Six-star rank in US armed forces

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Sketch of a six-star insignia, based on designs in U.S. Army files

In the United States Armed Forces, a six-star rank is a proposed rank immediately superior to a five-star rank, to be worn by the General of the Armies and Admiral of the Navy.


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 the elevated 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."[1][2][3][4] The proposal had little chance of passing and was never voted on.[2]

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.

The rank of Admiral of the Navy was created for George Dewey in 1903, out of recognition for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish–American War, and the date of rank was made retroactive to 1899. In 1944, the U.S. Navy declared Dewey's rank to be senior to that of the newly created five-star rank of Fleet Admiral.

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.[5] Although the law did not actually specify the number of stars,[6] some U.S. newspapers[7][8][9] and members of Congress[10] 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".[11][12]


The only equivalent six-star flag officers in U.S. military history  and their chosen rank insignia
 Not including George Washington

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ U.S. Senate Joint Resolution 26, 21 January 1955.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Department of the Army Order 31-3, (13 March 1978). Department of the Army order to enact Public Law 94-479.
  6. ^ Dooley, Joseph (April 6, 2013). "Sunday Reflection: How the 'indispensable man' became America's only six-star general". Washington Examiner.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "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
  9. ^ Kilian, Michael (August 5, 1976). "Foursquare opposed to a six-star Washington". Chicago Tribune. p. A2.
  10. ^ 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."
  11. ^ Cont'l Cong., Commission for General Washington, in 2 Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 96-7 (Library of Cong. eds., 1905).
  12. ^ Cont'l Cong., Instructions for General Washington, in 2 Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 100-1 (Library of Cong. eds., 1905).