A private is a soldier of the lowest military rank (equivalent to NATO Rank Grades OR-1 to OR-3 depending on the force served in).
In modern military parlance, 'private' is shortened to 'Pte' in the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries and to 'Pvt.' in the United States.
The term derives from the medieval term "private soldiers" (a term still used in the United Kingdom), denoting soldiers who were either hired, conscripted, or feudalized into service by a nobleman forming an army. The usage of "private" dates from the 18th century, when the army of Napoleon Bonaparte first established the permanent rank of soldat.
- For further information, you may refer to Israel Defense Forces ranks.
In the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Turai (Private) refers to the lowest Hogrim (enlisted) rank. After 7 10 months of service (7 for combatants, 8 for combat support and 10 for non-combatants) soldiers are promoted from private to corporal (Rav-turai or Rabat), 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. A IDF Turai (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 il-byong and e-byong. 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 (BMT) or Basic Rescue Training (BRT), they attain the rank of private (PTE). Privates do not wear ranks on their rank holder.
In the Australian Army, a soldier of private rank wears no insignia. Like its British Army counterpart, the Australian Army rank of private (PTE) 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:
In the Canadian Forces there are three levels of private: private (recruit), private (basic), and private (trained). All persons holding the rank of private are referred to as such and the qualifier shown in brackets is used on employment records only. A private is considered an "apprentice" in their trade, and there are no pay raises between the various levels of private except for time in rank raise. The Canadian Army and Air Force have an identical rank structure.
- Private (recruit) (Pte(R)) - fresh recruit, untrained; holds this rank through recruit training.
- Private (basic) (Pte(B)) - after finishing recruit training, a member becomes a private (basic). This rank is held through training and beyond.
- Private (trained) (Pte(T)) - A private (basic) becomes a private (trained) a year after completion of their DP 1 training depending on their regiment; some regiments may promote them right away. Typically in the Regular Force, this rank is awarded after two and a half years of service, not a year after completion of one's trade qualifications. A private (trained) is the only private to wear rank insignia, a single chevron.
An army private may also be known by other titles, depending on unit and/or branch:
The Canadian Navy's equivalents are:
India and Pakistan
In the Indian Army and Pakistan Army the lowest enlisted rank is sepoy, literally meaning "soldier" in Urdu. A sepoy does not wear any rank insignia on his uniform. Sipahis are sometimes also referred to as jawan, literally meaning "young" in Urdu.
In the British Army, a private (Pte) 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. Also in the Boys Brigade the rank of private is used when a boy moves from the junior section to the company section.
Notably both Sir Fitzroy MacLean and Enoch Powell are examples of rare, rapid career progression with the British Army, both rising from the rank of private to brigadier during World War II.
Distinctive equivalents for private include:
Europe and Latin America
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".
On enlistment in the Belgian army one is given the rank of 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 cole Royale Militaire (for officer training) one is soon promoted to the rank of caporal ("corporal"). The insignia is a simple black mark.
Brazil and Portugal
The equivalent rank to private in the Brazilian and Portuguese Armed Forces is the soldado meaning soldier.
Military rank insignia of sotamies (private) of the Finnish Army and Air Force. The Finnish equivalent rank is sotamies (literally "war man"), although since 1973 this has been purely a paper term as all infantry troopers were renamed as j k ri 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 ("flight war man"). In the Finnish Navy, the basic rank is matruusi ("seaman").
Special corps troopers may be referred by their function or unit, such as kaartinj k ri (Guards jaeger), panssarij k ri (panzerj ger), laskuvarjoj k ri (paratroop jaeger), rajaj k ri (border jaeger) or rannikkoj k ri (coastal jaeger).
In the French army soldat de seconde classe is the lowest military rank. This rank is also referred to as recrue ("recruit").
The German equivalent of private (OR-1) is soldat (soldier), until 1918 it was gemeiner ("common man"), until 1945 sch tze (rifleman). The rank of sch tze has existed as a military rank since at least the 18th century and the term has been used since the Middle Ages. It is to some extent still used as another word for the rank of "soldier", sometimes is grenadier. Informally, even the Bundeswehr sometimes simplifies this to rekrut, which actually is a post and not a rank, but is in fact the post most of these rank-holders fulfil.
As in the British Army, different names for this lowest rank are in use in the German Army, for example sch tze (supply chain, collective protection, military police, reconnaissance, technical reparation), grenadier (wachbataillon/army parts), pionier (engineer), kanonier (gunner), j ger (trooper/rifleman), funker (wireless operator), sanit tssoldat (medic), panzersch tze (main battle tank soldier), panzergrenadier, panzerkanonier, panzerpionier and panzerfunker.
The naval equivalent is known as matrose (sailor/seaman), and the Luftwaffe (airforce) equivalent is flieger (aviator/airman) which is also used by army aviators.
According to the NATO rank code, the rank of gefreiter is equivalent to private (OR-2), and obergefreiter is equivalent to private (OR-3).
Sch tze, (Heer), Flieger (Luftwaffe) and Matrose (Navy) " > File:GermanPrivate.gif| Sch tze/ Soldat
of the Heer
uniform jacket File:001-Soldat.png|Sch tze/ Soldat
of the Heeres
camouflage suit File:Luftwaffe-001-Flieger.png|Flieger Luftwaffe
service uniform File:002-Soldat-UA.png|Soldat
sergeand canditate File:1 - matr.GIF|Matrose
The name of the lowest rank in the Hungarian army (Magyar Honv ds g) is the honv d which literally means "homeland defender". The word is also used informally for a soldier in general of any rank (ie. "our honv ds" or an officer referred as a honv dtiszt, honv d officer). This is because Hungarian military traditions are strictly defensive, albeit the Hungarian army was participating in offensives on foreign soil in both world wars. The word honv d' has been in use since the 1848 revolution and war for independence.
Private (Pte) (saighdi r singil in Irish), 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 (rather than promoted) from recruit to private 2 star (Pte 2*) (saighdi r singil, 2 r alta). After more corps-specific training (usually lasting eight weeks) the soldier is upgraded to private 3 star (Pte 3*) (saighdi r singil, 3 r alta). 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 (Gnr), but usually only after the completion of a gunners' course, and in the cavalry it is known as trooper (Tpr). 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 Royal Netherlands Army, the Landmacht, the equivalent ranks are soldaat (soldier), similar to the original French, with different classes:
Soldaat der derde klasse (soldier/private 3rd class), for soldiers in Algemene Militaire Opleiding or AMO (General Military Training), with insignia.
Soldaat der tweede klasse (soldier/privat 2nd class), the basic infantry rank, an insignia single striped red band, obtained after AMO but before completion of Initi le Functie Opleiding or IFO (initial job training).
Soldaat der eerste klasse (soldier/privat 1st class), comparable to private first class, with an insignia with two neighbouring striped red bands, obtained automatically a year after completion of IFO.
Depending on where the soldaat serves, he may be deemed a kanonnier (gunner in the artillery), huzaar (hussar in the cavalry) or fuselier (rifleman in the rifles) 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 (corporal) .
In the Swiss army a recruit is given the rank of soldat when he finished basic training, mostly after 13 weeks. Some branches of the military have special ranks such as fusilier (Fus) or pionier (Pi).
U.S. Army Private E-2's arm patch In the U.S. Army, Private (PVT) is used for the two lowest enlisted ranks, just below Private First Class. It is the lowest rank (officially known as Private E-1 (PV1) and sometimes referred to as Recruit, but also held by some soldiers after punishment through the Uniform Code of Military Justice or prisoners after conviction until they are dishonorably discharged). A PVT wears no uniform insignia; since the advent of the Army Combat Uniform, the 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 E-2 (PV2), wears a single chevron, known colloquially as "mosquito wings". Advancement to the higher rank is automatic after six months time in service, but may get shortened to four months if given a waiver.
In the U.S. Marine Corps, private (PVT) only refers 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 "Privates"; It is more appropriate to use either "Private First Class" or "PFC".
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