Marshal of the air force
Marshal of the air force is the English term for the most senior rank in a number of air forces. The ranks described by this term can properly be considered marshal ranks. No air force in an English-speaking country formally uses the exact title "marshal of the air force", although it is sometimes used as a shortened form of the full title. In several Commonwealth air forces and many Middle Eastern air forces the most senior rank is named "marshal of the", followed by the name of the air force. Brazil and Italy have used rank titles which translate as marshal of the air, whereas Portugal's rank translates as "marshal of the air force". Nazi Germany's Luftwaffe used the rank of Generalfeldmarschall The premier rank of Reichsmarschall was held by Hermann Göring; the first instance of this rank was marshal of the Royal Air Force, established on paper in 1919 and was first held by Lord Trenchard. Other Commonwealth countries adopted their own national versions of the rank but, unlike the United Kingdom, they have only used it as a ceremonial honour.
Marshals of the air force can be properly considered marshals and such ranks are equivalent to the army rank of field marshal and the navy rank of admiral of the fleet. Marshal of the air force is a five-star rank and in NATO countries it is described by the ranking code of OF-10; as such a senior rank, it is seldom held. It is awarded either in a ceremonial capacity to heads of state or members of royal families, or to the most senior officers in large air forces. In the air forces of Australia, India and the United Kingdom, marshals of the air force are senior to air chief marshals. In the case of New Zealand, although the rank of marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force has been bestowed, no Royal New Zealand Air Force officer has attained higher rank than air marshal and the New Zealand rank of air chief marshal only exists on paper. A similar situation to the one in New Zealand existed in Malaysia until the 1970s when the Royal Malaysian Air Force replaced its air-officer ranks with general-officer ranks, although it retained the rank of marshal of the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
The rank of marshal of the Royal Canadian Air Force was never granted. During Germany's Nazi period, the Luftwaffe, in common with the Heer, used the rank of generalfeldmarschall, equivalent to großadmiral in the navy. Generalfeldmarschall was senior to generaloberst and it was the most senior German air force and army rank until the promotion of Hermann Göring, the commander of the Luftwaffe, to the higher rank of reichsmarschall in July 1940; the German ranks of reichsmarschall and generalfeldmarschall ceased to exist with the fall of the Third Reich. There are a variety of rank insignia in use by the different air forces which maintain a rank of marshal of the air force. Some, such as the Royal Air Force, derive the pattern from the sleeve lace for an admiral of the fleet, using one broad light blue band on a wider broad black band with four narrow light blue bands each on wider black bands. Others use a pattern of stars numbering five in total; the following command or rank flags are or have been in use: As of 2017, there are 14 living individuals who hold or have held the rank, or its equivalents, of Marshal of the Air Force.
10 of those are royalty who have been appointed to the rank in a ceremonial capacity, including Queen Sirikit of Thailand, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the current head of state of Malaysia. In the case of Malaysia, the elected Yang di-Pertuan Agong is appointed a Marshal of the Air Force for his tenure as head of state, but relinquishes the rank after completing his term in office, he can, however, be re-appointed to the rank if he serves another term. The Duke of Edinburgh holds the ceremonial rank of a Marshal of the Royal Air Force, as well as the honorary ranks of Marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force and Marshal of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. Although the rank of Marshal of the Royal Canadian Air Force existed on paper until 1968, the Duke of Edinburgh was never appointed to this rank nor to the other Canadian 5-star ranks before they were abolished that year. In 2012, his son, the Prince of Wales, was appointed to the British rank; the remaining four holders of the rank were all serving air officers, three of whom served as Chief of the Air Staff of the Royal Air Force, were promoted to the rank of Marshal of the Royal Air Force upon concluding their tenure.
Of those, only Lord Craig did not retire as he went on to serve as Chief of the Defence Staff as a Marshal of the RAF. In June 2014, retired Air Chief Marshal the Lord Stirrup was promoted to Marshal of the RAF in a ceremonial capacity, marking the first time since 1992 that an RAF air officer had been awarded the rank; the rank exists or has existed in Afghanistan, Brunei, South Korea, Nigeria and South Vietnam, but not all of these countries have used it. The Turkish Air Force maintains a rank of hava mareşalı; the Indonesian Air Force maintains the rank of marsekal besar although no Indonesian Air Force officer has been promoted to the rank. The French Air Force, in common with the French Army has marshal of France as its most se
A General Officer is an officer of high rank in the army, in some nations' air forces or marines. The term "general" is used in two ways: as the generic title for all grades of general officer and as a specific rank, it originates in the 16th century, as a shortening of captain general, which rank was taken from Middle French capitaine général. The adjective general had been affixed to officer designations since the late medieval period to indicate relative superiority or an extended jurisdiction. Today, the title of "General" is known in some countries as a four-star rank; however different countries use other insignia for senior ranks. It has a NATO code of OF-9 and is the highest rank in use in a number of armies, air forces and marine organizations; the various grades of general officer are at the top of the military rank structure. Lower-ranking officers in land-centric military forces are known as field officers or field-grade officers, below them are company-grade officers. There are two common systems of general ranks used worldwide.
In addition, there is a third system, the Arab system of ranks, used throughout the Middle East and North Africa but is not used elsewhere in the world. Variations of one form, the old European system, were once used throughout Europe, it is used in the United Kingdom, from which it spread to the Commonwealth and the United States of America. The general officer ranks are named by prefixing "general", as an adjective, with field officer ranks, although in some countries the highest general officers are titled field marshal, marshal, or captain general; the other is derived from the French Revolution, where generals' ranks are named according to the unit they command. The system used either a colonel general rank; the rank of field marshal was used by some countries as the highest rank, while in other countries it was used as a divisional or brigade rank. Many countries used two brigade command ranks, why some countries now use two stars as their brigade general insignia. Mexico and Argentina still use two brigade command ranks.
In some nations, the equivalent to brigadier general is brigadier, not always considered by these armies to be a general officer rank, although it is always treated as equivalent to the rank of brigadier general for comparative purposes. As a lieutenant outranks a sergeant major; the serjeant major was the commander of the infantry, junior only to the captain general and lieutenant general. The distinction of serjeant major general only applied after serjeant majors were introduced as a rank of field officer. Serjeant was dropped from both rank titles, creating the modern rank titles. Serjeant major as a senior rank of non-commissioned officer was a creation; the armies of Arab countries use traditional Arabic titles. These were formalized in their current system to replace the Turkish system, in use in the Arab world and the Turco-Egyptian ranks in Egypt. Other nomenclatures for general officers include the titles and ranks: Adjutant general Commandant-general Inspector general General-in-chief General of the Army General of the Air Force General of the Armies of the United States, a title created for General John J. Pershing, subsequently granted posthumously to George Washington Generaladmiral Air general and aviation general Wing general and group general General-potpukovnik Director general Director general of national defence Controller general Prefect general Master-General of the Ordnance – senior British military position.
Police Director General. Commissioner Admiral In addition to militarily educated generals, there are generals in medicine and engineering; the rank of the most senior chaplain, is usually considered to be a general officer rank. In the old European system, a general, without prefix or suffix, is the most senior type of general, above lieutenant general and directly below field marshal as a four-star rank, it is the most senior peacetime rank, with more senior ranks being used only in wartime or as honorary titles. In some armies, the rank of captain general, general of the army, army general or colonel general occupied or occupies this position. Depending on circumstances and the army in question, these ranks may be considered to be equivalent to a "full" general or to a field marshal; the rank of general came about as a "captain-general", the captain of an army in general (i.e. th
Air commodore is a one-star rank and the most junior general rank of the air-officer which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence such as Zimbabwe, it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure; the name of the rank is always the full phrase and is never shortened to Commodore, a rank in various naval forces. Air commodore is a one-star rank and the most junior air officer rank, being senior to group captain and subordinate to air vice-marshal, it has a NATO ranking code of OF-6 and is equivalent to a commodore in the Royal Navy or a brigadier in the British Army or the Royal Marines. Unlike these two ranks, however, it has always been a substantive rank. Additionally, air commodores have always been considered to be air officers whilst Royal Navy commodores have not since the Napoleonic Wars been classified as officers of flag rank, British Army brigadiers have not been considered to be general officers since 1922 when they ceased to be titled as brigadier-generals.
In other NATO forces, such as the United States Armed Forces and the Canadian Armed Forces, the equivalent one-star rank is brigadier general. The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service was "air commandant". In the present-day RAF, air commodores hold senior appointments within groups, acting directly in support of the air officer commanding. However, during the inter-war period, in the case of the contemporary No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group, the air officer commanding held or holds air commodore rank. In the Air Training Corps, an appointed air commodore holds ultimate authority over the cadet organisation as the Commandant Air Cadets. On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with officers at what is now air commodore holding the rank of brigadier-general. In response to the proposal that the RAF should use its own rank titles, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "air" inserted before the naval rank title.
Although the Admiralty objected to this simple modification of their rank titles, it was agreed that the RAF might base many of its officer rank titles on Navy officer ranks with differing pre-modifying terms. It was suggested that air-officer ranks could be based on the term "ardian", derived from a combination of the Gaelic words for "chief" and "bird", with the term "fourth ardian" or "flight ardian" being used for the equivalent to brigadier-general and commodore. However, the rank title based on the Navy rank was preferred and air commodore was adopted on 1 August 1919; the rank insignia is a light-blue band on a broad black band worn on both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual uniform. On the mess uniform, air commodores wear a broad gold ring on both lower sleeves; the command flag of an air commodore has one narrow red band running through the centre and is rectangular with a cut-away section giving it two tails. It is the only RAF command flag of this shape and it is similar in shape to that of a Royal Navy commodore's broad pennant.
The vehicle star plate for an air commodore depicts a single white star on an air force blue background. RAF air commodores are classed as air officers and as such have two rows of gold oak leaves on the peak of their service dress hats; the reigning monarch may appoint honorary air commodores for RAF flying stations. For example, Prince Charles is RAF Valley's honorary air commodore and Winston Churchill was 615 Squadron's honorary air commodore; as the title suggests, this is an honorary position bestowed by the reigning monarch and it does not grant the recipient command of a unit or formation. It is designed to strengthen the bond between the military unit and the individual and promote the role of the air force amongst the public. Serving officers, such as Prince Harry, may be granted an equivalent appointment to the honorary rank. In such cases the individual is made an honorary air commandant and they retain their regular rank. Larger air force organisations or formations may be honoured by having an air commodore-in-chief appointed in their name.
These appointments are rare and to date. Air commodore-in-chief is not a rank and such an appointment does not convey the rank of air commodore upon the recipient; the rank of air commodore is used in a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth, including the Bangladesh Air Force, Ghana Air Force, Indian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and Sri Lanka Air Force. The Royal Canadian Air Force used the rank until the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, when army-type rank titles were adopted. An air commodore became a brigadier-general. In official French Canadian usage, the rank title was commodore de l'air; the position of honorary air commodore still exists in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. Air Commodore, a calque or near-literal translation is a rank in the Egyptian Air Force, Royal Air Force of Oman, the Royal Thai Air Force and the Air Force of Zimbabwe. In the Indonesian Air Force the rank of Komodor Udara, a calque of "air commodore" was used until 1973
A midshipman is an officer of the junior-most rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Canada, Bangladesh, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya. In the 17th century, a midshipman was a rating for an experienced seaman, the word derives from the area aboard a ship, either where the original rating worked on the ship, or where he was berthed. Beginning in the 18th century, a commissioned officer candidate was rated as a midshipman, the seaman rating began to die out. By the Napoleonic era, a midshipman was an apprentice officer who had served at least three years as a volunteer, officer's servant or able seaman, was equivalent to a present-day petty officer in rank and responsibilities. After serving at least three years as a midshipman or master's mate, he was eligible to take the examination for lieutenant. Promotion to lieutenant was not automatic, many midshipmen took positions as master's mates for an increase in pay and responsibility aboard ship.
Midshipmen in the United States Navy were trained and served to midshipmen in the Royal Navy, although unlike their counterparts in the Royal Navy, a midshipman was a warrant officer rank until 1912. During the 19th century, changes in the training of naval officers in both the Royal Navy and the United States Navy led to the replacement of apprenticeship aboard ships with formal schooling in a naval college. 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 entry age was increased from 12 to 18. Ranks equivalent to midshipman exist in many other navies. Using US midshipman or pre-fleet board UK midshipman as the basis for comparison, the equivalent rank would be a naval cadet in training to become a junior commissioned officer. Using post-fleet board UK midshipman for comparison, the rank would be the most junior commissioned officer in the rank structure, similar to a US ensign in role and responsibility.
In many Romance languages, the literal translation of the local term for "midshipman" into English is "Navy Guard", including the French garde marine, Spanish guardia marina, Portuguese guarda-marinha, Italian guardiamarina. Today, these ranks all refer to naval cadets, but they were selected by the monarchy, were trained on land as soldiers; the rank of midshipman originated during the Tudor and Stuart eras, referred to a post for an experienced seaman promoted from the ordinary deck hands, who worked in between the main and mizzen masts and had more responsibility than an ordinary seaman, but was not a military officer or an officer in training. 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, midshipman extraordinary and midshipman ordinary; some midshipmen were older men, while most were officer candidates who failed to pass the lieutenant examination or were passed over for promotion, some members of the original rating served, as late as 1822, alongside apprentice officers without themselves aspiring to a commission.
By 1794, all midshipmen were considered officer candidates, 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, were paid at the same rate as midshipmen; the letter instructed the admirals and captains that the bearer was to be shown "such kindness as you shall judge fit for a gentleman, both in accommodating him in your ship and in furthering his improvement". Their official rating was volunteer-per-order, but they were known as King's letter boys, to distinguish their higher social class from the original midshipman rating. Beginning in 1677, Royal Navy regulations for promotion to lieutenant required service as a midshipman, promotion to midshipman required some time at sea. By the Napoleonic era, the regulations required at least three years of services as a midshipman or master's 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 ship's 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. In 1729, the Royal Naval Academy in Portsmouth – renamed the Royal Naval College in 1806 – was founded, for 40 students aged between 13 and 16, who would take three years to complete a course of study defined in an illustrated book, would earn two years of sea time as part of their studies; the rating of midshipman-by-order, or midshipman ordinary, was used for graduates of the Royal Naval College, to distinguish them from midshipmen who had served aboard ship, who were paid more. 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. In 1794, officers' servants were abolished and a new class of volunteers called'volunteer class I' was created for boys between the ag
Wing commander (rank)
Wing commander is a senior commissioned rank in the British Royal Air Force and air forces of many countries which have historical British influence, including many Commonwealth countries but not including Canada and South Africa. It is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure, it ranks above squadron leader and below group captain. It has a NATO ranking code of OF-4, is equivalent to commander in the Royal Navy and to lieutenant colonel in the British Army, the Royal Marines, the US Army, Air Force, Marine Corps; the equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force, Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service was wing officer. The equivalent rank in the Royal Observer Corps was observer commander which had a similar rank insignia. With the Naval Wing of the Royal Flying Corps adopting the name of Royal Naval Air Service 1 July 1914, the Naval Air Service adopted appointments in addition to the naval ranks.
Pilots wore insignia according to the appointment not their rank. One of the appointments was wing commander holding the rank of commander. On 1 April 1918, the newly created British Royal Air Force did not adopt a new rank structure with personnel continuing their prior services' rank and uniform. There were some changes in ranks but it was inconstant. In 1920, RAF began using the rank of wing commander. In the early years of the RAF, a wing commander commanded a flying wing a group of three or four aircraft squadrons. In current usage a wing commander is more to command a wing, an administrative sub-division of an RAF station. A flying squadron is commanded by a wing commander but is commanded by a squadron leader for small units. In the Air Training Corps, a wing commander is the officer commanding of a wing; the rank insignia is based on the three gold bands of commanders in the Royal Navy and consists of three narrow light blue bands over wider black bands. This is worn on both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulder of the flying suit or the casual uniform.
The command pennant is two triangular command pennants used in the RAF. Two thin red lines differentiate this one from the other. During 1941-45 RAF Fighter Command's wing leaders were allowed to use their own initials as aircraft identification letters on their personal aircraft, e.g. Wing Commander Roland Beamont's personal Hawker Tempest, JN751, was coded "R-B", Wing Commander John Robert Baldwin's personal Hawker Typhoon was coded "J-B"; the rank of wing commander is used in a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth, including the Bangladesh Air Force, Ghana Air Force, Nigerian Air Force, Indian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Sri Lankan Air Force. It is used in the Egyptian Air Force, Hellenic Air Force, Royal Air Force of Oman and the Royal Thai Air Force; the Royal Malaysian Air Force used the rank until it was retitled as that of lieutenant colonel in 1973, with the same rank insignia. The Royal Canadian Air Force used the rank until the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, when army-type rank titles were adopted.
A Canadian wing commander became a lieutenant colonel. In official French Canadian usage, a wing commander's rank title was lieutenant-colonel d'aviation; the rank of wing commander continues to be used as a cadet rank at the Royal Military College of Canada. In the 1990s, the Canadian Forces Air Command altered the structure of those bases under its control, redesignating them as wings; the commander of such an establishment was re-designated as the "wing commander". Like the United States Air Force usage, the term "wing commander" is an appointment, not a rank. A wing commander holds the rank of colonel. In the United States Air Force wing commander is a duty title, not a rank; the equivalent USAF rank is lieutenant colonel who has command of a squadron. Because USAF wings are larger formations than RAF wings, the commander of a wing must hold at least the rank of colonel, is a colonel or a brigadier general; the one exception to this is the commander of the 59th Medical Wing, customarily a major general.
The Civil Air Patrol, the volunteer auxiliary of the USAF, follows the USAF rank structure. The CAP divides the nation into 52 wings; each wing is headed by a CAP colonel. Douglas Bader, Second World War fighter pilot and double amputee, was the first commander to lead formations of three or more squadrons during the Battle of Britain. Roland Beamont, Second World War fighter pilot and post-war test pilot. Abdel Latif Boghdadi, pilot in the Egyptian Air Force turned politician Pierre Clostermann, Second World War fighter pilot and author of The Big Show. Linda Corbould, first woman to command a RAAF flying squadron Roald Dahl, Second World War fighter pilot, famous novelist, his record of five aerial victories has been confirmed by post-war research and cross-referenced in Axis records. Brendan "Paddy" Finucane, top ranking RAF World War II ace with 32 kills. A native of Rathmines, Ireland, he is the youngest wing commander in the histor