The Ghanaian military or Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) as it’s generally called is a unified force that comprises the Army, Navy, and Air Force. The Ghanaian military has come a long way and is currently among the 100 best military forces in the whole of the African continent. The Commander-in-Chief of a nation’s Armed Forces is usually the President of the country and Ghana is no exception; the president also doubles the supreme military commander of the Border Guard Unit (BGU).
The Ghanaian armed forces are managed by the Minister of Defence under the leadership of the Chief of Defence Staff. There are other unique ranks and structures in the GAF and that is what this write-up will focus on.
Ghana Military Ranks In Order
As stated above, the Ghanaian military or Army comprises of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, and each of them has their separate rankings and these ranks are broken down below.
Ghana Armed Forces Ranks
The GA rank is structured similar to the British Army and is subdivided into two categories – the Officers and Enlisted Officers and each of the categories has its separate ranking.
These are military officers who are given authority through an officer but are not technically considered to be in command. Most times they usually come into the force through mass recruitment. Unlike the commissioned officers, the non-commissioned officers earn their positions of authority by promotion through the enlisted ranks.
There are 9 ranks under the Enlisted Officers’ category and they are listed below in ascending order.
An Army Recruit is a person enlisted for General Service in the force. This is the lowest rank in the enlisted officers’ category of the Ghanaian Army. They get promoted to the rank of a Private after they complete their initial training program which usually runs between six months to one year.
A recruit aside from other requirements can come in with their WASSCE/SSCE results.
On completion of basic training, all new recruits kick off their career in the army as Privates, which is the lowest grade of enlisted personnel. Their primary responsibility is to obey the orders of their superior officers to the best of their abilities.
They usually get promoted after serving at least six months in this rank
This is the 3rd enlisted rank in order of seniority in the Ghana army, it is just above private and below corporal. They usually serve as second-in-command of a section or unit and it is also a rank held by specialists such as drivers, machine-gunners, clerks, mortarmen, and signallers.
Promotion to the rank of a Lance Corporal happens after the completion of a Phase 2 training or after serving a minimum of 3 years as a Private.
This is the rank above Lance Corporal and below sergeant. A Corporal commands more soldiers than a Lance Corporal and may be in control of equipment like tanks and guns.
Officers in this rank will have to work between six to twelve years before being promoted to the next phase in their career.
The rank of a Sergeant is the next position after a Corporal, it is a senior role and one must have worked in the force for at least 12 years to be here. A Sergeant controls and manages a platoon or troop of about 30 soldiers and works closely with junior officers.
A Staff Sergeant is also referred to as a Colour Sergeant. They are usually responsible for a unit or team within a station or division. They usually are the troop or platoon second in command responsible for around 30 soldiers, assisting the junior officer in command.
To be eligible for promotion to the rank of a staff sergeant (SSG), you must have given in at least 7 years of active service in federal duties.
Warrant Officer Class II
Warrant Officer Class II is also known as a Squadron Sergeant Major or a Company and they oversee the welfare, discipline, and training of a squadron, company, or battery of up to 120 soldiers.
They are the senior adviser to the Major in charge of their subunit and may also be chosen to commission as an officer. Having dispatched their duties efficiently, they should earn a promotion to Warrant Officer Class I in two years.
Warrant Officer Class I
Also known as Regimental Sergeant Major; this is the most senior soldier rank in the Ghana Army. At this stage, you are one of the Commanding Officer’s technical advisers and must have served for at least 18 years in the force to get this position.
The role of a Warrant Officer 1 involves leadership, discipline, and being in charge of the welfare responsibilities of up to 650 people.
These are the key influencers in the force, they both manage and lead enlisted soldiers. They are fully responsible for leading and training enlisted soldiers. They usually enter the force directly from a military/defense academy or other military training schools after receiving a post-secondary degree/education
There are ten ranks under this category and here, it is arranged in an ascending order beginning with the lowest rank.
This is the entry-level rank for commissioned officers in the Army. It’s usually held for 1 year, during which special-to-arm training that is relevant to your Regiment or Corps is completed.
At the completion of the training, the second Lieutenant is responsible for leading up to 30 soldiers in a platoon or troop, both in training and on operations.
This is the second-lowest rank of commissioned officers in the army. The Lieutenant will command a troop or platoon with at least 30 soldiers and can also be assigned duties that are outside his unit.
Lieutenant is a rank typically held for a minimum of 2 years; thus after two years, they are likely to be promoted.
Captains are usually made second in command of a sub-unit of between 50 – 120 soldiers. They also play an important role in the planning and decision-making process, with tactical responsibility for operations on the ground as well as equipment maintenance, logistic support, and providing the right people to the right place at the right time.
Depending on your years of service and performance in the above-mentioned duties you must have served ten years in the Ghana army and at least two years as a captain before being promoted to the rank of a Major.
The rank of a Major is one above the captain and to get to this rank, you must have served 8 to ten years in the army and two years as a captain. A major in the army is usually in charge of a sub-unit of about 120 soldiers and officers, taking charge of their training, welfare, and leading them on operations.
This ran is above the major and below the colonel. The lieutenant colonel commands a unit of about 650 soldiers and is responsible for the overall operational effectiveness of the unit, which includes discipline, welfare, and military capability.
A colonel is the commanding officer of a regiment or brigade. Most Colonels, however, do not work as staff officers but sit as key advisers to the very senior officers on issues boarding on staff and operational commands.
Also simply known as a Brigadier or Commodore, Brigadiers in the Army are 1 star General and command a wide range of formations, as well as fill senior appointments on the Army Staff.
Major Generals hold very serious positions in the Ghana defense ministry, they are two-star generals and command divisions in the army.
The Lieutenant-General work at the highest level of the defense ministry, they are three-star generals.
Also known as a 4 star General, this is the highest and the most senior rank in the Ghanaian Army. People at this rank are usually the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of the General Staff.
Ghana Air Force Rank Structure
The Air Force rank structure is similar to that of the Royal Air Force (RAF) as well as that of the Army above in that it is also subdivided into Commissioned Officers and Enlisted officers with their separate rankings.
Under the enlisted/airmen officers you have the following ranks in ascending order;
This is the lowest rank in the Ghana Airforce. Aircraftmen are sometimes called “erks” and they are responsible for the handling of the fuel nozzles and opening and closing the aircraft fuel tanks.
Aircraftman is the rank just above the Airmancraft 2. An AC1 must have served for at least 10 months to be promoted to this level. If they meet certain requirements earlier than ten months, they can also be promoted to this rank earlier than expected.
Their roles include leading a small group of subordinates and complying with Air Force standards.
This is the 3rd junior rank position in the Ghana Airforce. They handle basic clerical tasks and are in charge of a group of subordinates.
A corporal in the Ghana Air Force is a non-commissioned officer just like the ones in the armed force; they get in as an enlisted soldier and rise through the ranks. They usually serve as supervisors with a couple of subordinates under him/her.
Also known as a Staff Sergeant (SSgt), a Sergeant in the Ghana Airforce holds supervisory roles and may also be overseeing some junior subordinates.
A flight sergeant in the Airforce is responsible for coordinating all security and law enforcement duties for their shift and is required to be on scene for all incidents.
Warrant Officer Class II
This is the second to the highest group of non-commissioned ranks in the Ghana airforce.
Warrant Officer Class I
This is the highest or most senior non-commissioned rank in the airforce and they are charged with both technical and non-combatant services.
Under the commissioned officers you have these ranks in ascending order;
This is the lowest commissioned rank in Ghana Air Force. A pilot officer learns to fly and command military helicopters: from take-off to landing and even formation flying at night.
They also lead complex aviation missions and command small, close-knit teams of other officers and soldiers.
This is a rank above pilot officer and below flight lieutenant. The flying officer in the airforce is a member of the aircrew of an aircraft and is responsible for specific duties which include planning the journey, ensuring hazards or obstacles are avoided, advising the pilot while en route, and a lot more.
A flight lieutenant generally manages a team of specialist non-commissioned officers and airmen, within their specific units.
This commissioned officer is the lowest ranking officer that flies a command flag. The flag may either be on the officer’s aircraft or flown from a flagpole or displayed on an official car as a car flag.
A Wing commander is a senior commissioned rank in the Ghana Airforce and usually commands a wing which is an administrative sub-division of the airforce. The Squadron leader reports to the wing commander.
This rank comes above wing commander and below air commodore. The rank is equivalent to the navy rank of captain and the rank of a colonel in the army.
Air commodore is a one-star rank in the airforce. The rank is equivalent to army brigade general.
Air vice-marshal is a two-star air officer rank. He/she acts as an assistant to the Air Marshal in different capacities which include staff branches and those of additional director-general.
Air marshal is a three-star air-officer rank in the airforce and it is the highest rank in this category. His duties include monitoring and preventing potential criminal or terrorist threats to both passengers and aviation.
He is also to ensure the protection of crew members and passengers aboard commercial flights.
Ghana Navy Ranks
The Navy rank structure is equally similar to that of the British Navy and of course, it is in the same order as that of the Armed Forces and Air Force above, subdivided into Commissioned Officers and Enlisted officers with their separate rankings.
Under the enlisted officers, you have the following ranks in ascending order;
OS is an unlicensed entry-level member of the Deck Department crew who takes care of the repair, sanitation, upkeep of material, equipment, and the general maintenance of the Deck Department areas
To be eligible for promotion, an OS must have given in at least six years of service and mastered everything there is to be mastered in this position.
Able Seaman Class I & II
This is the 2nd lowest rank in the Ghana navy and comes after the OS rank and before AB1. Just like the Os AB I & II performs general maintenance of the deck department, however, their aspect of maintenance includes metal structures of the ship such as cleaning, chipping, scraping painting, and priming.
Able seaman is the equivalent rank to a Leading aircraftman
Leading seaman is a junior non-commissioned rank in the navy and whoever is in this position is accountable to the Watch, Petty and Divisional officers help in organizing the division for Colours and Sunset Parade assists the Divisional Officer with the smooth running of the Division, amidst other responsibilities.
Petty Officer Class II
Petty Officer II in the Ghana navy is the second of the Navy’s Petty Officer grades and serves both as a leader and as a technical expert.
Petty Officer Class I
This non-commissioned officer in the Ghana Navy is equivalent to the rank of staff sergeant in the Army.
Chief Petty Officer Class II
Chief petty officer, 2nd class is a rank senior to the rank of petty officer 1st-class and its equivalents, and junior to chief petty officer 1st-class and its equivalents.
Chief Petty Officer Class I
This is the 3rd rank in the Navy’s Petty Officer grades and a CPO Class 1 serves both technical experts and as a leader overseeing a group of junior officers under him.
Fleet Chief Petty Officer
Also known as the fleet chief, the Fleet Chief Petty Officer rank comes above that of petty officers. The Fleet Chief sees to it that submarines and aircraft meet operational requirements.
Master Chief Petty Officer
This is the most senior role in the enlisted officers’ rank of the Ghana Navy. They report directly to their respective Commanding Officers. Training of Navy enlisted personnel, discipline formulating and implementing policies concerning morale are parts of their job descriptions.
Under the commissioned officers you have the following ranks in ascending order;
An Acting sub-lieutenant is a subordinate officer who holds his rank by order and not by commission.
Sub-lieutenant is a junior military officer ranking below a lieutenant whose job is to ensure the safety of a ship.
Lieutenants in the Ghana navy are trained in warfare and qualified too but they also have strong leadership skills and often serve as division officers, as well as perform significant responsibilities like monitoring junior staff.
They also take charge of smaller ships, submarines, and even aircraft squadrons.
This is a senior rank in the navy. They often function as departmental heads or second-in-command on many warships as well as smaller shore installations.
This is a senior rank position in the navy. They are trained to command warships that are considered too large to be commanded by a lieutenant.
A navy captain is a senior commissioned officer whose rank is equivalent to the rank of Major in the other Armed Services. They hold a variety of high-level leadership positions like commanding a cruiser or larger ship, ballistic missile submarine, squadron, etc
A commodore in the navy is a senior rank that is equivalent to a brigade. It is higher in rank than that of a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. They are usually in command of a squadron.
A Rear-Admiral is often referred to as a “two-star” admiral rank that is equivalent to that of a major general and air vice-marshal.
The Vice-Admiral is a senior rank in the navy. It is a three-star rank that is equivalent to the rank of a lieutenant general and air marshal.
This is the highest rank in the Ghana navy. Often referred to as a flag officer, an admiral in the navy is a four-star officer who commands a fleet or group of ships belonging to the navy.
What Is The Salary Structure Of The Ghana Army?
The salary structure of the Ghanaian army is not made public, however, according to a reliable source, the least ranking officer in the Ghanaian Armed Forces takes nothing less than 1000GHC home every month.
According to another source, every soldier who reaches the E2 classification as a private earns up to 11,089.27GHC monthly and a private first class, an E3 designation, starts at 11,662.86GHC and after about two years, it increases to 12,394.84GHC a month.
How Much Does Ghana Army Pay WASSCE Recruit?
However, a newly recruited WASSCE result holder is placed in the rank of Constable begins his/her earning from GhC700 monthly. This excludes allowances, bonuses, and incentives and is reviewed as they raise in rank.
Welfare Packages & Incentives Enjoyed By The Ghanaian Army
Asides from salaries, Ghanaian soldiers like every other soldier across the globe are entitled to stipulated allowances like housing, healthcare, uniform, meals, and other incentives and bonuses. The allowances and bonuses are dependent on the position/rank of the soldiers.
However, the figures for these allowances are not made public, thus, we are not able to tell how much is allotted to each soldier depending on their ranks/positions.
How To Join The Ghanaian Army
As pointed out above, joining the Ghana military can be in two ways: either through enlistment or commissioning. Enlisted officers come into the force through mass recruitment, while commissioned officers come into the force straight from the defence academy or military training institutions.
Whichever way you chose to come in, there are however requirements to be met in order to be considered eligible to apply and these include:
- You must be a Ghanaian citizen by birth
- You must be of good character
- You must be medically and physically fit by Ghana Armed Forces standards
- You mustn’t be bonded and must not be married at the time of applying (This is applicable to regular candidates alone)
- You must be at least 1.68m (5’6’’) tall if you are a male and 1.60m (5’ 4”) if you are female
Age Limit For Ghana Army Officers
Anyone desirous to join the Ghana military must be at least 18 years of age and not more than 26 years old at the time of their application whether for Regular Commission or as a Short Service Commission applicant.