Managing Your Business Like A Professional

Understanding Military Ranks and Insignia

by Sherri Robinson

Many people in the military proudly wear and display different pins, medals, and other marks of rank on their uniforms. If you're curious about what these different pieces mean, don't worry. It's actually fairly easy to understand.


The most basic type of rank insignia is the chevron. These are simply vertical cloth stripes that are sewn onto the military uniform or otherwise affixed to it. Just about everyone who joins the military will be given some type of chevron as part of their uniform. For this reason, chevron pieces are not typically valued as a collector's item. However, they can be purchased for creating costumes, restoring old uniforms, or for a variety of other purposes.

Oak Leaves

Unlike chevron pieces, oak leaves actually are a type of insignia valued by many collectors. While they are not rare, they are very lovely and decorative, which is why they are often purchased. No matter your reason for purchasing, you should know that the colors of the leaves actually represent the pay grade of the military member. Gold and silver oak leaves are representative of lower level pay grades and are typically some of the most common insignia you will find. This may or may not matter to you depending on your reason for purchasing, but with any insignia, knowing the relevant pay grade is wise.


Similar to oak leaves, stars are representative of various pay grades within the military. However, unlike oak leaves, stars do not change color based on rank or pay grade. Instead, the number of stars changes relevant to pay grade. Still, though, stars are a common purchase among collectors, costumers, and many others due to their decorative nature and patriotic appeal.


Some medals, pieces of insignia, and pins are not used anymore by the military or have only been granted in very rare historic circumstances. Be aware that this type of insignia can be collected or purchased, but it typically does have high prices. It's important to carefully research any purchase of vintage insignia to ensure it is legitimate and worth the money being spent.

People buy military insignia for all kinds of different reasons. This is actually just a small sampling of the many different types of STA BRITE Army Ranks available. No matter what type of insignia you choose to buy or why, however, it's important to know exactly what you're getting and whether or not it's suitable for your purposes. For best results, buy from a qualified and scrupulous retailer who specializes in this type of merchandise.