Military Rank Tables Military Pay Charts Military Housing Pay Military Resources
Army Brigadier GeneralO-7 BG (Previous)
Brigadier General

Army Major General

O-8 General Officer, U.S. Army
(Next) O-9 LTGArmy Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General

Army Ranks » Major General RankMG PayMG Rank HistoryPromotion Information

History of the Army Major General Rank

A Major General is a General Officer in the United States Army at DoD paygrade O-8.

The title and rank of US Army Major General in the capacity in which it functions is derived from the Army of the British Army.

To find the origin of the term, however, one must look once again to Latin and the Romans. As detailed in the section on Majors, the title of Major indicate someone “greater than” something else.

Applied to the general officer ranks, this paradigm shows that the rank of Major General identified a general greater than a general of a different rank or grade, in this case Brigadier Generals.

The reason that the Major General rank is one step lower than Lieutenant Generals is because the title of MG only serves to identify generals that are greater than some other generals, while LTG’s serves as place-holding general officers for full Generals (as detailed below in the LTG section), thus making them higher ranking than Major Generals, despite the fact that the ranks seem out of order based on the more well-known order of the lower officer ranks.

Want to learn more? Read about the Army's Major General rank on

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.