Group captain

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.

While the rank originated in the British Royal Air Force (RAF),[1] group captain is a rank used by the air forces of many Commonwealth and other countries that have been influenced by British military culture. 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 is usually abbreviated Gp Capt. In some air forces (such as the RAF, IAF and PAF), GPCAPT is used while in others (such as the RAAF and RNZAF) and sometimes, especially in historical contexts, as G/C. The rank of group captain is not correctly abbreviated as "captain".

UK-Air-OF5
A group captain's sleeve/shoulder insignia

RAF usage

History

On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with Royal Naval Air Service captains and Royal Flying Corps colonels becoming colonels in the RAF. In response to the proposal that the RAF should use its own rank titles, 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 group captain would have been "air captain". Although the Admiralty objected to this simple modification of their rank titles, it was agreed that the RAF might base many of its officer rank titles on naval officer ranks with differing pre-modifying terms. It was also suggested that RAF colonels might be entitled "bannerets" or "leaders". However, the rank title based on the Navy rank was preferred and as RAF colonels typically commanded groups the rank title group captain was chosen. The rank of group captain has been used continuously since 1 August 1919.

Although in the early years of the RAF groups were normally commanded by group captains, by the mid-1920s they were usually commanded by an air officer.

In the post-World War II period the commander of an RAF flying station or a major ground training station has typically been a group captain. More recently, expeditionary air wings have also been commanded by group captains.

Insignia and command pennant

The rank insignia is based on the four gold bands of captains in the Royal Navy, comprising four narrow light blue bands over slightly wider black bands. This is worn on both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual uniform. Group captains are the first rank in the RAF hierarchy to wear gold braid on the peak of their cap, informally known as 'scrambled egg'; however, they still wear the standard RAF officer's cap badge.

The command pennant for a group captain is similar to the one for a wing commander except that there is one broad red band in the centre. Only the wing commander and group captain command pennants are triangular in shape.

UK-Air-OF5

An RAF group captain's sleeve/shoulder insignia

File-UK-Air-OF5-mess-insignia

An RAF group captain's sleeve mess insignia

UK-Air-OF5-Flag

An RAF group captain's command pennant

RAF-Gp Capt-OF-5

An RAF group captain's sleeve as it appears on the No. 1 dress

Other air forces

The rank of group captain is also used in a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth, including the Bangladesh Air Force, Ghana Air Force, Indian Air Force (IAF), Nigerian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), Sri Lankan Air Force and the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard.[2] It is also used in the Egyptian Air Force, Hellenic Air Force, Royal Air Force of Oman and the Royal Thai Air Force.

The Royal Canadian Air Force used the rank until the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, when army-type rank titles were adopted. A Canadian group captain then became a colonel. In official French Canadian usage, a group captain's rank title was colonel d'aviation. In the Argentine Air Force commodoro (commodore) is the rank in Argentine Spanish while in the Chilean Air Force, the rank in Chilean Spanish is colonel de aviacion or "colonel of aviation". Until 1973 it was used by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), today the sleeve insignia is that of a full Colonel.

RAAF O6 rank

An RAAF group captain's sleeve/shoulder insignia

NZ-Air-OF5

A RNZAF group captain's sleeve/shoulder insignia

Hellenic Air Force OF-5

A HAF sminarchos (group captain's) rank insignia

Gp Capt Pakistan Air Force

A PAF group-captain's rank insignia.

Group Captain of IAF

An IAF group captain's rank insignia

A RTAF group captain's rank insignia

Equivalent ranks in other services

In addition to the equivalents used in most air forces, such as Colonel, other air services, especially non-combat auxiliaries in Commonwealth countries, have used a variety of alternative names for equivalent ranks.

The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (until 1980) was "group officer".

The equivalent rank in the Royal Observer Corps (until 1995) was "observer captain", which had a similar rank insignia.

Notable group captains

Fictional characters

  • Ian Gilmore, a fictional character in Doctor Who who first assisted Sylvester McCoy's Doctor in repelling the Daleks in the episode "Remembrance of the Daleks"
  • Captain Jack Harkness, fictional character in Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood carries the rank of group captain on his great-coat; however he is always mistakenly referred to as just "captain".
  • Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake, in the film Dr. Strangelove, played by Peter Sellers; he frantically attempts to have General Ripper recall the wing, on orders to attack Russia.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2007.
  2. ^ http://www.news.gov.tt/archive//E-Gazette/Gazette%202014/Gazette/Gazette%20No.%20140%20of%202014.pdf
1946 New Year Honours

The 1946 New Year Honours were appointments by many of the Commonwealth Realms of King George VI to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of those countries, and to celebrate the passing of 1945 and the beginning of 1946. They were announced on 1 January 1946 for the United Kingdom, and Dominions, Canada, the Union of South Africa, and New Zealand.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

CFB Cold Lake

Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake (IATA: YOD, ICAO: CYOD), commonly abbreviated CFB Cold Lake, is a Canadian Forces Base located in the City of Cold Lake, Alberta. It is operated as an air force base by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and is one of two bases in the country housing the CF-18 Hornet fighter, the other being CFB Bagotville. Its primary RCAF lodger unit is 4 Wing, commonly referred to as 4 Wing Cold Lake.

Civilian passenger service was available through the Medley passenger terminal on the periphery of the air base. The regularly scheduled air service between Calgary and the civilian terminal was cancelled in June 2011. Unscheduled civilian air traffic is usually directed to Cold Lake Regional Airport.

The facility is named Cold Lake/Group Captain R.W. McNair Airport. It is one of only three military aerodromes in Canada to be named after an individual, Valcartier (W/C J.H.L. (Joe) Lecomte) Heliport and Moose Jaw/Air Vice Marshal C.M. McEwen Airport being the others.

The airport is classified as an airport of entry by Nav Canada and is staffed by the Canada Border Services Agency; however its use by international flights is currently restricted to military aircraft and personnel.

Captain (Royal Navy)

Please see Captain (naval) for other versions of this naval rank.

Captain (Capt) is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy. It ranks above commander and below commodore and has a NATO ranking code of OF-5. The rank is equivalent to a colonel in the British Army and Royal Marines, and to a group captain in the Royal Air Force. There are similarly named equivalent ranks in the navies of many other countries.

Captain (armed forces)

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.

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.

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.

Central Flying School

The Central Flying School (CFS) is the Royal Air Force's primary institution for the training of military flying instructors. Established in 1912, it is the longest existing flying training school. Its motto is Imprimis Praecepta which is Latin for "Our Teaching is Everlasting" and its Mission Statement is 'To Deliver, Develop and Assure Excellence in Aircrew Instruction for Defence'.

Colonel

Colonel ( "kernel"; abbreviated Col., Col or COL) 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.

Historically, in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a colonel was typically in charge of a regiment in an army. Modern usage varies greatly, and in some cases, the term is used as an honorific title that may have no direct relationship to military service.

The rank of colonel is typically above the rank of lieutenant colonel. The rank above colonel is typically called brigadier, brigade general or brigadier general.

Equivalent naval ranks may be called captain or ship-of-the-line captain. In the Commonwealth air force rank system, the equivalent rank is group captain.

Comparative air force officer ranks of the Commonwealth

Rank comparison chart of air forces of Commonwealth of Nations states.

Douglas Bader

Group Captain Sir Douglas Robert Steuart Bader, (; 21 February 1910 – 5 September 1982) was a Royal Air Force flying ace during the Second World War. He was credited with 22 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable and 11 enemy aircraft damaged.Bader joined the RAF in 1928, and was commissioned in 1930. In December 1931, while attempting some aerobatics, he crashed and lost both his legs. Having been on the brink of death, he recovered, retook flight training, passed his check flights and then requested reactivation as a pilot. Although there were no regulations applicable to his situation, he was retired against his will on medical grounds. After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, however, Douglas Bader returned to the RAF and was accepted as a pilot. He scored his first victories over Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940. He then took part in the Battle of Britain and became a friend and supporter of Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory and his "Big Wing" experiments.

In August 1941, Bader baled out over German-occupied France and was captured. Soon afterward, he met and was befriended by Adolf Galland, a prominent German fighter ace. Despite his disability, Bader made a number of escape attempts and was eventually sent to the prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle. He remained there until April 1945 when the camp was liberated by the First United States Army.

Bader left the RAF permanently in February 1946 and resumed his career in the oil industry. During the 1950s, a book and a film, Reach for the Sky, chronicled his life and RAF career to the end of the Second World War. Bader campaigned for the disabled and in the Queen's Birthday Honours 1976 was appointed a Knight Bachelor "for services to disabled people". He continued to fly until ill health forced him to stop in 1979. Bader died, aged 72, on 5 September 1982, after a heart attack.

Dr. Strangelove

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, more commonly known simply as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 political satire black comedy film that satirizes the Cold War fears of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. The film was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, stars Peter Sellers, George C. Scott and Slim Pickens. Production took place in the United Kingdom. The film is loosely based on Peter George's thriller novel Red Alert (1958).

The story concerns an unhinged United States Air Force general who orders a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. It follows the President of the United States, his advisors, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a Royal Air Force (RAF) officer as they try to recall the bombers to prevent a nuclear apocalypse. It separately follows the crew of one B-52 bomber as they try to deliver their payload.

In 1989, the United States Library of Congress included Dr. Strangelove in the first group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. It was listed as number three on AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs list.

Medal bar

A medal bar or medal clasp is a thin metal bar attached to the ribbon of a military decoration, civil decoration, or other medal. It most commonly indicates the campaign or operation the recipient received the award for, and multiple bars on the same medal are used to indicate that the recipient has met the criteria for receiving the medal in multiple theatres.

When used in conjunction with decorations for exceptional service, such as gallantry medals, the term "and bar" means that the award has been bestowed multiple times. In the example, "Group Captain Leonard Cheshire, VC, OM, DSO and two bars, DFC", "DSO and two bars" means that the Distinguished Service Order was awarded on three separate occasions. A British convention is to indicate bars by the use of asterisks; thus, DSO** would denote a DSO and two bars.

Bars are also used on long service medals to indicate the length of service rendered.

The two terms are used because terms "bar" and "clasp" both refer to two parts of the medal; the indicator discussed in this article, and the part of the medal connected to the ribbon.

Morotai Mutiny

The "Morotai Mutiny" was an incident in April 1945 involving members of the Australian First Tactical Air Force based on the island of Morotai, in the Dutch East Indies. Eight senior pilots, including Australia's leading flying ace, Group Captain Clive Caldwell, tendered their resignations to protest what they perceived as the relegation of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) fighter squadrons to strategically unimportant ground attack missions against Japanese positions that had been bypassed in the Allies' "island-hopping" campaign. A government investigation vindicated the "mutineers", and three high-ranking officers at First Tactical Air Force Headquarters, including the commander, Air Commodore Harry Cobby, the Australian Flying Corps' top-scoring ace during World War I, were relieved of their posts.

George Odgers summed up the cause of the incident in the official history of the RAAF in World War II as "the conviction of a group of young leaders that they were engaging in operations that were not militarily justifiable—a conviction widely shared also by many Australian soldiers and political leaders." Odgers concluded that the ensuing inquiry "made it clear that almost everyone concerned acted from the highest motives, and was convinced that, in the crisis, he acted wisely".

Peter Townsend (RAF officer)

Group Captain Peter Wooldridge Townsend, (22 November 1914 – 19 June 1995) was a Royal Air Force officer, flying ace, courtier and author. He was Equerry to King George VI from 1944 to 1952 and held the same position for Queen Elizabeth II from 1952 to 1953. Townsend also had a romance with Princess Margaret.

Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service

Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (PMRAFNS) is the nursing branch of the British Royal Air Force.

It was established as the Royal Air Force Temporary Nursing Service (RAFNS) in 1918, and became part of the permanent establishment as the Royal Air Force Nursing Service on 27 January 1921. It received the Royal prefix after Princess Mary agreed to become its Patron in June 1923.

It was a women-only branch until 1980, when men were also permitted to join. Until the Second World War, it was only open to unmarried women, or childless widows. There was also a Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (Reserve) (PMRAFNS(R)) to supplement the regular service during times of war or emergencies.

Its current mission statement reads: "The Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service is committed to providing a nursing workforce that is determined to develop the skills, knowledge and ability to deliver high quality care whilst being responsive to the dynamic nature of RAF Nursing in peacetime and on operations."A history of the service was commissioned from the writer Mary Mackie and appeared in 2001. An updated and extended edition covering subsequent decades (including service in Afghanistan) was published in September 2014.

RAF Coltishall

Royal Air Force Coltishall, more commonly known as RAF Coltishall (IATA: CLF, ICAO: EGYC), is a former Royal Air Force station located 10 miles (16 km) North-North-East of Norwich, in the English county of Norfolk, East Anglia, which operated from 1938 to 2006.It was a fighter airfield in the Second World War and afterwards a station for night fighters then ground attack aircraft until closure.

After longstanding speculation, the future of the station was sealed once the Ministry of Defence announced that the Eurofighter Typhoon, a rolling replacement aircraft, displacing the ageing SEPECAT Jaguar, would not be posted there. The last of the Jaguar squadrons left on 1 April 2006 and the station finally closed, one month early and £10 million under budget, on 30 November 2006.

The station motto was Aggressive in Defence. The station badge was a stone tower surmounted by a mailed fist grasping three bird-bolts (blunt arrows), which symbolised a position of strength in defence of the homeland, indicative of the aggressive spirit which Coltishall fighter aircraft were prepared to shoot down the enemy.

RAF Cosford

Royal Air Force Cosford or RAF Cosford (formerly DCAE Cosford) (ICAO: EGWC) is a Royal Air Force station in Cosford, Shropshire, just to the northwest of Wolverhampton and next to Albrighton.

RAF Odiham

Royal Air Force Odiham or more simply RAF Odiham (IATA: ODH, ICAO: EGVO) is a Royal Air Force station situated a little to the south of the historic village of Odiham in Hampshire, England. It is the home of the Royal Air Force's heavy lift helicopter, the Chinook. Its current station commander is Group Captain Lee Turner BEng Hons RAF.

RAF Scampton

Royal Air Force Scampton or RAF Scampton (IATA: SQZ, ICAO: EGXP) is a Royal Air Force station located adjacent to the A15 road near to the village of Scampton, Lincolnshire, and 6 miles (9.7 km) north west of the county town, Lincoln, England. The current Station Commander is Wing commander J.T.S. Parker.The topography of the station in relation to the road has been incorporated into the station badge, in which the Longbow bowstring represents Ermine Street (the A15 road) bent to accommodate the lengthened runway, and the arrow representing the runway itself. The site is owned by the Ministry of Defence and managed by the RAF.RAF Scampton stands on the site of a First World War Royal Flying Corps landing field, which had been called Brattleby. The station was closed and returned to agriculture following the First World War being reactivated in the 1930s. It has therefore provided an airfield for fighters in the First World War, bombers during the Second World War and V-force Avro Vulcans during the Cold War.

Since the temporary closure of RAF Scampton in 1996, and subsequent reactivation, the base has provided a home for the RAF Aerobatic Team (RAFAT) the Red Arrows, and to other private companies, temporarily, such as Hawker Hunter Aviation, for the maintenance and storage of aircraft.The station was due to close in 2014 but in June 2012 the Ministry of Defence confirmed the Red Arrows would remain there until at least the end of the decade. In July 2018, the MoD announced that Scampton would close by 2022, with all units relocated elsewhere, and the base be sold off.

RAF officer ranks

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

Suranjan Das

Suranjan Das (February 22, 1920 – January 10, 1970) was a pilot in the Indian Air Force. He joined the Royal Indian Air Force during the Second World War. He was amongst the first pilots to be sent to Empire Test Pilots School to a test pilot for the Indian Air force. He was a group captain. He commanded the Halwara Air Force Station Base between 1967 and 1969 and was the director of the Aircraft & Armament Testing Group of the Indian Air Force from 1969 until his death. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan posthumously in 1970. He was the son of Sudhi Ranjan Das He died in an air crash while test flying a HAL HF-24 prototype.

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
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
Talk·View
NATO rank code Student officer OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6
*
OF-7
**
OF-8
***
OF-9
****
OF-10
*****
Royal Navy O Cdt Mid SLt Lt Lt Cdr Cdr Capt Cdre RAdm
(list)
VAdm
(list)
Adm
(list)
Adm of the Fleet
Royal Marines O Cdt 2Lt Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Maj-Gen Lt-Gen Gen
(list)
Capt-Gen
Army O Cdt 2Lt Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Maj-Gen
(list)
Lt-Gen
(list)
Gen
(list)
Fd Mshl
Royal Air Force Off Cdt / SO APO / Plt Off Fg Off Flt Lt Sqn Ldr Wg Cdr Gp Capt Air Cdre AVM Air Mshl Air Chf Mshl
(list)
Mshl of the RAF

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