Commodore (rank)

Commodore is a naval rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral, counter admiral, or senior captain as an equivalent, although counter admiral may also correspond to rear admiral.

Traditionally, "commodore" is the title for any officer assigned to command more than one ship at a time, even temporarily, much as "captain" is the traditional title for the commanding officer of a single ship even if the officer's official title in the service is a lower rank. As an official rank, a commodore typically commands a flotilla or squadron of ships as part of a larger task force or naval fleet commanded by an admiral. A commodore's ship is typically designated by the flying of a broad pennant, as opposed to an admiral's flag.

It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6 (which is known in the U.S. as "rear admiral (lower half)"), but whether it is regarded as a flag rank varies between countries.[1]

It is sometimes abbreviated: as "Cdre" in British Royal Navy, "CDRE" in the US Navy, "Cmdre" in the Royal Canadian Navy, "COMO" in the Spanish Navy and in some navies speaking the Spanish language, or "CMDE" as used in some other Navies of several countries.[2]


The rank of commodore derives from the French commandeur, which was one of the highest ranks in the orders of knighthood, and in military orders the title of the knight in charge of a commande (a local part of the order's territorial possessions).


The Dutch Navy also used the rank of commandeur from the end of the 16th century for a variety of temporary positions, until it became a conventional permanent rank in 1955. The Royal Netherlands Air Force has adopted the English spelling of commodore for an equivalent rank.

In the Royal Navy, the position was introduced in the 17th Century to combat the cost of appointing more admirals—a costly business with a fleet as large as the Royal Navy's at that time.

The rank of commodore was at first a position created as a temporary title to be bestowed upon captains who commanded squadrons of more than one vessel. In many navies, the rank of commodore was merely viewed as a senior captain position, whereas other naval services bestowed upon the rank of commodore the prestige of flag officer status.

United States

In 1899, the substantive rank of commodore was discontinued in the United States Navy, but revived during World War II in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. It was discontinued as a rank in these services during the postwar period, but as an appointment, the title "commodore" was then used to identify senior U.S. Navy captains who commanded squadrons of more than one vessel or functional air wings or air groups that were not part of a carrier air wing or carrier air group. Concurrently, until the early 1980s, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard captains selected for promotion to the rank of rear admiral (lower half), would wear the same insignia as rear admiral (upper half), i.e., two silver stars for collar insignia or sleeve braid of one wide and one narrow gold stripe, even though they were actually only equivalent to one-star officers and paid at the one-star rate.

To correct this inequity, the rank of commodore as a single star flag officer was reinstated by both services in the early 1980s. This immediately caused confusion with those senior U.S. Navy captains commanding destroyer squadrons, submarine squadrons, functional air wings and air groups, and so on, who held the temporary "title" of commodore while in their major command billet. As a result of this confusion, the services soon renamed the new one-star rank as commodore admiral (CADM) within the first six months following the rank's reintroduction. However, this was considered an awkward title and the one-star flag rank was renamed a few months later to its current title of rear admiral (lower half), later abbreviated by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard as RDML.

The "title" of commodore continues to be used in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard for those senior captains in command of organizations consisting of groups of ships or submarines organized into squadrons; air wings or air groups of multiple aviation squadrons other than carrier air wings (the latter whose commanders still use the title "CAG"); explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), mine warfare and special warfare (SEAL) groups; Mobile Inshore Underwater Warfare (MIUW)groups; and construction (SeaBee) regiments. Although not flag officers, modern day commodores in the U.S. Navy rate a blue and white command pennant, also known as a broad pennant, that is normally flown at their headquarters facilities ashore or from ships that they are embarked aboard when they are the senior officer present afloat (SOPA).


In the Argentine Navy, the position of commodore was created in the late 1990s, and is usually, but not always, issued to senior captains holding rear-admirals' positions. It is not a rank but a distinction and, as such, can be issued by the chief of staff without congressional approval. Its equivalents are colonel-major in the Army and commodore-major in the Air Force. It is usually—but incorrectly—referred to as "navy commodore", to avoid confusion with the "air force commodore", which is equivalent to the navy's captain and army's colonel. The sleeve lace is identical to that of the Royal Navy, and wears one star on the epaulette.

Naval rank

The following articles deal with the rank of commodore (or its equivalent) as it is employed OF-6 one-star flag officer rank in various countries.

Country Rank Remark
Argentina Comodoro abbreviated "COMO"
Australia Commodore abbreviated as CDRE[3]
Bangladesh Commodore abbreviated as "CDRE"
Bulgaria Komodor
Canada Commodore abbreviated "Cmdre"
Croatia Komodor
Finland Kommodori Equivalent to colonel
France Chef de division France (deprecated)
Germany Flottillenadmiral Deutsche Marine rank OF-6
Kommodore German Kriegsmarine rank OF-5 until 1945
Greece Archiploiarchos (Αρχιπλοίαρχος)
India Commodore abbreviated as "CDRE"
Indonesia Komodor used until 1973, then replaced with Laksamana Pertama
Iran Daryādār (دریادار)
Ireland Commodore (Irish: Ceannasóir)
Italy Sottoammiraglio o Comandante superiore SA during Kingdom of Italy 1918-1923; CS it continues
Netherlands Commandeur
Pakistan Commodore Cdre. (One-star)
Poland Kontradmirał Komandor OF-5 rank
Portugal Comodoro
Romania Contraamiral de flotilă Comandor OF-5 rank
Spain Contraalmirante
Turkey Tugamiral
United Kingdom Commodore
United States Commodore United States - abbreviated when used "CDRE"[4]

Australian Navy
shoulder board

Bangladesh Navy
shoulder board

British Royal Navy
shoulder board

Egyptian Navy
shoulder board


Greek Navy
shoulder board


Iranian Navy
shoulder board

IE Navy Rank Insignia-Cdre

Irish Naval Service

IN Commodore

Indian Navy
shoulder Board

Pakistan Navy Commodore

Pakistan Navy
shoulder board


Portuguese Navy
sleeve insignia

Air force ranks

Commodore, in Spanish comodoro, is a rank in the Argentine Air Force. This rank is the equivalent of a colonel in the Argentine Army, and a colonel or group captain in other air forces of the world. The Argentine rank below commodore is the rank of vice-commodore (Spanish vicecomodoro) equivalent to a lieutenant-colonel in the Argentine Army, and a lieutenant-colonel or wing commander in other air forces.

Commodore is a rank in the Royal Netherlands Air Force. It is a one-star rank and has essentially the same rank insignia as the British air commodore.

Many air forces use the rank of air commodore. This rank was first used by the Royal Air Force and is now used in many countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Greece, India, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Thailand and Zimbabwe. It is the equivalent rank to the navy rank of "commodore", and the army ranks of brigadier and brigadier general.

The German air force used the concept of a unit commodore for the commander of a wing, usually in the rank of colonel (OF-5).

Merchant Service (Merchant Marine) rank and Yacht Club chief directors

Commodore is also a title held by many captains as recognition of exceptional navigation ability and seagoing seniority in the Merchant Service, and by the directors of a few yacht clubs and boating associations. Commodores 'in command' as Master aboard Merchant Marine ships wear distinctive rank and cap insignia denoting their honorific high rank position.

Convoy commodore

During wartime, a shipping convoy will have a ranking officer—sometimes an active-duty naval officer, at other times a civilian master or retired naval officer—designated as the convoy commodore. This title is not related to the individual's military rank (if any), but instead is the title of the senior individual responsible for the overall operation of the merchant ships and naval auxiliary ships that make up the convoy. The convoy commodore does not command the convoy' escort forces (if any), which are commanded by a naval officer who serves as escort commander.

Other uses

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary also employs variants of the title of commodore. Members of the Auxiliary are civilian volunteers who do not have military rank, but who do wear modified U.S. Coast Guard uniforms and U.S. military-style officer rank insignia to indicate office. Auxiliary members who have been elected or appointed to positions in the highest levels of the organization, similar in nature to active and reserve rear admirals and vice admirals use the term commodore (e.g., District Commodore, Assistant National Commodore, Deputy National Commodore, National Commodore, etc.). These Coast Guard Auxiliarists may permanently append the title commodore, sometimes abbreviated COMO, to their names (e.g., Commodore James A. Smith, National Commodore; or COMO Jim Smith, (NACO)).[5]

In the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary—PCGA—each of the directors in command of the ten Coast Guard Auxiliary districts are commodores, as well as most of the Deputy National Directors (some may be rear admirals). Commodore is abbreviated to COMMO in the PCGA.

Vanderbilt University's intercollegiate athletics teams are nicknamed the "Commodores", a reference to Cornelius Vanderbilt's self-appointed title (he was the master of a large shipping fleet).

In the U.S. Sea Scouting program (which is part of the Boy Scouts of America), all National, Regional, Area, and Council committee chairs are titled as commodore, while senior committee members are addressed as vice commodore. Ship committee chairs do not hold this recognition.

See also


  1. ^ Whether "commodore" is a flag rank (or not) varies by country. Often, "rear admiral" is the first of the "flag ranks". For example, it was not until 2001 that the UK made "commodore" a "flag rank", and changed the shoulder rank insignia (although not the cuff rings) of the higher ranking admirals accordingly. Australia made this change in the mid-1990s, and also changed the commodore rank insignia to include a star.
  2. ^ The "Cdre" abbreviation for the OF-6 rank of commodore is sometimes confused with the "Cmdr" abbreviation for the OF-4 rank of "commander".
  3. ^ "Uniform Ranks". Royal Australian Navy. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 24 January 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  4. ^ The modern US rank for this level is rear admiral (lower half)
  5. ^ "USCGAux Insignia of Office: Flotilla, Division, District and National Offices". United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Division. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
Air commodore

Air commodore (abbreviated as Air Cdre in the RAF, IAF and PAF; AIRCDRE in the RNZAF and RAAF) 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 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 and is never shortened to Commodore, which is a rank in various naval forces.

Air commodore is a one-star rank and the most junior air officer rank, being immediately senior to group captain and immediately 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, and 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 (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (until 1980) was "air commandant".

Bangladesh Air Force

The Bangladesh Air Force (Bengali: বাংলাদেশ বিমান বাহিনী, Bangladesh Biman Bahini, reporting name: BAF), is the aerial warfare branch of the Bangladesh Armed Forces, primarily tasked with the air defence of Bangladesh territory and providing air support to the Bangladesh Army and Navy. Additionally, the service has a territorial role of providing strategic air transport and logistics capability for the country.

Since its establishment on 28 September 1971, the Air Force has been involved in various combat and humanitarian operations, from the Bangladesh Liberation War in which it was born, to supporting international efforts including the Coalition of the Gulf War and United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Brigadier general

Brigadier general (Brig. Gen.) 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 (four battalions). In some countries a brigadier general is informally designated as a one-star general (OF-6).

In some countries, this rank is given the name of brigadier, which is usually equivalent to brigadier general in the armies of nations that use the rank.

The rank can be traced back to the militaries of Europe where a "brigadier general", or simply a "brigadier", would command a brigade in the field. The rank name général de brigade (which translates as "brigade general") was first used in the French revolutionary armies.

In the first quarter of the 20th century, British and Commonwealth armies used the rank of brigadier general as a temporary appointment, or as an honorary appointment on retirement; in the 1920s this practice changed to the use of brigadier, which was not classed as a general officer.

Some armies, such as Taiwan and Japan, use major general as the equivalent of brigadier general (See also Japan & Taiwan for details.). Some of these armies then use the rank of colonel general to make four general-officer ranks.Mexico uses the ranks of both General brigadier and General de brigada.

Captain 1st rank

This article is about the OF-5 rank Kapitan 1st rank in Russia and some other post-Soviet states. For the equivalent rank in Anglophone naval forces see Captain (naval); in Germany see Kapitän zur See or Kommodore. It should not be mixed up to the Commodore (rank), often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6. Kapitan 1st rank (Russian: капитан 1-го ранга; literal: captain of the 1st rank) is in the Navy of the Russian Federation the designation to the most senior rank in the staff officer´s career group. The rank is equivalent to Polkovnik in Army and Air Force. The rank might be comparable to Captain (naval) (OF-5) in Anglophone/NATO naval forces.The rank was introduced in Russia by Peter the Great in 1713. By decision of the so-called military navy commission (ru: Воинская морскaя комиссия) in 1732 the sequence of Kapitan ranks was abolished. However, until 1752 the grade rank Kapitan 1st rank was corresponding to Fleet kapitan (ru: флота капитан). Finally, the Kapitan ranks were reintroduced September 5 (16), 1751. The Red Army introduced the Kapitan 1st rank rank in 1935, together with a number of other former Russian ranks, and it has been used in many ex-USSR countries, including Russia, to the present day.

Commandant Royal Observer Corps

The Commandant of the Royal Observer Corps (CROC) was the Royal Air Force commander of the Royal Observer Corps. All the holders of the post were RAF officers in the rank of Air Commodore, initially retired reserve officers then Auxiliary officers and, since the end of World War II, serving officers. The ROC was a uniformed civilian branch initially under the control of the Air Defence of Great Britain organization, then Fighter Command and latterly Strike Command. The Royal Observer Corps existed from 1925 until it was stood down in 1995. Most of the commandants, with only three exceptions, were qualified RAF pilots, two being air navigators and the other a General Duties (Ground) Supply Branch officer. If a Royal Observer Corps officer had ever held the appointment, they would have held the rank of Observer Commodore.

The origins of the ROC go back to Metropolitan Observation Service of World War I which was founded by Air Vice Marshal Edward Ashmore. However, Ashmore never held the post of ROC Commandant. The first two commandants were recently retired RAF Air Commodores, the next two were Auxiliary Air Force officers and the remainder were serving RAF officers. The last three commandants held the appointment in addition to their primary appointment as Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) at Headquarters No. 11/18 Group RAF, which was colocated with HQROC at RAF Bentley Priory.

The organisation had started as the volunteer civilian Observer Corps in 1925 and became the uniformed Royal Observer Corps in 1941 as part of the RAF in recognition of their invaluable services during the Battle of Britain. Despite several attempts by the Home Office in the 1950s, 1960s and the 1980s to take over the organisation and dispense with the RAF uniform the ROC remained part of RAF Fighter Command and later RAF Strike Command until they were stood down in 1995 as a result of the Communist Bloc breaking up and the Cold War nuclear threat on the UK being removed.

Commodore (Royal Navy)

Please see Commodore (rank) for other versions of this rank.Commodore (Cdre) is a rank of the Royal Navy above captain and below rear admiral. It has a NATO ranking code of OF-6. The rank is equivalent to brigadier in the British Army and Royal Marines and to air commodore in the Royal Air Force.

Commodore (United States)

Commodore was an early title and later a rank in the United States Navy, United States Coast Guard and the Confederate States Navy. For over two centuries, the designation has been given varying levels of authority and formality.

Today, it is no longer a specific rank, but it continues to be used as an honorary title within the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard for those senior captains (pay grade O-6) in command of operational organizations composed of multiple independent subordinate naval units (e.g., multiple independent ships or aviation squadrons).

Danish Task Group

Danish Task Group (abbrev. DATG, Danish: 'Søværnets Taktiske Stab'), is a Danish naval unit, tasked with commanding, educating and training maritime forces in peace, crisis and war. It is a mobile unit that is experienced in orchestrating exercises, organising insertions (search and rescue, non-combatant evacuation operations, disaster relief operations, etc.) and commanding naval, aerial and land-based units.

Danish Task Group was created to expand Denmarks level of competency and quality of material, by participating in international maritime operations. As such Danish Task Group has been commanding combined maritime forces in both exercises (such as BALTOPS and Joint Warrior) and operations (Combined Task Force 150 (2008) and -151 (2012)) a number of times.

Commander Danish Task Group is a captain, who is promoted to Commodore (rank) as long as the position is held, and the Danish Task Group staff is, depending on tasks, manned with 20 persons from all branches and during exercises expanded and operations augmented with personnel from the Danish Defence, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, foreign military organisations etc.

Eagle of Romania

The Honorific Sign "The Eagle of Romania" (Semnul Onorific "Vulturul României") is a special decoration, part of the National Decorations System, awarded to Romanian Parliamentarians, members of the Senate or of the Chamber of Deputies. It also can be awarded to foreign parliamentarians for its special contribution in the development of parliamentarian relations with Romania.According to the Law no. 29/2000, the honorific sign "The Eagle of Romania" is assimilated to the National Order of Faithful Service, at equal ranks.

The award was created by Royal Decree during the reign of King Carol II to reward parliamentarians (D.R. nr. 2306/1933),. As all of the other insignia, this order was disbanded after 1947, when King Mihai I was forced to abdicate, and the People's Republic was established.

After the fall of communism, this decoration was first mentioned in the Law no. 29/2000, Establishing the National Decoration System. It was re-established by the Law no. 221/2004.

This decoration was not and could not be awarded until 2011, due to technical reasons.


Général is the French word for general. There are two main categories of generals: the general officers (officiers généraux), which are the highest-ranking commanding officers in the armed forces, and the specialist officers with flag rank (officiers des services avec rang d'officer général), which are high-level officers in the other uniformed services.

J. R. D. Tata

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (29 July 1904 – 29 November 1993) was an Indian aviator, entrepreneur, chairman of Tata Group and the shareholder of Tata Sons.

Born into the Tata family of India, he was the son of noted businessman Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and his wife Suzanne Brière. His mother was the first woman in India to drive a car and, in 1929, he became the first licensed pilot in India. He is also best known for being the founder of several industries under the Tata Group, including Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Motors, Titan Industries, Tata Salt, Voltas and Air India. In 1983, he was awarded the French Legion of Honour and in 1955 and 1992, he received two of India's highest civilian awards the Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna. These honors were bestowed on him for his contributions to Indian industry.

Jeaffreson Greswell

Air Commodore Jeaffreson Herbert Greswell CB CBE DSO DFC RAF (28 July 1916 – 19 November 2000) was a British pilot during World War II and a senior Royal Air Force officer in the post-war years.

As an Air Commodore, Greswell served as the eleventh Commandant Royal Observer Corps between June 1964 and June 1968.

Newfoundland Station

The Newfoundland Station was a formation or command of, first, the Kingdom of Great Britain and, then, of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy. Its official headquarters varied between Portsmouth or Plymouth in England where a squadron of ships would set sail annually each year to protect convoys and the British fishing fleet operating in waters off the Newfoundland coast and would remain for period of approximately six months based at St. John's Harbour. In 1818 the station became a permanent posting headquartered at St John's. It existed from 1729 to 1825.

Order of the Star of Romania

The Order of the Star of Romania (Romanian: Ordinul Steaua României) is Romania's highest civil Order and second highest State decoration after the defunct Order of Michael the Brave. It is awarded by the President of Romania. It has five ranks, from lowest to the highest: Officer, Commander, Grand Officer, Grand Cross, and Grand Cross with Collar.

Rear admiral (United States)

Rear admiral in the United States refers to two different ranks of commissioned officers — one-star flag officers and two-star flag officers. By contrast, in most nations, the term "rear admiral" refers to an officer of two-star rank.

The Commodore

The Commodore (published 1945) is a Horatio Hornblower novel written by C. S. Forester. It was published in the United States under the title Commodore Hornblower.

United States Navy officer rank insignia

In the United States Navy, officers have various ranks. Equivalency between services is by pay grade. United States Navy commissioned officer ranks have two distinct sets of rank insignia: On dress uniform a series of stripes similar to Commonwealth naval ranks are worn; on service khaki, working uniforms (Navy Working Uniform [NWU], and coveralls), and special uniform situations (combat utilities, flight suits, and USMC uniforms when worn by Navy officers assigned or attached to USMC units), the rank insignia are similar to the equivalent rank in the US Army or US Air Force.

Wolf Lepenies

Wolf Lepenies (born 11 January 1941) is a German sociologist, political scientist, and author.

Navies Armies Air 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
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Squadron leader
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