The use of stars as shoulder insignia to identify General Officers dates back to the Revolutionary War, when the highest military position was the two-star rank of Major General. Today, stars are used as shoulder insignia in all five branches of the United States Armed Forces to represent General Officers or, in the case of seagoing forces, Flag Officers.

But while Lieutenant Generals in the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps and Rear Admirals (upper half) in the Navy and Coast Guard share the same type of pin-on metal rank insignia—three one-inch stars worn point to point—the types of uniforms on which it is worn varies widely between the services. Use the quick reference chart below to see on which uniforms the pin-on metal version of the three-star rank insignia is worn:

BranchWorn WithWear Guidance
Black all-weather coat
Black windbreaker
Positioned equidistant between outside edge of shoulder loop and outer edge of shoulder loop button
Blue all-weather coat
Black or blue jacket
Khaki jacket
Place ¾ of an inch from squared (shoulder) end of shoulder strap (loop)
Marine Corps
All uniforms except evening dress, combat utility uniform, field clothing in field environments
Equidistant from front and rear edges of shoulder straps; stars equally spaced between armhole seam and shoulder-strap button or collar edge (whichever is closer)
Air Force
Service Dress Uniform jacket
General Officer lightweight blue jacket
All-weather coat
Stars centered and equally spaced between epaulet button and sleeve seam
Coast Guard
Trench Coat
Same as Navy

This insignia was also worn with the Army’s old Class A Green uniform until it was replaced by the current Army Service Uniform in 2015 and its wear was no longer allowed. Because of high demand for the old Class A Army Green uniform from veterans as well as uniform collectors and others seeking authentic “Army Greens” made to Mil-Spec standards, we continue to carry all three versions—Enlisted, Officer, and General Officer—of this iconic ensemble. The insignia is worn centered on the epaulets (shoulder loops) of the uniform jacket.

Customers interested in Class A Army Green Uniform may also wish to purchase a Garrison Cap which was issued with the uniform. Variations include Enlisted, Officer, Warrant Officer, and General Officer versions.

About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.