The history of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) ranks dates back to the establishment of the Continental Marines in 1775. Over the years, the USMC rank structure has evolved and adapted to meet the changing needs of the organization. Devildogshirts crafted each of these Marine Corps Rank Challenge Coins to honor our US Marines and the ranks they hold and have earned.

Sergeant Rank Marine Corps Authentic Challenge Coin
Sergeant Rank Marine Corps Authentic Challenge Coin

In the early years, the rank structure of the USMC was relatively simple, with ranks such as Sergeant, Corporal, and Private being the most common. In 1859, the rank of First Sergeant was established to serve as a senior non-commissioned officer in charge of a company.

During World War I, the USMC rank structure was expanded to include new ranks such as Gunnery Sergeant and Master Sergeant. This expansion was necessary to accommodate the growing size and complexity of the organization.

In the post-World War II era, the USMC rank structure underwent further changes. The rank of Sergeant Major was established in 1948, and the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant was established in 1966.

Today, the USMC rank structure continues to evolve, with new ranks and titles being added and existing ranks being modified to meet the changing needs of the organization. However, the core principles and traditions of the USMC rank structure remain unchanged, reflecting the proud history and traditions of this respected military organization.

Enlisted Ranks:

  1. Private (E-1)
  2. Private First Class (E-2)
  3. Lance Corporal (E-3)
  4. Corporal (E-4)
  5. Sergeant (E-5)
  6. Staff Sergeant (E-6)
  7. Gunnery Sergeant (E-7)
  8. Master Sergeant (E-8)
  9. First Sergeant (E-8)
  10. Master Gunnery Sergeant (E-9)
  11. Sergeant Major (E-9)
  12. Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (SgtMajMC) – highest enlisted rank

Officer Ranks:

  1. Second Lieutenant (O-1)
  2. First Lieutenant (O-2)
  3. Captain (O-3)
  4. Major (O-4)
  5. Lieutenant Colonel (O-5)
  6. Colonel (O-6)
  7. Brigadier General (O-7)
  8. Major General (O-8)
  9. Lieutenant General (O-9)
  10. General (O-10) – highest officer rank


  • Infantry Marines: Serve as the backbone of the Marine Corps and engage in ground combat
  • Artillery Marines: Operate and maintain artillery systems to support ground troops
  • Armor Marines: Operate and maintain armored vehicles to support ground troops
  • Aviation Marines: Operate and maintain aircraft to provide air support to ground troops
  • Logistics Marines: Support the movement and supply of Marines and equipment
  • Communications Marines: Operate and maintain the communication systems of the Marine Corps
  • Medical Marines: Provide medical support to Marines and their families

Note: These ranks and roles are subject to change as the USMC continually adapts to meet its mission requirements.