Six-star rank

A six-star rank was a short-lived 1955 proposal for a special grade immediately superior to a five-star rank, to be worn by a proposed General of the Armies of the United States. The rank was also briefly considered near the end of World War II, just prior to the planned invasion of Japan, which would have potentially seen a six-star Admiral of Navy, equal to the then also proposed rank of General of the Armies and superior to five-star rank of Fleet Admiral.

6 Star
Sketch of a six-star insignia, based on designs in US Army files


On 21 January 1955, a draft resolution was proposed to the US Senate to authorize the then-US President Dwight D. Eisenhower to appoint Douglas MacArthur, then a five-star General of the Army, to the elevated rank of "General of the Armies of the United States in recognition of the great services to his country", with "such appointment to take effect as of the seventy-fifth anniversary of his birth, January 26, 1955."[1] The proposal had little chance of passing and was never voted on.[2] In books published decades later, a few authors described this proposed rank as a six-star rank.[2][3][4]

The rank of General of the Armies had previously been granted, in 1919, to active-duty four-star General John J. Pershing. As the five-star rank did not exist at that time, the concept of this being a six-star rank was moot. The markings used to identify Pershing's new ranking as higher than general was a bank of four gold (rather than silver) stars.

The rank of Admiral of the Navy was created for George Dewey in 1903, out of recognition for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish–American War, and the date of rank was made retroactive to 1899. In 1944, the U.S. Navy declared Dewey's rank to be senior to that of the newly created five-star rank of Fleet Admiral.

In 1976, as part of commemorations for the US Bicentennial, General George Washington was posthumously promoted to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States.[5] Although the law did not actually specify the number of stars,[6] some U.S. newspapers[7][8][9] and Members of Congress[10] described this as a six-star rank. His appointment had been to serve as "General and Commander in Chief of the Army of the United Colonies".[11][12]


George washington charles peale polk

Painting of George Washington showing three star insignia. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States in 1976

Orders 31-3

s:Order 31-3 for promoting George Washington to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States effective 4 July 1976

Douglas MacArthur 58-61

General Douglas MacArthur showing five-star rank insignia. A proposal in Congress (1955) that MacArthur be promoted to General of the Armies lapsed

Douglas MacArthur promotion order to General of the Armies

Proposed Congressional resolution authorising promotion of Douglas MacArthur to General of the Armies. Copy taken from his service record on file at the National Personnel Records Center

The only equivalent six-star flag officers in U.S. military historydagger and their chosen rank insignia
General John Joseph Pershing head on shoulders
US Admiral of Navy shoulderboard General of Armies insignia
daggerNot including George Washington

See also


  1. ^ US Senate Joint Resolution 26, 21 January 1955.
  2. ^ a b Weintraub, Stanley (2007). 15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals Who Saved the American Century. Simon & Schuster. p. 488. ISBN 9781416545934. A few MacArthur devotees in Congress, like Representative Martin, tried to organize support for honorary six-star rank for the general, but as that would have been a slap at Eisenhower, such legislation had no chance.
  3. ^ Foster, Frank C. (2011). United States Army Medal, Badges and Insignias. Medals of America Press. p. 19. ISBN 9781884452673. effort was made to reward General Douglas MacArthur, this time with specifying a six-star rank, but it never came to fruition
  4. ^ Korda, Michael (2009). Ike. HarperCollins. p. 190. ISBN 9780061744969. Congress would twice try to promote him from the new rank of General of the Army—a five-star general—to the unique rank of General of the Armies: a proposed six-star general.
  5. ^ Department of the Army Order 31-3, (13 March 1978). Department of the Army order to enact Public Law 94-479.
  6. ^ Dooley, Joseph (April 6, 2013). "Sunday Reflection: How the 'indispensable man' became America's only six-star general". Washington Examiner.
  7. ^ United Press International (October 12, 1976). "George Washington Wins Promotion to Six-Star Rank". Eugene Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. p. 7A. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  8. ^ "Washington Gets Star". The New York Times. October 13, 1976. President Ford signed today a bill that posthumously promoted George Washington to the rank of six-star General of the Armies
  9. ^ Kilian, Michael (August 5, 1976). "Foursquare opposed to a six-star Washington". Chicago Tribune. p. A2.
  10. ^ Dooley, Joseph (April 6, 2013). "Sunday Reflection: How the 'indispensable man' became America's only six-star general". Washington Examiner. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., ... noted, [Washington] is "the only six-star general in the nation's history."
  11. ^ Cont'l Cong., Commission for General Washington, in 2 Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 96-7 (Library of Cong. eds., 1905).
  12. ^ Cont'l Cong., Instructions for General Washington, in 2 Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 100-1 (Library of Cong. eds., 1905).
Admiral of the Navy (United States)

The Admiral of the Navy (abbreviated as AN) is the highest possible rank in the United States Navy. The rank is equated to that of a six-star admiral and is currently one of the two highest possible military ranks in the United States Armed Forces. The rank is an admiralissimo-type position which is senior to the rank of fleet admiral.

The rank has only been awarded once, to George Dewey, in recognition of his victory at Manila Bay in 1898. On March 2, 1899, Congress approved the creation of the grade of Admiral of the Navy. On March 3, President McKinley transmitted to the Senate his nomination of Dewey for the new grade, which was approved the same day. But McKinley's nomination had used the term "Admiral in the Navy," while the act creating the new grade had used "Admiral of the Navy." On March 14, 1903, this discrepancy was addressed when President Roosevelt nominated and the Senate approved Dewey to the grade of "Admiral of the Navy," retroactive to March 2, 1899. The Navy Register of 1904 listed Dewey for the first time as "Admiral of the Navy" instead of "Admiral."Though this clarified the grade's unique title, the precedence of the new rank was still considered "four star", equivalent to general in the army, in the US Navy Regulations of 1909. In the US Navy Regulations of 1913, perhaps in anticipation of legislation to authorize more admirals, the precedence of Admiral of the Navy had been set at the "five star" level, equivalent to a British field marshal or admiral of the fleet. More four-star officers were appointed after an act authorizing the temporary grade of admiral for three fleet commanders-in-chief was passed in 1915. In terms of insignia, Dewey appears in a photograph soon after his promotion wearing the sleeve stripes last worn by Admiral David Dixon Porter, which are the same as present-day admirals (one two-inch band with three half-inch stripes above). When a new edition of US Navy Uniform Regulations was issued in May 1899, the sleeve insignia for admiral was specified as "two strips of 2-inch gold lace, with one 1-inch strip between, set one-quarter of an inch apart." In the 1905 Uniform Regulations, a similar description was used but with the title "Admiral of the Navy." The collar and shoulder insignia were four silver stars, with gold foul anchors under the two outermost stars.

Comparative officer ranks of World War I

The following table shows comparative officer ranks of several Allied and Central powers during World War I. Not all combatant countries are shown in the table. For modern ranks refer to List of comparative military ranks.

See also: Comparative officer ranks of World War II


Dai-gensui (大元帥, grand marshal) was the highest rank of the Greater Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy from the 1870s to 1945, when the Empire of Japan was dissolved. The rank was only ever held by the Emperor of Japan as commander-in-chief of the Empire's Armed Forces and, separately, the highest ranking officer in each of the Armed Services. The rank was equivalent to a generalissimo or general of the armies and admiral of the navy, being a six-star rank senior to the rank of gensui ("marshal"). It formally became obsolete in 1947 when the Imperial Japanese armed forces were abolished.

Five-star rank

A five-star rank is a very senior military rank, first established in the United States in 1944, with a five-star general insignia, and corresponding ranks in other countries. The rank is that of the most senior operational military commanders, and within NATO's "standard rank scale" it is designated by the code OF-10.

Not all armed forces have such a rank, and in those that do the actual insignia of the "five-star ranks" may not contain five stars. For example: the insignia for the French OF-10 rank maréchal de France contains 7 stars; the insignia for the Portuguese marechal contains four gold stars; and many of the insignia of the ranks in the Commonwealth of Nations contain no stars at all.

Typically, five-star officers hold the rank of general of the army, admiral of the fleet, field marshal, marshal or general of the air force, and several other similarly named ranks. Five-star ranks are extremely senior—usually the highest ranks. As an active rank, the position exists only in a minority of countries and is usually held by only a very few officers during wartime. In times of peace, it is usually held only as an honorary rank. Traditionally, five-star ranks are granted to distinguished military commanders for notable wartime victories and/or in recognition of a record of achievement during the officer's career, whether in peace or in war. Alternatively, a five-star rank (or even higher ranks) may be assumed by heads of state in their capacities as commanders-in-chief of their nation's armed forces.

Despite the rarity and seniority of five-star officers, even more-senior ranks have been adopted in the United States, namely, admiral of the navy and general of the armies. Other names for highly senior ranks from the twentieth century include généralissime (France), generalisimo (Spain) and generalissimus (USSR).

Fleet admiral (United States)

Fleet admiral (abbreviated FADM) is a five-star flag officer rank in the United States Navy. Fleet admiral ranks immediately above admiral and is equivalent to General of the Army and General of the Air Force. Although it is a current and authorized rank, no U.S. Navy officer presently holds it, with the last U.S. Navy fleet admiral being Chester W. Nimitz, who died in 1966.

General of the Air Force

The General of the Air Force (abbreviated as GAF) is a five-star general officer rank and is the highest possible rank in the United States Air Force. General of the Air Force ranks immediately above a general and is equivalent to General of the Army in the United States Army and Fleet Admiral in the United States Navy. The rank has been held only once in history, by General Henry H. Arnold, who served as head of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.

General of the Armies

The General of the Armies of the United States, or more commonly referred to as General of the Armies (abbreviated as GAS), is the highest possible rank in the United States Army. The rank is informally equated to that of a six-star general or Generalissimo and is one of the two highest possible military ranks in the United States Armed Forces.

The rank has been held only twice in history – by an active-duty officer (John J. Pershing), and by posthumous promotion to George Washington in 1976. The rank of General of the Armies is equivalent to the Admiral of the Navy and is senior to General of the Army, General of the Air Force, and Fleet Admiral.

General of the Army (United States)

General of the Army (abbreviated as GA) is a five-star general officer and the second highest possible rank in the United States Army. A General of the Army ranks immediately above a general and is equivalent to a Fleet Admiral and a General of the Air Force. There is no established equivalent five-star rank in the other federal uniformed services (Marine Corps, Coast Guard, United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps). Often called a "five-star general", the rank of General of the Army has historically been reserved for wartime use and is not currently active in the U.S. military. The General of the Army insignia consisted of five 3/8th inch stars in a pentagonal pattern, with points touching. The insignia was paired with the gold and enameled United States Coat of Arms on service coat shoulder loops. The silver colored five-star metal insignia alone would be worn for use as a collar insignia of grade and on the garrison cap. Soft shoulder epaulettes with five 7/16th inch stars in silver thread and gold-threaded United States Coat of Arms on green cloth were worn with shirts and sweaters.

The rank of "General of the Army" has had two incarnations. The rank was introduced in 1866, the year after the American Civil War. It was reserved for the single senior officer of the U.S. Army, was a four-star rank, and was held by three different individuals from 1866 to 1888. The rank was revived as the modern five-star rank during World War II, and may be awarded to more than one serving officer at a time. It was held by five different individuals from 1944 to 1981. A special rank of General of the Armies, which ranks above General of the Army, exists but has been conferred only twice, a four-star rank with unique gold (rather than silver) stars to World War I's John J. Pershing, and posthumously to George Washington, by proclamation 177 years after his death, with no specific star insignia designated.


Generalissimo ( JEN-(ə-)rə-LISS-im-oh) is a military rank of the highest degree, superior to field marshal and other five-star ranks in the states where they are used.

Generalissimus of the Soviet Union

Generalissimus of the Soviet Union (Russian: Генералиссимус Советского Союза; Generalissimus Sovyétskovo Soyuza) was a proposed military rank created on 27 June 1945, following the tradition of the Imperial Russian Army (the rank in question was held 4 times. The first was held by the Russian Statesman Aleksei Shein and the last was held by Count Aleksandr Vasiliyevich Suvorov ). It was granted to Joseph Stalin following World War II; however, Stalin refused to officially approve the rank and died with the rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union. It would have been the highest military rank in the Soviet Union.

Highest military ranks

In many nations the highest military ranks are classed as being equivalent to, or are officially described as, five-star ranks. However, a number of nations have used or proposed ranks such as generalissimo which are senior to their five-star equivalent ranks. This article summarises those ranks.

Lieutenant general (United States)

In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and the United States Air Force, lieutenant general (abbreviated LTG in the Army, Lt Gen in the Air Force, and LtGen in the Marine Corps) is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general. Lieutenant general is equivalent to the rank of vice admiral in the other uniformed services.

Marshal of Yugoslavia

Marshal of Yugoslavia (Serbo-Croatian: Maršal Jugoslavije / Маршал Југославије; Slovene: Maršal Jugoslavije; Macedonian: Маршал на Југославија, romanized: Maršal na Jugoslavija) was the highest rank of the Yugoslav People's Army (equivalent to field marshal), and, simultaneously, a Yugoslav honorific title.

Military rank

Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships in armed forces, police, intelligence agencies or other institutions organized along military lines. Military ranks and the military rank system define among others dominance, authority, as well as roles and responsibility in a military hierarchy. The military rank system incorporates the principles of exercising power and authority, and the military chain of command – the succession of commanders superior to subordinates through which command is exercised – constructs an important component for organized collective action.Usually, uniforms denote the bearer's rank by particular insignia affixed to the uniforms. Ranking systems have been known for most of military history to be advantageous for military operations, in particular with regards to logistics, command, and coordination; as time went on and military operations became larger and more complex, military ranks increased and ranking systems themselves became more complex.

Within modern armed forces, the use of ranks is almost universal. Socialist states have sometimes abolished ranks (e.g., the Soviet Red Army 1918–1935, the Chinese People's Liberation Army 1965–1988, and the Albanian Army 1966–1991), but they had to re-establish them after encountering operational difficulties of command and control.

Six star

Six or 6 Star(s) or star(s) can refer to:

Six-star rank, an extremely senior rank, rarely held

A grading of a hotel, restaurant, movie, TV, theatre or musical work or performance - see star (classification)

Six stars, central to the plot of RG Veda manga series based on Vedic mythology

Star (classification)

Stars are often used as symbols for ratings. They are used by reviewers for ranking things such as films, TV shows, restaurants, and hotels. For example, a system of one to five stars is commonly employed to rate hotels, with five stars being the highest quality.


Taewŏnsu (literally grand marshal, usually translated as generalissimo) is the highest possible military rank of North Korea and is intended to be an honorific title for Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. The rank is senior to that of wonsu (marshal). The title also exists in Chinese military history as dàyuánshuài (same Sino-Korean characters 大元帥), and was briefly taken by Sun Yat-Sen.

United States Army officer rank insignia

United States Army Officer rank insignia in use today.

Warrant Officers (WO) and Chief Warrant Officers (CW) in the US Military rank below officers but above officer candidates and enlisted servicemen. The first warrant officer rank, WO1 does not have a "commission" associated with it, instead having a "Warrant" from the Secretary of the Army. Warrant officers are allowed the same courtesies as a commissioned officer, but may have some restrictions on their duties that are reserved for commissioned officers. Warrant officers usually receive a commission once they are promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2), but are usually not referred to as "commissioned officers". WO-1s may be and sometimes are appointed by commission as stated in title 10USC.


Wonsu is a high military rank in the armed forces of North Korea and South Korea.

Star officer grades
By star ranks
By titles


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