Corporal is a military rank in use by several militaries of the world. It is known by several different names depending upon the language of the military service in which the term is used. Beside the English term Corporal, the rank is also known as Gefreiter, Capo, Rav-Turai, and Rikushi.
U.S. Armed Forces
U.S. Marine Corps
In the U.S. Army a Corporal is the fourth enlisted rank, the first three being forms of Private. A Corporal is above a Private First Class, and below a Sergeant, and sharing the same pay grade with a Specialist.
Unlike a Specialist, a Corporal is a non-commissioned officer and may direct the activities of other soldiers, including Specialists. Corporal is the most junior non-commissioned officer rank. A promotion from Specialist to Corporal is a lateral promotion, an increase in rank but not in pay grade.
It is common for a Corporal to lead a fireteam, however if a soldier is promoted to Corporal and there are
too many soldiers of that rank the new Corporal will stay in their current position.
In the U.S. Marine Corps Corporal is also the fourth enlisted rank, just above Lance Corporal and below Sergeant. Similar to the Army, Corporal is also the lowest form of non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.
British Armed Forces
Corporal (Cpl) is the second rank of non-commissioned officer in the British Army and Royal Marines, falling between Lance Corporal and Sergeant. The badge of rank is two chevrons (or "stripes"). A corporal's role varies between regiments, but in the standard infantry role a corporal commands a section, with a lance-corporal as Second-in-Command (2ic). When the section is split into fire teams, they command one each. In the Royal Armoured Corps, a corporal commands an individual tank. Their duties therefore largely correspond to those of sergeants or even staff sergeants in the United States Army and corporals are often described as the "backbone" of the British Army.
In the Household Cavalry all non-commissioned ranks are designated as different grades of corporal up to Regimental Corporal Major (who is a Warrant Officer class 1). There is no actual rank of corporal however, and the ranks progress directly from Lance Corporal to Lance Corporal of Horse (who is effectively equivalent to a corporal). Similarly, in the Foot Guards the rank of Lance Sergeant is effectively used instead of corporal. Royal Artillery corporals are called Bombardiers. The equivalent in the British Indian Army was Naik or Lance Daffadar.
A common nickname for a corporal is a "full screw".
Corporal is the lowest NCO rank in the Royal Air Force, coming between Junior Technician and Sergeant. Between 1950 and 1964, corporals in technical trades were known as Corporal Technicians and wore their chevrons point up.
Gefreiter is the German word for Corporal and has existed as a military rank since at least the 18th century. Through its development, Gefreiter has expanded into several ranks, those being Obergefreiter, Hauptgefreiter, Stabsgefreiter, and Oberstabsgefreiter.
In the Norwegian Armed Forces, promotion to the rank of Korporal is used as a way to acknowledge soldiers who have done a good job in their service, without giving them any real authority. Promotion may come after only 4 months (or even less), and the rank carries two chevrons and a slight pay increase. In addition, every candidate who completes a special selection period, the Aspirantperiode, including those aspiring to become a sergeant or a soldier in His Majesty The King's Guard, automatically qualifies for the rank of Korporal.
Swedish Armed Forces
In the Swedish Army, the rank of Korpral is given to conscripts under training as section leaders and platoon leaders after 5 months of training. Those who are selected as (wartime) platoon leaders are later promoted to Furir (corresponding to the British corporal) and later Sergeant, while the section leaders are promoted to the rank of Furir after 10 months of service. The second-in-command at the section level, and often also at the platoon level, holds the same rank as the section or platoon leader.
Canadian Armed Forces
In the Canada Armed Forces the rank of corporal indicates fully trained member. The rank of Private is reserved for those still training in their chosen trade. Corporals do however lead troops if they have been properly trained, but not yet promoted to the highest of the "Junior Ranks", Master Corporal (abbreviated MCPL). Unlike other Commonwealth countries, Canada has no Lance Corporal.
Republic of Singapore
Corporals (CPL) in the Singapore Armed Forces, unlike Corporals in most other military forces, are not non-commissioned officers (known as Specialists in Singapore). The rank of Corporal lies between Lance-Corporal (LCP) and 3rd Sergeant (3SG). It is the most common rank held by conscript soldiers,who are usually promoted to the rank near the end of their national service term. Corporals usually do not go on to become sergeants. A Corporal in the Singapore Armed Forces is roughly equivalent to a Specialist in the U.S. Army.
A Corporal wears rank insignia of two point down chevrons and an arc (similar to an upside down U.S. Army Private First Class rank with an additional stripe).
Corporals in police forces
Some police departments in the United States maintain a rank of corporal, which is almost always next above a patrolman, officer, trooper etc. and next below a sergeant. Its existence has become increasingly popular in recent years, but does not necessarily confer supervisory responsibilities upon its holder; often it is simply a more senior grade of patrolman, with higher pay. The rank also exists in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and used to exist in some Australian police forces. It is also used in many other police forces of the Commonwealth.