Hierarchy is a form of organization. Without hierarchy, there is no chain of command and without a chain of command there is no organization. The Army Rank Insignia is just that- hierarchy. Although everyone is equal in the battlefield, soldiers would need to know where to get their orders from. Although the Army Rank Insignia, this is just to tell soldiers whom to salute, every soldier has the opportunity to salute and be saluted; every soldier has a shot at getting a higher Army Rank Insignia. This insignia is most prominent in the soldier's personal characteristics and can be evident in the uniform.
Ever since cavemen fought other cavemen, there was already some sort of military rank. This hierarchy is vital for the effective and efficient functioning of an army as tasks have to be delegated, supplies distributed and personnel coordinated. Although there was never any physical Army Rank Insignia, it was only sometime around the Roman era when these insignias became prominent. One of the first ever ranks was the Legatus in the Roman Army. This rank was equivalent to a general in today's world and the Legatus was responsible for coordinating his legion of 4000-6000 men. The Legatus was also to choose his own officers and thus the pyramid shaped hierarchy was officially born. Although he didn't get any medal, stars or stripes, he had a brush-like thing in his helmet and this distinguished his authority- even a far off Roman legionnaire was able to know who a Legatus was. In the Army Rank Insignia of today, the lowest officer rank you can get is the starting lieutenant rank. Once proven capable, one can then move up to captain, major then lieutenant colonel, colonel and finally general. In the American military, these ranks are represented by vertical gold bars or silver bars, double silver bars, a gold or silver oakleaf, a silver eagle and the famous stars- one to five.
The differences in Army Rank Insignia mean differences in pay, authority and responsibilities. The lowest ranking officer still gets more pay and has authority over the highest ranked enlisted person. The higher ranked officers usually have higher education, especially in military education, and usually come from a higher social status as their forefathers were either generals or high-ranking officers in the military although they can also move up by character. The pressure that generals have in wartime is very heavy and it is really not easy being one as you always have the responsibility of making the right decisions- affecting the outcome on whether your troops successfully complete the mission with minimal casualties or getting slaughtered in the battlefield.
The Army Rank Insignia is the visual form of respect and wearing these insignias are no joke- the Army Rank insignia is worn in very specific and very regulated manners. There are exact conditions on where the insignias should be worn- on special occasions, parades and those that are to be used in combat. As a rule of thumb, subordinates should be able to easily recognize and distinguish the different officer ranks. This is why the level of visibility should go hand in hand with the condition in which the insignias are worn.
As a soldier achieves great favor in the eyes of his or her superiors, and accomplishes the required training in order for progression through the Army ranks, a greater Army rank insignia can be bestowed upon them in order to show yet another level of authority they have achieved. With this increase in grade and rank or promotion, soldiers in the army should also act and behave in a manner that is to be respected by those that they lead, and work diligently to achieve that respect. Doing this is of utmost importance for a leader who hopes to have their soldiers follow them through the most difficult and trying of situations.
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