Captain (armed forces)

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NaviesArmiesAir forces
Commissioned officers
Admiral of
the fleet
Field marshal or
General of the Army
Marshal of
the air force
Admiral General Air chief marshal
Vice admiral Lieutenant general Air marshal
Rear admiral Major general Air vice-marshal
Commodore Brigadier or
brigadier general
Air commodore
Captain Colonel Group captain
Commander Lieutenant colonel Wing commander
Lieutenant
commander
Major or
Commandant
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
Lieutenant
junior grade
or
sub-lieutenant
Lieutenant or
first lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign or
midshipman
Second lieutenant Pilot officer
Officer cadet Officer cadet Flight cadet
Enlisted grades
Warrant officer or
chief petty officer
Warrant officer or
sergeant major
Warrant officer
Petty officer Sergeant Sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal or
bombardier
Corporal
Seaman Private or
gunner or
trooper
Aircraftman or
airman
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The army rank of captain (from the French capitaine) is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to the command of a company of soldiers. The rank is also 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 (or United States Army cavalry troop or Commonwealth squadron). In the Chinese People's Liberation Army, a captain may also command a company, or be the second-in-command of a battalion.

Officer (armed forces) member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

Company (military unit) military unit size

A company is a military unit, typically consisting of 80–150 soldiers and usually commanded by a major or a captain. Most companies are formed of three to six platoons, although the exact number may vary by country, unit type, and structure.

Air force military branch of service primarily concerned with aerial warfare

An air force, also known in some countries as an aerospace force or air army, is in the broadest sense, the national military branch that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an army or navy. Typically, air forces are responsible for gaining control of the air, carrying out strategic and tactical bombing missions, and providing support to land and naval forces often in the form of aerial reconnaissance and close air support.

Contents

In NATO countries, the rank of captain is described by the code OF-2 and is one rank above an OF-1 (lieutenant or first lieutenant) and one below an OF-3 (major or commandant). The rank of captain is generally considered to be the highest rank a soldier can achieve while remaining in the field.

NATO Intergovernmental military alliance of Western states

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also called the North Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance between 29 North American and European countries. The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party. NATO’s Headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels, Belgium, while the headquarters of Allied Command Operations is near Mons, Belgium.

A lieutenant is a junior mostcommissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police and other organizations of many nations.

First lieutenant is a commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces and, in some forces, an appointment.

In some militaries, such as United States Army and Air Force and the British Army, captain is the entry-level rank for officer candidates possessing a professional degree, namely, most medical professionals (doctors, pharmacists, dentists) and lawyers. In the U.S.. Army, lawyers who are not already officers at captain rank or above enter as lieutenants during training, and are promoted to the rank of captain after completion of their training if they are in the active component, or after a certain amount of time, usually one year from their date of commission as a lieutenant, for the reserve components.

The rank of captain should not be confused with the naval rank of captain or with the UK-influenced air force rank of group captain, both of which are equivalent to the army rank of colonel.

Captain (naval) Naval military rank

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 army rank of colonel.

Group captain Senior commissioned rank which originated in the Royal Air Force

Group captain is a senior commissioned rank in many air forces. 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.

Colonel is a senior military officer rank below the brigadier and general officer ranks. However, in some small military forces, such as those of Monaco or the Vatican, colonel is the highest rank. It is also used in some police forces and paramilitary organizations.

History

The term ultimately goes back to Late Latin capitaneus meaning "chief, prominent"; in Middle English adopted as capitayn in the 14th century, from Old French capitaine.

Late Latin Written Latin of late antiquity

Late Latin is the scholarly name for the written Latin of late antiquity. English dictionary definitions of Late Latin date this period from the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD, and continuing into the 7th century in the Iberian Peninsula. This somewhat ambiguously defined version of Latin was used between the eras of Classical Latin and Medieval Latin. There is no scholarly consensus about exactly when Classical Latin should end or Medieval Latin should begin. However, Late Latin is characterized by an identifiable style.

Middle English Stage of the English language from about the 12th through 15th centuries

Middle English (ME) is a period when the English language, spoken after the Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century, underwent distinct variations and developments following the Old English period. Scholarly opinion varies, but the Oxford English Dictionary specifies the period of 1150 to 1500. This stage of the development of the English language roughly followed the High to the Late Middle Ages.

Old French was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th century to the 14th century. In the 14th century, these dialects came to be collectively known as the langue d'oïl, contrasting with the langue d'oc or Occitan language in the south of France. The mid-14th century is taken as the transitional period to Middle French, the language of the French Renaissance, specifically based on the dialect of the Île-de-France region.

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 somewhat earlier, from the 1550s, later extended in meaning to "master or commander of any kind of vessel". A captain in the period prior to the professionalization of the armed services of European nations subsequent to the French Revolution, during the early modern period, was a nobleman who purchased the right to head a company from the previous holder of that right. 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 ("cashiered"), and the monarch would receive money from another nobleman to command the company. Otherwise, the only pension for the captain was selling the right to another nobleman when he was ready to retire.

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Early modern warfare History and description of warfare in the early modern period

Early modern warfare is associated with the start of the widespread use of gunpowder and the development of suitable weapons to use the explosive, including artillery and firearms; for this reason the era is also referred to as the age of gunpowder warfare.

Cashiering ritual dismissal for breach of discipline

Cashiering, generally within military forces, is a ritual dismissal of an individual from some position of responsibility for a breach of discipline.

Air forces

Many air forces, such as the United States Air Force, use a rank structure and insignia similar to those of the army.

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

However, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, many other Commonwealth air forces and a few non-Commonwealth air forces [1] use an air force-specific rank structure in which flight lieutenant is OF-2. 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 and increase from OF-1 to OF-5 in half strip increments. [2]

Equivalent captain ranks

Rank nameCountry name
KapitaniGeorgia
Akhmad Mongolia
CapitaineBelgium (Fr.)
CapitaineFrance
CapitanoItaly
CapitánSpain
CapitãoBrazil
CapitãoPortugal
CăpitanRomania
Hauptmann Austria
Germany
Switzerland
Hauptsturmführer Waffen-SS
Jeg-tooran (جګتورن)Afghanistan
"Kapitán", Capitán, CaptainPhilippines
Kapetan (Капетан)Bosnia, Serbia
KapitanRussia
KapitanUkraine
KapitanPoland
Kapitan Azerbaijan
Kapitan (Капитан)Bulgaria
Kapitan (Капитан) Russia
Kapitan (Капітан)Ukraine
KapiteinNetherlands
KapiteinBelgium (NL.)
KapteinisLatvia
KapitonasLithuania
KapitánCzech Rep.
KapitánSlovakia
KaptajnDenmark
Kaptan (کپتان)Pakistan
Kapteeni Finland
KapteinNorway
KaptenIndonesia
Kapten Sweden
Lochagos (Λοχαγός)Greece
Bo Gyi (ဗိုလ်ကြီး)Myanmar
Phu Kong (ผู้กอง)Thailand
Roi Ek (ร้อยเอก)Thailand
SatnikCroatia
StotnikSlovenia
Seren (סרן)Israel
Shangwei (上尉),China
Shangwei (上尉),Taiwan
SzázadosHungary
Taewi (대위)South Korea
Taii (大尉), Ichii (一尉)Japan
YüzbaşıTurkey
Đại ÚyVietnam
Капетан (Kapetan)North Macedonia

Insignia

A variety of images illustrative of different forces' insignia for captain (or captain-equivalents) are shown below:

Historical

See also

Notes

  1. The U.S. Marine Corps insignia for captain is slightly different from the USA / USAF insignia depicted above in that it lacks beveled edges and the cross-bars are further towards the ends. See collar insignia for U.S. Navy lieutenant.

Related Research Articles

A General Officer is an officer of high rank in the army, and in some nations' air forces or marines.

Lieutenant commander commissioned officer rank in many navies

Lieutenant commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander. The corresponding rank in most armies and air forces is major, and in the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces is squadron leader.

Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces, comparable to NATO OF-1b rank.

Brigadier general or Brigade 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 informally designated as a one-star general (OF-6).

Commander is a common naval and air force officer rank. Commander is also used as a rank or title in other formal organisations, including several police forces.

Flight lieutenant Junior commissioned rank

Flight Lieutenant is a junior commissioned air force rank that originated in the Royal Naval Air Service and is still used in the Royal Air Force and many other countries, especially in the Commonwealth. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in non-English-speaking countries, especially those with an air force-specific rank structure.

A field officer, field-grade officer, or senior officer is an army, Marine, or air force commissioned officer senior in rank to a company officer but junior to a general officer. In most armies this corresponds to the ranks of major, lieutenant colonel and colonel, or their equivalents. Some countries also include brigadier in the definition.

Captain lieutenant or captain-lieutenant is a military rank, used in a number of navies worldwide and formerly in the British Army. It is generally equivalent to the Commonwealth or US naval rank of lieutenant, and has the NATO rank code of OF-2, though this can vary.

Major (United States) rank in the United States uniformed services, O-4

In the United States Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, major is a field grade military officer rank above the rank of captain and below the rank of lieutenant colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of lieutenant commander in the other uniformed services. Although lieutenant commanders are considered junior officers by their respective services, the rank of major is considered field grade in the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps.

In the United States uniformed services, captain is a commissioned-officer rank. In keeping with the traditions of the militaries of most nations, the rank varies between the services, being a senior rank in the naval services and a junior rank in the ground and air forces.

Captain is a rank that appears in several navies. The name of the rank derives from the fact the rank corresponded to command of a warship of the largest class, the ship-of-the-line, as opposed to smaller types. It is normally above the rank of frigate captain.

Corvette captain

Corvette captain is a rank in many navies which theoretically corresponds to command of a corvette. The equivalent rank in the United Kingdom, Commonwealth, and United States is lieutenant commander. The Royal Canadian Navy uses bilingual ranks, with capitaine de corvette being the French equivalent of lieutenant commander.

Frigate captain Military Patent

Frigate captain is a naval rank in the naval forces of several countries. Corvette lies one level below Frigate.

Captain at sea is a naval rank corresponding to command of a ship-of-the-line or capital ship.

Commandant is a military or police rank. In the French, Spanish, Irish and Monegasque armed forces it is a rank equivalent to major. In South Africa for most of the second half of the 20th century, commandant was a rank equivalent to lieutenant-colonel.

Rank insignia in the French air force are worn on the sleeve or on shoulder marks of uniforms

References

  1. Non-Commonwealth air forces using an air force-specific rank structure include the Egyptian Air Force, Hellenic Air Force, Royal Air Force of Oman, Royal Thai Air Force and the Air Force of Zimbabwe.
  2. Force, Government of Canada, National Defence, Royal Canadian Air. "Article - Royal Canadian Air Force - Backgrounder - New insignia for the Royal Canadian Air Force". www.rcaf-arc.forces.gc.ca.
  3. 1 2 Defense Logistics Agency (27 May 2016). "Insignia, Rank, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy and Captain, U.S. Marine Corps". Quick Search Assist. Building 4/D, 700 Robbins Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111-5094: DLA Document Services. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  4. Jahner, Kyle (1 October 2015). "The end of the Green Service Uniform: 1954-2015". Army Times. Military Times.