We'll Give You Two Ranks, You Tell Us Who Outranks Whom


By: Gavin Thagard

5 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

It's early on a Monday morning, and you're rushing across base because you are about to be late reporting for work. Suddenly, you pass military personnel you don't recognize.

Keep yourself out of that position by knowing the military ranking system. Here's a quiz that will help you do just that. Why not give it a try? 

The United States military, as with any military, is built upon structure. One of the most important components of that military structure is the system of command. Knowing that structure can make your life on a military base much easier, no matter which branch you choose to join. 

If you're part of the military or just curious about military rankings, then here's a challenge for you. We'll give you two military ranks, and you pick who outranks the other. Are you up for the challenge?  Because this isn't the easiest quiz in the world! If you are, then get started and find out how much you really know about the military ranks!

Technical sergeant and master sergeant

The Continental Army nearly collapsed at the beginning of the war during the Battle of New York. Luckily, George Washington was able to lead one of the greatest retreats in U.S. military history.


Master sergeant and private first class

The Secretary of Defense is the head of the Department of Defense. The only branch they don't lead is the Coast Guard.


First sergeant and seaman

Veterans of the military are recognized on Veterans' Day. The date for the celebration is November 11.


Private and senior airman.

There have been 44 presidents of the United States. Of those, 31 have served in the military.


Lance corporal and private

The president of the United States is the commander in chief of the military. All decisions ultimately come down to their judgement.


Specialist and staff sergeant

The height of American nuclear weapons power was during the Cold War. Luckily, that nuclear arsenal has been cut back significantly over the years.


Staff sergeant and command master chief petty officer

America fought Britain in a second war after the American Revolution. That war is known as the War of 1812.


Sergeant major of the army and senior chief petty officer

George Washington trained his soldiers during the winter at Valley Forge. The soldiers were undersupplied and almost didn't make it through the cold.


Technical sergeant and master chief petty officer

The Confederate Army during the Civil War was led by Robert E. Lee. Lee was previously given a position in the Union Army until his home state of Virginia seceded​ from the Union.


Sergeant first class and sergeant major of the army.

George Bush, the father of George W. Bush, served in the United States Naval Reserve. He was shot down during WWII.


Command master chief petty officer and sergeant first class.

Wars are brought about by tribe mentality. With tribe mentality, an "us" versus "them" complex is created, resulting in one side having to lose.


Sergeant major and technical sergeant

When Texas sought to become part of the United States, it started a war with Mexico. The U.S. won the war, and negotiations included not only Texas but other Western territory.


Corporal and first sergeant

There are three categories for the employees of the military. Those categories are active duty, reserve and veterans.


Staff sergeant and airman first class

Over 600,000 soldiers died during the Civil War. That makes it the deadliest war in U.S. history.


Chief master sergeant and sergeant first class

Each soldier requires around 22 gallons of fuel per day. This is a significant increase from WWII, where they only used one gallon per day.


Sergeant and lance corporal.

There are five branches in the United States military. Those branches are the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard.


Staff sergeant and corporal

The U.S. military runs through fuel like water. They use nearly 1 billion gallons of fuel each year.


Petty officer first class and senior master sergeant

The robot, the "Beetle," could hold 2,000 pounds. However, it never saw any official action.


Corporal and airman

Parachute packs in the U.S. military come with non-lubricated condoms. However, those condoms are used to hold water.


Senior chief petty officer and sergeant major of the Marine Corps

During World War II, there was a supposed Japanese air attack over Los Angeles. Though the attack was false, there was a large artillery response from the United States military, apparently firing at nothing.


Chief petty officer and sergeant major

Only during five major conflicts has the United States declared war. The first time was during the War of 1812.


Staff sergeant and command chief master sergeant.

The United States Army owns a large portion of American land. If that land were combined together, it would be the 42nd largest state.


Private first class and seaman recruit

Most of the soldiers who died during the Civil War died of disease. WWII was deadlier in terms of soldiers who died during battle.


Petty officer third class and staff sergeant

The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest day in American history. During the battle, around 23,000 soldiers were killed or wounded.


Gunnery sergeant and chief master sergeant

Leading into the American Revolution, Britain had several conflicts going on elsewhere. The country's resources were stretched thin, which is one of the reasons the colonies won.


Chief master sergeant of the Air Force and master chief petty officer

The Department of Defense is one of the largest employers in the country. It employs more people than Walmart.


First sergeant and master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard

The Cold War, of course, pitted the United States against the USSR. It ended as the USSR dissolved in the early '90s.


Chief master sergeant and corporal

The last president to serve in the military was George W. Bush. He was part of the Texas Air National Guard.


First sergeant and petty officer third class

Dwight Eisenhower served as the 34th president of the United States. He was also the Supreme Allied Commander for the European campaign.


Master chief petty officer of the Navy and gunnery sergeant

War is viewed as an extension of politics. That's because they are waged by political entities.


Private first class and senior airman

The Department of Defense is housed in the Pentagon. The building for the Pentagon is characterized by its five-sided shape.


Private E-1 and airman

In 1968, North Korea captured a United States ship and held it captive. This was the only U.S. ship to ever be held captive in the 20th century.


First sergeant and staff sergeant

Two U.S. presidents earned the title of 5-star General. George Washington earned it after his death, while Dwight Eisenhower received​ the rank before becoming president.


Seaman first class and airman

The Department of Defense once used nearly 2,000 PlayStations to create a super computer. They considered it more cost-efficient.


Seaman apprentice and airman basic

In the '60s, the United States created a robot that was 26 feet tall. It was called the "Beetle."


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