What is the Salary Structure for U.S. Military Ranks?

The United States military is an esteemed institution that relies on the dedication and commitment of its service members to safeguard the nation’s interests at home and abroad. Beyond the sense of duty and honor that comes with military service, it is essential to consider the financial aspects, particularly the salary structure. This article aims to provide an overview of the salary ranges for different ranks in the U.S. military.

Enlisted Personnel

Enlisted personnel form the backbone of the military and start their careers at various ranks. The salary for enlisted personnel varies depending on rank and years of service. For example, an E-1 (Private, Seamen Recruit, Airman Basic) receives approximately $1,917.63 per month, while an E-9 (Sergeant Major, Master Chief Petty Officer) can earn between $6,055.50 and $9,402.30 per month.

Warrant Officers

Warrant officers hold specialized positions and possess technical expertise in their respective fields. Their salary ranges differ based on rank and experience. A W-1 can earn between $3,399 and $5,873 per month, while a W-4’s salary details are not provided.

Officers (Commissioned)

Commissioned officers are responsible for leading and managing military units. As they progress in rank, their salaries increase accordingly. An O-1 (Second Lieutenant, Ensign) can earn between $3,286.50 and $4,819.10 per month, while an O-10 (General, Admiral) salary details are not provided.

Factors Affecting Salary

Several factors influence military salaries, including years of service, location, and special pay allowances. Years of service can lead to pay increases through promotions and longevity raises. Geographic location impacts salaries due to variations in the cost of living. Additionally, special pay allowances may be provided for hazardous duty, combat, or certain job assignments.

Benefits and Allowances

In addition to the base salary, members of the U.S. military receive a range of benefits and allowances. These include healthcare coverage, housing allowances, subsistence allowances, retirement plans, and educational assistance programs such as the GI Bill. These benefits add value to the overall compensation package for military personnel.


The U.S. military salary structure is designed to reward service members for their dedication, skills, and years of service. Enlisted personnel, warrant officers, and commissioned officers each have distinct salary ranges that reflect their responsibilities and ranks. It is important to note that these figures are approximate and subject to change based on various factors. Nevertheless, the military provides not only a fulfilling career but also competitive compensation and valuable benefits to those who serve.

Additional Details

Enlisted Personnel

E-1 (Private, Seamen Recruit, Airman Basic): $1,917.63 per month.
E-2 (Private Second Class, Seaman Apprentice, Airman): $2,149.20 per month.
E-3 (Lance Corporal, Private First Class, Airmen First Class): $2,259.90 – $2,547.60 per month.
E-4 (Specialist, Corporal, Petty Officer Third Class): $2,503.50 – $3,874.80 per month.
E-5 (Sergeant, Petty Officer Second Class): $2,730.30 – $3,874.80 per month.
E-6 (Staff Sergeant, Technical Sergeant): $2,980.50 – $4,616.40 per month.
E-7 (Sergeant First Class, Chief Petty Officer, Gunnery Sergeant): $3,445.80 – $6,193.50 per month.
E-8 (First Sergeant, Senior Master Sergeant, Senior Chief Petty Officer): $4,957.20 – $7,069.80 per month.
E-9 (Sergeant Major, Master Chief Petty Officer): $6,055.50 – $9,402.30 per month.

Warrant Officers

W-1: $3,399 – $5,873 per month.
W-2: $3,872.10 – $6,462.90 per month.
W-3: $4,376.40 – $7,676.40 per month.
W-4 (Coast Guard only): Salary details not provided.

Officers (commissioned)

O-1 (Second Lieutenant, Ensign): $3,286.50 – $4,819.10 per month.
O-2 (First Lieutenant, Lieutenant Junior Grade): $3,787.80 – $5,655 per month.
O-3 (Captain, Lieutenant): $4,861.80 – $7,340.40 per month.
O-4 (Major, Lieutenant Commander): $5,872.80 – $9,442.80 per month.
O-5 (Lieutenant Colonel, Commander): $6,925.50 – $11,154.30 per month.
O-6 (Colonel, Captain): $8,647.50 – $14,690.80 per month.
O-7 (Brigadier General, Rear Admiral Lower Half): Salary details not provided.
O-8 (Major General, Rear Admiral Upper Half): Salary details not provided.
O-9 (Lieutenant General, Vice Admiral): Salary details not provided.
O-10 (General, Admiral): Salary details not provided.


The salary figures provided in this article are approximate and based on information available up until September 2021. Actual salaries may vary based on factors such as time of service, location, and special pay allowances. It is advisable to consult the most recent official sources or contact military personnel offices for the latest salary information.






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