Private first class

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Private first class (PFC) is a military rank held by junior enlisted personnel in some countries' armed forces.


Germany has the rank "Obergefreiter" which is awarded after a minimum of 6 months of active military service, having passed a physical and theoretical test (including shooting exercises and sleeping outside in the field) that completes the initial 3-month intensive training after initial recruitment and being sworn in ("Gelöbnis"). For infantry members, the rank "Obergefreiter" is marked on their uniform's shoulder straps by 2 diagonal black lines.


Soldat de première classe

France has the rank of Soldat de première classe indicated with a single red chevron.


The Philippine Army private first class rank insignia.

The rank of private first class is similar to its original U.S. counterpart. The insignia consist of a single chevron with a triangle below. The rank is also in use with the Philippine Marine Corps.


Singaporean private first class rank insignia.

Introduced in 1983, the honorific rank is awarded to hardworking conscript citizen-soldiers who performed well in their National Service term. Private First Class (PFC) wear a rank insignia of a single chevron pointing down.[1]

The Private First Class (PFC) rank is rarely awarded nowadays by the Singapore Armed Forces. All private enlistees can be promoted directly to Lance Corporal (LCP) should they meet the minimum qualifying requirements, conduct appraisal and work performance.[2]

United StatesEdit

United States ArmyEdit

U.S. Army private first class insignia
U.S. Army private first class insignia (1920–1968)

In the United States Army, recruits usually enter service as a private in pay grade E-1. Private (E-2), designated by a single chevron, is typically an automatic promotion after six months of service. Private first class (E-3), equivalent to NATO grade OR-3, is designated by a single chevron with one arc or "rocker," and is more common among soldiers who have served in the U.S. Army for one year or more. Soldiers who have achieved an associate degree or its equivalent are entitled to enter the Army at this pay grade.[3] Advancement from private first class is to specialist (E-4); advancement to corporal (also at the E-4 pay grade) requires that the soldier also complete the Basic Leader Course (BLC), the first course of study in a US Army noncommissioned officer's professional development course.[4] Thus, in order to qualify for leadership posts such as team leader, the soldier must have first served as a corporal; a team leader is nominally a sergeant (E-5).

The rank of private first class has existed since 1846[5] and, prior to 1919, its insignia consisted of the branch of service insignia without any arcs or chevrons. The Secretary of War approved "an arc of one bar" (i.e., a "rocker") under the branch of service or trade insignia for privates first class on 22 July 1919. From August 5, 1920, to May 28, 1968, the rank insignia for private first class was a single chevron, per War Department Circular No. 303. On May 28, 1968, the insignia was changed to its current form, consisting of a single chevron with one arc.[6]

United States Marine CorpsEdit

U.S. Marine Corps private first class insignia.

In the United States Marine Corps, the rank of private first class is the second lowest, just under lance corporal and just above Private, equivalent to NATO grade OR-2, being pay grade E-2. It was established on June 3, 1916, to match the already existing Army rank, primarily because US Marine units were "often called upon to serve" with US Army organizations, such as in the American Expeditionary Force that served in Europe during World War I (e.g. 4th Marine Brigade of the U.S. Army's 2nd Infantry Division). At the time the two ranks were directly equivalent. However, the USMC rank of PFC is one grade lower (E-2) than the similarly titled US Army rank.[7]


Vietnam People's Army private first class insignia.

In the Vietnam People's Army, private first class (Vietnamese: binh nhất) is the highest junior enlisted rank. Private first class is below corporal and above private second class.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "MINDEF Singapore".
  2. ^ "MINDEF Singapore".
  3. ^ "Site Moved" (PDF).
  4. ^ Harm Venhuizen (7 Jun 2021) All soldiers must now serve as corporals before promotion to sergeant
  5. ^ "A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 - 1875". Retrieved 2016-02-18.
  6. ^ United States Army Institute of Heraldry (2006). "History of Enlisted Ranks". United States Army. Archived from the original on December 31, 2006. Retrieved December 31, 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ Affairs, United States Congress House Committee on Naval; Padgett, Lemuel Phillips (1 January 1918). Hearings Before Committee on Naval Affairs of the House of Representatives, on Estimates Submitted by the Secretary of the Navy, 1918. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 240 – via Internet Archive. secretary of the navy private first class 1918.