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Navy

Navy SEAL Ranks

What is the Navy SEAL rank structure? Is it any different from the rest of the Navy?

Like any branch of the U.S. Military there is a command structure with plenty of different ranks.

Related Article: Navy Ranks and Pay For 2019

Here is a detailed breakdown of the ranks of the approximately 2,000 enlisted U.S. Navy SEALs that are led by an additional 500 Navy SEAL officers.

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Navy SEAL Enlisted Rankings
Navy SEAL Officer Rankings
Noncommissioned Officer Vs Commissioned
Junior Officer Vs. Senior Officer
Senior Officer Vs. Flag Officer

Navy SEAL Enlisted Rankings Structure

The following list contains Navy SEAL ranks and pay based on non commissioned and senior non commissioned officers.

This breakdown includes ranking insignia, abbreviation of ranking, overview of the role, and average monthly pay.

Related Article: Most Popular SEAL Cadences

First off, here’s a chart of Navy SEAL enlisted ranks:

InsigniaRankAbbreviationAvg. Pay (monthly)
E-3SN$2,005.83
E-4PO3$2,312.25
e-5 navy rankE-5PO2$2,775.50
e-6 navy rankE-6PO1$3,169.20
e-7 navy rankE-7CPO$4,021.35
e-8 navy rankE-8SCPO$5,017.50
e-9 navy rankE-9MCPO / CMCPO / MCPON$6,448.65

Seaman (E-3)

Abbreviation: SN

How they are identified:

navy seal seaman
The insignia of E-3. Image: www.Wikipedia.org

Rank overview: Seaman is considered the entry level of the U.S. Navy SEALs and the third lowest ranking among enlisted in the USN.

Navy Seaman (E-3) are classified as apprentices that remain in training. Most of them are already part of Fleet at the time of training.

Fleet E-3s have already earned basic qualifications and understand how to navigate a ship. The experience and knowledge is helpful in this entry-level role, as well as future placement in higher rankings.

Fleet Seamen will have a number of different responsibilities within their Division. As they provide basic maintenance and watch, Navy Seamen also prepare for the role of Petty Officers.

Average Monthly Pay: $2,005.83

Petty Officer Third Class (E-4)

Abbreviation: PO3

How they are identified:

navy seal petty officer first class
The insignia of Navy SEAL Petty Officer. Image: Wikimedia

Rank overview: By the time most members reach E-4 they have made it to Fleet. There are a few rare exceptions, but by now most are fully trained and prepared for general duties.

E-4s are the most junior of all Petty Officer ranks. Leadership and becoming self-sufficient are major priorities of this ranking.

Members are qualified to hold watch and may also conduct maintenance and repairs on certain equipment.

Petty Officers help mentor junior Seamen to help improve their leadership skills. E-4s will also begin to attend advanced schools to build upon other skills.

Average Monthly Pay: $2,312.25

Petty Officer Second Class (E-5)

Abbreviation: PO2

How they are identified:

navy seal petty officer 2nd class
The insignia of Petty Officer Second Class. Image: Wikimedia

Rank overview: The mid-grade E-5 operates between Petty Officers a First Class Petty Officers.

Skills continue to get enhanced in watch stations and maintenance. Mentoring is another big component of the role for junior Seamen and Petty Officers.

Leadership roles will continue to get expanded along with several important Collateral duties. E-5s are attending advanced schools and starting work on supervisory qualifications.

Average Monthly Pay: $2,755.50

Petty Officer First Class (E-6)

Abbreviation: PO1

How they are identified:

navy seal first class petty officer
First Class Petty Officer (E-6). Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: E-6s represent the highest grade of Petty Officers. They serve as Divisional leadership and delegate assignments.

First Class Petty Officers primarily oversee work and only execute the most difficult and complex tasks themselves.

Mentoring is a major part of their duty as they remain in charge of day-to-day operations. They receive consultation by a Chief Petty Officer (CPO).

Average Monthly Pay: $3,169.20

Chief Petty Officer (E-7)

Abbreviation: CPO

How they are identified:

navy seal chief petty officer
The insignia of Chief Petty Officer (E-7). Image: Wikimedia

Rank overview: Chief Petty Officers (E-7) are considered the heart of the “deckplate”, or ground-level leadership. The uniform resembles that of an officer, and thus are treated accordingly.

E-7s are very seasoned and knowledgeable. Their supervision includes supervision of all Petty Officers.

The training and mentoring of Junior Officers is the primary duty of E-7 Officers. The Officer and Chief work in close coordination during this training.

Each Chief represents his or her own Division or Department.

Average Monthly Pay: $4,021.35

Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8)

Abbreviation: SCPO

How they are identified:

navy seal senior chief rank
Senior Chief Petty Officer insignia. Image: Wikipedia

Rank overview: E-8s, or Senior Chief Officers are extremely seasoned and outstanding service members.

E-8s closely communicate with Department Heads as well as Chiefs.

Their primary responsibility is to train new Chiefs. E-8s are not nearly as present on the deckplate as E-7s.

Average Monthly Pay: $5,017.50

Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9)

Abbreviation: MCPO

How they are identified:

U.S. Navy SEAL Master Chief Petty Officer. Image: Wikimedia

Rank overview: Master Chiefs are the most seasoned members of the Chiefs Mess, or rankings E-7, E-8 and E-9.

Their voice is heavily considered in every discussion as they represent the largest Department on the ship.

Master Chiefs ensure communication, unity, and cooperation.

Average Monthly Pay: $6,448.65

Command Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9)

Abbreviation: CMDCM

How they are identified:

navy seal master chief
Master Chief Petty Officer insignia. Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: Command Master Chiefs are the leading Chief on ships or shore-based units.

They are a walking and talking example for the rest of the how the ship should conduct themselves. The example they establish is crucial.

The role is part of a “Command Team” that also includes a CO and XO.

Average Monthly Pay: $6,448.65

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (E-9)

Abbreviation: MCPON

How they are identified:

navy seal ranks
E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer Of The Navy insignia. Image: Wikipedia.org

Rank overview: The Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPON) represents the senior enlisted person in the Navy.

The position is the principal enlisted advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations.

The primary duties include addressing concerns and complaints of enlisted sailors throughout the Navy.

Average Monthly Pay: $6,448.65

Related Article: How to Join the U.S. Navy

Navy SEAL Officer Rankings Structure

The following list contains Navy SEAL officer ranks and pay based on junior, senior, and flag officers.

This breakdown includes the officer ranking insignia, abbreviation of ranking, overview of the role, and average monthly pay.

First off, here’s a chart of Navy SEAL enlisted ranks:

InsigniaRankAbbreviationAvg. Pay (monthly)
o-1 navy rankO-1ENS$3,426.75
o-2 navy rankO-2LTJG$4,167.50
o-3 navy rankO-3LT$5,315.10
o-4 navy rankO-4LCDR$6,143.70
o-5 navy rankO-5CDR$7,198.50
o-6 navy rankO-6CAPT$8,863.35
o-7 navy rankO-7RDML$10,522.50
o-8 navy rankO-8RADM$12,377.35
o-9 navy rankO-9VADM$14,967.60
o-10 navy rankO-10ADM$15,583.20

Ensign (O-1)

Abbreviation: 

How they are identified:

navy seal ensign
Ensign insignia. Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: An Ensign (0-1) represents the lowest ranking officer in the United States Navy. The rank is held for two years until the Officer is promoted to O-2.

Ensigns have a variety of different roles. They spend time earning the respect of their crew during this two year phase.

Fleet Ensigns are traditionally assigned a Division. They may manage anywhere from five to 50 different personnel.

Average Monthly Pay: $3,426.75

Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2)

Abbreviation: LTJG

How they are identified:

navy seal officer insignia
Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: Lieutenant Junior Grade holds this position for two years after progressing from Ensign.

O-2s may have already spend several months in the Fleet, or may start shortly after being promoted.

The responsibilities of an O-2 increase with the promotion. They are usually in charge of more soldiers and duties are more complex.

Average Monthly Pay: $4,167.50

Lieutenant (O-3)

Abbreviation: LT

How they are identified:

navy seals ranking structure
Image: Wikipedia.org

Rank overview: Lieutenants in the U.S. Navy SEALs is different than the role in the Army, Marines, and Air Force where they represent O-1 or O-2.

The expectations for an O-3 is high and is expected to be fully warfare qualified by this point in time.

Lieutenants are the principal mentors of Junior Officers and provide much of the training as well as direction.

Average Monthly Pay: $5,315.10

Lieutenant Commander (O-4)

Abbreviation:  LCDR

How they are identified:

navy seal officer ranks
Image: Wikipedia.org

Rank overview: O-4s are usually referred to as Lieutenant Commanders. An LCDR handles what is called “billets”, or jobs that vary based on the community.

O-4s are professionals that are assigned based on equivalent years of experience, offering quicker advancement.

Average Monthly Pay: $6,143.70

Commander (O-5)

Abbreviation: CDR

How they are identified:

navy seal o-5 insignia
Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: Commanders (0-5s) may command anything from a Destroyer to Submarine.

Commanding Officers are usually referred to as “Skipper” or “Captain”. The latter of which is only used for sea-going Commanders.

O-5s are specialized professionals with equivalent years of experience, much like 0-4s.

Average Monthly Pay: $7,198.50

Captain (O-6)

Abbreviation: CAPT

How they are identified:

navy seal o-6 insignia
Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: Captains (O-6) serves as the Commanding Officer of Major Commands. Certain ships, like an Aircraft Carrier, feature multiple O-6s.

Captains are assigned sea-going as well as shore-based roles. They are placed in varying political empowerment depending on their inherent “track” towards a flag position.

Average Monthly Pay: $8,863.35

Rear Admiral Lower Half (O-7)

Abbreviation: RDML

How they are identified:

navy seal o-7 insignia
Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: Rear Admiral Lower Half (O-7) oversee operations on ships. They work closely with Commanding Officers.

Overall planning and movement is a priority. They also oversee major shore-based commands too.

Average Monthly Pay: $10,522.50

Rear Admiral (O-8)

Abbreviation: RADM

How they are identified:

navy seal o-8 insignia
Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: Rear Admirals (0-8) handle many of the same responsibilities as O-7s though with a greater emphasis.

They are usually stationed on a ship and are able to speak with Commanding Officers directly.

Average Monthly Pay: $12,377.35

Vice Admiral (O-9)

Abbreviation: VADM

How they are identified:

navy seal o-9 insignia
Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: Vice Admirals are generally in charge of the highest Navy Commands. They also serve as deputies of Combatant or Geographic Commands.

Flag rank officers from any service may get selected for Joint Commands. An example of this would be AFRICOM.

Average Monthly Pay: $14,967.60

Admiral (O-10)

Abbreviation: ADM

How they are identified:

Navy SEAL O-10 insignia. Image: Wikimedia.org

Rank overview: Admirals (ADM) hold the highest position within Navy Commands, or Combatant or Geographic Commands.

Like O-9s, Admirals may get selected from any service for Joint Commands, such as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS).

Average Monthly Pay: $15,583.20

Related Article: How to Make Sure Someone is a Navy SEAL

Non Commissioned Officer Vs. Commissioned

Non-commission officers of Navy SEAL ranks structure hold lower positions than commissioned officers. Their roles and responsibilities are more limited.

They also receive less pay per month than most commissioned ranks. Commissioned officers have more training than non-commissioned officers, though non-commissioned members can eventually move up in ranking.

Junior Officer Vs Senior Officer

Senior Officers have more priority and higher ranking than Junior Officers, yet both still serve under the leadership of commission officers.

Junior Officers fill the lower ranks of units, usually answering to senior officers which help provide guidance and mentoring. The goal of Junior Officers is to progress to Senior Officers.

Senior Officer Vs. Flag Officer

Based on the Navy SEAL ranks and pay, Flag Officers receive better benefits than Senior Officers. They are both high ranking positions, though Flag Officers are considered the most elite.

They receive the most pay of any Navy SEAL member and have incredibly diverse and important responsibilities. Senior Officers are important in their own right, serving as Division Heads and other important roles.

Summary

As you can see, the ranking structure of the US Navy SEALs is identical to the rest of the Navy as a whole.

This also applies to the Navy’s elite SEAL team as well, often referred to as DEVGRU, or by it’s moniker SEAL Team 6.

If you have any questions on any of this, feel free to leave a comment below!

Navy SEAL Ranks
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Rob V.
Rob V.
Rob V. is the founder of OperationMilitaryKids.org. While he never actually served in the US Military, he has a passion for writing about military related topics. Born and raised in Woodbridge, NJ, he graduated from the New Jersey Institute Of Technology with an MBA in eCommerce. His hobbies include beach volleyball, target shooting, and lifting. Rob is also a commercially rated pilot with over 1,500 hours of flight time.

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