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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the United States Armed Forces, a six-star rank is a proposed rank immediately superior to a five-star rank, possibly to be worn by the General of the Armies or Admiral of the Navy; however, this correlation was never officially recognized by the military or by Congress.


As Congress was trying to create the rank of Fleet Admiral in 1944,[1][non-primary source needed] the Navy wanted to re-establish and elevate Admiral of the Navy to be equivalent to General of the Armies,[2][non-primary source needed] but they could not legally do so without a congressional act. The Navy's chief of naval personnel, Vice Admiral Randall Jacobs, testified before the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, recommending that the rank of Admiral of the Navy should be made equivalent to General of the Armies,[2] but a previous bill submitted for its re-establishment on 25 February 1944, failed to be passed into law.[2] Congress passed Pub.L. 78-482 on 14 December 1944, creating the rank of fleet admiral, without re-establishing the rank of Admiral of the Navy.[3][non-primary source needed]

Post–World War II

As such, the rank of Admiral of the Navy continued to be inactive. By 1955, the Navy concluded that the rank was honorary.[4] And while they held to the belief that it was equivalent to General of the Armies,[4] the Navy amended its regulations to establish fleet admiral as its highest achievable rank, adhering to the standard set by the law.[4]

On 21 January 1955, a draft resolution was proposed to the U.S. Senate to authorize the then-U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower to appoint Douglas MacArthur, then a five-star General of the Army, to be elevated to the "six-star rank" of General of the Armies of the United States in recognition of the great services to his country", with "such appointment to take effect as of the seventy-fifth anniversary of his birth, January 26, 1955."[5][6][7][8] The proposal had little chance of passing and was never voted on.[6]

The rank of General of the Armies had previously been granted, in 1919, to active-duty four-star General John J. Pershing. The markings used to identify Pershing's new ranking as higher than general was a bank of four gold (rather than silver) stars.[citation needed]

In 1976, as part of commemorations for the U.S. Bicentennial, General George Washington was posthumously promoted to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States.[9] Although the law did not actually specify the number of stars,[10] some U.S. newspapers[11][12][13] and members of Congress[14] described this as a "six-star rank". His appointment had been to serve as "General and Commander in Chief of the Army of the United Colonies".[15][16]


The only equivalent six-star flag officers in U.S. military historydagger and their chosen rank insignia
daggerNot including George Washington

See also


  1. ^ s:Public Law 78-482 Pub.L. 78-482 – To establish the grade of Fleet Admiral for the United States Navy; to establish the grade of General of the Army, and for other purposes.
  2. ^ a b c "Hearings Before the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives on Sundry Legislation Affecting the Naval Establishment, 1943–1944, Seventy-eighth Congress, First–Second Session. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. 1944. pp. 1339, 2357–2362". Google Books. July 20, 1944. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  3. ^ "An Act to establish the grade of Fleet Admiral for the United States Navy; to establish the grade of General of the Army, and for other purposes". December 14, 1944. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c ""How Many Stars Does 'Admiral of the Navy' Rate?". All Hands. January 1955. p. 23". Google Books. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  5. ^ U.S. Senate Joint Resolution 26, 21 January 1955.
  6. ^ a b Weintraub, Stanley (2007). 15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals Who Saved the American Century. Simon & Schuster. p. 488. ISBN 9781416545934. A few MacArthur devotees in Congress, like Representative Martin, tried to organize support for honorary six-star rank for the general, but as that would have been a slap at Eisenhower, such legislation had no chance.
  7. ^ Foster, Frank C. (2011). United States Army Medal, Badges and Insignias. Medals of America Press. p. 19. ISBN 9781884452673. effort was made to reward General Douglas MacArthur, this time with specifying a six-star rank, but it never came to fruition
  8. ^ Korda, Michael (2009). Ike. HarperCollins. p. 190. ISBN 9780061744969. Congress would twice try to promote him from the new rank of General of the Army—a five-star general—to the unique rank of General of the Armies: a proposed six-star general.
  9. ^ Department of the Army Order 31-3, (13 March 1978). Department of the Army order to enact Public Law 94-479.
  10. ^ Dooley, Joseph (April 6, 2013). "Sunday Reflection: How the 'indispensable man' became America's only six-star general". Washington Examiner.
  11. ^ United Press International (October 12, 1976). "George Washington Wins Promotion to Six-Star Rank". Eugene Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. p. 7A. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  12. ^ "Washington Gets Star". The New York Times. October 13, 1976. President Ford signed today a bill that posthumously promoted George Washington to the rank of six-star General of the Armies
  13. ^ Kilian, Michael (August 5, 1976). "Foursquare opposed to a six-star Washington". Chicago Tribune. p. A2.
  14. ^ Dooley, Joseph (April 6, 2013). "Sunday Reflection: How the 'indispensable man' became America's only six-star general". Washington Examiner. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., ... noted, [Washington] is "the only six-star general in the nation's history."
  15. ^ Cont'l Cong., Commission for General Washington, in 2 Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 96-7 (Library of Cong. eds., 1905).
  16. ^ Cont'l Cong., Instructions for General Washington, in 2 Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 100-1 (Library of Cong. eds., 1905).
This page was last edited on 22 June 2022, at 17:45
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