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Saturday, April 29, 2017
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Fact file: Military rank

The origin of military rank makes for interesting reading, both in terms of the hierarchy (if a major is senior to a lieutenant, why is a major general junior to a lieutenant general?) and in terms of the origin, age and meaning of the various ranks.

Several useful discussions can be found on the Internet, including that in the wikipedia. There are several military rank systems currently in use. For the sake of simplicity it will be said the two major systems are that used by Britain and France. South Africa uses the British pattern but with Army-style ranks for its Air Force and Military Health Service. Zimbabwe uses the British pattern for both its Army and Air Force.




Officers (British Commonwealth pattern)

Navy

Army

Air Force (using Royal Air Force-style ranks; many other Air Forces uses Army-style ranks)

Admiral of the Fleet

Marshal/Field Marshal

Marshal of the Air Force

Admiral

General

Air Chief Marshal

Vice Admiral

Lieutenant General

Air Marshal

Rear Admiral

Major General

Air Vice Marshal

Commodore/Rear Admiral (Junior Grade)

Brigadier/Brigadier General

Air Commodore

Captain (Navy)

Colonel

Group Captain

Commander

Lieutenant Colonel

Wing Commander

Lieutenant Commander

Major

Squadron Leader

Lieutenant (Navy)

Captain

Flight Lieutenant

Sub-Lieutenant

Lieutenant

Flying Officer

Ensign

2nd Lieutenant

Pilot Officer

Midshipman

Officer Cadet

Officer Cadet

 

Warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and other ranks (British Commonwealth pattern)

Navy

Army

Air Force (using Royal Air Force-style ranks; many other Air Forces uses Army-style ranks)

Warrant Officer (various grades)

Sergeant Major (various grades)

Warrant Officer (various grades)

Chief Petty Officer

Staff Sergeant/Colour Sergeant

Flight Sergeant

Petty Officer

Sergeant

Sergeant

Leading Seaman

Corporal

Corporal

Able Seaman

Lance Corporal

Leading Aircraftman

Seaman

Private

Aircraftman/Airman

 

See also:


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