Although military rank is abbreviated differently among the service branches, AP Style standardizes all military titles. The standardization provides consistency and helps avoid confusion.

Rank is only capitalized and abbreviated when it precedes a person’s name and becomes part of that person’s title.

Gen. Hartzog gave a Greater Issues address.

The general walked up to the podium.

Army and Air Force

RankTitle Abbreviation
GeneralGen.
lieutenant generalLt. Gen.
major generalMaj. Gen.
brigadier generalBrig. Gen.
ColonelCol.
lieutenant colonelLt. Col.
MajorMaj.
CaptainCapt.
first lieutenant1st Lt.
second lieutenant2nd Lt.
chief warrant officer five (CW5)Chief Warrant Officer 5
chief warrant officer four (CW4)Chief Warrant Officer 4
chief warrant officer three (CW3)Chief Warrant Officer 3
chief warrant officer two (CW2)Chief Warrant Officer 2
warrant officer (W01)Warrant Officer
sergeant major of the ArmySgt. Maj. of the Army
command sergeant majorCommand Sgt. Maj.
sergeant majorSgt. Maj.
first sergeant1st Sgt.
master sergeantMaster Sgt.
sergeant first classSgt. 1st Class
staff sergeantStaff Sgt.
SergeantSgt.
CorporalCpl.
SpecialistSpc.
private first classPfc.
PrivatePvt.

Navy and Coast Guard

RankTitle Abbreviation
Admiral Adm.
vice admiralVice Adm.
rear admiral upper halfRear Adm.
rear admiral lower halfRear Adm.
CaptainCapt.
commanderCmdr.
lieutenant commanderLt. Cmdr.
lieutenantLt.
lieutenant junior gradeLt. j.g.
EnsignEnsign
chief warrant officerChief Warrant Officer
master chief petty officer of the NavyMaster Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
master chief petty officerMaster Chief Petty Officer
senior chief petty officerSenior Chief Petty Officer
chief petty officerChief Petty Officer
petty officer first classPetty Officer 1st Class
petty officer second classPetty Officer 2nd Class
petty officer third classPetty Officer 3rd Class
SeamanSeaman
seaman apprenticeSeaman Apprentice
seaman recruitSeaman Recruit

Marine Corps

Ranks and abbreviations for commissioned officers are the same as those in the Army. Warrant officer ratings follow the same system used in the Navy. There are no specialist ratings.