Admiral of the Navy
insignia for Admiral of the Navy (1899–1917)
The Admiral of the Navy (abbreviated as AN) is the highest possible rank in the United States Navy. The rank is equated to that of a six-star admiral and is one of the two highest possible military ranks in the United States Armed Forces. It has only been awarded once, to George Dewey, in recognition of his victory at Manila Bay in 1898. On March 2, 1899, Congress approved the creation of the grade of Admiral of the Navy. On March 3, President McKinley transmitted to the Senate his nomination of Dewey for the new grade, which was approved the same day But McKinley’s nomination had used the term “Admiral in the Navy,” while the act creating the new grade had used “Admiral of the Navy.” On March 14, 1903, this discrepancy was addressed when President Roosevelt nominated and the Senate approved Dewey to the grade of “Admiral of the Navy,” retroactive to March 2, 1899. The Navy Register of 1904 listed Dewey for the first time as “Admiral of the Navy” instead of “Admiral.
A commensurate rand of General of the Armies was created in 1919 and General John J. Pershing became the only living person to hold that rank. George Washington was posthumously promoted to the rank of General of the Armies during the bi-centennial year of 1976.