U.S. ARMY COMBAT UNIFORM (ACU) 2ND LIEUTENANT RANK INSIGNIA

Subdued cloth rank insignia is frequently referred to as “ACU insignia” or “ACU rank” because the insignia is embroidered on fabric manufactured in the digitized camouflage pattern employed on the Army Combat Uniform, or ACU. In point of fact, subdued cloth rank insignia is worn a variety of uniforms and uniform components. Choose the appropriate subdued Second Lieutenant rank insignia using the drop-down selection tools to the right.

Please be careful to select the camouflage pattern that matches that found on your uniform. The original ACU camo, dubbed the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), is being phased out and replaced with a new pattern designated the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP). Army Combat Uniforms manufactured with the OCP became available 1 July 2015. The wear-out date for Army Combat Uniforms with the old UCP is 30 September 2019.

Rank with Velcro insignia is manufactured with a hook-and-loop fastener system on the back for attaching it to face pads found on Utility uniforms including the ACU.

Cap Rank Second Lieutenant insignia are embroidered on cloth manufactured with the UCP pattern, but they do not have the hook-and-loop (i.e., Velcro) fasteners. These insignia must be sewn directly onto headgear such as the Patrol Cap or the Sun Hat (boonie).

Gortex is shorthand for the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS) parka. The parka feature a tab over which you can slide the rank insignia.

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While subdued cloth insignia are authorized for wear by Soldiers in the lowest enlisted pay grade up to Generals who have been commissioned at the lofty (though often temporary) four-star rank, only two of these ranks or grades feature insignia embroidered in material of a color other than black. Both the 2nd Lieutenant (O-1) and Major (O-4) use golden-colored thread for the actual insignia, an exception put in place so that personnel in the field could easily identify a 2nd Lieutenant from a 1st Lieutenant and a Major from a Lieutenant Colonel.

Although some observers have pointed out that the use of gold reflects the fact these two ranks are “junior” officers within their respective levels—a 2nd Lieutenant is the lowest-ranked Company-Grade officer, and a Major is the lowest Field-Grade officer—neither group of officers feature a “Junior” descriptor for any of its ranks. There, is however, a Senior Field-Grade officer (Colonel) and a Senior Field-Grade Warrant Officer (CW5, pay grade W-5).
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