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Military Abbreviations Found on U.S. Grave Markers

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Memorial Day at the Cemetery
Rick Hyman/E+/Getty Images

Many military graves are inscribed with abbreviations that denote the unit of service, ranks, medals, or other information on the military veteran. Many may also be marked with bronze or stone placques provided by the Veterans Administration. This list includes some of the most common abbreviations.

Military Rank

BBG - Brevet Brigadier General
BGEN - Bridgadier General
BMG - Brevet Major General
COL - Colonel
CPL - Corporal
CPT - Captain
CSGT - Commissary Sergeant
GEN - General
LGEN - Lieutenant General
LT - Lieutenant
1 LT - First Lieutenant (2 LT = 2nd Lieutenant, and so on)
LTC - Lieutenant Colonel
MAJ - Major
MGEN - Major General
NCO - Noncommissioned Officer
OSGT - Ordinance Sergeant
PVT - Private
PVT 1CL - Private First Class
QM - Quartermaster
QMSGT - Quartermaster Sergeant
SGM - Sergeant Major
SGT - Sergeant
WO - Warrant Officer

Military Unit & Branch of Service

ART - Artillery
AC or USA - Army Corps; United States Army
BRIG - Brigade
BTRY - Battery
CAV - Cavalry
CSA - Confederate States of America
CT - Colored Troops; may precede the branch such as CTART for Colored Troops Artillery
CO or COM - Company
ENG or E&M - Engineer; Engineers / Miners
FA - Field Artillery
HA or HART - Heavy Artillery
INF - Infantry
LA or LART - Light Artillery
MC - Medical Corps
MAR or USMC - Marines; United States Marine Corps
MIL - Militia
NAVY or USN - Navy; United States Navy
REG - Regiment
SS - Sharpshooters (or sometimes Silver Star, see below)
SC- Signal Corps
TR - Troop
USAF - United States Air Force
VOL or USV - Volunteers; United States Volunteers
VRC - Veteran Reserve

Military Service Medals & Awards

AM - Air Medal
ACM - Army Commendation Medal
BS or BSM - Bronze Star or Bronze Star Medal
CSC - Conspicuous Service Cross
DFC - Distinguished Flying Cross
LOM - Legion of Merit
MOH - Medal of Honor
PH - Purple Heart
SS or SSM - Silver Star or Silver Star Medal

These abbreviations generally follow another award to indicate superior achievement or multiple awards:

A - Achievement
V - Valor
OLC - Oak Leaf Cluster (generally follows another award to indicate multiple awards)

Military Groups & Veterans Organizations

DAR - Daughters of the American Revolution
GAR - Grand Army of the Republic
SAR - Sons of the American Revolution
SCV - Sons of Confederate Veterans
SSAWV - Sons of Spanish American War Veterans
UDC - United Daughters of the Confederacy
USD 1812 - Daughters of the War of 1812
USWV - United Spanish War Veterans
VFW - Veterans of Foreign Wars

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