Lieutenant commander

Lieutenant commander (also hyphenated lieutenant-commander and abbreviated LCdr,[1] LCdr.[2] or LCDR[3][4]) 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 (armed services) and air forces is major, and in the Royal Air Force and other Commonwealth air forces is squadron leader.

The NATO rank code is mostly OF-3.[5]

A lieutenant commander is a senior department officer or the executive officer (second-in-command) on many warships and smaller shore installation, or the commanding officer of a smaller ship/installation.[6] They are also senior department officers in naval aviation squadrons.

U.S. Navy O-4 insignia
A US Navy lieutenant commander's collar, sleeve, and shoulder insignia


Most Commonwealth and other navies address lieutenant commanders by their full rank or the positions they occupy ("captain" if in command of a vessel). The United States Navy, however, addresses officers by their full rank or the higher grade of the rank. For example, oral communications in formal and informal situations, a lieutenant (junior grade) is abbreviated as "lieutenant," and a lieutenant commander is abbreviated as "commander." [7]


Lieutenants were commonly put in command of smaller vessels not warranting a commander or captain. Such a lieutenant was called a "lieutenant commanding" or "lieutenant commandant" in the United States Navy, and a "lieutenant in command," "lieutenant and commander," or "senior lieutenant" in the Royal Navy. The USN settled on "lieutenant commander" in 1862 and made it a distinct rank. The RN followed suit in March 1914.[8]

United Kingdom

Royal Navy

Royal Navy

The insignia worn by a Royal Navy lieutenant commander is two medium gold braid stripes with one thin gold stripe running in between, placed upon a navy blue/black background. The top stripe has the ubiquitous loop used in all RN officer rank insignia, except for the rank of Midshipman. The RAF follows this pattern with its equivalent rank of squadron leader.

Having fewer officer ranks than the army, the RN previously split some of its ranks by seniority (time in rank) to provide equivalence: hence a lieutenant with fewer than eight years seniority wore two stripes, and ranked with an army captain; a lieutenant of eight years or more wore two stripes with a thinner one in between, and ranked with a major. This distinction was ostensibly abolished when the rank of lieutenant commander was introduced, although promotion to the latter rank was automatic following accumulation of eight years’ seniority as a lieutenant. Automatic promotion was stopped at the start of the 21st Century and promotion is now only awarded on merit.

Royal Observer Corps

Throughout much of its existence, the British Royal Observer Corps (ROC) maintained a rank of observer lieutenant commander. The ROC wore a Royal Air Force uniform and their rank insignia appeared similar to that of an RAF squadron leader except that the stripes were shown entirely in black. Prior to the renaming, the rank had been known as observer lieutenant (first class).


Canadian RCN OF-3
Royal Canadian Navy

In the Royal Canadian Navy, the rank is the naval rank equal to major in the army or air force and is the first senior officer rank. Lieutenant commanders are senior to lieutenants (N) and to army and air force captains, and are junior to commanders and lieutenant colonels.[5]

United States

There are two insignia used by USN and USCG lieutenant commanders. On service khakis and all working uniforms, lieutenant commanders wear a gold oak leaf collar device, similar to the ones worn by majors in the USAF and Army, and identical to that worn by majors in the Marine Corps. In all dress uniforms, they wear sleeve braid or shoulder boards bearing a single gold quarter-inch stripe between two gold half-inch strips (nominal size). Above or inboard of the stripes, they wear their speciality insignia (i.e., a star for officers of the line, single oak leaf for medical with silver acord for Medical Corps, crossed oak leaves for Civil Engineer Corps, United States shield for Coast Guard, etc.) The U.S. Navy designates the rank as O-4.[9]


Lieutenant Commander Pakistan Navy Insignia
Pakistani lieutenant commander's insignia.

This rank is also used in the Pakistan Navy.[10]


IE Navy Rank Insignia-LtCmdr
Irish Navy Insignia

The rank of lieutenant commander is also used in the Irish Naval Service, having a similar implication to the RN rank. The majority of vessel commanders in the Irish Naval Service hold the rank of lieutenant commander, with a commander being a senior, shore-based position.

Other countries

Capitaine de corvette
A French capitaine de corvette maneuvering.

The rank corresponding to lieutenant commander in the German Navy, Italian Navy, Argentine Navy, Brazilian Navy, French Navy, Spanish Navy and most other French and Spanish-speaking countries is corvette captain. The corresponding rank in the Estonian and Portuguese navies is captain lieutenant. In the Russian Navy lieutenant commander is "captain of the third rank" (капитан 3-го ранга), and in the Polish Navy it is komandor podporucznik.[5] In the Finnish Navy the equivalent rank is komentajakapteeni, "commander captain"; the rank insignia of komentajakapteeni is three stripes of equal width. The insignia of kapteeniluutnantti, the rank immediately below the former, is one thin stripe between two wider ones, which could cause some confusion among the naval personnel of other nations. In Swedish the rank is called Örlogskapten, in Danish Orlogskaptajn and in Norwegian Orlogskaptein.


  1. ^ "Triservice Officers Pay and Grade" (PDF). UK Government. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  2. ^ "A Dane giving the orders". Admiral Danish Fleet. Archived from the original on 2013-10-22. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  3. ^ "US Navy Ranks". United States Navy. Archived from the original on 2013-05-02. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  4. ^ "Uniform Ranks". Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original on 2015-01-24. Retrieved 2013-04-25.
  5. ^ a b c "NATO Standard Agreement (STANAG) 2116: NATO Codes for Grades of Military Personnel". NATO standardization agreement (5 ed.). NATO Standardization Agency (published 25 February 2010). 13 March 1996. Archived from the original on 1 September 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  6. ^ "United States Navy - O-4 Lieutenant Commander". Archived from the original on 2018-05-08. Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  7. ^ "MILPERSMAN 5000-010" (PDF). U.S. Navy. 22 Aug 2002. Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 October 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Lieutenant Commander mokong Ibana". Archived from the original on 27 May 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2009.
  9. ^ "United States Department of Defense". Archived from the original on 30 December 2004. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Life in Pakistan Navy:Ranks". Pakistan Navy Official Website. 2012. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
836 Naval Air Squadron

836 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.

Commander (Royal Navy)

Commander (often abbreviated Cdr) is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. It is immediately junior to captain and immediately senior to the rank of lieutenant commander. Officers holding the junior rank of lieutenant commander are not considered to be commanders.

Comparative navy officer ranks of Africa

Rank comparison chart of navies of African states.

Comparative navy officer ranks of Asia

Rank comparison chart of navies of Asian states.

Note: Since none of the countries on this list are part of NATO, the conversion to equivalent NATO ranks are approximate.

Comparative navy officer ranks of Oceania

Rank comparison chart of naval forces of Oceania states.

Comparative navy officer ranks of the Americas

Rank comparison chart of navies of North and South American states.

Comparative navy officer ranks of the Commonwealth

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

Most of the 52 commonwealth nations have their beginnings in British Empire and have shared naval traditions. By comparison Mozambique is a former Portuguese colony. Even after some had achieved a degree of independent government from the UK, their naval protection was still British; the Royal New Zealand Navy did not exist separately until 1941.

Corvette captain

Corvette captain is a rank in many navies which theoretically corresponds to command of a corvette (small warship). 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.

Notable users of the rank of corvette captain in Europe include the navies of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Croatia. Other users include many Latin American countries.

While the NATO rank code is OF-3, the official translation of the rank as per NATO STANAG 2116 varies between "commander junior grade" and "commander" (with the next senior rank being translated as "commander senior grade"). Some NATO members class their corvette captains as OF-4 when they are serving afloat.The Russian/Soviet equivalent is "captain, 3rd grade" (капита́н 3-го р́анга).

Data (Star Trek)

Data ( DAY-tə) is a character in the fictional Star Trek franchise. He appears in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) and the feature films Star Trek Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). Data is portrayed by actor Brent Spiner.

Data was found by Starfleet in 2338 as the sole survivor on Omicron Theta in the rubble of a colony left after an attack from the Crystalline Entity. He was a synthetic life form with artificial intelligence, designed and built by Doctor Noonien Soong in his own likeness (likewise portrayed by Spiner). Data is a self-aware, sapient, sentient and anatomically fully functional android who serves as the second officer and chief operations officer aboard the Federation starship USS Enterprise-D and later the USS Enterprise-E.

His positronic brain allows him impressive computational capabilities. He experienced ongoing difficulties during the early years of his life with understanding various aspects of human behavior and was unable to feel emotion or understand certain human idiosyncrasies, inspiring him to strive for his own humanity. This goal eventually led to the addition of an "emotion chip" created by Soong, to Data's positronic net. Although Data's endeavor to increase his humanity and desire for human emotional experience is a significant plot point (and source of humor) throughout the series, he consistently shows a nuanced sense of wisdom, sensitivity, and curiosity, garnering respect from his peers and colleagues.

Data is in many ways a successor to the original Star Trek's Spock (Leonard Nimoy), in that the character offers an "outsider's" perspective on humanity.


An equerry (; from French écurie 'stable', and related to écuyer 'squire') is an officer of honour. Historically, it was a senior attendant with responsibilities for the horses of a person of rank. In contemporary use, it is a personal attendant, usually upon a sovereign, a member of a royal family, or a national representative. The role is equivalent to an aide-de-camp, but the term is now prevalent only in the Commonwealth of Nations.

Geordi La Forge

Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge is a fictional character who appeared in all seven seasons of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and its four feature films. Portrayed by LeVar Burton, he served as helmsman of the USS Enterprise-D in the first season, then occupied the role of the chief engineer for the rest of the series and in the films. La Forge has been blind since birth and uses technological devices that allow him to see – a VISOR in the series and the first film, replaced by ocular prosthetic implants in the last three films.


A lieutenant (UK: lef-TEN-ənt or US: loo-TEN-ənt abbreviated Lt, LT, Lieut and similar) is the junior most commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police, and other organizations of many nations.

The meaning of lieutenant differs in different militaries (see comparative military ranks), but is often subdivided into senior (first lieutenant) and junior (second lieutenant and even third lieutenant) ranks. In navies it is often equivalent to the army rank of captain; it may also indicate a particular post rather than a rank. The rank is also used in fire services, emergency medical services, security services and police forces.

Lieutenant may also appear as part of a title used in various other organisations with a codified command structure. It often designates someone who is "second-in-command", and as such, may precede the name of the rank directly above it. For example, a "lieutenant master" is likely to be second-in-command to the "master" in an organisation using both ranks.

Political uses include lieutenant governor in various governments, and Quebec lieutenant in Canadian politics. In the United Kingdom, a lord lieutenant is the sovereign's representative in a county or lieutenancy area, while a deputy lieutenant is one of the lord lieutenant's deputies.

Lieutenant (navy)

Lieutenant (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. In most navies, the rank's insignia may consist of two medium gold braid stripes, the uppermost stripe featuring an executive curl in many Commonwealth of Nations; or three stripes of equal or unequal width.

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.

Lieutenant commander (Royal Navy)

Lieutenant Commander (often abbreviated Lt Cdr) is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. It is immediately junior to commander and immediately senior to the naval rank of lieutenant.

Lieutenant commander (United States)

Lieutenant commander (LCDR) is a mid-ranking officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (NOAA Corps), with the pay grade of O-4 and NATO rank code OF-3. The predecessors of the NOAA Corps, the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps (1917–1965) and the Environmental Science Services Administration Corps (1965–1970), also used the lieutenant commander rank, and the rank is also used in the United States Maritime Service and the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Lieutenant commanders rank above lieutenants and below commanders, and rank is equivalent to a major in the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps.

Promotion to lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy is governed by United States Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest 80% of lieutenants should be promoted to lieutenant commander after serving a minimum of three years at their present rank and after attaining nine to eleven years of cumulative commissioned service.While lieutenant commander is the U.S. Navy's first commissioned officer to be selected by board, they are still considered to be junior officers due to their origin as "lieutenant, commanding". This can be seen by the fact that lieutenant commanders do not wear the oak-leaf gold embellishment (colloquially known as "scrambled eggs") on their combination covers. This is in contrast to other branches, where majors wear the appropriate covers of field-grade officers.The United States Coast Guard used their own rank system until World War I. In 1916, discontent grew among Coast Guard captains: By law, they ranked below a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy despite similar roles and duties. Pursuant to the Appropriations Act of 1918, the Coast Guard adopted the Navy rank structure to prevent disagreements over seniority.There are two insignia used by lieutenant commanders. On service khakis and all working uniforms, lieutenant commanders wear a gold oak leaf collar device, similar to the ones worn by majors in the USAF and Army, and identical to that worn by majors in the Marine Corps. In all dress uniforms, they wear sleeve braid or shoulder boards bearing a single gold quarter-inch stripe between two gold half-inch strips (nominal size). In the case of officers of the U.S. Navy, above or inboard of the stripes, they wear their specialty insignia (i.e., a star for officers of the line, crossed oak leaves for Civil Engineer Corps, etc.).

Insignia of lieutenant commanders in different uniformed services in the United States

Major (United Kingdom)

Major (Maj) is a military rank which is used by both the British Army and Royal Marines. The rank is superior to captain, and subordinate to lieutenant colonel. The insignia for a major is a crown. The equivalent rank in the Royal Navy is lieutenant commander, and squadron leader in the Royal Air Force.

Major (United States)

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, (Navy and Coast Guard) the rank of major is that of a senior officer in the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Air Force.

The pay grade for the rank of major is O-4. The insignia for the rank consists of a golden oak leaf, with slight stylized differences between the Army/Air Force version and the Marine Corps version. Promotion to major is governed by the Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980.

Oakley Glacier

Oakley Glacier (73°42′S 166°08′E), is a glacier in the Mountaineer Range that descends east from Mount Casey to merge with the floating tongue from the Icebreaker Glacier at Lady Newnes Bay, in Victoria Land, Antarctica. Mapped by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from surveys and U.S. Navy air photos, 1960-64. Named by Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN) for Lieutenant Commander Donald C. Oakley, U.S. Navy (USN), Protestant chaplain with the winter party at McMurdo Station, 1967.

Royal Australian Navy School of Underwater Medicine

The Royal Australian Navy School of Underwater Medicine (RANSUM) is based at Sydney, Australia.

The Diving Section of HMAS Watson was afforded by the District Medical Officer, Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Shane A.C. Watson, whose interest in diving led to research in injuries related to marine animals. Medical Director-General of the Royal Australian Navy, Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Lockwood, recognized the need for a specialisation in diving medicine shown by Dr. Watson and appointed Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Rex Gray to service in Underwater Medicine. Dr. Gray was an anaesthesiologist and accepted this commission on 20 February 1961.Dr. Gray was trained as a diver and sent to England for seven months to learn about modern diving medicine. He visited the Royal Naval Medical School at Alverstoke, the R.N. Physiological Laboratory, the Submarine Training School at HMS Dolphin, Diving School HMS Vernon, and the RN Air Medical School at Seafield Park. Following his time in England, he travelled to the United States, where he spent two weeks each in the Experimental Diving Unit, Washington Navy Yard, and with the Medical Research Laboratory, Submarine Base, New London, Connecticut, returning to Australia in July, 1962, aboard HMAS Supply.The first School of Underwater Medicine Report was issued in 1963 and outlined the need for communication with organizations with similar interests such as carbon monoxide poisoning and recompression chambers. The first eight-day Underwater Medicine course was held in May 1963, when Surgeon Lieutenant Commander A.A. Reid, and was followed by a thirteen-day course by Surgeon Lieutenant Commander B.M. Wadham, in June 1963.

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
Lieutenantcommander Major or
Squadron leader
Lieutenant Captain Flight lieutenant
junior grade
Lieutenant or
first lieutenant
Flying officer
Ensign or
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 Flight sergeant
Leading seaman Corporal or
Seaman Private or
gunner or
Aircraftman or
United States uniformed services commissioned officer and officer candidate ranks
Pay grade / branch of service Officer
O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 O-9 O-10 O-11 Special
alt=alt=Officer Candidate[1] alt=alt=Second lieutenant / Ensign alt=alt=First lieutenant / Lieutenant (junior grade) alt=alt=alt=Captain / Lieutenant[6] alt=alt=Major / Lieutenant commander alt=alt=Lieutenant colonel / Commander alt=alt=Colonel / Captain alt=alt=Brigadier general / Rear admiral (lower half) alt=alt=Major General / Rear admiral[6] alt=alt=Lieutenant general / Vice admiral[6] US-O10 insignia[6] alt=alt=General of the Air Force / General of the Army / Fleet Admiral alt=alt=General of the Armies / Admiral of the Navy[2]
Midn / Cand 2ndLt 1stLt Capt Maj LtCol Col BGen MajGen LtGen Gen [5] [5]
Cadet / OT / OC 2nd Lt 1st Lt Capt Maj Lt Col Col Brig Gen Maj Gen Lt Gen Gen GAF[3] [5]
W-1 W-2 W-3 W-4 W-5
USMC WO1.svg
US Navy WO1 insignia.svg
US Navy CW2 insignia.svg
US Navy CW3 insignia.svg
US Navy CW4 insignia.svg
US Navy CW5 insignia.svg
USAF CW5.png
USCG WO1 insignia.svg
USCG CW2 insignia.svg
USCG CW3 insignia.svg
USCG CW4 insignia.svg
[2] [2] [2] [2]


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