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Military ranks in the World of Avatar

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This article is about military ranks used in the World of Avatar. For other similar uses, see Military (disambiguation).

Military ranks are a system of hierarchical relationships employed to clearly define a chain of command within the military.

Water Tribes


The chain of command is not well defined in the Water Tribe. There is no overall military commander of the Water Tribes and as such, command is divided between the two polar factions.

Tribal chief

Southern Water Tribe warriors meeting

Chief Hakoda and a council of warriors from the Southern Water Tribe discussed the invasion plan for the Day of Black Sun.

A tribal chief (首長, shǒuzhǎng),[1] or a chieftain, is the leader of a Water Tribe settlement. Several chiefs were present in the Southern Water Tribe, which consists of various villages scattered along the region of the South Pole.[2] All of these chiefs are virtually equal in power and serve more as figures of guidance rather than authoritative political figures. There is one sole chief of the Northern Water Tribe and he seems to have more power than his southern faction counterparts. In principle, however, all chiefs are equal and convene together to make decisions. The chief of the Northern Water Tribe is advised by a council made up of the most influential members of the tribe. Master Pakku and Princess Yue were among these people in Aang's day.[3] The structure of the position changed after the Hundred Year War, which resulted in one chief controlling both the Northern and Southern Tribes.[4]

Known Tribal Chiefs include:


There have been subtle hints which imply the existence of a lieutenant-like position in the military of the Water Tribe. Bato may be the lieutenant of the Southern Water Tribe, as he wears a uniform different from that of the other warriors and is shown to act in a high-ranking position second only to Hakoda. It is also suggested that Hahn was a lieutenant of the Northern Water Tribe, as evidenced by his close relationship to the governing family and being entrusted with the critical mission to capture Zhao.

Possible lieutenants include:

  • Hahn (Northern Water Tribe)
  • Bato (Southern Water Tribe)

Earth Kingdom


The Earth Kingdom Army is commanded by the Council of Five. The council is the highest authority in the Earth Kingdom military, apart from the Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se and the earth monarch, and oversaw the country's entire war effort against the Fire Nation during the Hundred Year War. The council is headed by General How, the commanding officer of the military. Among the council members is General Sung, who defended Ba Sing Se's Outer Wall from attack by a giant drill. The other three generals were briefly seen but remain unnamed.[7]


Earth Kingdom war meeting

General How and General Sung discussed plans for the invasion of the Fire Nation in the Council of Five's headquarters.

General is the highest rank in the Earth Kingdom Army. Each general is in charge of bases located in the Earth Kingdom or can serve as members of the Council of Five in Ba Sing Se.

Known generals include:


A captain is the commander, or second-in-command, of a company of soldiers or a squadron. In Omashu, it was shown that captains are of a high enough rank to be able to speak with the King of Omashu and discuss military affairs.

Known captains include:


A corporal is a soldier more experienced than a private, with additional leadership duties. The earthbender captain seemed to trust his corporal enough with handling the powerful General Iroh.

Known corporals include:

  • Earthbending corporal

Air Force

The Earth Kingdom maintains an air force which was created after the Hundred Year War. It started with the adaption of the Fire Nation's model of the hot air balloon,[12] though by 171 AG, it employed Cabbage Corp airships, one of which was used to transport the captured Avatar Korra and Asami to Ba Sing Se on the orders of the Earth Queen Hou-Ting.[13]


A captain is an officer who commands an airship and its crew.

Known captains include:

Earth Empire


The military of the Earth Empire was an armed force established by Kuvira for the purpose of unifying the Earth Kingdom following its fragmentation due to anarchy. It had a clearly defined chain of command, denoted by rank insignias worn on the left sleeves of its members' uniforms.


After Kuvira herself, the highest known ranking officer in the Earth Empire's military was a sergeant, indicated by three chevrons on their left sleeve. Baatar Jr. wore a unique and modified sergeant insignia as second-in-command.

Known sergeants include:


Higher in rank than privates, a corporal wore two chevrons on their left sleeve.

Known corporals include:


The lowest ranking soldier in the Earth Empire's military, a private made up the rank-and-file of the infantry and was denoted with a single chevron on their left sleeve.

Known privates include:

Fire Nation


The Fire Nation Army was the largest and primary branch of the Fire Nation and was the key force in conquering the Earth Kingdom. It employs a great variety of different vehicles and soldiers.


War meeting

General Bujing proposed a battle plan during a war meeting inside the Fire Lord's throne room.

General (將軍)[14] is the highest rank in the Fire Nation Army. Different generals vary in position and the extent of their power varies as well. Generals with more authority are often referred to as High Generals. Most High Generals work with the Fire Lord to construct crucial battle plans that will benefit the nation's war efforts the most. For instance, war meetings held by Fire Lord Ozai were attended by numerous High Generals whose collective goal was to develop a battle plan that would decisively lead to the conquest of the Earth Kingdom.[15]

Each general is assigned a different position, such as invading the Earth Kingdom capital or overseeing the production of weapons in a factory.

Known generals include:


A colonel is usually a military title rated as the highest or second-highest field rank below the general, or "flag" grades. In some small military forces, it can be the highest rank held. A colonel can be placed in charge of a fortress or be in charge of a certain fighting group, such as the Yuyan Archers or the Rough Rhinos.

Known colonels include:


Captain (隊長),[21] also a rank in the Fire Nation's Navy and air force, was an officer rank below colonel. Usually, captains led units into battles. Some captains were in charge of garrisons.

Known captains include:


The Navy is the Fire Nation's aquatic fighting force and is the biggest navy in the Avatar World, larger even than that of the Water Tribe. The navy split into at least two fleets, the Eastern and Western fleets, and is commanded by admirals. Separate ships have their own commanding officers.


Zhao and Iroh

Admiral Zhao commanded the Fire Nation Navy during the Siege of the North.

Admiral (艦長)[23] is the highest rank in the Fire Nation Navy, preceded by commander. The title has been used since the inception of the navy and gives whoever bears the title high authority and command over an entire fleet. Admirals are appointed directly by the Fire Lord.[17]

One notable bearer of the title was Admiral Zhao, who held the position for approximately one month and was famous for several feats during that time. One was the capture of Avatar Aang through employment of the Yuyan Archers, though he subsequently lost the Avatar to the banished Prince Zuko.[17] Zhao later led the Fire Navy during the Siege of the North and, during the invasion, killed the Moon Spirit, Tui. Consequently, Zhao was dragged into the Fog of Lost Souls by the Ocean Spirit, La.[18]

Named admirals of the Eastern and Western Fleets, Admiral Chan[24] and Admiral Liang respectively, commanded around 100 AG.

Known admirals include:


A commander is in charge of the captains and responsible for carrying out an admiral's commands. They are also placed in charge of blockades and a considerable number of ships, but still have nowhere near as much power as an admiral.

Known commanders include:


Azula's ship captain

Azula's ship captain oversaw Azula's personal vessel.

A captain is an officer charged with overseeing a particular vessel. He is under the direct command of a commander. A captain could also oversee a royal vessel, a position held, for example, by Azula's ship captain. Captain is also a rank in the air force.

Known captains include:


A lieutenant is the lowest ranking officer in the Fire Nation military. A lieutenant is under the direct command of the captain of his ship. They have more power than ordinary soldiers, but not by much.

Known lieutenants include:

  • Lieutenant Jee[15]
  • Lieutenant Zhao (prior to gaining the rank of Captain)[18]


Privates are not considered officers and are under the command of a ship's lieutenant.

Air Force

The Fire Nation Air Force is the airborne branch of the Fire Nation's military and was only operated during the final stages of the Hundred Year War. There were no mentioned members names in the air force. The air force was put out of commission during the battle at Wulong Forest, when the airship fleet was destroyed by Sokka, Suki, and Toph.


Captain was a rank in the Fire Nation Air Force. Captains were given command of Fire Nation airships and their crews. Captain is also a rank in the Fire Nation Navy as well as the Fire Nation Army.

Known captains include:

United Republic of Nations

United Forces

Iroh (United Forces general)

Iroh, a United Forces general, commanded the Forces against Amon and the Equalists.


General is the highest rank one can achieve in the United Forces. Generals are in charge of leading the United Forces' fleet of battleships wherever they are needed.[27]

Known generals include:


Commander is the second highest known rank in the United Forces Navy, after admiral,[28] and also have the power to lead fleets of battleships.

Known commanders include:


  1. Rendezvous map
  2. The Lost Scrolls: Water.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 18, 2005). "The Waterbending Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Unalaq. Nickelodeon (August 28, 2013). Retrieved on August 28, 2013.
  5. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Filoni, Dave (director). (February 21, 2005). "The Boy in the Iceberg". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  6. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (November 22, 2013). "Light in the Dark". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 26. Nickelodeon.
  7. 7.0 7.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Guru". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ehasz, Aaron, Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim, O'Bryan, John (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 17, 2006). "The Avatar State". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  9. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (September 15, 2006). "The Drill". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
  10. Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (April 7, 2006). "Return to Omashu". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  11. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (April 8, 2005). "Winter Solstice, Part 1: The Spirit World". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  12. 12.0 12.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Promise Part 2 (May 30, 2012), Dark Horse Comics.
  13. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Melchior (director). (August 8, 2014). "Long Live the Queen". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 10.
  14. Iroh's wanted poster
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (June 3, 2005). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  16. Throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Filoni, Dave (director). (June 17, 2005). "The Blue Spirit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  19. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (October 5, 2007). "The Painted Lady". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  20. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (July 14, 2006). "The Desert". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  21. Chey's wanted poster
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (October 21, 2005). "The Deserter". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  23. Jeong Jeong's wanted poster
  24. 24.0 24.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (September 21, 2007). "The Awakening". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  25. 25.0 25.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (February 25, 2005). "The Southern Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  26. Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 17, 2008). "The Southern Raiders". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  27. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 16, 2012). "Turning the Tides". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  28. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & Zwyer, Mel (director). (July 18, 2014). "Original Airbenders". The Legend of Korra. Season 2. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Military ranks in the World of Avatar

  • Commander is higher in rank than a Captain?

    6 messages
    • It has been my experience that stories that are ''not ''straight-up military dramas by nature sometimes play fast and lo...
    • <div class="quote">DrachenRitter42 wrote:<br />It has been my experience that stories that are ''...
  • Was Zhao a high admiral?

    5 messages
    • I don't normally answer, but I saw this and felt I needed to correct the wrong answers. Neither of the above answers are true. Admiral ...
    • You might be right about the admiral(s) in the Avatarverse. In Germany though (that's where I come from and I didn't look...

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