Staff sergeant

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Staff Sergeant is a rank of non-commissioned officer used in the armed forces of several countries. It is also a police rank in some police services.

History of title

In origin certain senior sergeants were assigned to administrative, supervisory, or other specialist duties as part of the staff of a British army regiment. As such they held seniority over sergeants who were members of a battalion or company, and were paid correspondingly increased wages. Their seniority was indicated by a crown worn above the three sergeants' stripes on their uniform rank markings.

National variations


In the Australian Army and Cadets, the rank of staff sergeant is being phased out.[1] It was usually held by the company quartermaster sergeant or the holders of other administrative roles. Staff sergeants are always addressed as "Staff Sergeant" or "Staff", never as "Sergeant" as it degrades their rank. "Chief" is another nickname though this is only used for the company chief clerk (in some instances the chief clerk role can be filled by another non-commissioned rank (but not warrant officer) and still be referred to as "Chief"). A staff sergeant ranks above sergeant and below warrant officer class 2.


For further information, you may refer to Israel Defense Forces ranks.
IDF Rank: סמ"ר samar (staff sergeant)

In the Israel Defense Forces, soldiers are promoted from sergeant to staff sergeant (samál rishón) after 28 months of service for combat soldiers, and 32 months of service for non-combat soldiers, if they performed their duties appropriately during this time. Soldiers who take a commander's course may become staff sergeants earlier (usually after 24 months of service, or one year from becoming a commander). The rank insignia is composed of three clear-blue stripes (as is the rank of sergeant) with an embroidered fig leaf, a biblical motif, in the center of the rank insignia. Staff sergeants get a symbolic pay raise.

Israel Defense Forces ranks : נגדים חוגרים hogrim - enlisted
רב טוראי
Rav turai
סמל ראשון
Samal rishon
NATO  OR-2 OR-3 OR-4
Abbreviation טוראי
Private Corporal Sergeant Staff sergeant
Insignia IDF Ranks Private First Class.svg IDF Ranks Rav turai.svg IDF Ranks Samal.svg IDF Ranks Samar.svg
More details at Israel Defense Forces ranks & IDF 2012 - Ranks (, English)


A staff sergeant (SSG) in the Singapore Armed Forces ranks above first sergeant and below master sergeant. It is the second most senior specialist rank. Staff sergeants are addressed as "Staff Sergeant" or "Staff", but never "Sergeant".[2]

Staff sergeants may be appointed as company sergeant major if they are due for promotion to master sergeant.[citation needed] They are usually addressed as "CSM" in camp, although in the past they were referred to as "Encik", which is now used to address only warrant officers.

The rank insignia consists of two chevrons pointing up and three chevrons pointing down, with the Singapore coat of arms in the middle.[3]

Singapore Armed Forces specialist ranks
NATO rank code OR-5 OR-6
Insignia Army-SGP-OR-5a.svg Army-SGP-OR-5b.svg Army-SGP-OR-5c.svg Army-SGP-OR-6a.svg Army-SGP-OR-6b.svg
Rank Third sergeant Second sergeant First sergeant Staff sergeant Master sergeant
Abbreviation 3SG 2SG 1SG SSG MSG

United Kingdom

Rank markings of a Staff Sergeant in the British Army.

In the British Army, staff sergeant (SSgt or formerly S/Sgt) ranks above sergeant and below warrant officer class 2. The rank is given a NATO code of OR-7. The insignia is the monarch's crown above three downward pointing chevrons.

Staff sergeants can also hold other appointments, such as company quartermaster sergeant, and are usually known by that appointment if held. The equivalent rank in infantry regiments is colour sergeant, and holders are known by that title no matter what their appointment. In the Household Cavalry the equivalent rank is staff corporal.

British staff sergeants are never referred to or addressed as "Sergeant", which would be reducing their rank, but are referred to and addressed as "Staff Sergeant" or "Staff" ("Staff Jones", for instance) or by their appointment or its abbreviation. Quartermaster sergeants are often addressed as "Q". In most cavalry regiments, staff sergeants are addressed as "Sergeant Major", which is assumed to derive from the original rank of troop sergeant major.

Flight sergeant and chief technician are the Royal Air Force equivalents. Chief petty officer is the equivalent in the Royal Navy and colour sergeant in the Royal Marines.

United States of America

U.S. Army staff sergeant's arm badge
Staff sergeant insignia
U.S. Army

U.S. Marine Corps staff sergeant's arm badge
Staff sergeant insignia
U.S. Marine Corps

U.S. Air Force staff sergeant's arm badge
Staff sergeant insignia
U.S. Air Force

U.S. Army

Staff sergeant (SSG) is E-6 rank in the U.S. Army, just above sergeant and below sergeant first class, and is a non-commissioned officer. Staff sergeants are generally placed in charge of squads, but can also act as platoon sergeants in the absence of a sergeant first class. In support units, staff sergeants ordinarily hold headquarters positions because of the number of slots available for them in these units. Staff sergeants are typically assigned as a squad leader or company operations non-commissioned officer in charge at the company level, but may also hold other positions depending on the type of unit. Staff sergeants are referred to as "Sergeant" except in certain training environments and schools. The NATO code is OR-6.

The rank of staff sergeant in the U.S. Army, along with technical sergeant (renamed sergeant first class in 1948) and master sergeant, was created by Congress after the First World War.[4] In 1920 the Army combined several company/battery/troop level "staff" NCO ranks, including mess sergeant, supply sergeant, and stable sergeant, into the new staff sergeant rank. Staff sergeant, as did the ranks it combined/replaced, then ranked above sergeant but below first sergeant. At that time, sergeants served as section leaders, platoon guides, and assistants to platoon commanders (the position of platoon sergeant, nor a separate rank for the position, did not yet exist). In 1940, staff sergeant became the rank title of rifle platoon sergeants and in 1942 rifle squad leaders became staff sergeants, with platoon sergeants then being promoted to technical sergeants.

U.S. Marine Corps

Staff Sergeant (SSgt) is E-6 rank in the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC), just above Sergeant and below Gunnery Sergeant. A Marine Staff Sergeant is a staff non-commissioned officer rank. Staff NCOs are career Marines serving in grades E-6 through E-9. Together they are responsible to the commanding officer for the welfare, morale, discipline, and efficiency of Marines in their charge. This grade is normally achieved after 7 to 10 years in service. The NATO code is OR-6. In the combat arms units, a Staff Sergeant usually is billeted as a platoon sergeant for 30+ Marines. Staff Sergeants also serve as section leaders in crew-served weapons platoons (e.g., mortars, machine guns, anti-tank missiles) and in tank/armored vehicle platoons under a Gunnery Sergeant serving as platoon sergeant. They may also be tasked as a company gunnery sergeant, or a platoon commander if required. They are the senior tactical advisor to a platoon commander by virtue of time in service, previous deployments, and experience and are responsible for the proficiency, training and administrative issue of his or her Marines. They are referred to by their complete rank (i.e. "Staff Sergeant Jones" or simply "Staff Sergeant," with the abbreviation "SSgt").

The rank of Staff Sergeant in the USMC was created in 1923 to coincide with the U.S. Army's ranks.[5] Until the end of WW2, the insignia of platoon sergeant was three chevrons and a rocker, with Staff Sergeant having a horizontal stripe instead of a rocker below the chevrons. After the separate rank of Platoon Sergeant was eliminated, the Staff Sergeant rank switched over to the rocker insignia and Staff Sergeants held the platoon sergeant's billet.

U.S. Air Force

Staff sergeant (SSgt) is E-5 in the U.S. Air Force. It ranks just above senior airman and below technical sergeant. It is the Air Force's first non-commissioned officer rank, as well as the first Air Force rank to which promotion is attained on a competitive basis. Sergeants, also known in Air Force jargon as "buck sergeant"', no longer exist, having been eliminated in the 1990s after sharing the same pay grade with that of the rank of senior airman (E-4). Staff sergeants are expected to be technically proficient and function as first-line supervisors within a 'work center'. After being selected for promotion, senior airmen must attend Airman Leadership School, which teaches them basic leadership skills and how to write performance reports to become staff sergeant. The term of address is "Staff Sergeant" or "Sergeant". High year of tenure was reduced from 20 to 15 years in 2013.

Cadet staff sergeant

The rank of cadet staff sergeant (CSSG or C/SSgt) is used by many cadet organisations around the world, including the Army Cadet Force and the Army Section of the Combined Cadet Force in the United Kingdom, and the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps pre-commissioning programs on college and university campuses, the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs in U.S. high schools, and the Civil Air Patrol cadet program.

Police rank

The rank of 'staff sergeant' is used in some police forces to indicate a senior supervisor. The rank is commonly used, for example, in most Canadian police services, and in the Hong Kong Police Force. Other national police services (for example, Cyprus) have a corresponding rank of 'senior sergeant'. In the United Kingdom, the equivalent police rank for more than a century was 'Station sergeant', using the same rank markings as an army 'staff sergeant'. Station sergeants were first appointed in 1890, and the final appointment in a mainstream British police force was in 1989. The rank is still used in at least one of the British specialist police forces, the Port of Felixstowe Police.

Other uses

A number of other organisations, basing their structure on military ranks, have historically used, or still use, the rank of 'staff sergeant'. The rank of staff sergeant was, for example, phased out of the rank structure of St John Ambulance (England and the Islands) in the early 1990s.

See also


  2. "SAF Military Ranks – Specialists".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Singapore Armed Forces ranks
  4. A Short History of the NCO
  5. "World War II era Marine Corps enlisted ranks".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links