What is an E5 in the Army?

If you’re wondering what an E5 in the Army is, you’re not alone. Many people are curious about the different ranks in the military, and what they signify. Here’s a quick rundown on what an E5 in the Army is.

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Enlisted Ranks

In the Army, your rank not only indicates your pay grade, but also the amount of responsibility you hold.


In the United States Army, soldiers enter the service as an E1 (Private, pay grade of PVT). Advancement to E2 (Private First Class, pay grade of PFC) is automatic after 6 months of satisfactory service. Advancement to E3 (Specialist or Corporal, pay grade of SPC or CPL) is automatic after successful completion of either StandardLeaderCourse (for Specialists) or AdvancedLeaderCourse(for Corporals), and 12 months in their current rank. Advancement to E4 (Sergeant, pay grade of SGT), however, is not automatic; soldiers must compete for this rank via a promotion board. A soldier must have 24 months’ time-in-service in their current rank prior to being eligible to attend the promotion board for Sergeant.


The rank of E5 in the Army is the rank of Sergeant. Sergeants are responsible for leading and training a squad of soldiers (9-10). They are also in charge of handling military justice matters within their squad.

Officer Ranks

An E5 is a Junior Noncommissioned Officer in the United States Army. The paygrade for an E5 is E-5. The E5 rank is divided into two ranks: Sergeant and Staff Sergeant. A Sergeant is typically a squad leader, while a Staff Sergeant is typically a platoon sergeant.


The officers in the United States Army range from Second Lieutenant (O-1) to General of the Army (O-10).

The table below lists all of the current officer ranks in the Army, from lowest to highest. Keep in mind that commissioned officer status is generally only attained after completing Officer Candidate School (OCS) or completing a degree at a service academy, such as West Point.

O1 – Second Lieutenant
O2 – First Lieutenant
O3 – Captain
O4 – Major
O5 – Lieutenant Colonel
O6 – Colonel
O7 – Brigadier General
O8 – Major General
O9 – Lieutenant General
O10 – General of the Army


The “O” in O5 stands for “Officer.” An O5 is a senior-level officer in the Army, Marines, Navy or Air Force. The “5” denotes the paygrade — it’s equivalent to a colonel in the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force, and to a captain in the Navy.

Warrant Officer Ranks

In the United States Army, a warrant officer (WO) is a senior officer rank, with the pay grade of W2, O1, O2, or O3. A warrant officer is an officer who is commissioned by a warrant from the president of the United States. The title of warrant officer is used in the U.S. Code of federal regulations, National Security Act of 1947, and other laws.


W1-W4: Warrant Officer Ranks

In the Army, a warrant officer is a highly specialized expert and leader. As a warrant officer, you’ll receive additional training and education that sets you apart from the enlisted ranks. You’ll also have the opportunity to lead other Soldiers and oversee critical Army missions.

There are four Warrant Officer ranks:
-Warrant Officer 1 (WO1)
-Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2)
-Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3)
-Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4)

Each rank has different responsibilities and requirements.


W5 is the second-highest warrant officer rank in the United States Army, just below CW5. A chief warrant officer 5 is a senior officer who has been appointed by the Secretary of the Army to serve in certain high-level positions within the Army.

Chief warrant officers 5 are considered to be experts in their field, and they are often responsible for training other soldiers and officers. In addition to their training and experience, CW5s also have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

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