Private (rank)

A private is a soldier of the lowest military rank.
In modern military writing, "private" is abridged to "Pte" in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth of Nations countries and to "Pvt" in the United States.


The term derives from the medieval term "private soldiers", denoting individuals who were either hired, conscripted, or mustered into service by a feudal nobleman commanding a battle group of an army. The usage of "private" dates from the 18th century.



In Indonesia, this rank is referred to as :id:Tamtama|Tamtama, which is the lowest rank in the Indonesian National Armed Forces and special Police Force. In the Indonesian Army, Indonesian Marine Corps, and Indonesian Air Force, "Private" has three levels, which are: Private, Private First Class, and Master Private. After this rank, it is promoted the rank: Corporal.


In the Israel Defense Forces, טוראי turai refers to the lowest enlisted rank. After 7–10 months of service soldiers are promoted from private to corporal, if they performed their duties appropriately during this time. Soldiers who take a commander's course, are prisoner instructors or practical engineers become corporals earlier. An IDF private wears no uniform insignia and is sometimes described as having a "slick sleeve" for this reason.


The equivalent ranks to privates within the North and South Korean armies are ilbyeong and ibyeong. The symbol for this rank is 1 line or 2 lines. Private second class is known by 1 line, while private first class is 2 lines.


Once recruits complete their Basic Military Training or Basic Rescue Training, they attain the rank of private. Privates do not wear ranks on their rank holder. PTEs who performed well are promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. The PFC rank is rarely awarded nowadays by SAF. All private enlistees can be promoted directly to lance corporal should they meet the minimum qualifying requirements, conduct appraisal and work performance. Recruits who did not complete BMT but completed 2 years of National Service will be promoted to private.



In the Australian Army, a soldier of private rank wears no insignia. Like its British Army counterpart, the Australian Army rank of private has other titles, depending on the corps and specification of that service member.
The following alternative ranks are available for privates in the Australian Army:


Bangladesh Army

In the Bangladesh Army the lowest enlisted rank is sainik, literally meaning "soldier".


In the Canadian Armed Forces, private is the lowest rank for members who wear army uniform. There are three levels of private: private, private, and private. All persons holding the rank of private are referred to as such and the qualifier shown in brackets is used on employment records only. The air force rank of aviator was formerly called "private", but this changed when traditional air force rank insignia were restored in 2014. The French-language equivalent of private is soldat.
Canadian Army privates may be known by other titles, depending on their military trade and their unit’s tradition:
In the Indian Army and Pakistan Army the lowest enlisted rank is sepoy, literally meaning "soldier" derived from Persian. A sepoy does not wear any rank insignia on his uniform. They are commonly referred to as jawans.

South Africa

In the South African Army the lowest enlisted rank is Private. Privates don't wear insignia on their uniforms. In the different corps it is known with different titles.
In the British Army, a private equates to both OR-1 and OR-2 on the NATO scale, although there is no difference in rank. Privates wear no insignia. Many regiments and corps use other distinctive and descriptive names instead of private, some of these ranks have been used for centuries, others are less than 100 years old. In the contemporary British Armed Forces, the army rank of private is broadly equivalent to able seaman in the Royal Navy, aircraftman, leading aircraftman and senior aircraftman in the Royal Air Force, and marine or bandsman, as appropriate equivalent rank in the Royal Marines. In the Boys' Brigade the rank of private is used when a boy moves from the junior section to the company section.
Distinctive equivalents for private include:
In the Corps of Royal Marines the rank structure follows that of British infantry regiments with the exception that the Royal Marines equivalent of private is Marine.
During the course of the First World War, some Royal Marines also took the rank of Sapper, this was usually found as part of the Royal Marine Divisional Engineers of the Royal Naval Division.

Europe and Latin America


The lowest rank in the Austrian Armed Forces is the Rekrut. For recruits in training to become non-commissioned or commissioned officers the rank bears an additional silver crossbar.
Up until 1998 the rank was called Wehrmann. In 2017 the silver crossbar was removed, as the system of the 'officers career' changed.

Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Spain

The equivalent rank to private in the Spanish, Mexican, Colombian, Dominican and Argentinian army is the soldado raso meaning "rankless soldier" or simply soldado.


On enlistment in the Belgian army one is given the rank of soldaat or soldat, whether one wishes to be a volunteer, non-commissioned officer or officer. Subsequent rank depends on the branch of the service: for example, at the Royal Military Academy one is soon promoted to the rank of korporaal or caporal i.e. "corporal". The insignia is a simple black mark or the simplified version of the Royal Military Academy's coat of arms for candidate officers.

Brazil and Portugal

Soldado is the rank equivalent to private in the Brazilian and Portuguese Armed Forces. Soldado means "soldier" in Portuguese.


The Finnish equivalent rank is sotamies, although since 1973 this has been purely a paper term as all infantry troopers were renamed as jääkäri troops, previously reserved only to mobile light infantry. As in the British army, the various branches use different names:
In the Finnish Air Force, the basic rank is lentosotamies. In the Finnish Navy, the basic rank is matruusi or tykkimies in the marine infantry.
Special corps troopers may be referred by their function or unit, such as kaartinjääkäri, panssarijääkäri, laskuvarjojääkäri, rajajääkäri or rannikkojääkäri.


In the French army soldat de seconde classe is the lowest military rank. This rank is also referred to as recrue.


The German Bundeswehr modern-day equivalent of the private rank is Gefreiter.
The equivalent of the lowest rank is either Schütze, Kanonier or Jäger, and sometimes in general simply Soldat, as well as other unit-specific distinctions. Up until 1918 it was Gemeine as well as unit-specific distinctions such as Musketier, Infanterist, Kürassier, Jäger, Füsilier etc., until 1945 Soldat and unit-specific distinctions such as Schütze, Grenadier etc. The navy equivalent of the OR-1 rank is known as Matrose, and the German Air Force equivalent is Flieger which is also used by army aviators.


The name of the lowest rank in the Hungarian army is the honvéd which means "homeland defender". The word is also used informally for a soldier in general of any rank. This is because Hungarian military traditions are strictly defensive, despite the Hungarian army participating in offensives on foreign soil in both world wars. The word honvéd has been in use since the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. The term is not used for soldiers of foreign armies: a foreign soldier with no rank is called közlegény, literally "common lad" or "common man".


Private , is the lowest enlisted rank in the Irish Army. Soldiers enlist as recruits then undergo a basic course of instruction. There are three grades of private in the army. After basic training the soldier is upgraded from recruit to private 2 star . After more corps-specific training the soldier is upgraded to private 3 star . All are usually just addressed as "private", although before being upgraded, recruits may be addressed as "recruit".
In corps units, the rank designation changes. In the artillery, the rank is known as gunner, but usually only after the completion of a gunners' course, and in the cavalry it is known as trooper. Communications and Information Services privates are known as signalman or signalwoman. Medical orderlies are sometimes referred to as medic, although this can apply to privates and corporals.


In the Italian Army soldato is the lowest military rank. This rank is also referred to as recluta.
Soldato is the generic term for private. But in many specialized corps this term is never used, as a more specific, corp related, term is preferred. For instance the lowest rank in Alpine troops is alpino, and the lowest rank in the artillery is artigliere. In the air force this is ranked as aviere and in the navy as marinaio.


In the Royal Netherlands Army, the Landmacht, the equivalent ranks are soldaat, similar to the original French, with different classes:
Depending on where the soldaat serves, he may be deemed a kanonnier, huzaar or fuselier as well as commando, jager or rijder. There is less differentiation than in other countries between different armed forces. A soldaat can be promoted to korporaal.


In the Swedish Armed Forces a recruit is given the rank of ’’menig’’ in the army and ’’sjöman’’ in the navy.
After basic training which is roughly 3 months other terms can be used such as ’’soldat’’, ’’jägare’’, etc.


In the Swiss Armed Forces a recruit is given the rank of Soldat, usually after completion of the first 12 weeks of basic training, also referred to as recruit school.


In the Turkish Land Forces, Turkish Air Force and Turkish Naval Forces; Er is the lowest rank possible. This rank does not have any insignia.


The rank is used by the National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela and has no insignia.

United States

United States Army

In the United States Army, private is used for the two lowest enlisted ranks, just below private first class or PFC. The lowest rank is "Private " or PV1, sometimes referred to as "recruit", but this rank can also be held by some soldiers after punishment through the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or prisoners after conviction and demotion until they are discharged. A PV1 wears no uniform rank insignia; since the advent of the Army Combat Uniform, the slang term "fuzzy" has come into vogue, referring to the blank velcro patch on the ACU where the rank would normally be placed. The second rank, "Private " or PV2, wears a single chevron, known colloquially as "mosquito wings". Advancement to PV2 is automatic after six months' time in service, but may be shortened to four months by a waiver. A person who earned the Eagle Scout award, the Gold Award, or completed at least two years of JROTC may enlist at any time at the rank of PV2. The term of address, "Private," may be properly applied to any Army soldier E-1 to E-3. The abbreviation "PVT" may be used whenever the specific grade of private is immaterial.

United States Marine Corps

In the United States Marine Corps, private refers only to the lowest enlisted rank, just below private first class. A Marine Corps private wears no uniform insignia and is sometimes described as having a "slick sleeve" for this reason. Most new, non-officer Marines begin their military career as a private. In the Marine Corps, privates first class are not referred to as "private"; it is more appropriate to use either "private first class" or "PFC".