General of the Army (United States)
General of the Army (abbreviated as GA) is a five-star general officer and the second highest possible rank in the United States Army. A General of the Army ranks immediately above a general and is equivalent to a fleet admiral and a General of the Air Force. The General of the Army insignia consisted of five 3⁄8 inch (9.5 mm) stars in a pentagonal pattern, with touching points. The insignia was paired with the gold and enameled United States Coat of Arms on service coat shoulder loops. The silver colored five-star metal insignia alone would be worn for use as a collar insignia of grade and on the garrison cap. Soft shoulder epaulettes with five 7⁄16 inch (11 mm) stars in silver thread and gold-threaded United States Coat of Arms on green cloth were worn with shirts and sweaters.
The rank of "General of the Army" has had two incarnations. The rank was introduced in 1866, the year after the American Civil War. It was reserved for the Commanding General of the United States Army, was a four-star rank, and was held by three different individuals from 1866 to 1888. The rank was revived as the modern five-star rank during World War II, and may be awarded to more than one serving officer at a time. It was held by five different individuals from 1944 to 1981. A special rank of General of the Armies, which ranks above the second incarnation of General of the Army, exists but has been conferred only twice, to World War I's John J. Pershing, and posthumously to George Washington, by proclamation 177 years after his death.