Junior commissioned officer

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Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) is a term describing a group of military ranks found in the Indian Army, Pakistan Army and Nepal Army. Those soldiers holding JCO rank receive a 'junior commission' from his Commanding Officer.[1] This commission is of a lower status than that held by full commissioned officers.[2][3][4]

History[edit]

During British rule, these soldiers were known as Viceroy's Commissioned Officers (VCOs) except in Nepal, which was never a British colony. Under the British, there was a clear colonial context, the VCOs being the highest that an Indian could get while the full commissioned officers were British – a distinction which disappeared with Indian independence.[1]

Promotion and Duties[edit]

Senior non-commissioned officers are promoted to JCO rank on the basis of merit and seniority, restricted by the number of vacancies.[4] Junior Commissioned Officers are treated as a separate class and hold many additional privileges. In the army, they have a separate mess (the JCOs' mess), get family quarters, and are authorized to travel in first class on the railways. With good pay and privileges, it is an ambition of most enlisted men to attain such rank.

JCOs often serve as platoon commanders in an infantry company in place of lieutenants, with a major as the company commander and a captain as second-in-command.

In the Indian Army, due to their long years of service, officers accord JCO's great respect and has a great amount of influence, especially in cases involving the enlisted ranks, their welfare and morale. Another custom religiously followed is that a JCO is never addressed using just his name or rank. The word Sahib (master) is added as a suffix (e.g.: Subedar Sahib or <<Name>> Sahib).[1]

The JCO ranks in the Indian Army and the Pakistan Army (from highest to lowest) are:

The JCO equivalent (or Chief Petty) ranks in the Indian and Pakistan Navies are:

The JCO equivalent (or Warranted) ranks in the Indian and Pakistan Air Forces are:

While the Army JCOs receive a commission from the Commanding Officer of his unit, Sailors receive a warrant on promotion to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. This is a certificate issued by the Commodore Bureau of Sailors on behalf of the President of India to authenticate the promotion of a sailor to the Chief rank, as the CPO/MCPO II/MCPO I ranks are Junior Commissioned Ranks. The Warrant is made on pre-printed stationery written by hand.

Army JCOs and equivalents in the Indian Navy and the Air Force are Group B officers with Class II Gazetted status.[5] A long-running ambiguity has been cleared by the Indian Ministry of Defence.

Honorary commissions[edit]

There is also a custom of giving honorary commissions to deserving Junior Commissioned Officers. Every year a list of eligible JCOs is drawn up and honorary commissions awarded to them. This could be at the time of retirement, or when still in service.

Honorary Commissioned Officers may wear the appropriate rank insignia, but they do not become members of the officers' mess. They do, however, receive the pay and pension of their honorary rank. The honorary ranks in the various forces are:

Indian Army:

Indian Navy:

Indian Air Force:

Generally, in official documents the Junior Commissioned Officer rank held by the officer is also added before the Honorary Commission rank. For example, Subedar/Hony. Lt. or Subedar Major/Hony. Capt.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Singh, V. K. (2005). Leadership in the Indian Army: Biographies of Twelve Soldiers. India: SAGE Publishing India. p. 60.
  2. ^ Personnel Services Directorate. "Psdte311212" (PDF). Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. ^ "DSR Volume I, Chapter IV—JCOs, WOs,OR AND NON-COMBATANTS (ENROLLED)". Indian Army. 2014. Archived from the original on 9 November 2014. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  4. ^ a b Kumar, M. K. Sunil (16 May 2012). "Rules of the Raj hindering havildars' promotion". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Junior Commissioned Officers Are Gazetted Officers, Says Army". NDTV. Retrieved 19 December 2018.

Bibliography[edit]

Singh, V. K. (2005). Leadership in the Indian Army: Biographies of Twelve Soldiers. India: SAGE Publishing India.