Marine Corps Ranks, Customs And Courtesies

Created by Commodore Tyler Malbrooke on Wed Oct 20th, 2021 @ 9:44pm

Marine Corps Ranks

NCO Enlisted

Sergeant Major

Lance Corporal

Lieutenant General

Master Sergeant

Private First Class

Major General

Gunnery Sergeant


Brigadier General

Staff Sergeant



Lieutenant Colonel



Marine Captain

First Lieutenant

Second Lieutenant

NCO = Non Commissioned Officer
Most of these are used when an enlisted or NCO is addressing an officer. However, they are also to be used when an officer of lesser rank is addressing a senior officer. Ranks displayed are in descending order.
Customs And Courtesies

  • When you see a vehicle with General Officer Stars or a Colonel Rank on hull or anywhere, you will salute the vehicle.
  • When talking to an officer of superior rank, stand at attention until ordered otherwise.
  • When an officer of superior rank enters a room, the first Soldier to recognize the officer calls personnel in the room to “attention” but does not salute. A salute indoors is rendered only when reporting.
  • When you are dismissed, or when the officer departs, come to attention and salute.
  • When speaking to or being addressed by a noncommissioned officer of superior rank, stand at parade rest until ordered otherwise.
  • When an NCO of superior rank enters the room, the first Soldier to recognize the NCO calls the room to “At ease.”
  • Walk on the left of an officer or NCO of superior rank.
  • When entering or exiting a vehicle, the junior ranking Soldier is the first to enter, and the senior in rank is the first to exit.
  • When outdoors and approached by an NCO, you greet the NCO by saying, “Good morning, Sergeant,” for example.

  • The Salute

  • The salute is not simply an honor exchanged. It is a privileged gesture of respect and trust among Soldiers. Remember the salute is not only prescribed by regulation but is also recognition of each other’s commitment, abilities, and professionalism.
  • The salute is widely misunderstood outside the military. Some consider it to be a gesture of servility since the junior extends a salute to the senior, but we know that it is quite the opposite. The salute is an expression that recognizes each other as a member of the profession of arms; that they have made a personal commitment of self-sacrifice to preserve our way of life. The fact that the junior extends the greeting first is merely a point of etiquette—a salute extended or returned makes the same statement.

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