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Army Captain

O-3 Commissioned Officer, U.S. Army
(Next) O-4 MAJArmy Major

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How to get promoted to Captain History of the Army Captain Rank

A Captain is a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army at DoD paygrade O-3.

The history of the rank of Captain derives from the Latin word "captaineus," which term meant "chief" and described a soldier in charge of a larger group of other soldiers.

Mediaeval times saw the term change from the Latin word merge with the old French word "capitaine" to form the term "capitayn." From the 1500's onward, this term was used to describe an officer who stood in command of a company of soldiers. Before the professionalization of militaries in the age of monarchs, the rank and title of captain was purchased by noblemen in exchange for command of a company, as nobles of this period sought "gloire" in war in order to enhance their social standing and legacy.

Upon professionalization of militaries with the codification of states, countries kept the rank and title of captain as well as its according duties of command of a company of soldiers. This pattern included the army of the British, from whom the Americans borrowed their rank structure upon the creation of the Continental Army.

The rank of Captain has survived until modernity in the United States Army.

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History of the Army

The Army is the oldest and most senior among the branches. The Army's heritage is traced back to the Revolutionary War, when each State of the Union had its own Army, lended to the command of General George Washington. Almost 250 years have passed, but the organizational structure and naming is largely the same. The Army is still divided into Divisions, Brigades, Regiments, Battalions, Companies, and Platoons.