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Ed is a State Alchemist, but what's his rank within the military hierarchy? Col. Mustang explicitly mentions a few times he's his 'superior officer', so he's a bit lower than that, but how does he compare to Maj. Armstrong or some of the staff Lieutenants?

Are State Alchemists commissioned at some rank (e.g. Capt.) a la physicians in the US military?

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As an State Alchemist his same as a Major, but in FMAB episode "Looming Shadows" the 2 Briggs soldiers who were escorting Winry referred him as Lieutenant. It's most likely just an error in the English dub though.

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According to Maria Ross (episode 9, 3:42), all State Alchemists carry a military rank equivalent of Major.

Ross: "State Alchemists have the military rank equivalent to major, and all."

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    An aside, some confusion may stem from the fact that Mustang is in the military hierarchy, but Edward is not (hence him not wearing a uniform like others. And Shou Tucker doesn't wear a military uniform either). That's why State Alchemists are "equivalent" to a Major, and not actually a Major. – Izkata Jul 25 '13 at 15:12
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    So are they basically commissioned as a Major and if they so choose (or required during war) they can opt to rise through the ranks? – Nick T Jul 25 '13 at 19:26
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    @NickT As Izkata said (and was correct about), Edward is not actually in the military hierarchy, just has command of a position equivalent to Major. If he chose to join the army ranks, he would have to undergo a different evaluation but would likely start at the rank of a Major upon completion. – Killua Jul 26 '13 at 22:44

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