Air marshal

Last updated

Air marshal (Air Mshl or AM) is an air-officer rank which originated within the Royal Air Force. [1] The rank is used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence, including many Commonwealth nations. The rank is usually equivalent to a vice admiral or a lieutenant general.

Contents

Air marshal is immediately senior to the rank of air vice-marshal and immediately subordinate to the rank of air chief marshal. Officers in the rank of air marshal typically hold very senior appointments such as commander-in-chief of an air force or a large air force formation. Officers in the ranks of air chief marshal and air vice-marshal are also referred to generically as air marshals. [2] Occasionally, air force officers of marshal rank are considered to be air marshals.

Royal Air Force use and history

Air marshal
UK-Air-OF8-Flag.svg
Command flag
United Kingdom-Air force-OF-8-collected.svg
Shoulder and sleeve insignia
Air Marshal star plate.svg
Star plate
CountryFlag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Service branchEnsign of the Royal Air Force.svg  Royal Air Force
AbbreviationAir Mshl / AM
Rank three-stars
NATO rank code OF-8
Formation1 August 1919 (1919-08-01)
Next higher rank Air chief marshal
Next lower rank Air vice-marshal
Equivalent ranks

Origins

Prior to the adoption of RAF-specific rank titles in 1919, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "air" inserted before the naval rank title. For example, the rank that later became air marshal would have been air vice-admiral. The Admiralty objected to any use of their rank titles, including this modified form, and so an alternative proposal was put forward: air-officer ranks would be based on the term "ardian", which was derived from a combination of the Gaelic words for "chief" (ard) and "bird" (eun), with the term "second ardian" or "wing ardian" being used specifically for the rank equivalent to a vice-admiral and lieutenant-general. However, air marshal was preferred and has been used since its adoption in August 1919. [3] Sir Hugh Trenchard, the incumbent Chief of the Air Staff when the rank was introduced, became the first air marshal on 11 August 1919. [4] [5]

RAF insignia, command flag and star plate

The rank insignia consists of two narrow light blue bands (each on a slightly wider black band) over a light blue band on a broad black band. This is worn on the lower sleeves of the dress uniform or on shoulders of the flying suit or working uniform.

The command flag for an air marshal is defined by the single broad red band running in the centre of the flag.

The vehicle star plate for an air marshal depicts three white stars (air marshal is equivalent to a three-star rank) on an air force blue background.

Australia

The Australian Air Corps adopted the RAF rank system on 9 November 1920 [6] and this usage was continued by its successor, the Royal Australian Air Force. However, the rank of air marshal was not used by the Australian Armed Forces until 1940 when Richard Williams, an RAAF officer, was promoted. [7]

In Australia, there are four appointments available for air marshals: the Chief of Air Force and, at times when they are occupied by an air force officer, the Vice Chief of Defence Force, the Chief of Joint Operations, and the Chief of Capability Development Group.

Canada

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) used the rank until the 1968 unification of the Canadian Forces, when army-type rank titles were adopted and an air marshal became a lieutenant-general. In official French Canadian usage, the rank title was maréchal de l'air. The Canadian Chief of the Air Staff ordinarily held the rank of air marshal. The following RCAF officers held the rank (dates in rank in parentheses):

India

The rank of air marshal was the highest in the Indian Air Force (IAF), held by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), from 1947 to 1966. In 1966, the rank of CAS was upgraded to air chief marshal and ACM Arjan Singh became the first CAS to hold the four-star rank.

Namibia

The Namibian Air Force adopted the RAF rank system in 2010 previously having been using army ranks and insignia. However the rank of air marshal was not used until 1 April 2020 when Martin Pinehas was promoted to that rank and appointed as Chief of the Namibian Defence Force. [9]

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the head of the air force holds the lower rank of air vice-marshal. However, when an air force officer holds the country's senior military appointment, Chief of the New Zealand Defence Force, he is granted the rank of air marshal. The current Chief of Defence Force is an RNZAF officer, Air Marshal Kevin Short.

Other officers to hold the air marshal rank in New Zealand are:

Pakistan

Other language variants

In the Brazilian Air Force, the highest rank is Marechal-do-ar , which can be translated as "air marshal" or "marshal of the air". The rank is equivalent to marshal in the Brazilian Army. [10]

In 1927, the rank of Luftmarsk (transl.air marshal), was proposed by Christian Førslev  [ da ] for a protentional united Chief of the Royal Danish Air Force rank. The rank would have been equivalent to a major general. [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marshal of the Royal Air Force</span> Highest rank in the Royal Air Force (RAF)

Marshal of the Royal Air Force (MRAF) is the highest rank in the Royal Air Force (RAF). In peacetime it was granted to RAF officers in the appointment of Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), and to retired Chiefs of the Air Staff (CAS), who were promoted to it on their last day of service. While surviving Marshals of the RAF retain the rank for life, the highest rank to which officers on active service are promoted is now air chief marshal. Although general promotions to Marshal of the Royal Air Force have been discontinued since the British defence cuts of the 1990s, further promotions to the rank may still be made in wartime, for members of the Royal Family and certain very senior RAF air officers in peacetime at the discretion of the monarch; all such promotions in peacetime are only honorary, however. In 2012, the then Prince of Wales was promoted to the rank in recognition of his support for his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in her capacity as head of the armed forces (commander-in-chief), while in 2014 Lord Stirrup, who had served as Chief of the Air Staff and Chief of the Defence Staff for over seven years, was also promoted.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Squadron leader</span> OF-3 rank in the Royal Air Force and other air forces

Squadron leader is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Wing commander</span> Commissioned rank in the RAF and air forces of other Commonwealth countries

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 immediately above squadron leader and immediately below group captain.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Group captain</span> Senior commissioned rank which originated in the Royal Air Force

Group captain is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force, where it originated, as well as the air forces of many countries that have historical British influence. It is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-British air force-specific rank structure. Group captain has a NATO rank code of OF-5, meaning that it ranks above wing commander, immediately below air commodore and is the equivalent of the naval rank of captain and the rank of colonel in other services.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Air commodore</span> One-star rank and is an air-officer rank (Flag Rank, Deputy Director General Level)

Air commodore is a one-star rank and is an air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence such as Zimbabwe, and 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; it is never shortened to "commodore", which is a rank in various naval forces.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Air vice-marshal</span> Two-star air-officer rank

Air vice-marshal (AVM) is a two-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force. The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. Air vice-marshals may be addressed generically as "air marshal".

Air chief marshal is a high-ranking air officer originating from the Royal Air Force. The rank is used by air forces of many countries that have historical British influence. An air chief marshal is equivalent to an Admiral in a navy or a full general in an army or other nations' air forces.

Marshal of the air force or marshal of the air is a five-star rank and an English-language term for the most senior rank in some air forces. It is usually the direct equivalent of a general of the air force in other air forces, a field marshal or general of the army in many armies, or a naval admiral of the fleet.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Flight sergeant</span> Senior non-commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force

Flight sergeant is a senior non-commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and several other air forces which have adopted all or part of the RAF rank structure. It is equivalent to a staff sergeant or colour sergeant in the British Army, a colour sergeant in the Royal Marines, and a chief petty officer in the Royal Navy, and has a NATO rank code of OR-7. In the RAF, flight sergeant ranks above chief technician and below warrant officer.

The officer ranks of the Royal Air Force, as they are today, were introduced in 1919. Prior to that Army ranks were used.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lieutenant-general (United Kingdom)</span> Senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines

Lieutenant general, formerly more commonly lieutenant-general, is a senior rank in the British Army and the Royal Marines. It is the equivalent of a multinational three-star rank; some British lieutenant generals sometimes wear three-star insignia, in addition to their standard insignia, when on multinational operations.

The rank structure of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has been inherited from the Royal Air Force (RAF). The RAF based its officer ranks on the Royal Navy, and its airmen ranks on the British Army.

Chief of Air Force (CAF) is the most senior appointment in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), responsible to the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) and the Secretary of the Department of Defence. The rank associated with the position is air marshal (three-star). The role encompasses "the delivery of aerospace capability, enhancing the Air Force's reputation and positioning the Air Force for the future". It does not include direction of air operations, which is the purview of the Air Commander Australia, a two-star position responsible directly to CDF in such circumstances but nominally reporting to CAF.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Five-star rank</span> Senior military rank used by some nations armed forces

A five-star rank is the highest military rank in many countries. The rank is that of the most senior operational military commanders, and within NATO's standard rank scale it is designated by the code OF-10. Not all armed forces have such a rank, and in those that do the actual insignia of the five-star ranks may not contain five stars. For example: the insignia for the French OF-10 rank maréchal de France contains seven stars; the insignia for the Portuguese marechal contains four gold stars. The stars used on the rank insignias of various Commonwealth of Nations are sometimes referred to colloquially as pips, but are stars of the orders of the Garter, Thistle or Bath or Eversleigh stars depending on the wearer's original regiment or corps, and are used in combination with other heraldic items, such as batons, crowns, swords or maple leaves.

A four-star rank is the rank of any four-star officer described by the NATO OF-9 code. Four-star officers are often the most senior commanders in the armed services, having ranks such as (full) admiral, (full) general, colonel general, army general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air chief marshal. This designation is also used by some armed forces that are not North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members.

The Australian Defence Force's (ADF) ranks of officers and enlisted personnel in each of its three service branches of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Australian Army, and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) inherited their rank structures from their British counterparts. The insignia used to identify these ranks are also generally similar to those used in the British Armed Forces.

Air marshal is the second highest active rank of the Royal Australian Air Force and was created as a direct equivalent of the British Royal Air Force rank of air marshal, it is also considered a three-star rank. The rank is held by the Chief of Air Force (CAF), and when the Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF), the Chief of Joint Operations (CJOPS) and/or the Chief of the Capability Development executive (CCDE) are Air Force officers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Bostock</span> Royal Australian Air Force senior commander

Air Vice Marshal William Dowling Bostock, was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). During World War II he led RAAF Command, the Air Force's main operational formation, with responsibility for the defence of Australia and air offensives against Japanese targets in the South West Pacific Area. His achievements in the role earned him the Distinguished Service Order and the American Medal of Freedom. General Douglas MacArthur described him as "one of the world's most successful airmen".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John McCauley</span> Royal Australian Air Force chief

Air Marshal Sir John Patrick Joseph McCauley, KBE, CB was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1954 to 1957. A Duntroon graduate, McCauley spent four years in the Australian Military Forces before transferring to the RAAF in 1924. He was Director of Training from 1936 to 1938, and commanded engineering and flying training schools for the first eighteen months of World War II. Having been promoted to group captain in 1940, he was posted to Singapore in June 1941 to take charge of all RAAF units defending the area. He earned praise for his efforts in attacking invading Japanese forces before the fall of Singapore, and for his dedication in evacuating his men. After serving as Deputy Chief of the Air Staff in 1942–44, he was appointed to a senior operational role with the Royal Air Force's 2nd Tactical Air Force in Europe, where he saw out the rest of the war.

Air vice-marshal is the third highest active rank of the Royal Australian Air Force and was created as a direct equivalent of the British Royal Air Force rank of air vice-marshal. It is also considered a two-star rank. The Australian Air Corps adopted the RAF rank system on 9 November 1920 and this usage was continued by its successor, the Royal Australian Air Force.

References

  1. "Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. 2007. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007.
  2. "Forms of Address: Air Chief Marshal, Air Marshal and Air Vice-Marshal". Debrett's. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
  3. Hobart, Malcolm C (2000). Badges and Uniforms of the Royal Air Force. Leo Cooper. p. 26. ISBN   0-85052-739-2 via Google Books.
  4. "Marshal of the RAF The Viscount Trenchard of Wolfeton". Air of Authority A History of RAF Organisation. 24 July 2018. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  5. Probert, Henry (1991). "The Viscount Trenchard". High Commanders of the Royal Air Force. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN   9780117726352.
  6. Gillison, Douglas Napier (1962). "Chapter 1: Formation of the Royal Australian Air Force" (digitised book). Royal Australian Air Force, 1939–1942 (1st ed.). Australian War Memorial. pp. 5–6.
  7. Gillison, Douglas Napier (1962). "Chapter 5: The New Command" (digitised book). Royal Australian Air Force, 1939–1942 (1st ed.). Australian War Memorial. pp. 92–93.
  8. "Air Marshal Clare L. Annis, OBE, CD". Archived from the original on 11 February 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  9. "Geingob appoints Pinehas as CDF". New Era Live.
  10. 1 2 "Postos e Graduações" [Ranks and Graduations]. fab.mil.br (in Portuguese). Brazilian Air Force. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  11. Kongstad, Jan O. (2008). Den militære flyvnings udvikling i Danmark 1910-1932[The development of military aviation in Denmark 1910-1932] (in Danish). p. 83. ISBN   978-87-7674-175-4.
  12. "Badges of rank" (PDF). defence.gov.au. Department of Defence (Australia) . Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  13. "OFFICER'S RANKS". joinbangladeshairforce.mil.bd. Archived from the original on 10 February 2019. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  14. "For Officers". careerairforce.nic.in. Indian Air Force. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  15. "Government Notice" (PDF). Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia. Vol. 4547. 20 August 2010. pp. 99–102. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  16. Smaldone, Joseph P. (1992). "National Security". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Nigeria: a country study. Area Handbook (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. pp. 296–297. LCCN   92009026 . Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  17. "Commissioned Officers". airforce.lk. Sri Lanka Air Force. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  18. "RAF Ranks". raf.mod.uk/. Royal Air Force . Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  19. "Ranks and Badges in the AFZ". afz.gov.zw. Air Force of Zimbabwe. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 29 May 2021.