Lieutenant (navy)

Lieutenant[nb 1] (abbreviated Lt, LT, LT(N), Lt(N), Lieut and LEUT, depending on nation) is a commissioned officer rank in many nations' navies. It is typically the most senior of junior officer ranks. The rank's insignia usually consists of two medium gold braid stripes and often the uppermost stripe features an executive curl.

The now immediately senior rank of lieutenant commander was formerly a senior naval lieutenant rank. Many navies also use a subordinate rank of sub-lieutenant. The appointment of "first lieutenant" in many navies is held by a senior lieutenant.

A navy lieutenant ranks higher than an army lieutenant; the navy rank of lieutenant is a NATO OF-2 (US grade O-3) and ranks with an army captain.

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
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History

From at least 1580,[1] the lieutenant on a ship had been the officer immediately subordinate to the captain. Before the English Restoration, lieutenants were appointed by their captains, and this inevitably led to abuses and to the widespread appointment of men of insufficient qualification. In 1677, Samuel Pepys, while he was Chief Secretary to the Admiralty, introduced the first examination for lieutenant,[2] and thereafter their seniority was dated from the passing of this examination.

A lieutenant was numbered by his seniority within the ship on which he served, so that a frigate (which was entitled to three) would have a first, a second, and a third lieutenant. A first-rate ship was entitled to six, and they were numbered accordingly. At first, a lieutenant's commission was given only for the particular ship in which he served, but after the loss of HMS Wager in 1741 and the subsequent mutiny, the Royal Navy changed its policy and lieutenants were given more general commissions upon passing their examination.[1]

During the early days of the naval rank, some lieutenants could be very junior indeed, while others could be on the cusp of promotion to captain; those lieutenants ranged across present-day army ranks from a second lieutenant through to a lieutenant colonel. As the rank structure of navies stabilized, and the ranks of commander, lieutenant commander, and sub-lieutenant were introduced, the rank of naval lieutenant became less wide-ranging and is today the equivalent of an army captain (NATO OF-2 or US O-3).

In the United States Navy, promotion to lieutenant is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest that 95% of lieutenants (junior grade) should be promoted to lieutenant after serving a minimum of two years at the lower rank.

Rank insignia

The insignia of a lieutenant in many navies, including the Royal Navy,[3] consists of two medium gold braid stripes (top stripe with loop) on a navy blue or black background. This pattern was copied by the United States Navy and various air forces for their equivalent ranks grades, except that the executive curl is removed. (see flight lieutenant).

Lieutenant-de-vaisseau-France.png 16 - kptlt.png GR-Navy-OF2.svg IN Lieutenant.png 13-Navsarvan POL PMW pagon1 kapitan marynarki.svg POR-Navy-primeiro-tenente.png RO-Navy-OF-3s.png 9arm Generic-Navy-O3.svg Generic-Navy-O3.svg US Navy O3 insignia.svg
France Germany Greece India Iran Poland Portugal Romania Spain United Kingdom Canada United States

"First lieutenant" in naval usage

The first lieutenant (1st Lt or 1LT) in the Royal Navy and other Commonwealth navies, is a post or appointment, rather than a rank. Historically, the lieutenants in a ship were ranked in accordance with seniority, with the most senior being termed the first lieutenant and acting as the second-in-command. Although lieutenants are no longer numbered by seniority, the post of "first lieutenant" remains.

In minor war vessels, destroyers and frigates, the first lieutenant (either a lieutenant or lieutenant commander) is second in command, executive officer (XO) and head of the executive branch; in larger ships, where a commander of the warfare specialisation is appointed as the executive officer, a first lieutenant (normally a lieutenant commander) is appointed as his deputy. The post of first lieutenant in a shore establishment carries a similar responsibility to that of the first lieutenant of a capital ship.

In the U.S. Navy or U.S. Coast Guard, the billet of first lieutenant describes the officer in charge of the deck department or division, depending on the size of the ship. In smaller ships that have only a single deck division, the billet is typically filled by an ensign; while in larger ships, with a deck department consisting of multiple subordinate divisions, the billet may be filled by a lieutenant commander. On submarines and smaller Coast Guard cutters, the billet of first lieutenant may be filled by a petty officer.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The pronunciation of lieutenant is generally split between /lɛfˈtɛnənt/ lef-TEN-ənt, /lɪf-/ lif-, generally in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Commonwealth countries, and /luːˈtɛnənt/ (listen) loo-TEN-ənt, /lə-/, generally associated with the United States. See lieutenant.

References

  1. ^ a b "Officer Ranks in the Royal Navy - Lieutenant". Royal Naval Museum. Archived from the original on 2014-10-11. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
  2. ^ J. D. Davies, Gentlemen and Tarpaulins (Oxford University Press, 1991, ISBN 978-0-19-820263-9), p. 40
  3. ^ "Uniforms and Badges of Rank - Royal Navy website". Archived from the original on 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2008-10-05.
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An aide-de-camp may participate at ceremonial functions, and the first aide-de-camp is typically the foremost personal aide. This is not to be confused with an adjutant, who is the senior administrator of a military unit.

The badge of office for an aide-de-camp is usually the aiguillette, a braided cord in gold or other colours, worn on the shoulder of a uniform. Whether it is worn on the left or the right shoulder is dictated by protocol.

In some countries, aide-de-camp is considered to be a title of honour, which confers the post-nominal letters ADC or A de C.

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Ensign (, Late Middle English, from Old French enseigne (12c.) "mark, symbol, signal; flag, standard, pennant", from Latin insignia (plural)) is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank acquired the name. This rank has generally been replaced in army ranks by second lieutenant. Ensigns were generally the lowest ranking commissioned officer, except where the rank of subaltern existed. In contrast, the Arab rank of ensign, لواء, liwa', derives from the command of units with an ensign, not the carrier of such a unit's ensign, and is today the equivalent of a major general.

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The NATO rank code is OF-1 (junior).

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