Rear admiral

Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks". In many navies it is referred to as a two-star rank (OF-7)/(O-7).

It originated from the days of naval sailing squadrons and can trace its origins to the Royal Navy. Each naval squadron would be assigned an admiral as its head, who would command from the centre vessel and direct the activities of the squadron. The admiral would in turn be assisted by a vice admiral, who commanded the lead ships which would bear the brunt of a naval battle. In the rear of the naval squadron, a third admiral would command the remaining ships and, as this section of the squadron was considered to be in the least danger, the admiral in command of the rear would typically be the most junior of the squadron admirals. This has survived into the modern age, with the rank of rear admiral the most-junior of the admiralty ranks of many navies.

In some European navies (e.g., that of France), and in the Canadian Forces' French rank translations, the rank of rear admiral is known as contre-amiral. In the German Navy the rank is known as Konteradmiral, superior to the flotilla admiral (Commodore in other navies). In the Royal Netherlands Navy, this rank is known as schout-bij-nacht (lit.: supervisor during night), denoting the role junior to the squadron admiral, and fleet admiral.


Rear admiral (Australia)
Royal Australian Navy OF-7
The RADM insignia
Country Australia
Service branch Royal Australian Navy
NATO rankO-9
Next higher rankVice admiral
Next lower rankCommodore
Equivalent ranks

The Royal Australian Navy maintains a rank of rear admiral; refer to Australian Defence Force ranks and insignia. The abbreviation is RADM.

Since the mid-1990s, the insignia of a Royal Australian Navy rear admiral is the Crown of St. Edward above a crossed sword and baton, above two silver stars, above the word "Australia". Like the Royal Navy version, the sword is a traditional naval cutlass. The stars have eight points, unlike the four pointed Order of the Bath stars used by the army (which are often referred to as "pips"). Prior to 1995, the RAN shoulder board was identical to the Royal Navy shoulder board. The Royal Navy shoulder board changed again in 2001 and the Australian and UK shoulder boards are now identical except for the word "Australia".[1]

Rear Admiral Robyn Walker AM, RAN became the first female admiral in the Royal Australian Navy when she was appointed Surgeon-General of the Australian Defence Force on 16 December 2011.[2]


In the Royal Canadian Navy, the rank of rear-admiral (RAdm) (contre-amiral or CAm in French) is the Navy rank equivalent to major-general of the Army and Air Force. A rear-admiral is a flag officer, the naval equivalent of a general officer. A rear-admiral is senior to a commodore and brigadier-general, and junior to a vice-admiral and lieutenant-general.

The rank insignia for a rear-admiral is two silver maple leaves beneath a silver crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St Edward's Crown, worn on gold shoulder boards on the white short-sleeved shirt or the tropical white tunic. The service dress features a wide strip of gold braid around the cuff and, since June 2010,[3] above it a narrower strip of gold braid embellished with the executive curl. On the visor of the service cap are two rows of gold oak leaves.

Canadian rear admiral shoulder board and sleeve insignia (since June 2010).
Navy slip-on RAdm
Uniform shirts
Navy olive RAdm
CADPAT uniform


Konteradmiral is an OF-7 two-star rank equivalent to the Generalmajor (en: Major general) in the German Army and the German Air Force.


The Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard is the naval component of the Military of Guyana. As such, the ranks of the Coast Guard are naval ranks similar to the practice in the respective Coast Guards of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The rank of rear admiral was first awarded to chief of staff commodore Gary Best on August 19, 2013.

The rank insignia consists of two silver pips with green highlights, beneath a crossed sword and baton (also silver colored), all surmounted by the gold-colored Cacique's crown with red, and green highlights.

GDF Coast Guard rear admiral shoulder board


The Indian Navy also maintains a rear admiral rank senior to commodore and captain ranks and junior to vice admiral (and admiral) ranks.

Indian admiral sleeve insignia
Shoulder board for rear admiral

The rank insignia for a rear-admiral is two stars beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by Emblem of India, worn on shoulder boards.


Before Islamic Revolution (1979)

The Iranian Imperial Navy (IIN).


Daryaban (دریابان)

After Islamic Revolution (1979)

The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (IRIN), also known as the Iranian Navy.


Daryaban (دریابان)


A rear admiral in the Pakistani Navy is a senior and two-star rank naval officer, appointed in higher naval commands. Like most Commonwealth navies, the rear admiral rank is superior to commodore and captain. However, the rank is junior to the three-star rank vice-admiral and four-star rank admiral, who is generally a Chief of Naval Staff of the Navy.


Nl-marine-vloot-schout schout bij nacht
The rank insignia of a schout-bij-nacht

Schout-bij-nacht (pronounced [ˈsxʌu̯d bɛi̯ ˈnɑxt])[4] is a Dutch Naval rank, equivalent to rear admiral in the US Navy and Royal Navy. It is the second most junior admiral position of the Dutch Navy, ranking above commandeur ("commodore") and below a vice-admiraal ("vice admiral").

The rank of schout-bij-nacht originated between the 15th and 16th century. Interpreted as "watch-at-night", the schout-bij-nacht was the officer who supervised the ship when the captain was asleep.

In later times the schout-bij-nacht was also the officer who supervised an entire naval squadron, in the absence of a senior admiral, and by the 17th century schout-bij-nacht was the common rank held by the naval commander of a battle fleet's rear squadron.

In the 17th century the navies of Sweden and Denmark-Norway adopted the rank as schoutbynacht and the early Imperial Russian Navy as шаутбенахт ("shautbenakht"). In 1724 the Russians, followed in 1771 by both the Swedish navy and the Dano-Norwegian navy changed the name of the rank to counter admiral (контр-адмирал in Russian, konteramiral in Swedish, kontreadmiral in Danish and Norwegian).

New Zealand

The highest ordinary rank currently filled in the Royal New Zealand Navy is rear admiral and this is the rank held by the Chief of Navy[5] unless that person is also Chief of Defence Force.


The Republic of Singapore Navy uses two ranks with the title of rear admiral: rear-admiral (one-star), a one-star rank; and rear-admiral (two-star), a two-star rank. Usually held by the Chief of Navy or Fleet Commander, the rank is reserved for the highest-ranking flag officer of the navy.

United Kingdom

The Royal Navy maintains a rank of rear admiral. Note that the rank of rear admiral is quite different from the honorary office Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom.

United States

US Navy 091222-N-2564M-106 Rear Adm. Michelle Howard commends the crew of USS Wasp (LHD 1) during ship's return to Norfolk
US Navy Rear Admiral (lower half) Michelle J. Howard uses the public address system to address the crew of USS Wasp in 2009. Howard has since been promoted to admiral.

In the United States since 1984, there have been two ranks with the title of rear admiral: rear admiral (lower half) (RDML), a one-star rank; and rear admiral (RADM), a two-star rank. Prior to that, a combination of ranks was used.

US Navy O8 insignia

The stars and shoulder boards of a US Navy two-star, rear admiral

USCG O-8 insignia

The stars and shoulder boards of a US Coast Guard two-star, rear admiral

USA - PHS - O8 insignia

The star and shoulder boards of a US Public Health Service two-star, rear admiral

USA - NOAA - O8 insignia

The stars, shoulder boards, and sleeve stripes of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration two-star, rear admiral


In Vietnam, the equivalent to rear admiral is the chuẩn đô đốc or đề đốc.

See also

References and notes

  1. ^ "Uniform Ranks". Royal Australian Navy. Australian Government. Archived from the original on 24 January 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  2. ^ "First female Admiral for the Royal Australian Navy". Defence News. Department of Defence, Australian Government. 6 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2010.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) The Maple Leaf/La Feuille d'érable – no. 13 vol.18
  4. ^ Schout in isolation: [ˈsxʌu̯t].
  5. ^ "Rear Admiral Jack Steer Appointed Chief of Navy". Royal New Zealand Navy. Royal New Zealand Navy. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
Admiral (Royal Navy)

Admiral is a senior rank of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, which equates to the NATO rank code OF-9, outranked only by the rank of admiral of the fleet. Royal Navy officers holding the ranks of rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the fleet are sometimes considered generically to be admirals. The rank of admiral is currently the highest rank to which a serving officer in the Royal Navy can be promoted, admiral of the fleet being in abeyance except for honorary promotions of retired officers and members of the Royal Family.

British Forces Gibraltar

British Forces Gibraltar is the British Armed Forces stationed in the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. Gibraltar is used primarily as a training area, thanks to its good climate and rocky terrain, and as a stopover for aircraft and ships en route to and from deployments East of Suez or Africa.

The last UK based army battalion, 1 Royal Green Jackets, left Gibraltar in 1991 and the Royal Gibraltar Regiment took charge of local defence under the new headquarters British Forces Gibraltar.

Channel Fleet

The Channel Fleet and originally known as the Channel Squadron was the Royal Navy formation of warships that defended the waters of the English Channel from 1854 to 1909 and 1914 to 1915.

Combined Fleet

For the "Carrier Striking Task Force", see Kido Butai.Combined Fleet (聯合艦隊, Rengō Kantai) was the main ocean-going component of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Until 1933, Combined Fleet was not a permanent organization, but a temporary force formed for the duration of a conflict or major naval maneuvers from various units normally under separate commands in peacetime.

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.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.

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 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.

Fleet Command (Australia)

Fleet Command is responsible for the command, operations, readiness, training and force generation of all ships, submarines, aircraft squadrons, diving teams, and shore establishments of the Royal Australian Navy. Fleet Command is headquartered at HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney, and is led by the Commander Australian Fleet (COMAUSFLT), also referred to as Fleet Commander Australia (FCAUST), which is a rear admiral (two-star) appointment.

The position of Commander Australian Fleet was established in 2007. The previous positions since 1913 were:

Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Fleet (1913–1926),

Rear Admiral Commanding HM Australian Squadron (1926–1949),

Flag Officer Commanding HM Australian Fleet (1949–1988, regularly abbreviated as FOCAF), and

Maritime Commander Australia (1988–2007 – MCAUST).(I)

List of serving admirals of the Pakistan Navy

This is the list of serving Admirals of the Pakistan Navy. At present, the navy has one full admiral, 6 vice admirals and 26 rear admirals. The list is arranged according to the admirals' respective seniority.

Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States

The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), or simply as the Loyal Legion is a United States patriotic order, organized April 15, 1865, by officers of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States who "had aided in maintaining the honor, integrity, and supremacy of the national movement" during the American Civil War. It was formed by loyal union military officers in response to rumors from Washington of a conspiracy to destroy the Federal government by assassination of its leaders, in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. They stated their purpose as the cherishing of the memories and associations of the war waged in defense of the unity and indivisibility of the Republic; the strengthening of the ties of fraternal fellowship and sympathy formed by companionship in arms; the relief of the widows and children of dead companions of the order; and the advancement of the general welfare of the soldiers and sailors of the United States. As the original officers died off, the veterans organization became an all-male hereditary society. The modern organization is composed of male descendants of these officers (hereditary members), and others who share the ideals of the Order (associate members), who collectively are considered "Companions". A female auxiliary, Dames of the Loyal Legion of the United States (DOLLUS), was formed in 1899 and accepted as an affiliate in 1915.

NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, known informally as the NOAA Corps, is one of seven federal uniformed services of the United States, and operates under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a scientific agency overseen by the Department of Commerce. The NOAA Corps is made up of scientifically and technically trained officers and is the smallest of the U.S. uniformed services. It is one of only two––the other being the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps––that consists only of commissioned officers, with no enlisted or warrant officer ranks.

The NOAA Corps was established in 1970, though its origins in its predecessor organizations date back to 22 May 1917. It is the successor to the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey Corps (1917–1965) and the United States Environmental Science Services Administration Commissioned Officer Corps (ESSA Corps) (1965–1970).

North Atlantic Squadron

The North Atlantic Squadron was a section of the United States Navy operating in the North Atlantic. It was renamed as the North Atlantic Fleet in 1902. In 1905 the European and South Atlantic Squadrons were abolished and absorbed into the North Atlantic Fleet. On 1 January 1906, the Navy's Atlantic Fleet was established by combining the North Atlantic Fleet with the South Atlantic Squadron.

Rear Admiral Submarines

Rear-Admiral, Submarines is a post in the Royal Navy which involves command of the Royal Navy Submarine Service. It evolved from the post of Inspecting Captain of Submarines in 1901 and would later evolve to become the post of Flag Officer Submarines in 1944.

Rear admiral (Royal Navy)

Rear admiral (RAdm) is a flag officer rank of the British Royal Navy. It is immediately superior to commodore and is subordinate to vice admiral. It is a two-star rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-7.

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.

Reserve Fleet (United Kingdom)

The Reserve Fleet was a Royal Navy formation of decommissioned vessels which could be brought to a state of readiness at time of war.

Richard E. Byrd

Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. (October 25, 1888 – March 11, 1957) was an American naval officer and explorer. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor given by the United States, and was a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics. Aircraft flights in which he served as a navigator and expedition leader crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a segment of the Arctic Ocean, and a segment of the Antarctic Plateau. Byrd claimed that his expeditions had been the first to reach both the North Pole and the South Pole by air. However, his claim to have reached the North Pole is disputed.

Royal Navy Surface Fleet

Surface warships form one of the five fighting arms of the Royal Navy. The surface combatants are administered by Rear-Admiral Andrew Burns, Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces and Rear Admiral Surface Ships. Rear-Admiral Surface Ships also has the operational role of Commander United Kingdom Maritime Forces, a sea-going combatant command appointment.

RN surface ships current consist of two flotillas based at HMNB Portsmouth and HMNB Devonport, both located on the south coast of England. Surface combatants range from aircraft carriers to mine countermeasures vessels to offshore patrol vessels, but most are escorts; destroyers (Type 45) and frigates (Type 23).

Surface combatants deploy to conduct several permanent Standing Royal Navy deployments. Closer to home, the surface fleet also conducts Fishery Protection Patrols around UK waters, by agreement with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Presently, Commander Amphibious Task Group and Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group are the two main 1* deployable forces under COMUKMARFOR.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (also known as USNAVSO) is the naval element of United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). Its areas of operation include South America, Central America, the Caribbean and surrounding waters. Its headquarters are located at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. USNAVSO is currently under the command of Rear Admiral Sean S. Buck.

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
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
NATO rank code Student Officer OF-1 OF-2 OF-3 OF-4 OF-5 OF-6
Royal Canadian Navy NCdt A/SLt SLt Lt(N) LCdr Cdr Capt(N) Cmdre RAdm VAdm Adm
Not used
Canadian Army OCdt 2Lt Lt Capt Maj LCol Col BGen MGen LGen Gen Not used
Royal Canadian Air Force OCdt 2Lt Lt Capt Maj LCol Col BGen MGen LGen Gen Not used
Military ranks and insignia by country
Post-Soviet states
Commonwealth of Nations
Star officer grades
By star ranks
By titles


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