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Unofficial speculative sketch for the insignia of a U.S. six-star rank, in the event of a future requirement

The term six-star rank is based on the proposed, but never adopted, insignia of six-stars for the U.S. rank of general of the armies.

In 1955, a six-star rank insignia and promotion to general of the armies was proposed in Congress for General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, but the proposal was shelved.[1][2][3]

In 1976, George Washington was posthumously awarded the American supreme rank of general of the armies, which was described in an Oregon newspaper as a six-star rank.[4] At his death in December 1799, Washington was a three-star lieutenant-general.[5] Although Congress created a higher rank of general of the armies in March 1799, President John Adams did not submit Washington's name for confirmation and so the rank was not awarded in Washington's lifetime.[4] Two hundred years later, as part of the United States Bicentennial celebrations, Congress passed a joint resolution (sponsored by Representative Mario Biaggi[4]) on September 28, 1976, calling for Washington to be posthumously promoted to the highest possible rank above all other ranks in the United States Army forever.[4][5] President Gerald Ford signed the order on October 12,[4] with an effective date of July 4, 1976.[5] Representative Lucien Nedzi, who opposed the resolution, said the rank was "superfluous and unnecessary ... it is like the Pope offering to make Christ a cardinal."[4]


  1. Foster, Frank C. (2011) United States Army Medal, Badges and Insignias, Medals of America Press, ISBN 9781884452673, page 19
  2. Weintraub, Stanley (2007) 15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals Who Saved the American Century, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781416545934, page 488
  3. Korda, Michael (2009) Ike, HarperCollins, ISBN 9780061744969, page 190
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 George Washington Wins Promotion to Six-Star Rank, Eugene Register-Guard, October 12, 1976
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Grier, Peter (March 2012) "The Highest Ranking", Air Force Magazine, vol. 95, no. 3

See also

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