Service members in pay grades E-1 through E-3 are usually either in some kind of training status or on their initial assignment. The training includes the basic training phase where recruits are immersed in military culture and values and are taught the core skills required by their service component.
Visit Web Specials on Basic Training: Army/Marines and AF/Navy
Basic training is followed by a specialized or advanced training phase that provides recruits with a specific area of expertise or concentration. In the Army and Marines, this area is called a military occupational specialty; in the Navy it is known as a rate; and in the Air Force it is simply called an Air Force specialty.
ARMY — * For rank and precedence within the Army, specialist ranks immediately below corporal. Among the services, however, rank and precedence are determined by pay grade.
NAVY/COAST GUARD — *A specialty mark in the center of a rating badge indicates the wearer's particular rating. ** Gold stripes indicate 12 or more years of good conduct. *** 1. Master chief petty officer of the Navy and fleet and force master chief petty officers. 2. Command master chief petty officers wear silver stars. 3. Master chief petty officers wear silver stars and silver specialty rating marks
The U.S. Coast Guard is a part of the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime and the Navy in times of war. Coast Guard rank insignia are the same as the Navy except for color and the seaman recruit rank, which has one stripe.