Cadet Ranks

Cadet Ranks

Most people know the ranks in the military, but few know Cadet ranks. Depending on what academy or program you are going through, you may encounter any number of ranks. If you are going through an Army program,  your everyday language will suddenly be filled with the words, "Sergeant," or "Sir." If you are going through a Naval program you will grow accustomed to "Petty Officer," or "Ensign."

So here you go, simple, plain, and easy, what you need to call someone if they are the corresponding rank:

ROTC Programs


Image from University of Hawaii Army ROTC

PVT: Private                                     SFC: Sergeant First Class
PFC: Private First Class                    MSG: Master Sergeant
CPL: Corporal                                  1SG: First Sergeant
SGT: Sergeant                                 SGM: Sergeant Major
SSG: Staff Sergeant                         CSM: Command Sergeant Major
2LT: Second Lieutenant                     MAJ: Major
1LT: First Lieutenant                          LTC: Lieutenant Colonel
CPT: Captain                                    COL: Colonel


Most times you will not call a fellow cadet by what their rank is. For any type of private, you will just call them by their last name. For any type of Sergeant up to a 1SG, you will call them Sergeant (last name). For First Sergeants and the Sergeant Majors, you will call them First Sergeant (last name) or Sergeant Major (last name). For any of the Sergeant ranks, it is normally acceptable to call the cadet by just their rank. For example, if you are speaking to SFC White, you can just call him Sergeant. For officers, the appropriate address is "Sir" or "Ma'am."

West Point Ranks


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At West Point, addressing other cadets follows the same guidelines as mentioned above.

Air Force Academy Ranks


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Most Air Force Ranks are the same as Army ranks, but here are a few that are different:

AMN: Airman            SSGT: Staff Sergeant                      TSGT: Tech Sergeant

At the Air Force Academy, addressing other cadets follows the same guidlines as mentioned above however Airman is an informal title for all cadets and is used in lieu of "private."

Naval/Merchant Marine Academy Ranks


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At the Naval and Merchant Marine Academy, addressing other cadets is a bit different from other cadet programs. You address other cadets either as "midshipman," "petty officer," or by their officer rank.

We hope this helps you in knowing how to address other cadets no matter what program they are going through. 

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