Coast guard chief insignia

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U.S. Coast Guard Ranks & Insignia

Coast Guard Ranks & InsigniaUSCG ranks are comprised of four paygrade categories: Enlisted (E-1 through E-3), Petty Officers (E-4 through E-9), Warrant Officers (CWO-2 through CWO-3), and Officers (O-1 through O-10). The U.S. Coast Guard is unique in that it is part of the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and the Navy during wartime.

The letter and number represent the ratings and paygrade of the Seaman. Rank is different from the paygrade. It represents job duties and leadership responsibilities, as indicated by the corresponding insignia.

The U.S. Coast Guard maintains three missions in maritime security, safety, and stewardship. There are a variety of career opportunities for Seaman to explore in the nine districts in the United States.

Enlisted Ranks & Insignias

Seaman Recruit (SR/E-1)

Seaman Recruit is an entry-level position. The Seaman enters their initial assignment and holds a training status. The SR is responsible for familiarizing themselves with the Coast Guard’s culture and core skills during this time. There is no insignia under this rank.

Seaman Apprentice (SA/E-2)

After four months, the Seaman will typically advance to Seaman Apprentice formerly known as Seaman Second Class. SA post to their first assignment at a Class “A” School or “striker” program (on-the-job training). There is no rating assigned yet, but the rank holds an insignia with corresponding colors based on the assigned group: white for deck and administrative, red for Fireman or engineering and hull, and green for Airman or aviation.

Seaman (SN/E-3)

For Seaman working on deck, duties can include maintenance and repairs, stores administration, lookout, emergency security, and training under higher enlisted Seaman. Job responsibilities may differ according to the assigned group, but generally, the SN’s job is to gain skills at Class A or specialty school.

Petty Officers Ranks & Insignias

Petty Officer Third Class (PO3/E-4)

Petty Officer Third Class is the lowest rank of non-commissioned officer. The PO3 increasingly refines technical, specialty, and leadership skills. Their now assigned ratings are given a special abbreviated rating (e.g., Yeoman Third Class/deck and administrative.) PO3’s follow a “High Year Tenure” track which limits the PO3 to eight years before they must advance to Second Class or be subject to involuntary separation from active duty.

Petty Officer Second Class (PO2/E-5)

Petty Officer Second Class holds dual responsibilities in leadership and technical roles. Like PO3, Petty Officer Second Class can act as law enforcement or a federal customs officer. They are subject to “High Year Tenure” as well, and have a total of 14 years to complete advancement requirements or be involuntarily separated from active duty.

Petty Officer First Class (PO1/E-6)

Petty Officer First Class is the third junior non-commissioned officer rank. The PO1 becomes increasingly proficient in their technical specialty. The Petty Officer First Class works towards a two or four-year undergraduate degree at a “C” School.

Chief Petty Officer (CPO/E-7)

Chief Petty Officer is thought to be an important advancement in an enlisted Coast Guard career. CPOs are proficient technical specialists and typically placed on cutters (decked vessels) and boats. As leaders, they carry out administrative and leadership duties.

Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO/E-8)

Senior Chief Petty Officer is also known as “Senior Chief.” Job responsibilities are similar to that of the CPO but assume more authority in administrative, leadership, and technical tasks. SCPOs are expected to lead and train junior officers, as well as have extensive knowledge beyond their specialty.

Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO/E-9)

Master Chief Petty Officer is the ninth and highest enlisted rank. Master Chiefs are experts in their field specialty. Promotion from this point forward is highly competitive. MCPOs can apply for the Command Master Chief Petty Officer Program to continue to refine their leadership skills and prepare them for larger roles within the USCG.

Fleet/Command Master Chief Petty Officer (CMC/E-9)

Command Master Chief Petty Officer holds a senior listed rank at a command level. The CMC acts as a liaison between the enlisted and command or commissioned officers. CMCs typically assist with issues surrounding discipline, training, technical challenges, and morale.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG/E-9)

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard is the highest senior rank and acting voice and representative of sailors. The MCPOCG travels and observes, gaining insight into the current state of each unit. Command depends on the MCPOCG to help correct or establish policies, entitlements, and training to ensure the well-being of enlisted personnel.

Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/ SEAC

The Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the main advisor to the chairman and plays a pivotal role in decision-making for the enlisted joint force. The role was originally created in 2005.

Warrant Officers Ranks & Insignias

Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CWO2/W-2)

Achieving the Chief Warrant Officers 2 position requires board selection and eight years of service within the NCO ranks (E-6 through E-9.) Once appointed, the CWO2 fulfills one specialty out of twenty-one (i.e., Diving Specialist, Intelligence System Specialist, Personnel Administration, Weapons, etc.)

Chief Warrant Officer 3/4 (CWO3/CWO4/W-3/W-4)

Advancement in CWO3 and CWO4 occurs over time. CWOs are eligible to apply to the Chief Warrant Officer to Lieutenant Program. If accepted, a CWO can make O-3E rank.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CWO5/W-5)

Currently not in use.

Officers Ranks & Insignias

Ensign (ENS/O-1)

Ensigns are considered junior rank commissioned officers. The full commitment to service is three years upon the receipt of commission. Ensigns are assigned onboard at division and will typically lead a group of petty officers and enlisted personnel.

Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG/O-2)

Lieutenant Junior Grade is the second junior rank above Ensign and is also known by the colloquial name, “JayGee.” The LTJG’s role is billeted division officer onboard a ship in their specialty but may also hold many job roles due to the multi-faceted mission of the USCG. LTJGs can progress forward in their careers by completing formal education courses in their technical areas of expertise.

Lieutenant (LT/O-3)

Lieutenant is the highest junior officer rank. LTs focus on further developing their rating skills at their assigned posting. Their time on board may be spent advising the junior enlisted ranks (E-1 through E-3) and petty officers, as well as maintaining, servicing and organizing.

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR/O-4)

The Lieutenant Commander is the fourth commissioned officer rank and holds a multi-mission of both maritime law and law enforcement. LCDRs are usually in command of smaller vessels, and an expert in their specialty. Promotion may be achieved by refining technical and operational skills, as well as completing educational courses.

Commander (CDR/O-5)

Commander is the fifth-highest officer rank and reports to the Sector Commander. CDRs lead units on small vessels or cutters to carry out tactical missions including search and rescue, law enforcement, and homeland security and protection of the marine environment.

Captain (CAPT/O-6)

Captain is considered a senior officer rank and practices a high level of authority due to the Coast Guard’s small service. CAPT will usually hold command of a large vessel, aircraft, or other senior posts. Advancing from this position is difficult and requires an exceptional leadership history.

Rear Admiral Lower Half (RDML/O-7)

Rear Admiral Lower Half is a one-star flag officer and equivalent to brigadier-general in other military branches. RDMLs typically serve as District Commander in charge of several sectors along the coastline or command of a small fleet. The Rear Admiral Lower Half term is approximately five years unless reappointed.

Rear Admiral Upper Half (RADM/O-8)

The Rear Admiral Upper Half is a two-star flag officer. Similar to the Rear Admiral Lower Half, the RADM commands a large fleet off the coastline. RADMs hold superior authority and experience and are ready to coordinate responses upon emergency in their sector.

Vice Admiral (VADM/O-9)

Vice Admiral is a three-star flag officer and designated to the office of the Vice-Commandment of the Coast Guard. VADM is second in command directly overseeing the mission of operational areas. The term ranges from three to four years long.

Admiral (ADM/O-10)

Admiral is the highest USCG rank in peacetime and is designated a four-star flag on their insignia. Admirals have the greatest responsibility, overseeing the entire operation of more than 41,000 active-duty personnel. Command of the Coast Guard reports directly to the President of the United States.

Fleet Admiral (FADM/OF-10)

Fleet Admiral is a rank maintained by the U.S. Navy. The designated insignia holds five stars. There is currently no Fleet Admiral as of now or ever since the 1940s.


United States Coast Guard » Rank Structure & Insignia

United States Coast Guard Ranks In Order

This table of the United States Coast Guard ranks from lowest to highest shows the Coast Guard's rank structure from lowest to highest including rank insignia, abbreviation, and rank classification.

The United States Coast Guard has twenty four grades of enlisted seamen and officers, with most seamen enlisting at the entry-level rank of Seaman Recruit (SR, paygrade E-1). The highest rank achievable in the Coast Guard is Admiral.

Click any rank for detailed rank information including duties and responsibilities, promotion information, salary, and more.

History of the Coast Guard

The Coast Guard has changed names several times over its 200+ year history, but it is largely the same organization as it was in 1790 as the Revenue Marine. Uniforms, culture, and professions are very similar to the Navy, but the mission is different. While the Navy ensures freedom of navigation internationally, the Coast Guard does so for our nation's coasts through vessel inspections, law enforcement, drug and migrant interdiction, maintenance of navigation aids, environmental protection and research, ice operations, and search-and-rescue. Sailors of the Navy and Coast Guard have a high respect for each other, knowing that one can do what the other cannot.

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Coast Guard Petty Officer First ClassE-6 PO1(Previous)
Petty Officer First Class
E-7 Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Coast Guard
(Next)E-8 SCPOCoast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer
Senior Chief Petty Officer

Coast Guard Ranks » Chief Petty Officer Rank • CPO Pay • CPO Rank History • Promotion Information

Rank badge of a Chief Petty OfficerE-7 Chief Petty Officer - Chief Petty Officer - U.S. Coast Guard Ranks

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer

Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer

Coast Guard E-7Chief Petty Officer Coast Guard Military Ranks
ClassChief Petty Officer
TitleChief Petty Officer (last name)
Paygrade E-7 (DoD Paygrade)
OR-7 (NATO Code)
Basic Pay$3,114/mo

Chief Petty Officer is the first of the Coast Guard's Chief Petty Officer ranks, and the first rank with the Chief Petty Officer's enhanced duties and benefits. Like Petty Officers all Chief Petty Officers have a rating, or job, and their full operational title is determined by their rating; a Chief Petty Officer specializing as a Gunner's Mate, for example, is known by the full title of Chief Gunner's Mate.

Chief Petty Officer is the first Coast Guard rank that comes with vastly expanded powers and responsibilities over those of that below it. In addition to their rating's duties, a Chief Petty Officer is responsible for training junior officers and leading his division of sailors and petty officers.

In addition to enhanced responsibilities, Chief Petty Officers enjoy a wide variety of on-duty benefits far above anything received by Petty Officers or enlisted sailors. As well as a shipboard uniform similar to that of a commissioned officer, Chief Petty Officers enjoy private living quarters and access to the Chief's Mess, known in informal Coast Guard slang as the "goat locker", which is in reference to ship's livestock that used to be kept in the Chief's quarters for safekeeping. The Chief's quarters are exclusive and off-limits to all sailors, including officers, unless given specific invitation.

Promotion to Chief Petty Officer is an even more rigorous process then advancement to any of the Petty Officer ranks. In addition to specialty testing and commander recommendation, candidates must successfully pass a review by their peers, the senior petty officers with which they have served. After a highly competetive selection process, successful candidates are inducted into the Chief's community by their new peers and commanding officers.

Chief Petty Officer is the 7th rank in the United States Coast Guard , ranking above Petty Officer First Class and directly below Senior Chief Petty Officer. A chief petty officer is a Chief Petty Officer at DoD paygrade E-7, with a starting monthly pay of $3,114.

How do you become a Chief Petty Officer?

A Chief Petty Officer is most often promoted from Petty Officer First Class (PO1), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience. Click here to learn more about promotion to Chief Petty Officer.

What is the proper way to address a Chief Petty Officer?

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The correct way to address a Chief Petty Officer named Mr. Garelick is "Chief Petty Officer Garelick", or written as CPO Garelick. In formal situations, a Chief Petty Officer should always be addressed by their full rank.

How much does a Chief Petty Officer earn?

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Basic pay for an entry-level Chief Petty Officer with 2 or less years of experience is $3,114.30 per month.

A Chief Petty Officer receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Chief Petty Officer's final compensation package.

In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including education allowance, clothing allowance, hostile fire pay, and more.

For full details on the Coast Guard's Chief Petty Officer compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2021 Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Pay Chart. A full table of the Coast Guard's current paygrades are available at the Coast Guard Pay Chart.

Patch of a Chief Petty Officer Equivalent Ranks to the Coast Guard's E-7 Chief Petty Officer

To learn more about the Coast Guard's rank structure, see our complete list of Coast Guard ranks.

The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a Chief Petty Officer is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Coast Guard rank to GS grade conversion table .

To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Coast Guard and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.


United States Coast Guard officer rank insignia

United States Coast Guard officer rank insignia describes an officer's pay-grade. Rank is displayed on collar devices, shoulder boards, and on the sleeves of dress uniforms.

Commissioned officer ranks[edit]

Commissioned officers in the Coast Guard are line officers, unlike the Navy, which has a staff corps to identify certain career fields. Coast Guard officers hold pay grades ranging from O-1 to O-10 and have the same rank structure as the Navy.[1][2] Officers holding the rank of ensign (O-1) through lieutenant commander (O-4) are considered junior officers, commanders (O-5) and captains (O-6) are considered senior officers, and rear admirals (O-7) through admirals (O-10) are considered flag officers. The Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard are the only members of the Coast Guard authorized to hold the rank of admiral.[3]

The Coast Guard does not have medical officers or chaplains of its own. Instead, chaplains from the U.S. Navy, as well as officers from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps are assigned to the Coast Guard to perform chaplain-related functions and medical-related functions, respectively. These officers wear Coast Guard uniforms but replace the Coast Guard insignia with that of their own service.[4]

The Navy and Coast Guard share identical officer rank insignia except that Coast Guard officers wear a gold Coast Guard Shield in lieu of a line star or staff corps officer insignia.

Warrant officer ranks[edit]

U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer specialty insignia worn on the collar and shoulder boards (depicted left)

Highly qualified enlisted personnel in pay grades E-6 through E-9 with a minimum of eight years' experience can compete each year for appointment as warrant officers (WO). Successful candidates are chosen by a board and then commissioned as chief warrant officer two (CWO2) in one of twenty-one specialties. Over time, chief warrant officers may be promoted to chief warrant officer three (CWO3) and chief warrant officer four (CWO4). The ranks of warrant officer (WO1) and chief warrant officer five (CWO5) are not currently used in the Coast Guard. Chief warrant officers may also compete for the Chief Warrant Officer to Lieutenant Program. If selected, the warrant officer will be promoted to lieutenant (O-3E). The "E" designates over four years' active duty service as a warrant officer or enlisted member and entitles the member to a higher rate of pay than other lieutenants.[citation needed]

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary[edit]

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed auxiliary service of the Coast Guard. The unit does not use the Coast Guard rank system, but uses modified Coast Guard officer rank insignia to signify a member's position within the organization. For example, a Flotilla Commander wears insignia similar to a Lieutenant.

USCG Auxiliary officers wear silver braid insignia (referred to as "office insignia") instead of gold; with a "hollow" USCG shield above containing the letters "USCG" superimposed above a red "A" (to signify an appointed officer") or silver "A" (to signify an elected officer). Metal and sew-on insignia are identical to Coast Guard officer insignia, except that a red, blue, or black "A" is superimposed.

Auxiliarists generally do not use titles in direct address, with the exception of a few very senior leaders who are addressed as "Commodore."

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


Insignia coast guard chief


U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Michelle M. Roberts of ANT New York


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