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Comparative military ranks of Korea refer to the ranks and insignia maintained by the three primary military powers on the Korean Peninsula, those being the Republic of Korea Armed Forces (South Korea), the Korean People's Army of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), and the military forces of the United States.

Most ranks of South and North Korea are identical, with some exceptions such as the supreme North Korean ranks.

In the South Korean armed forces, ranks fall into one of four categories: commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer, and enlisted, in decreasing order of authority. Commissioned officer ranks are subdivided into "Janggwan"-level officers (general ranks), "Yeonggawan"-level officers (Soryeong through Daeryeong), and "Wigwan"-level officers (Sowi through Daewi). All three branches (the Army, Navy, and Air Force) of the Armed Forces share the same titles of ranks in Hangul.

The following table lists the comparative ranks of Korea to include all titles and insignia.

(Note on romanization: In the article, all South Korean ranks are spelled accordingly with the Revised Romanization of Korean system; all North Korean ranks, McCune-Reischauer system without the breves and the apostrophe.)

Contents

Army

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General ranks

North Korean rank North Korean insignia South Korean rank South Korean insignia U.S. equivalent U.S. insignia
Dae Wonsu (대원수) No Equivalent N/A General of the Armies no official insignia
Wonsu (원수) Wonsu (원수) 원수.JPG General of the Army US-O11 insignia.svg
Chasu (Vice Marshall) No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A
Daejang (Senior Admiral) Daejang (대장) 대장.JPG General US-O10 insignia.svg
Sangjang (Admiral) Jungjang (중장) 중장.JPG Lieutenant General US-O9 insignia.svg
Jungjang (Vice-Admiral) Sojang (소장) 소장.JPG Major General US-O8 insignia.svg
Sojang (Rear-Admiral) Junjang (준장) 준장.JPG Brigadier General US-O7 insignia.svg

Officer ranks

North Korean rank North Korean insignia South Korean rank South Korean insignia U.S. equivalent U.S. insignia
Taejwa (Senior Captain) No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A
Sangjwa (Captain) Daeryeong (대령) 대령.JPG Colonel US-O6 insignia.svg
Chungjwa (Commander) Jungnyeong (중령) 중령.JPG Lieutenant Colonel US-O5 insignia.svg
Sojwa (Lieutenant Commander) Soryeong (소령) 소령.JPG Major US-O4 insignia.svg
Taewi (Captain-Lieutenant) No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A
Sangwi (Lieutenant) Daewi (대위) 대위.JPG Captain US-O3 insignia.svg
Chungwi (Lieutenant Junior Grade) Jungwi (중위) 중위.JPG First Lieutenant US-OF1A.svg
Sowi (Ensign) Sowi (소위) 소위.JPG Second Lieutenant US-OF1B.svg

Enlisted ranks

North Korean rank North Korean insignia South Korean rank South Korean insignia United States equivalent U.S. insignia
T'ŭngmu-sangsa (Chief Petty Officer) Wonsa (원사) 원사2.JPG Sergeant Major US Army E-9 SGM.svg
Sangsa (Petty Officer First Class) Sangsa (상사) 상사.JPG Master Sergeant US Army E-8 MSG.svg
Chungsa (Petty Officer Second Class) Jungsa (중사) 중사.JPG Sergeant First Class US Army E-7.svg
Hasa (Petty Officer Third Class) Hasa (하사) 하사.JPG Staff Sergeant US Army E-6.svg
Sanggŭp-pyŏngsa (Seaman First Class) Byeongjang (병장) 병장.JPG Sergeant US Army E-5.svg
Chungŭup-pyŏngsa (Seaman Middle Class) Sangbyeong (상병) 상병.JPG Corporal US Army E-4.svg
Hagŭp-pyŏngsa (Seaman Basic Class) Ilbyeong (일병) 일병.JPG Private First Class US Army E-3.svg
Chŏnsa (Seaman) Ibyeong (이병) 이병.JPG Private US Army E-2.svg
No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A Private (Basic) No Insignia

Air Force

General ranks

North Korean rank North Korean insignia South Korean rank South Korean insignia U.S. equivalent U.S. insignia
Wŏnsu (원수) Wonsu (원수) 원수.JPG General of the Air Force US-O11 insignia.svg
Taejang (대장) Daejang (대장) 대장.JPG General US-O10 insignia.svg
Sangjang (상장) Jungjang (중장) 중장.JPG Lieutenant General US-O9 insignia.svg
Chungjang (중장) Sojang (소장) 소장.JPG Major General US-O8 insignia.svg
Sojang (소장) Junjang (준장) 준장.JPG Brigadier General US-O7 insignia.svg

Officer ranks

North Korean rank North Korean insignia South Korean rank South Korean insignia U.S. equivalent U.S. insignia
Taejwa (대좌) No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A
Sangjwa (상좌) Daeryeong (대령) 대령.JPG Colonel US-O6 insignia.svg
Chungjwa (중좌) Jungnyeong (중령) 중령.JPG Lieutenant Colonel US-O5 insignia.svg
Sojwa (소좌) Soryeong (소령) 소령.JPG Major US-O4 insignia.svg
Taewi (대위) No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A
Sangwi (상위) Daewi (대위) 대위.JPG Captain US-O3 insignia.svg
Chungwi (중위) Jungwi (중위) 중위.JPG First Lieutenant US-OF1A.svg
Sowi (소위) Sowi (소위) 소위.JPG Second Lieutenant US-OF1B.svg

Enlisted ranks

North Korean rank North Korean insignia South Korean rank South Korean insignia United States equivalent U.S. insignia
T'ŭngmu-sangsa (특무상사) Wonsa (원사) 원사2.JPG Chief Master Sergeant E9a USAF CMSGT.svg
Sangsa (상사) Sangsa (상사) 상사.JPG Senior Master Sergeant E8a USAF SMSGT.svg
Chungsa (중사) Jungsa (중사) <!중사.JPG Master Sergeant E7a USAF MSGT.svg
Hasa (하사) Hasa (하사) 하사.JPG Technical Sergeant E6 USAF TSGT.svg
Sanggŭp-pyŏngsa (상급병사) Byeongjang (병장) 공군 병장.JPG Staff Sergeant E5 USAF SSGT.svg
Chunggŭp-pyŏngsa (중급병사) Sangbyeong (상병) 공군 상병.JPG Senior Airman E4 USAF SAM.svg
Hagŭp-pyŏngsa (하급병사) Ilbyeong (일병) 공군 일병.JPG Airman First Class E3 USAF AM1.svg
Chŏnsa (전사) Ibyeong (이병) 공군 이병.JPG Airman E2 USAF AM.svg
No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A Airman Basic No Insignia

Navies

Admiral ranks

North Korean rank North Korean insignia South Korean rank ROK Navy insignia U.S. equivalent USN insignia
Wŏnsu (원수) Wonsu (원수) 원수.JPG Fleet Admiral US Navy O11 insignia.svg
Taejang (대장) Daejang (대장) 대장 견장.JPG Admiral US Navy O10 insignia.svg
Sangjang (상장) Jungjang (중장) 중장 견장.JPG Vice Admiral US Navy O9 insignia.svg
Chungjang (중장) Sojang (소장) 소장 견장.JPG Rear Admiral (Upper Half) US Navy O8 insignia.svg
Sojang (소장) Junjang (준장) 준장 견장.JPG Rear Admiral (Lower Half) US Navy O7 insignia.svg

United States Navy and Korean Flag officers wear collar insignia identical to the Army and Air Force services in each respective nation.

Officer ranks

North Korean rank North Korean insignia South Korean rank ROK Navy insignia U.S. equivalent USN insignia
Taejwa (대좌) No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A
Sangjwa (상좌) Daeryeong (대령) 대령 견장.JPG Captain US Navy O6 insignia.svg
Chungjwa (중좌) Jungnyeong (중령) 중령 견장.JPG Commander US Navy O5 insignia.svg
Sojwa (소좌) Soryeong (소령) 소령 견장.JPG Lieutenant Commander US Navy O4 insignia.svg
Taewi (대위) No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A
Sangwi (상위) Daewi (대위) 대위 견장.JPG Lieutenant US Navy O3 insignia.svg
Chungwi (중위) Jungwi (중위) 중위 견장.JPG Lieutenant Junior Grade US Navy O2 insignia.svg
Sowi (소위) Sowi (소위) 소위 견장.JPG Ensign US Navy O1 insignia.svg

Enlisted ranks

North Korean rank North Korean insignia South Korean rank ROK Navy insignia United States equivalent USN insignia
(sleeve)
USN insignia
(collar)
T'ŭngmu-sangsa (특무상사) Wonsa (원사) 원사2.JPG Master Chief Petty Officer MCPO GC.png MCPO collar.png
Sangsa (상사) Sangsa (상사) 상사.JPG Senior Chief Petty Officer SCPO GC.png SCPO collar.png
Chungsa (중사) Jungsa (중사) 중사.JPG Chief Petty Officer CPO GC.png CPO collar.png
Hasa (하사) Hasa (하사) 하사.JPG Petty Officer First Class PO1 NOGC.png PO1 collar.png
Sanggŭp-pyŏngsa (상급병사) Byeongjang (병장) 해군 병장.JPG Petty Officer Second Class PO2 NOGC.png PO2 collar.png
Chunggŭp-pyŏngsa (중급병사) Sangbyeong (상병) 해군 상병.JPG Petty Officer Third Class PO3 NOGC.png PO3 collar.png
Hagŭp-pyŏngsa (하급병사) Ilbyeong (일병) 해군 일병.JPG Seaman E3 SM USN.png USN - Seaman.png
Chŏnsa (전사) Ibyeong (이병) 해군 이병.JPG Seaman Apprentice E2 SM USN.png USN - Seaman Apprentice.png
No Equivalent N/A No Equivalent N/A Seaman Recruit No Insignia No Insignia

United States Navy Chief Petty Officers and Petty Officer wear a naval rating badge, centered beneath the Petty Officer crow.

Enlisted members in the seaman grades may hold one of several junior designators to include Seaman, Fireman, Airman, Hospitalman, Dentalman, and Constructionman.

Marine Corps

United States Marine Corps officers, and their South Korean counterparts, hold rank titles and wear insignia similar to the Army service in each respective nation. Neither Marine Corps of the two nations maintains a five star General rank. The North Korean military does not maintain a separate Marine Corps as part of their armed forces although it does maintain two Amphibious Sniper Brigades as part of their Special Forces.

The various enlisted Marine Corps grades of the United States and South Korea are as follows.

Enlisted ranks

South Korean rank South Korean insignia United States equivalent U.S. insignia
Wonsa (원사) 원사2.JPG Sergeant Major USMC-E9-SGM.svg
Sangsa (상사) 상사.JPG Master Sergeant USMC-E8-MSG.svg
Jungsa (중사) 중사.JPG Gunnery Sergeant USMC-E7.svg
Hasa (하사) 하사.JPG Staff Sergeant USMC-E6.svg
Byeongjang (병장) 병장.JPG Sergeant USMC-E5.svg
Sangbyeong (상병) 상병.JPG Corporal USMC-E4.svg
Ilbyeong (일병) 일병.JPG Lance Corporal USMC-E3.svg
Ibyeong (이병) 이병.JPG Private First Class USMC-E2.svg
No Equivalent N/A Private No Insignia

Warrant Officer

All branches of the South Korean armed forces maintain a single Warrant Officer rank known as Junwi (준위). Warrant Officers fall in between non-commissioned and commissioned officers.

The rank is denoted by a gold collar pip and, in the case of the ROK Navy, a broken sleeve stripe. A Junwi may be considered to be a close equivalent to a Chief Warrant Officer in the United States armed forces.

The North Korean military does not maintain any sort of Warrant Officer positions.

South Korean rank South Korean insignia United States equivalent U.S. insignia
Junwi (준위) 준위.JPG Warrant Officer(One) US-Army-WO1.png

See also


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