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A general officer is an officer of high rank in the army, and in some nations' air forces or marines.[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 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 for senior ranks. It has a NATO code of OF-9 and is the highest rank currently in use in a number of armies.

Contents

1 General officer
General officer
ranks

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 3 General ranks by country

3.1 Army
Army
generals' insignia 3.2 Air force
Air force
generals' insignia 3.3 Naval infantry generals' insignia 3.4 Generals' insignia of disbanded armies

4 Air force
Air force
and naval equivalents 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

General officer
General officer
ranks[edit] 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
Middle East
and North Africa
North Africa
but is not used elsewhere in the world. Variations of one form, the old European system, were once used throughout Europe. It is used in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(although it did not originate there), from which it eventually spread to the Commonwealth and the United States
United States
of America. 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. The other is derived from the French Revolution, where generals' ranks are named according to the unit they (theoretically) command. Old European system[edit]

Field marshal
Field marshal
or general field marshal

Colonel
Colonel
general

General or captain general

Lieutenant
Lieutenant
general

Sergeant major
Sergeant major
general or major general

Brigadier
Brigadier
or brigadier general

The system used either a brigadier general or a colonel general rank (i.e. exclude one of the italicised ranks). 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. In some nations (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. 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. French (Revolutionary) system[edit] For more information, see général.

Marshal

Army
Army
general

Corps general

Divisional general

Brigade general

Arab 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.

Rank

Translation Notes

مشير mushīr

Counsellor compare Counsellor of State, State Counsellor etc. compare etymology "mushir" with "shura"

فريق أول farīq awwal

First general equivalent to Commonwealth "full" general

فريق farīq

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[edit] Other nomenclatures for general officers include the titles and ranks:

Adjutant general Commandant-general Inspector general General-in-chief General of the Army
Army
(which is distinct from the title army general) General of the Air Force
General of the Air Force
(USAF only) General of the Armies
General of the Armies
of the United States
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 (Chilean Air Force; roughly equivalent to air chief marshal and air vice-marshal) Wing general and group general (Mexican Air Force; roughly equivalent to air commodore and acting air commodore) General-potpukovnik ("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
Master-General of the Ordnance
– very senior British military position. Police Director General (most senior rank of the Philippine National Police). Commissioner (highest rank of the Bureau of Immigration) Admiral
Admiral
(highest rank of the Philippine Coast Guard
Philippine Coast Guard
& Philippine Navy)

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] 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
Lieutenant general
and directly below Field Marshal
Marshal
as a four-star rank (OF-9). Usually it is the most senior peacetime rank, with more senior ranks (for example, Field Marshal, 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. 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 (Canada) Shang Jiang (China) – People's Republic of China (PRC) and Republic of China (ROC/Taiwan) Kindral (Estonia) Général
Général
(France) General (Germany)

SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer
SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer
(Nazi Germany, SS four-star rank, equal to a Wehrmacht
Wehrmacht
Generaloberst) Generaloberst
Generaloberst
der Ordnungspolizei
Ordnungspolizei
(Nazi Germany, police four-star rank) Armeegeneral (East Germany, four-star rank)

Στρατηγός (Strategos) (Greece) Aluf (אלוף‎, Israel) Generale (Italy) Rikugun-Taishō (IJA), Rikushō and Kūshō (JSDF, four-star rank) (Japan) Daejang
Daejang
(North Korea and South Korea) General (Mexico) Heneral (Philippines) Generał
Generał
(Poland) General of the army (Russian: генерал армии), Russia since 1992

General (генерал) - Imperial Russian Army
Army
until 1917 General of the army (генерал армии), Soviet Union until 1992

General (Sri Lanka) General (Sweden) General (Switzerland) General (United Kingdom) General (United States) Đại tướng (Vietnam) General (Yugoslav People's Army) General (Zimbabwe)

Army
Army
generals' insignia[edit]

Setar Jenral (Afghan National Army)

Teniente General (Argentine Army)

General (Australian Army)

General (Bangladesh Army)

General de Exército (Brazilian Army)

General (Canadian Army)

General de Ejército (Chilean Army)

Shang Jiang (Republic of China Army)

Shang Jiang (People's Liberation Army)

General (Colombian Army)

General de Ejército (Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces)

Armádní Generál ( Army
Army
of the Czech Republic)

General (Royal Danish Army)

General (Land Forces of DR Congo)

General de Ejercito (Ecuadorian Army)

Kindral (Estonian Land Forces)

Kenraali (Finnish Army)

Général (French Army)

General (Armed Forces of Gabon)

არმიის გენერალი (Georgian Armed Forces)

General (German Army)

General (Guyana Defence Force)

Strategos (Hellenic Army)

General (Indian Army)

Jenderal (Indonesian Army)

Arteshbod, ارتشبد‎ (Iranian Army)

Generale (Italian Army)

Rikushō[2] (Japan Ground Self-Defense Force)

Taejang (대장) (Korean People's Army)

Daejang
Daejang
(대장) (Republic of Korea Army)

генерал ( Army
Army
of the Republic of Macedonia)

Jeneral (Malaysian Army)

General (Mexican Army)

Général (Moroccan Army)

General (Namibian Army)

Generaal (Royal Netherlands Army)

General (Norwegian Army)

General (Pakistan Army)

Heneral (Philippine Army)

Generał (Polish Army)

General (Portuguese Army)

General (Romanian Land Forces)

General (Russian Ground Forces)

General (Rwandan Defence Forces)

Генерал (Serbian Army)

General (South African Army)

General de Ejército (Spanish Army)

General (Sri Lanka Army)

General (Swedish Army)

General (Swiss Land Forces)

عماد أول (Syrian Arab Army)

พลเอก – Phon Ek (Royal Thai Army)

Orgeneral (Turkish Land Forces)

Orgeneral (Chief of Staff) (Turkish Land Forces)

Colonel
Colonel
General (Ukrainian Ground Forces)

General (UK (British) Army)

General (US Army)

Armiya Generali (Uzbekistan Ground Forces)

Đại tướng (People's Army
Army
of Vietnam)

farīq awwal (Yemeni Army)

General (Zimbabwe National Army)

Air force
Air force
generals' insignia[edit]

Général
Général
/ Generaal (Belgian Air Component)

Tenente Brigadeiro (Brazilian Air Force)

General (Royal Canadian Air Force)

General de Aire Chilean Air Force

General (Colombian Air Force)

General (Royal Danish Air Force)

Kindral (Õhuvägi – Estonian Air Force)

Général
Général
d´armée aérienne French Air Force

არმიის გენერალი (Georgian Air Force)

General (German Air Force)

Aluf (אלוף‎) (Israeli Air Force)

Generale (Italian Air Force)

Kūshō[3] (Japan Air Self-Defense Force)

Taejang (대장) (Korean People's Army
Army
Air Force (North Korea))

Daejang
Daejang
(대장) ( Republic of Korea Air Force
Republic of Korea Air Force
(South Korea))

General (Mexican Air Force)

Général (Royal Moroccan Air Force)

Generaal (Royal Netherlands Air Force)

General Royal Norwegian Air Force

Heneral (Philippine Air Force

Generał (Polish Air Force)

General (Portuguese Air Force)

General (Romanian Air Force)

General (Russian Air Force)

Генерал (Serbian Air Force)

General (South African Air Force)

General del Aire (Spanish Air Force)

General (Swedish Air Force)

Orgeneral (Turkish Air Force)

Air Chief Marshal (UK Royal Air Force)

General (US Air Force)

Naval infantry generals' insignia[edit]

General (Swedish Amphibious Corps)

General (UK Royal Marines)

General (US Marine Corps)

Jenderal (Indonesian Marine Corps)

Generals' insignia of disbanded armies[edit]

Generaloberst
Generaloberst
(Heer)

SS-Oberst-Gruppenführer

Armeegeneral (National People's Army
Army
(GDR))

General (Manchukuo Imperial Army)

Heneral General (Philippine Revolutionary Army)

Army
Army
general ( Army
Army
of the Soviet Union)

Đại Tướng, 1954–1967 ( Army
Army
of the Republic of Vietnam)

Đại Tướng, 1967–1975 ( Army
Army
of the Republic of Vietnam)

Air force
Air force
and naval equivalents[edit] 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 nations 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
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[edit]

General officers in the United States List of comparative military ranks List of Roman generals General officer
General officer
commanding Général Generalissimo Shōgun

References[edit]

^ In the United States, general officers authorized to display a flag showing their rank are also called "flag officers". Refer: "Flag officer – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster ..." [permanent dead link]. In other nations the term "flag officer" usually applies to admirals. ^ Chief of Joint Staff Japan Self-Defense Forces
Japan Self-Defense Forces
and Chief of Staff Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. ^ Chief of Joint Staff Japan Self-Defense Forces
Japan Self-Defense Forces
and Chief of Staff Japan Air Self-Defense Force.

External links[edit]

Look 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 & Information on Generals of Western History Information on 10 Generals who influenced Western History

v t e

Military ranks and insignia by country

List of comparative military ranks

Africa

Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad Comoros DR Congo Republic of the Congo Djibouti Egypt

Army Navy Air Force

Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Ivory Coast Kenya Lesotho Liberia Libya Madagascar Malawi Mali Mauritania Morocco Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Rwanda São Tomé and Príncipe Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Somalia South Africa South Sudan Sudan Swaziland Tanzania Togo Tunisia Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe

Former

Biafra Bophuthatswana Ciskei Kingdom of Egypt Ethiopian Empire Rhodesia South West Africa Transkei Venda Zaire

Comparative

Army

Officers Enlisted

Air force

Officers Enlisted

Navy

Officers Enlisted

Apartheid States in Southern Africa

Americas

Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Bahamas Barbados Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Chile

Army Air Force Navy

Colombia Cuba Dominican Republic Ecuador El Salvador Guatemala Guyana Haiti Honduras Jamaica Mexico

Army Navy

Nicaragua Paraguay Peru Saint Kitts and Nevis Suriname Trinidad and Tobago United States

Officers:

Army Navy Air Force Coast Guard

Enlisted:

Army Navy Air Force Coast Guard

Other:

Marine Corps Warrant officer

Uruguay Venezuela

Former

United States
United States
Army
Army
enlisted

World War I World War II

Comparative

Army

Officers Enlisted

Air force

Officers Enlisted

Navy

Officers Enlisted

Asia

Afghanistan Armenia Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh

Army Navy Air Force

Bhutan Brunei Cambodia PR of China

Army Navy Air Force

Republic of China(Taiwan)

Army Navy Air Force

East Timor India

Army Air Force Navy

Indonesia Iran Iraq Israel Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Korea(North & South) Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Laos Lebanon Malaysia Maldives Mongolia Myanmar

Army Navy Air Force

Nepal Oman Pakistan

Army Air Force Navy

Philippines Qatar Saudi Arabia Singapore Sri Lanka

Army Navy Air Force

Syria Tajikistan Thailand Turkmenistan United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Vietnam Yemen

Former

Democratic Kampuchea Imperial Iran Imperial Japan

Army Navy

Mengjiang Manchukuo South Vietnam

Comparative

Army

Officers Enlisted

Air force

Officers Enlisted

Navy

Officers Enlisted

Europe

Albania Austria Belarus Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark

Army Navy Air Force

Estonia Finland France

Army Navy Gendarmerie Air Force Foresters

Germany

Rank information Rank insignia

Georgia Greece Hungary Iceland

Land Forces Coast Guard

Ireland Italy

Army Navy Air Force Carabinieri Finance Guard

Kosovo Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Macedonia Malta Moldova Monaco Montenegro Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia

Army Navy Air Force Between 1994 and 2010

San Marino Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey Ukraine United Kingdom

Army
Army
officers Army
Army
other ranks Navy
Navy
officers Navy
Navy
ratings Air Force officers Air Force other ranks

Vatican

Former

Austria–Hungary

Army Navy

Independent State of Croatia Czechoslovakia German Empire Nazi Germany

Army Navy Air Force People's Militia SA SS Nazi Party

East Germany Kingdom of Greece

Army Navy Air Force

Kingdom of Hungary Hungarian People's Republic Kingdom of Italy

Blackshirts

Ottoman Empire Russian Empire Soviet Union

1918–35 1935–40 1940–43 1943–55 1955–91

Kingdom of Yugoslavia SFR Yugoslavia FR Yugoslavia

Comparative

Army

Officers Enlisted

Air force

Officers Enlisted

Navy

Officers Enlisted

Oceania

Australia Fiji New Zealand Papua New Guinea Tonga Vanuatu

Comparative

Army

Officers Enlisted

Air force

Officers Enlisted

Navy

Officers Enlisted

Post-Soviet states

Army

Officers Enlisted

Air force

Officers Enlisted

Navy

Officers Enlisted

Commonwealth of Nations

Army

Officers Enlisted

Air force

Officers Enlisted

Navy

Officers Enlisted

NATO

Army

Officers Enlisted

Air Force

Officers Enlisted

Navy

Officers Enlisted

Comparative officer ranks of

World War I World War II

v t e

Star officer grades

General officer Flag officer Air officer

By star ranks

Six-star rank
Six-star rank
(proposed) Five-star rank Four-star rank Three-star rank Two-star rank One-star rank

By titles

Generalissimo Generalissimus of the Soviet Union Supreme Allied Commander Admiral
Admiral
of the Navy General of the Armies Generalfeldmarschall Field marshal Mareşal Marshal
Marshal
of the air force Marshal
Marshal
of the Russian Federation Marshal
Marshal
of the Soviet Union Mushir Caudillo Magister militum Spahbed Ispahsalar Beylerbey Constable of France Grand Domestic Dux bellorum Grand marshal Hetman Jenderal besar Reichsmarschall Sardar Serasker Strategos
Strategos
autokrator First marshal of the empire Dai-gensui Taewonsu Voivoda Wonsu Yuan Shuai Da yuan shuai Marshal
Marshal
of Yugoslavia

v t e

Highest military ranks

General officer Flag officer Air officer

Imperator Marshal
Marshal
of Italy Generalissimo Generalissimus of the Soviet Union Supreme Allied Commander Admiral
Admiral
of the Navy General of the Armies General of the Air Force Generalfeldmarschall Mareşal Marshal
Marshal
of the air force Marshal
Marshal
of the Soviet Union Marshal
Marshal
of the Russian Federation Mushir Magister militum Spahbed Ispahsalar Beylerbey Bojni Vojvoda Chom Thap Thai Constable of France Domestic of the Schools Grand Domestic Shōgun Dux bellorum Grand marshal Hetman Jenderal besar Polemarch Reichsmarschall Federal General of Switzerland Sardar Serasker Autokrator First marshal of the empire Da yuan shuai Dai-gensui Taewonsu Yuan shuai Wonsu Marshal
Marshal
of Yugoslavia

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