his part, is also called Brigadier.

Please note that non-commissioned soldiers do not have military ranks , but distinctions acquired through experience and seniority . Thus, the 1st class Master Corporal must have signed a service contract of more than 11 years. He can be appointed Master Corporal from the first day of his twelfth year.

Military ranks and military stripes

Military ranks are distinguished by stripes. It is a distinctive sign colored according to the rank of the soldier and his weapon. Gold and silver stripes are reserved for Officers and NCOs. Gold is worn by infantry, artillery, engineers, marines and signal troops. As for money, it is carried by cavalry, train and equipment as well as by hunters on foot.

Please note that certain weapons can carry both gold and silver: these are the Foreign Legion , the ALAT (Light Aviation of the Army), the cavalry or the technical and administrative corps.

Additional details regarding civilian firefighters, police officers and foresters and environmental officials

military firefighter rank

Civilian firefighters have ranks and a hierarchy similar to that of the Army. Namely, the rank of Major does not exist among firefighters. They have silver or white stripes depending on their distinction. A distinction is also made on their helmet and coat thanks to a band of colors: orange for enlisted men, yellow for non-commissioned officers and white for officers. Despite these similarities, they are not considered military.

Police officers, foresters, customs officials and environment officials also have a rank hierarchy system similar to that of the Army.

Do you want to join the French Army ? Discover our article onjoining the army and join the troops!

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