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General officer

"General" and "Generals" redirect here. For other uses, see General (disambiguation).
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A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines.

The 4-star rank general George S. Patton in 1945, at the end of World War II

In some usages the term "general officer" refers to a rank above colonel.

The term general is used in two ways: as the generic title for all grades of general officer and as a specific rank. It originates in the 16th century, as a shortening of captain general, which rank was taken from Middle French capitaine général. The adjective general had been affixed to officer designations since the late medieval period to indicate relative superiority or an extended jurisdiction.

Today, the title of general is known in some countries as a four-star rank. However, different countries use different systems of stars or other insignia for senior ranks. It has a NATO rank scale code of OF-9 and is the highest rank currently in use in a number of armies, air forces, and marine organizations.[citation needed]

Contents

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The various grades of general officer are at the top of the military rank structure. Lower-ranking officers in land-centric military forces are typically known as field officers or field-grade officers, and below them are company-grade officers.

Common systems

There are two common systems of general ranks used worldwide. In addition, there is a third system, the Arab system of ranks, which is used throughout the Middle East and North Africa but is not used elsewhere in the world.[citation needed]

Variations of one form, the old European system, were once used throughout Europe. It is used in Germany, where it comes from originally, and from where it eventually spread to the United Kingdom and thence subsequently to other Commonwealth countries and the United States. The general officer ranks are named by prefixing "general", as an adjective, with field officer ranks, although in some countries the highest general officers are titled field marshal, marshal, or captain general.[citation needed]

The other is derived from the French Revolution, where generals' ranks are named according to the unit they (theoretically) command.[citation needed]

Old European system

The system used either a brigadier general or a colonel general rank (i.e. exclude one of the italicised ranks).[citation needed]

In the 17th and 18th centuries, it became customary in Prussia and other German states to confer the rank of "full" general with the addition of the branch of service from which the general emerged and which originally also determined the character of the formations which he commanded, e.g. general of the infantry, general of the cavalry and general of the artillery. Such rank designations were also introduced in the Imperial Russian Army, firstly by the emperor Peter I.[citation needed]

The rank of field marshal was used by some countries as the highest rank, while in other countries it was used as a divisional or brigade rank. Many countries (notably pre-revolutionary France and eventually much of Latin America) actually used two brigade command ranks, which is why some countries now use two stars as their brigade general insignia. Mexico and Argentina still use two brigade command ranks.[citation needed]

In some states (particularly in the Commonwealth since the 1920s), the equivalent to brigadier general is brigadier, which is not always considered by these armies to be a general officer rank, although it is always treated as equivalent to the rank of brigadier general for comparative purposes.[citation needed]

As a lieutenant outranks a sergeant major; confusion often arises because a lieutenant is outranked by a major. Originally the serjeant major was, exclusively, the commander of the infantry, junior only to the captain-general and lieutenant general. The distinction of serjeant major general only applied after serjeant majors were introduced as a rank of field officer. Serjeant was eventually dropped from both rank titles, creating the modern rank titles. Serjeant Major (later spelled sergeant major) as a senior rank of non-commissioned officer was a later creation.[citation needed]

The equivalent of the rank of general in the navy was admiral.

French (Revolutionary) system

For more information, see général.

Arab system

The armies of Arab countries use traditional Arabic titles. These were formalized in their current system to replace the Turkish system that was formerly in use in the Arab world and the Turco-Egyptian ranks in Egypt.[citation needed]

Rank Transliteration Translation Notes
مشير Mushīr Counsellor compare Counsellor of State, State Counsellor etc.
compare etymology "mushir" with "shura"
فريق أول Fariq 'awal First general equivalent to Commonwealth "full" general
فريق Fariq General equivalent to lieutenant general or corps general
لواء liwāʾ Ensign (more loosely "flag officer" or "banner")
عميد ʿamīd Colonel
(not to be confused with aqīd, the
equivalent rank to a Commonwealth colonel)
compare etymology with "ʿamood" ("column");
etymologically, translates as "colonel" but
equivalent to brigadier/brigade general

Other variations

Other nomenclatures for general officers include the titles and ranks:

In addition to militarily educated generals, there are also generals in medicine and engineering. The rank of the most senior chaplain, (chaplain general), is also usually considered to be a general officer rank.

General C. G. E. Mannerheim in 1918 during the Finnish Civil War

In the old European system, a general, without prefix or suffix (and sometimes referred to informally as a "full general"), is usually the most senior type of general, above lieutenant general and directly below field marshal as a four-star rank (NATO OF-9).

Usually it is the most senior peacetime rank, with more senior ranks (for example, field marshal, marshal of the air force, fleet admiral) being used only in wartime or as honorary titles.

In some armies, however, the rank of captain general, general of the army, army general or colonel general occupied or occupies this position. Depending on circumstances and the army in question, these ranks may be considered to be equivalent to a "full" general or to a field marshal five-star rank (NATO OF-10).

The rank of general came about as a "captain-general", the captain of an army in general (i.e., the whole army). The rank of captain-general began appearing around the time of the organisation of professional armies in the 17th century. In most countries "captain-general" contracted to just "general".

General ranks by country

The following articles deal with the rank of general, or its equivalent, as it is or was employed in the militaries of those countries:

Army generals' insignia

Air force generals' insignia

Naval infantry generals' insignia

Some countries (such as the United States) use the general officer ranks for both the army and the air force, as well as their marine corps; other states only use the general officer ranks for the army, while in the air force they use air officers as the equivalent of general officers. They use the air force rank of air chief marshal as the equivalent of the specific army rank of general. This latter group includes the British Royal Air Force and many current and former Commonwealth air forces—e.g. Royal Australian Air Force, Indian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, Nigerian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force, etc.

In most navies, flag officers are the equivalent of general officers, and the naval rank of admiral is equivalent to the specific army rank of general. A noteworthy historical exception was the Cromwellian naval rank "general at sea". In recent years in the American service there is a tendency to use flag officer and flag rank to refer to generals and admirals of the services collectively.

  1. In the United States, General Officers authorized to display a flag showing their rank are also called "flag officers". Refer: "Flag officer". Merriam-Webster.[permanent dead link]. In other usages the term "flag officer" usually applies to naval ranks such as admiral, vice-admiral, or rear-admiral.
  2. since 1978
  1. "general, adj. and n.". OED Online. March 2021. Oxford University Press. https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/77489?rskey=dCKrg4&result=1 (accessed May 11, 2021)
Look up general officer in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

General officer
General officer Language Watch Edit General and Generals redirect here For other uses see General disambiguation This article needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources General officer news newspapers books scholar JSTOR May 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies and in some nations air forces space forces or marines a The 4 star rank general George S Patton in 1945 at the end of World War II In some usages the term general officer refers to a rank above colonel 1 The term general is used in two ways as the generic title for all grades of general officer and as a specific rank It originates in the 16th century as a shortening of captain general which rank was taken from Middle French capitaine general The adjective general had been affixed to officer designations since the late medieval period to indicate relative superiority or an extended jurisdiction Today the title of general is known in some countries as a four star rank However different countries use different systems of stars or other insignia for senior ranks It has a NATO rank scale code of OF 9 b and is the highest rank currently in use in a number of armies air forces and marine organizations citation needed Contents 1 General officer ranks and history 1 1 Common systems 1 1 1 Old European system 1 1 2 French Revolutionary system 1 1 3 Arab system 1 2 Other variations 2 Specific rank of general 2 1 General ranks by country 2 1 1 Army generals insignia 2 1 2 Air force generals insignia 2 1 3 Naval infantry generals insignia 3 Air force and naval equivalents 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 External linksGeneral officer ranks and history EditThis section does not cite any sources Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed May 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message The various grades of general officer are at the top of the military rank structure Lower ranking officers in land centric military forces are typically known as field officers or field grade officers and below them are company grade officers Common systems Edit There are two common systems of general ranks used worldwide In addition there is a third system the Arab system of ranks which is used throughout the Middle East and North Africa but is not used elsewhere in the world citation needed Variations of one form the old European system were once used throughout Europe It is used in Germany where it comes from originally and from where it eventually spread to the United Kingdom and thence subsequently to other Commonwealth countries and the United States The general officer ranks are named by prefixing general as an adjective with field officer ranks although in some countries the highest general officers are titled field marshal marshal or captain general citation needed The other is derived from the French Revolution where generals ranks are named according to the unit they theoretically command citation needed Old European system Edit Marshal field marshal or general field marshalColonel generalGeneral of the infantry cavalry artillery etc Lieutenant generalSergeant major general later called major generalBrigadier or brigadier general The system used either a brigadier general or a colonel general rank i e exclude one of the italicised ranks citation needed In the 17th and 18th centuries it became customary in Prussia and other German states to confer the rank of full general with the addition of the branch of service from which the general emerged and which originally also determined the character of the formations which he commanded e g general of the infantry general of the cavalry and general of the artillery Such rank designations were also introduced in the Imperial Russian Army firstly by the emperor Peter I citation needed The rank of field marshal was used by some countries as the highest rank while in other countries it was used as a divisional or brigade rank Many countries notably pre revolutionary France and eventually much of Latin America actually used two brigade command ranks which is why some countries now use two stars as their brigade general insignia Mexico and Argentina still use two brigade command ranks citation needed In some states particularly in the Commonwealth since the 1920s the equivalent to brigadier general is brigadier which is not always considered by these armies to be a general officer rank although it is always treated as equivalent to the rank of brigadier general for comparative purposes citation needed As a lieutenant outranks a sergeant major confusion often arises because a lieutenant is outranked by a major Originally the serjeant major was exclusively the commander of the infantry junior only to the captain general and lieutenant general The distinction of serjeant major general only applied after serjeant majors were introduced as a rank of field officer Serjeant was eventually dropped from both rank titles creating the modern rank titles Serjeant Major later spelled sergeant major as a senior rank of non commissioned officer was a later creation citation needed The equivalent of the rank of general in the navy was admiral French Revolutionary system Edit For more information see general Marshal or Captain generalArmy generalArmy corps generalDivisional generalBrigade generalArab system Edit The armies of Arab countries use traditional Arabic titles These were formalized in their current system to replace the Turkish system that was formerly in use in the Arab world and the Turco Egyptian ranks in Egypt citation needed Rank Transliteration Translation Notesمشير Mushir Counsellor compare Counsellor of State State Counsellor etc compare etymology mushir with shura فريق أول Fariq awal First general equivalent to Commonwealth full generalفريق Fariq General equivalent to lieutenant general or corps generalلواء liwaʾ Ensign more loosely flag officer or banner عميد ʿamid Colonel not to be confused with aqid the equivalent rank to a Commonwealth colonel compare etymology with ʿamood column etymologically translates as colonel but equivalent to brigadier brigade generalOther variations Edit Other nomenclatures for general officers include the titles and ranks Adjutant general Commandant general Inspector general General in chief General of the Army which is distinct from the title army general General of the Air Force USAF only General of the Armies of the United States of America a title created for General John J Pershing and subsequently granted posthumously to George Washington Generaladmiral general admiral German Navy Air general and aviation general Wing general and group general General potpukovnik transl Lieutenant colonel general a Serb Slovenian Macedonian rank immediately inferior to colonel general and roughly equivalent to Commonwealth US major general Director general a common administrative term sometimes used as an appointment in military services Director general of national defence most senior rank in the Mexican Armed Forces Controller general general officer rank in the French National Police Prefect general the most senior rank of the Argentine Naval Prefecture Master General of the Ordnance very senior British military position Police General most senior rank of the Philippine National Police Commissioner highest rank of the Bureau of Immigration In addition to militarily educated generals there are also generals in medicine and engineering The rank of the most senior chaplain chaplain general is also usually considered to be a general officer rank Specific rank of general Edit General C G E Mannerheim in 1918 during the Finnish Civil War In the old European system a general without prefix or suffix and sometimes referred to informally as a full general is usually the most senior type of general above lieutenant general and directly below field marshal as a four star rank NATO OF 9 Usually it is the most senior peacetime rank with more senior ranks for example field marshal marshal of the air force fleet admiral being used only in wartime or as honorary titles In some armies however the rank of captain general general of the army army general or colonel general occupied or occupies this position Depending on circumstances and the army in question these ranks may be considered to be equivalent to a full general or to a field marshal five star rank NATO OF 10 The rank of general came about as a captain general the captain of an army in general i e the whole army The rank of captain general began appearing around the time of the organisation of professional armies in the 17th century In most countries captain general contracted to just general General ranks by country Edit The following articles deal with the rank of general or its equivalent as it is or was employed in the militaries of those countries General Australia General Bangladesh General Canada Shangjiang China People s Republic of China PRC and Republic of China ROC Taiwan General Denmark General General Estonia Kindral General Finland Kenraali General Germany General Strategos Greece General India Daejang North and South Korea General Mexico General Pakistan General Poland General General Sri Lanka General Sweden General General Switzerland General United Kingdom General United States General Yugoslav People s Army Army generals insignia Edit General عميد Amid Algerian People s National Army General Angolan Army General Australian Army General Austrian Land Forces জ ন র ল General Bangladesh Army Generaal Belgian Army General Royal Bhutan Army Jeneral Royal Brunei Land Forces General General Bulgarian Army General Jenerai Burundi Army General Canadian Army General Colombian Army General Royal Danish Army General Timor Leste Army Kindral Estonian Land Forces General Ethiopian Ground Forces Kenraali Finnish Army General Armed Forces of Gabon General Gambian National Army General German Army General Ghana Army General Army of Guinea Bissau General Guyana Army जनरल General Indian Army Jenderal Indonesian Army Generale Italian Army General Kenya Army General Lesotho Army General Luxembourg Army general General Army of North Macedonia General Malawian Army Jeneral Malaysian Army General Mexican Army General Gyenyeral Mongolian Ground Force General Namibian Army Generaal Royal Netherlands Army General Nigerian Army General Norwegian Army جنرل General Pakistan Army Heneral Philippine Army General Polish Army General Portuguese Army General Romanian Land Forces General Rwandan Defence Forces General General Serbian Army General Sierra Leone Army General Singapore Army General Ground Forces of the Slovak Republic General South African Army General South Sudan Army General Sri Lanka Army General Eswatini Army General Swedish Army General Swiss Land Forces Jenerali Tanzanian Army Orgeneral Turkish Land Forces General Ugandan Land Forces General General Ukrainian Ground Forces General British Army General US Army General Zambian Army General Zimbabwe National Army Air force generals insignia Edit General National Air Force of Angola Generaal Belgian Air Component Jeneral Udara Royal Brunei Air Force General General Bulgarian Air Force General Royal Canadian Air Force General de aire Chilean Air Force General de aire Colombian Air Force General Royal Danish Air Force General del aire Ecuadorian Air Force Kindral Estonian Air Force Kenraali Finnish Air Force გენერალი Generali Georgian Air Force General German Air Force General Guinea Air Force General Kenya Air Force General Malawi Air Force Jeneral Royal Malaysian Air Force General General Mongolian Air Force Generaal Royal Netherlands Air Force General Royal Norwegian Air Force General de fuerza aerea Paraguayan Air Force General del aire Peruvian Air Force Heneral Philippine Air Force General Polish Air Force General Portuguese Air Force General Romanian Air Force General Rwandan Air Force General General Serbian Air Force and Air Defence General Republic of Singapore Air Force General Slovak Air Force General South African Air Force General South Sudan Air Force General del aire Spanish Air Force General Swedish Air Force General Tanzania Air Force Command Orgeneral Turkish Air Force General Ugandan Air Force General General Ukrainian Air Force General US Air Force General Zambian Air Force Naval infantry generals insignia Edit General Colombian Naval Infantry Jenderal Indonesian Marine Corps ޖ ނ ރ ލ General Maldivian Marine Corps Generaal Netherlands Marine Corps General Swedish Amphibious Corps General UK Royal Marines General US Marine Corps Air force and naval equivalents EditSome countries such as the United States use the general officer ranks for both the army and the air force as well as their marine corps other states only use the general officer ranks for the army while in the air force they use air officers as the equivalent of general officers They use the air force rank of air chief marshal as the equivalent of the specific army rank of general This latter group includes the British Royal Air Force and many current and former Commonwealth air forces e g Royal Australian Air Force Indian Air Force Royal New Zealand Air Force Nigerian Air Force Pakistan Air Force etc In most navies flag officers are the equivalent of general officers and the naval rank of admiral is equivalent to the specific army rank of general A noteworthy historical exception was the Cromwellian naval rank general at sea In recent years in the American service there is a tendency to use flag officer and flag rank to refer to generals and admirals of the services collectively See also EditGeneral officers in the United States List of comparative military ranks List of Roman generals General officer commanding General Generalissimo ShōgunNotes Edit In the United States General Officers authorized to display a flag showing their rank are also called flag officers Refer Flag officer Merriam Webster permanent dead link In other usages the term flag officer usually applies to naval ranks such as admiral vice admiral or rear admiral since 1978References Edit general adj and n OED Online March 2021 Oxford University Press https www oed com view Entry 77489 rskey dCKrg4 amp result 1 accessed May 11 2021 External links EditLook up general officer in Wiktionary the free dictionary Generals of World War II Schema root org US Generals News feeds for US Generals in the news Marines mil General Officer Biographies Biographies of US Marine Corps General Officers Bios amp Information on Generals of Western History Information on 10 Generals who influenced Western History Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title General officer amp oldid 1053902883, wikipedia, wiki, book,

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