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Those who enter the military after attending college enter in as officers, instead of as enlisted members. There are two different leader ranks in the Navy: Admiral and Officer. In the Navy, officer ranks include commissioned officers and warrant officers. Their commission charges them with specific duties and responsibilities depending on their rank. Different pins associated with each rank distinguishes these different ranks. Below is a list of the Officer ranks in the Navy.


Warrant Officers

There are four different levels within the warrant officer rank: CWO2, CWO3, CWO4, and CWO5. All of these positions require applying technical and leadership skills to the position and focus less on management functions. To apply to be a Warrant Officer, you must be a senior enlisted officer. This rank has at least 13 years of enlisted service, meaning they have a wealth of experience. When at sea, the Navy uses them to supervise maintenance and repair on all different types of equipment. This position also supports communication in all levels through the chain of command.



This rank is held by those who have graduated from the Naval Academy, Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, Officer Candidate School and other commissioning sources. Most Ensigns are in school training for their warfare and staff specialties. Others are serving in the Fleet as Division Officers.


Lieutenant, Junior Grade

After approximately two years serving as an Ensign, members are promoted to a Junior Grade Lieutenant. Some officers are still in school, learning their specialty at the time of their promotion.



Typically, a Lieutenant serves as a Division Officer, or service head if on a smaller ship, submarine or aircraft squadron. For some commands, senior Lieutenants serve as a Department Head. On SEAL teams, Lieutenants, Junior Grade Lieutenants and Ensigns serve as Platoon Leaders.


Lieutenant Commander

A Lieutenant Commander serves as the Executive Officer or Department Head of a ship, submarine or aircraft squadron. Some Lieutenant Commanders act as the Commanding Officer of a Patrol Craft or Minesweeper.



A Commander is a Senior Officer and may oversee a Destroyer, Frigate, Fast Attack Submarine, Aviation Squadron, Smaller Amphibious Ship or SEAL team.



In the Navy, a Captain will serve as the Commanding Officer over Major Commands, like Aircraft Carriers, Destroyer Squadrons, Carrier Air Wings, Amphibious Assault Ships, Submarine Squadrons, Ballistic Missile Submarines, SEAL Groups and major shore installations.