In the United States Armed Forces, brigadier general (BG, BGen, or Brig Gen) is a one-star general officer with the pay grade of O-7 in the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. The rank of brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral (lower half) in the other uniformed services (the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, as both Armed Forces and Uniformed Services; and the Public Health Service and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, as Uniformed Services). The NATO equivalent is OF-6.
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The rank of brigadier general has existed in the U.S. military since the inception of the Continental Army in June 1775. To prevent mistakes in recognizing officers, a general order was issued on July 14, 1775, establishing that brigadier generals would wear a ribband, worn across the breast, between coat and waistcoat, pink in color. Later, on June 18, 1780, it was prescribed that brigadier generals would instead wear a single silver star on each epaulette. At first, brigadier generals were infantry officers who commanded a brigade; however, over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, the responsibilities of the rank expanded significantly.
During the period from March 16, 1802, to January 11, 1812, the rank of major general was abolished and brigadier general became the highest rank in the U.S. Army. Foreseeing the need for an expanded general staff in case of war, which seemed imminent, Congress restored the rank of major general in January 1812.
The first brigadier general in the U.S. Marine Corps was Commandant Archibald Henderson, brevetted to the rank of brigadier general in the 1830s for his service in the Second Seminole War. The first non-brevet brigadier general in the Marines was Commandant Jacob Zeilin who was promoted to the rank in 1874, but when he retired in 1876, colonel once again became the highest rank in the Marines until March 1899 when Commandant Charles Heywood was promoted. Ever since then, the office of Commandant has been held by a general officer, with the permanent rank of the commandant raised to major general in 1908, and then to lieutenant general and subsequently to general during World War II, which rank it has held ever since.
The insignia for a brigadier general is one silver star worn on the shoulder or collar, and has not changed since the creation of the rank two centuries ago. Since the Mexican–American War, however, the lower rank of colonel has been the normal rank appointed to command a brigade that is organic to a division (e.g., the 1st Brigade of the 94th Infantry Division, vice the 187th Infantry Brigade). While separate brigades (e.g. the 187th, commanded by then-BG William Westmoreland in Korea) were traditionally commanded by brigadier generals, this practice has ceased in recent history.
Today, an Army or Marine Corps "BG" or "BGen," respectively, typically serves as deputy commander to the commanding general of a division or division-sized units and assists in overseeing the planning and coordination of a mission. A Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), as the medium capability (and sized) scalable Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) with up to 20,000 Marines, is normally commanded by a Marine BGen. An Air Force brigadier general typically commands a large wing or serves as the deputy commander for a NAF. Additionally, one-star officers of all services may serve as high-level staff officers in large military organizations.
The U.S. law explicitly limits the total number of general officers who may be on active duty. The total of active duty general officers is capped at 231 for the Army, 62 for the Marine Corps, and 198 for the Air Force. The President or Secretary of Defense may increase the number of general slots in one branch, so long as they subtract an equal number from another. Some of these slots are reserved by statute.
For promotion to the permanent grade of brigadier general, eligible officers are screened by a promotion board consisting of general officers from their branch of service. This promotion board then generates a list of officers it recommends for promotion to general rank. This list is then sent to the service secretary and the joint chiefs for review before it can be sent to the President, through the defense secretary, for consideration. The President nominates officers to be promoted from this list with the advice of the Secretary of Defense, the service secretary, and if applicable, the service's chief of staff or commandant. The President may nominate any eligible officer who is not on the recommended list if it serves in the interest of the nation, but this is uncommon. The Senate must then confirm the nominee by a majority vote before the officer can be promoted. Once the nominee is confirmed, they are promoted to that rank once they assume or hold an office that requires or allows an officer of that rank. For positions of office reserved by statute, the President nominates an officer for appointment to fill that position. For all three uniformed services, because the grade of brigadier general is a permanent rank, the nominee may still be screened by an in-service promotion board. The rank does not expire when the officer vacates a one-star position. Tour length varies depending on the position, by statute, or when the officer receives a new assignment. The average tour length per one-star billet is two to four years.
Other than voluntary retirement, statute sets a number of mandates for retirement. All brigadier generals must retire after five years in grade or 30 years of service, whichever is later, unless selected or appointed for promotion, or reappointed to grade to serve longer. Otherwise all general and flag officers must retire the month after their 64th birthday. However, the Secretary of Defense can defer a general or flag officer's retirement until the officer's 66th birthday and the President can defer it until the officer's 68th birthday. Because there are a finite number of General officer positions, one officer must retire before another can be promoted. As a result, General and flag officers typically retire well in advance of the statutory age and service limits, so as not to impede the upward career mobility of their juniors.
Arthur Forrester Devereux (April 27, 1838 – February 13, 1906) was a captain in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia prior to the Civil War and a colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War. He is notable for his expertise and proficiency in the instruction of military drill. During the Battle of Gettysburg, the 19th Massachusetts Infantry, under his command, played an important role in filling a breach in the Union lines during Pickett's Charge. After his active service had concluded, Devereux was awarded the honorary rank of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, by appointment of President Andrew Johnson on February 21, 1866 to rank from March 13, 1865, and confirmation by the U.S. Senate on April 10, 1866.Carroll LeTellier
Carroll LeTellier (born 1928) was a US Army Major General and both a Korean War and Vietnam War combat veteran, serving with the US Army Corps of Engineers. As a Brigadier General (United States), he commanded ENGCOM, headquartered then in Frankfurt, Germany. In 1976, LeTellier retired from the military at the rank of Major general (United States) to a private civilian practice at Sverdrup Civil, Inc., the then 6th largest architecture and civil engineering firm in the United States, which he in turn retired from as vice president in 2002.Charles F. Blair Jr.
Charles F. Blair Jr. (July 19, 1909 – September 2, 1978) was a United States Air Force Brigadier General, United States Navy aviator Captain, a test pilot, an airline pilot, and airline owner. He died in a Grumman Goose seaplane crash in the Caribbean.Charles Hamlin (general)
Charles Hamlin (September 13, 1837 – May 15, 1911), from Bangor, Maine, was an attorney and a Union Army officer during the American Civil War, attaining the rank of major. He was nominated for appointment to the grade of brevet brigadier general of volunteers by President Andrew Johnson on January 13, 1866, to rank from March 13, 1865, and the United States Senate confirmed the appointment on March 12, 1866. He was one of the sons of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin and a brother to Cyrus Hamlin, a Union Army brigadier general.Charles W. Roberts
Charles Wentworth Roberts (1828–1898) was a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War, who was awarded the rank of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, in 1866, to rank from March 13, 1865. He was born in Old Town, Maine and graduated from Bowdoin College, but lived most of his life in nearby Bangor, Maine. He was the son of prominent local lumber merchant Amos M. Roberts. His father was the wealthiest man in Bangor according to the 1840 census.Roberts enlisted as lieutenant colonel of the 2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1861, the first unit to leave Maine in response to President Abraham Lincoln's call for volunteers to suppress the rebellion after the fall of Fort Sumter. With the promotion of the regiment's colonel Charles Davis Jameson, USV, to brigadier general, Roberts became colonel of the regiment. Roberts had a horse shot out from under him at the Second Battle of Bull Run, when he commanded the 1st Brigade while General John H. Martindale suffered from typhoid fever. Roberts retired due to ill health in 1863 and was succeeded on January 10, 1863 by Colonel George Varney. Then Lieutenant Colonel Varney had led the regiment at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1863, where he received a head wound from a shell fragment. President Andrew Johnson nominated Colonel Roberts for the award of the grade of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, on February 24, 1866 and the brevet was confirmed by the U. S. Senate on April 10, 1866, to rank from March 13, 1865.The Roberts family of Bangor were prominent War Democrats, rather than members of the Republican Party establishment led locally by Vice President Hannibal Hamlin. It is thus possible that Robert's resignation from the regiment had as much to do with politics as health.
After the war Roberts built a prominent Second Empire style house on State St. in Bangor, which, along with his father's similarly-styled house next door, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Roberts was the Democratic Party candidate for governor of Maine in 1875, but lost to another former Civil War general, Republican Seldon Connor. Roberts' sister Fannie married U.S. Congressman John A. Peters, a Bangor Democrat who later joined the Republican Party.
Roberts is one of eight civil war generals buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery in Bangor.David Moore (military officer)
David Moore (July 3, 1817 – July 19, 1893) was an American military officer who served in the Mexican–American War and the American Civil War. He attained the rank of brevet Brigadier General, United States Volunteers before leaving military service. Later he would serve as a member of the Missouri General Assembly.Dwight Edward Aultman
Dwight Edward Aultman (February 2, 1872– December 12, 1929) was an American army officer and Brigadier general who served during World War I.George P. Hawkes
George Perkins Hawkes (March 7, 1824 – September 21, 1903) was a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He commanded the 21st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry from April 1863 to July 1864. In March 1867, he was awarded the honorary grade of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, to rank from March 13, 1865, seven months after his resignation of his commission in the army (due to poor health).George Varney
George Varney (1834–1911) was a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War and was awarded the grade of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, in 1867 for his gallant service at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862. Born in Levant, Maine, he was a wholesale grocer in Bangor, Maine when the war broke out in 1861.
Varney enlisted as a major in the 2nd Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was the first unit to march out of the state in response to President Abraham Lincoln's call for volunteers to suppress the rebellion after the fall of Fort Sumter. He was wounded and captured in the unit's first engagement, the First Battle of Bull Run, in July, 1861, but exchanged for a captured Confederate officer a month later. Promoted to lieutenant colonel, Varney was captured a second time (and exchanged a second time) at the Battle of Gaines' Mill in 1862. He suffered a head wound at the Battle of Fredericksburg. Lt. Colonel Varney led his regiment along an unfinished railroad cut to get closer to the stone wall on Marye's Heights. A shell fragment struck him on the head and dropped him senseless to the ground. Major Daniel F. Sargent assumed command of the regiment and led it out of the cut where it disintegrated almost immediately under withering rifle and artillery fire from the Confederates behind the stone wall on Marye's Heights.Lt. Colonel Varney recovered from his wound and was made colonel of the regiment on January 10, 1863 with the retirement of Colonel Charles W. Roberts. Colonel Varney was honorably mustered out of the United States Volunteers on June 9, 1863.Varney served a term in the Maine House of Representatives in 1864, representing Bangor, Maine.Varney was among a number of colonels and lower ranking officers who were awarded the honorary grade of brevet brigadier generals to rank from March 13, 1865. President Andrew Johnson nominated Colonel Varney for the award of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, on January 18, 1867 and the brevet was confirmed by the U. S. Senate on February 21, 1867 to rank from March 13, 1865.Varney lived the rest of his life in Bangor and is one of eight union generals buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.
Varney's letters and other papers were discovered by a descendent, Robert W. P. Cutler, in 1980 and published in the book The Tin Box (Morris Pub., 1999)Henry Livermore Abbott
Henry Livermore Abbott (January 21, 1842 – May 6, 1864), was a Major in the Union Army during the American Civil War (Civil War). Abbott was posthumously awarded the grade of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, to rank from August 1, 1864, and the grades of brevet lieutenant colonel, brevet colonel and brevet brigadier general, United States Army, all to rank from March 13, 1865 for gallant and meritorious services at the Battle of the Wilderness, where he was killed in action. Abbott was engaged at the center of several key Civil War battles and was widely known and admired for his leadership, courage and composure under fire.John F. Appleton
John Francis Appleton (August 29, 1838 – August 31, 1870) was a lawyer and Union colonel in the American Civil War from the state of Maine who was awarded the honorary grade of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers.John McGraw (brigadier general)
John Robert McGraw (January 4, 1912 – June 19, 1976) was a Brigadier general (United States) in the United States Air Force, who served as flight surgeon during World War II.John W. Douglass
John W. Douglass (born May 2, 1941) is a retired Brigadier General, United States Air Force. He served as the United States Navy's Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisitions) from 1995 to 1998. In 2012, Douglass ran for election to the United States House of Representatives for Virginia's 5th congressional district as a Democrat, losing to incumbent congressman Robert Hurt.Oliver Edwards
Oliver Edwards (January 30, 1835 – April 28, 1904) was a machine company executive, an inventor, and a volunteer officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Edwards moved to Illinois as a young man to pursue a career as a manager of manufacturing. At the start of the Civil War, he became adjutant of the 10th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and later aide-de-camp to Brigadier General Darius N. Couch. In the fall of 1862, he took command of the 37th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as colonel and led that unit through numerous major battles including the Battle of Gettysburg. Just after Gettysburg, in July 1863, he was placed in command of a provisional brigade sent to assist in quelling the New York Draft Riots. During the Overland Campaign in the spring of 1864, he was placed in command of a brigade and, during the Valley Campaigns of 1864 he was briefly placed in command of a division of the VI Corps. For his service during these campaigns, Edwards was awarded the honorary rank of brevet brigadier general and later promoted to full grade brigadier general United States Volunteers. In 1866 he was awarded the honorary rank of brevet major general, United States Volunteers, to rank from April 5, 1865, for his service during the Appomattox Campaign.After the war, Edwards returned to a career in manufacturing, most notably as manager of the Florence Machine Company in Northampton, Massachusetts and the Gardner Machine and Gun Company in England.Rice County, Kansas
Rice County (standard abbreviation: RC) is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 10,083. The largest city and county seat is Lyons. The county was named in memory of Samuel Allen Rice, Brigadier-General, United States volunteers, killed April 30, 1864, at Jenkins Ferry, Arkansas.Samuel Miller Quincy
Samuel Miller Quincy (; 1832–1887) was the 28th mayor of New Orleans and a Union Army officer during the American Civil War.
He was the son of Josiah Quincy, Jr., former mayor of Boston, and the younger brother of Josiah Phillips Quincy. He was a distant cousin of President John Quincy Adams and a descendant of Rev. George Phillips who settled in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1630.
He was also a Harvard graduate (1852), lawyer and legal historian, and Union soldier in the American Civil War, during which he was wounded, captured, imprisoned, and exchanged.
Shortly after the attack on Fort Sumter, Quincy was commissioned a captain in the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment on May 25, 1861. He was promoted to major on October 22, 1862 and to colonel on January 18, 1863. He resigned his commission on June 5, 1863 but was re-commissioned as the lieutenant colonel of the 73rd United States Colored Infantry Regiment on November 29, 1863 and was promoted to colonel in command of the regiment on May 29, 1864. He served briefly as Mayor of New Orleans from May 5 to June 8, 1865.
He transferred to the 96th US Colored Infantry Regiment on September 27, 1865 and was mustered out on January 21, 1866 and became the colonel of the 81st US Colored Infantry the next day. He was honorably mustered out of service on November 30, 1866.On February 21, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Quincy for the award of the honorary grade of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, to rank from March 13, 1865, for gallant and meritorious services during the war, The U.S. Senate confirmed the award on May 18, 1866.He was a member of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.
General Quincy died on March 24, 1887.Thomas Hamlin Hubbard
Thomas Hamlin Hubbard (December 20, 1838 – May 19, 1915) was a Union Army colonel from Maine during the Civil War who was awarded the honorary grade of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, for meritorious service. After the war, Hubbard was a lawyer, railroad executive, financier, businessman and philanthropist.Soldier, lawyer, philanthropist, and financier, Hubbard was best known for his enthusiasm for Arctic exploration, which contributed to the discovery of the North Pole. For years he was President of the Peary Arctic Club, which was formed to give Admiral Robert E. Peary financial backing in his polar quest; but after this quest had ended in success Hubbard's interest in the frozen north did not end, and he was one of the financial contributors to the Donald B. MacMillan expedition in the Arctic studying the native tribes.Thomas Sherwin
Thomas Sherwin (July 11, 1839 – December 19, 1914) was an American Civil War general and executive. He was the son of educator Thomas Sherwin, master of the English High School of Boston. The younger Sherwin taught in Dedham, Massachusetts before the war. He enlisted in the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in 1861 as a lieutenant.He was wounded at the Battle of Gaines' Mill on June 27, 1862. On April 3, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Sherwin for the award of the honorary grade of brevet brigadier general, United States Volunteers, to rank from March 13, 1865, for distinguished gallantry at the Battle of Gettysburg and for gallant and meritorious services during the war, The U.S. Senate confirmed the award on May 18, 1866.Verona (Jackson, North Carolina)
Verona is a historic plantation house located near Jackson, Northampton County, North Carolina. It was built about 1855, and is a one-story, six bay, "T"-shaped, Italian Villa style frame dwelling. It has a hipped roof, is sheathed in weatherboard, and sits on a brick basement. It features a full-width porch, with flat sawnwork posts and delicate openwork brackets. Also on the property is the contributing family cemetery. The house was built for Matt Whitaker Ransom (1826-1904), Confederate brigadier general, United States senator, and minister to Mexico, and his wife Martha Exum.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.