Officer (armed forces)
An officer is a member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority. In this sense, officers are not enlisted, but hold appointments from their government that typically remain in force indefinitely unless resigned, the proportion of officers varies greatly. Officers typically make up between an eighth and a fifth of modern armed forces personnel, in 2013, officers were the senior 17% of the British armed forces, and the senior 13. 7% of the French armed forces. In 2012, officers made up about 18% of the German armed forces, however, armed forces have generally had much lower proportions of officers. During the First World War, fewer than 5% of British soldiers were officers, in the early twentieth century, the Spanish army had the highest proportion of officers of any European army, at 12. 5%. Within a nations armed forces, armies tend to have a proportion of officers. For example,13. 9% of British army personnel and 22. 2% of the RAF personnel were officers in 2013, having officers is one requirement for combatant status under the laws of war, though these officers need not have obtained an official commission or warrant.
Commissioned officers are typically the only persons, in an armed forces environment, a superior officer is an officer with a higher rank than another officer, who is a subordinate officer relative to the superior. Non-commissioned officers in positions of authority can be said to have control or charge rather than command per se, many advanced militaries require university degrees as a prerequisite for commissioning, even from the enlisted ranks. In the Israel Defense Forces, a university degree is a requirement for an officer to advance to the rank of lieutenant colonel, the IDF often sponsors the studies for its majors, while aircrew and naval officers obtain academic degrees as a part of their training programmes. In the United Kingdom, there are three routes of entry for British Armed Forces officers, the first, and primary route are those who receive their commission directly into the officer grades following completion at their relevant military academy. The third route is similar to the second, in that they convert from an enlisted to a commission, but these are taken from the highest ranks of SNCOs.
LE officers, whilst holding the same Queens Commission, generally work in different roles from the DE officers, in the infantry, a number of Warrant Officer Class 1s are commissioned as LE officers. For Royal Navy and Royal Air Force officer candidates, a 30-week period at Britannia Royal Naval College or a 30-week period at RAF College Cranwell, Royal Marines officers receive their training in the Command Wing of the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines during a grueling 15-month course. The courses consist of not only tactical and combat training, but leadership, etiquette, until the Cardwell Reforms of 1871, commissions in the British Army were purchased by officers. The Royal Navy, operated on a more meritocratic, or at least socially mobile, AOCS also included the embedded Aviation Reserve Officer Candidate and Naval Aviation Cadet programs. NAVCADs were personnel who held associates degrees, but lacked bachelors degrees, nAVCADs would complete the entire AOCS program, but would not be commissioned until completion of flight training and receiving their wings.
After their initial tour, they would be assigned to a college or university full-time for no more than two years in order to complete their bachelors degree
Major is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world. When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicators, major is one rank senior to that of an army captain and it is considered the most junior of the field officer ranks. Majors are typically assigned as specialised executive or operations officers for battalion-sized units of 300 to 1,200 soldiers, in some militaries, notably France and Ireland, the rank of major is referred to as commandant, while in others it is known as captain-major. The rank of major is used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures, such as the Pennsylvania State Police, New York State Police, New Jersey State Police. As a police rank, major roughly corresponds to the UK rank of superintendent, the term major can be used with a hyphen to denote the leader of a military band such as in pipe-major or drum-major. Historically, the rank designation develops in English in the 1640s, taken from French majeur, in turn a shortening of sergent-majeur, which at the time designated a higher rank than at present
Brigadier general is a senior rank in the armed forces. It is the lowest ranking general officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of colonel and major general, when appointed to a field command, a brigadier general is typically in command of a brigade consisting of around 4,000 troops. In some countries a brigadier general is designated as a one-star general. The rank can be traced back to the militaries of Europe where a general, or simply a brigadier. An alternative rank of general was first used in the French revolutionary armies. Some countries, such as Brazil and Japan, some of these countries use the rank of colonel general to make four general-officer ranks. The naval equivalent is usually commodore and this gallery displays Air Force brigadier general insignia if they are different from the Army brigadier general insignia. Note that in many Commonwealth countries, the equivalent air force rank is Air Commodore, the rank of brigadier general is used in the Argentine Air Force.
Unlike other armed forces of the World, the rank of general is actually the highest rank in the Air Force. This is due to the use of the rank of brigadier and its derivatives to designate all general officers in the Air Force, brigadier-major, and brigadier-general. The rank of general is reserved for the Chief General Staff of the Air Force. The Argentine Army does not use the rank of brigadier-general, instead using brigade general which in turn is the lowest general officer before Divisional General, see Argentine Army officer rank insignia. When posted elsewhere, the rank would be relinquished and the former rank resumed and this policy prevented an accumulation of high-ranking general officers brought about by the relatively high turnover of brigade commanders. Brigadier general was used as an honorary rank on retirement. The rank insignia was like that of the current major general, as in the United Kingdom, the rank was replaced by brigadier. Prior to 2001, the Bangladesh Army rank was known as brigadier, in 2001 the Bangladesh Army introduced the rank of brigadier general, however the grade stayed equivalent to brigadier.
It is the lowest ranking general officer, between the ranks of Colonel and Major General, Brigadier General is equivalent to commodore of the Bangladesh Navy and air commodore of the Bangladesh Air Force. It is still popularly called brigadier
Bombardier is a military rank that has existed since the 16th century in artillery regiments of various armies, such as in the British Army and the Royal Prussian Army. It is today equivalent to the rank of corporal in other branches, the rank of lance-bombardier is the artillery counterpart of lance-corporal. Bombardier and lance-bombardier are used by the British Army in the Royal Artillery, the same applies to the Royal Australian Artillery, the Royal New Zealand Artillery, the South African Army Artillery and the Armed Forces of Malta. The Royal Canadian Artillery uses the ranks of master bombardier and bombardier, the Royal Artillery had corporals, but not lance-corporals. Unlike a lance-corporal, a bombardier held full non-commissioned rank and not an acting appointment, the rank was equivalent to second corporal in the Royal Engineers and Army Ordnance Corps. In 1920 corporals were abolished in the Royal Artillery, bombardiers became the equivalent, the rank of lance bombardier originated as acting bombardier, an appointment similar to lance-corporal and was indicated by a single chevron.
The appointment was renamed lance-bombardier in February 1918 and became a rank, as did lance-corporal. Bomb is widely used as a form of address for both full bombardiers and lance-bombardiers. They may be referred to as a screw or a lance jack. As with other common military abbreviations, such as sarnt, these terms are not used on formal occasions, until the advent of smart bombs and guided missiles, bomber aircraft carried crew members responsible for aiming bombs. In Commonwealth air forces this crew member was the bomb aimer, British Army Other Ranks rank insignia Comparative military ranks Canadian Forces ranks and insignia Texts on Wikisource, Bombardier
A midshipman is an officer cadet or a commissioned officer candidate of the junior-most rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Canada, Bangladesh, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Kenya. Beginning in the 18th century, an officer candidate was rated as a midshipman. After serving at least three years as a midshipman or masters mate, he was eligible to take the examination for lieutenant, promotion to lieutenant was not automatic, and many midshipmen took positions as masters mates for an increase in pay and responsibility aboard ship. Midshipman began to mean an officer cadet at a naval college, trainees now spent around four years in a college and two years at sea prior to promotion to commissioned officer rank. Between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries, time at sea declined to less than a year as the age was increased from 12 to 18. Ranks equivalent to midshipman exist in other navies.
Using US midshipman or pre-fleet board UK midshipman as the basis for comparison, using post-fleet board UK midshipman for comparison, the rank would be the most junior commissioned officer in the rank structure, and similar to a US ensign in role and responsibility. Today, these ranks all refer to cadets, but historically they were selected by the monarchy. The first published use of the term midshipman was in 1662, the word derives from an area aboard a ship, but it refers either to the location where midshipmen worked on the ship, or the location where midshipmen were berthed. By the 18th century, four types of midshipman existed, midshipman extraordinary, midshipman, by 1794, all midshipmen were considered officer candidates, and the original rating was phased out. Beginning in 1661, boys who aspired to become officers were sent by their families to serve on ships with a letter of service from the crown, and were paid at the same rate as midshipmen. Their official rating was volunteer-per-order, but they were known as Kings letter boys.
Beginning in 1677, Royal Navy regulations for promotion to lieutenant required service as a midshipman, by the Napoleonic era, the regulations required at least three years of services as a midshipman or masters mate and six years of total sea time. Sea time was earned in various ways, most boys served this period at sea in any lower rating, either as a servant of one of the ships officers, a volunteer, or a seaman. By the 1730s, the rating volunteer-per-order was phased out and replaced with a system where prospective midshipmen served as servants for officers. For example, a captain was allowed four servants for every 100 men aboard his ship, the school was unpopular in the Navy, because officers enjoyed the privilege of having servants and preferred the traditional method of training officers via apprenticeship. Volunteers were paid £6 per year, by 1816, the rating of midshipman ordinary was phased out, and all apprentice officers were rated as midshipmen
Captain (armed forces)
The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to the command of a company of soldiers. The rank is used by some air forces and marine forces. Today, a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery, in the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army, a captain may command a company, or be the second-in-command of a battalion. In NATO countries, the rank of captain is described by the code OF-2 and is one rank above an OF-1, the rank of captain is generally considered to be the highest rank a soldier can achieve while remaining in the field. The rank of captain should not be confused with the rank of captain or with the British-influenced air force rank of group captain. The term ultimately goes back to Late Latin capitaneus meaning chief, prominent, in Middle English adopted as capitayn in the 14th century, the military rank of captain was in use from the 1560s, referring to an officer who commands a company. The naval sense, an officer who commands a man-of-war, is earlier, from the 1550s.
He would in turn receive money from another nobleman to serve as his lieutenant, the funding to provide for the troops came from the monarch or his government, the captain had to be responsible for it. If he was not, or was otherwise court-martialed, he would be dismissed, the only pension for the captain was selling the right to another nobleman when he was ready to retire. In most countries, the air force is the junior service, such as the United States Air Force, use a rank structure and insignia similar to those of the army. However, the United Kingdoms Royal Air Force, many other Commonwealth air forces, a group captain is OF-5 and was derived from the naval rank of captain. In the unified system of the Canadian Forces, the air force rank titles are pearl grey, a variety of images illustrative of different forces insignia for captain are shown below, Captain Captain Senior captain Staff captain
Lieutenant (junior grade)
The rank is used in the United States Maritime Service. The NOAA Corpss predecessors, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps, promotion to LTJG is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest all fully qualified ensigns should be promoted to LTJG, the time for promotion to LTJG is a minimum of two years after commissioning in the Navy or 18 months in the Coast Guard. Lieutenants, junior grade typically lead petty officers and non-rated personnel, a LTJGs usual shipboard billet is as a division officer. Lieutenant, junior grade is referred to colloquially as JG. Prior to March 3,1883, this rank was known in the Navy as Master, solid Snake was disguised as this U. S. Navy SEAL. S
Air chief marshal
Air chief marshal is a four-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force, where it is the most senior peacetime air force rank. Air chief marshal is an air officer rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-9. An air chief marshal is equivalent to an admiral in the Royal Navy or a general in the British Army or the Royal Marines, in other forces, such as the United States Armed Forces and the Canadian Armed Forces, the equivalent four-star rank is general. The rank of air marshal is immediately senior to the rank of air marshal. Air chief marshals are sometimes considered to be air marshals. Prior to the adoption of RAF-specific rank titles in 1919, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navys officer ranks, for example, the rank that became air chief marshal would have been air admiral. However, air marshal was preferred and was adopted on 1 August 1919. The rank was first used on 1 April 1922 with the promotion of Sir Hugh Trenchard, with Trenchards promotion to marshal of the RAF on 1 January 1927, no officer held the rank until Sir John Salmond was promoted on 1 January 1929.
It has been used ever since. In the RAF, the rank of air marshal is held by the serving Chief of the Air Staff. Throughout the history of the RAF,139 RAF officers have held the rank and it has awarded in an honorary capacity to senior members of the British Royal Family. Additionally, Lord Stirrup was granted a promotion to marshal of the Royal Air Force in 2014. The marshals are still to be found on the RAFs active list even though they have for all practical purposes retired, the rank insignia consists of three narrow light blue bands over a light blue band on a broad black band. This is worn on the sleeves of the service dress jacket or on the shoulders of the flying suit or working uniform. The command flag for an RAF air chief marshal is defined by the two red bands running through the centre of the flag. The vehicle star plate for an RAF air chief marshal depicts four stars on an air force blue background. The rank of air marshal is used in the air forces of many countries which were under British influence around the time their air force was founded.
This includes many the air forces of many Commonwealth countries and it is instituted as a rank in the Ghana Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force as member of the Commonwealth of Nations, however not in practice
Captain is the name most often given in English-speaking navies to the rank corresponding to command of the largest ships. The rank is equal to the rank of colonel. Equivalent ranks worldwide include ship-of-the-line captain, captain of sea and war, captain at sea, the NATO rank code is OF-5, although the United States of America uses the code O-6 for the equivalent rank. O. The naval rank should not be confused with the army, air force, or marine ranks of captain, on large US ships, the executive officer may be a captain in rank, in which case it would be proper to address him by rank. Often the XO prefers to be called XO to avoid confusion with the CO, who is a captain in rank and the captain of the ship. Captains with sea commands generally command ships of size or larger, the more senior the officer, the larger the ship. Even when an officer who is in the ships captains chain of command is present. The following articles deal with the rank of captain as it is used in various navies, Captain Captain Captain Capitaine de vaisseau Kapitän zur See Komandor Kapitan of the 1st rank Sea captain Post captain
The rank was first used in the 13th century in the English Royal Navy and is today used in most services in many countries, including the Commonwealth nations and the United States. Outside the United States, warrant officers are included in the Other Ranks category, equivalent to the US E category, Warrant officers in the United States are classified as officers and are in the W category, they are technical leaders and specialists. Chief warrant officers are commissioned by the President of the United States and they may be technical experts with a long service as enlisted personnel, or direct entrants, notably for U. S. Army helicopter pilots. The warrant officer corps began in the nascent English Royal Navy, at that time, noblemen with military experience took command of the new Navy, adopting the military ranks of lieutenant and captain. As cannon came into use, the officers required gunnery experts, specialist gunners began to appear in the 16th century, since all warrant officers had responsibility for stores, this was enough to debar the illiterate.
In origin, warrant officers were specialist professionals whose expertise and authority demanded formal recognition, in the early 19th century, they were joined in the wardroom by naval chaplains, who had warrant officer status. Other warrant officers included surgeons mates, boatswains mates and carpenters mates, armourers, masters-at-arms, who had formerly overseen small-arms provision on board, had by this time taken on responsibility for discipline. On 25 July 1864 the standing warrant officers were divided into two grades, warrant officers and chief warrant officers. By the time of the First World War, their ranks had been expanded with the adoption of technology in the Navy to include telegraphists, shipwrights, artificer engineers. Both warrant officers and commissioned warrant officers messed in the warrant officers mess rather than the wardroom, Warrant officers and commissioned warrant officers carried swords, were saluted by ratings, and ranked between sub-lieutenants and midshipmen.
Collectively, these officers were known as officers, being retitled special duties officers in 1956. In 1998, the special duties list was merged with the general list of officers in the Royal Navy, the Australian Army has two warrant officer ranks, warrant officer class one and warrant officer class two, the former is superior in rank to the latter. All warrant officers are addressed as Sir or Maam, to gain the attention of a particular warrant officer in a group, they can be addressed as Warrant Officer Bloggs, sir/maam or by their appointment, e. g. ASM Bloggs, sir/maam. All warrant officers hold an appointment such as company sergeant major or regimental sergeant major, the WO1 appointed to the position of Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army is the most senior warrant officer in the Australian Regular Army, including the Army Reserve. The appointment of RSM-A was introduced in 1991, the rank insignia are, a crown for a WO2, the Australian Commonwealth coat of arms for a WO1, and the Australian Commonwealth coat of arms surrounded by a laurel wreath for the RSM-A.
The Royal Australian Navy rank of warrant officer is the only rank appointed by warrant and is equivalent to the armys WO1. The most senior non-commissioned member of the navy is the warrant officer appointed Warrant Officer of the Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force rank of warrant officer is the air forces only rank appointed by warrant and is equivalent to both the armys WO1 and the navys WO. The most senior non-commissioned member is the warrant officer appointed Warrant Officer of the Air Force, the ranks of adjudant, adjudant-chef, and major may be considered equivalent to Commonwealth warrant officer ranks
Sergeant is a rank in many uniformed organizations, principally military and policing forces. Its origin is the Latin serviens, one who serves, through the French term sergent, the term sergeant refers to a non-commissioned officer placed above the rank of a corporal and a police officer immediately below a lieutenant. In most armies the rank of sergeant corresponds to command of a squad, in Commonwealth armies, it is a more senior rank, corresponding roughly to a platoon second-in-command. In the United States Army, sergeant is a junior rank corresponding to a four-soldier fireteam leader. More senior non-commissioned ranks are often variations on sergeant, for example staff sergeant, many countries use sergeant rank, whether in English or using a cognate with the same origin in another language. The equivalent rank in Arab armies is raqeeb, meaning overseer or watcher, in medieval European usage, a sergeant was simply any attendant or officer with a protective duty. Any medieval knight or military order of knighthood might have sergeants-at-arms, the etymology of the term is from Anglo-French sergant, serjant servant, court official, from Middle Latin servientem servant, soldier.
Later, a sergeant was a man of what would now be thought of as the middle class. Sergeants could fight either as heavy to light cavalry, or as well trained professional infantry, most notable medieval mercenaries fell into the sergeant class, such as Flemish crossbowmen and spearmen, who were seen as reliable quality troops. The sergeant class was deemed to be half of a knight in military value. A specific kind of military sergeant was the serjeant-at-arms, one of a body of armed men retained by English lords, the title is now given to an officer in modern legislative bodies who is charged with keeping order during meetings and, if necessary, forcibly removing disruptive members. The responsibilities of a sergeant differ from army to army, there are usually several ranks of sergeant, each corresponding to greater experience and responsibility for the daily lives of the soldiers of larger units. Sergeant is a rank in both the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force, the ranks are equivalent to each other and the Royal Australian Navy rank of petty officer.
The Australian Army rank of sergeant is now redundant and is no longer awarded, due to being outside the rank equivalencies. Chief petty officers and flight sergeants are not required to call a warrant officer class two sir in accordance with Australian Defence Force Regulations 1952. The rank of sergeant exists in all Australian police forces and is more senior than a constable or senior constable, New South Wales Police Force, for example, has the additional rank of incremental sergeant. This is a progression, following appointment as a sergeant for seven years. An incremental sergeant rank is less senior than a senior sergeant but is more senior than a sergeant, upon appointment as a sergeant or senior sergeant, the sergeant is given a warrant of appointment under the commissioners hand and seal
Leading Seaman is a junior non-commissioned rank or rate in navies, particularly those of the Commonwealth. When it is used by NATO nations, Leading Seaman has the code of OR-4. It is often equivalent to the army and air force rank of corporal and some navies use Corporal rather than Leading Seaman. The rank is used in the navies of Australia, Canada, Ghana, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and it is senior to able seaman but junior to petty officer. Leading seaman or leading hand, which it is known as, is the equivalent of corporal in the Royal Australian Air Force. Leading seamen are addressed as leader, and informally known as killicks from the anchor which is the symbol of their rank. In the Royal Canadian Navy, leading seaman is senior to the rank of able seaman and its Army and Air Force equivalent is corporal and it is part of the cadre of junior non-commissioned officers. Leading seamen are generally addressed as Leading Seaman Smith. The same rank title is used for female members, the slang term for the rank is killick, as in the Royal Navy.
The term is used even though the old-style insignia of a fouled anchor is no longer used for this rank in the RCN. Leading seamen generally mess and billet with other seamen and their army and air force equivalents, privates and their mess on naval bases or installations is generally named the junior ranks mess. Leading seaman is an enlisted rank of the Navy of the Russian Federation. It is senior to the lowest rank of seaman, the rank was introduced to the Soviet Navy in 1946 and inherited by the Russian state in 1991. The former Soviet republics of Belarus and Ukraine maintain similar ranks with the same pronunciation but slightly different orthography - старшы матрос, the rate of leading seaman, leading hand or leading rating in the Royal Navy is senior to able seaman and junior to petty officer. It is equivalent, but junior, to corporal in the other services, the badge is the fouled anchor, worn on the upper arm in formal uniform and on the shoulder slides in working dress. Specialists use the word leading before their speciality, a leading rating is often called a killick, referring to the rank insignia of a fouled anchor.
In the United States Navy, the position of leading seaman is usually that of the seniormost seaman in the division. The rank equivalent of a Leading Seaman is a Petty Officer Third Class, though it should be noted that the leading seaman only has the authority of a PO3, the leading seaman position is usually used when a PO3 or PO2 is not available