Second lieutenant (called lieutenant in some countries) is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces, comparable to NATO OF-1b rank.


The rank of second lieutenant existed in the military forces of the Australian colonies and Australian Army until 1986.

In the colonial forces, which closely followed the practices of the British military, the rank of second lieutenant began to replace ranks such as Ensign and Cornet from 1871.

New appointments to the rank of second lieutenant ceased in the Regular Army in 1986.[1] Immediately prior to this change, the rank had been effectively reserved for new graduates from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea which closed in 1985. (Graduates of the Australian Defence Force Academy and the Royal Military College, Duntroon are commissioned as lieutenants.)[2][3]

In the rank structure of the Royal Australian Navy the equivalent of second lieutenant is Acting Sub-Lieutenant.

The Royal Australian Air Force, which generally uses the rank system of the British Royal Air Force, maintains the rank of Pilot Officer – the equivalent of second lieutenant.


The Canadian Forces adopted the rank with insignia of a single gold ring around the service dress uniform cuff for both army and air personnel upon unification in 1968 until the late 2000s.[4][5] For a time, naval personnel used this rank but reverted to the Royal Canadian Navy rank of acting sub-lieutenant, though the CF green uniform was retained until the mid-1980s. Currently, the Canadian Army insignia for second lieutenant is a pip and the Royal Canadian Air Force insignia for lieutenant is one thick braid. The equivalent rank for the Royal Canadian Navy is acting sub-lieutenant. Also known as an Ensign in the Foot Guards units. (Canadian Grenadier Guards & Governor General's Foot Guards )


The insignia consists of a metal-colored bar in accordance with the color of the ceremonial uniform buttons and hat's symbol.

For example, for the infantry, gold being the metal of the ceremonial dress' buttons, the symbol on the képi being a golden grenade with two crossed rifles, therefore the Sous-Lieutenant's insignia is a gold-colored bar.

For cavalry or forest rangers (light infantry mobilised from the Water and Forests Corp), ceremonial dress' buttons were silver, as was the hunting horn on the forest commissioned officer's képi, therefore the Sous-Lieutenant's insignia is a silver-colored bar.


The insignia consists of a single silver star (or a star and a bar for reserve officers). Officers holding this rank should be addressed as "Kyrie Anthypolochage" (Κύριε Ανθυπολοχαγέ) by their subordinates, or "Anthypolochage + family name" by their superior officers.


The second lieutenant rank insignia of the Indonesian Army

In Indonesia, "second lieutenant" is known as letnan dua (letda) which is the most junior ranked officer in the Indonesian Military. Cadets who graduate from the Indonesian Military Academy achieve this rank as young officers. Senior non-commissioned officers promoted to becoming commissioned officers go to the officer's candidate school (Sekolah Calon Perwira) in Bandung to achieve the second lieutenant rank. The lieutenant rank has two levels, which are second lieutenant (Letda) and First lieutenant (Lettu). Lieutenants in Indonesia usually command a platoon level of troops and are referred to as "danton" abbreviated from komandan pleton (platoon commander) in Indonesian.


Since 1951 in the Israel Defense Forces (סגן-משנה (סג"מ segen mishne (sagam) has been equivalent to a second lieutenant (NATO OF-1). From 1948 – 1951 the corresponding rank was that of a (סגן) segen, which since 1951 has been equivalent to lieutenant. Segen mishne means "junior lieutenant" and segen literally translates as "assistant". Typically it is the rank of a platoon commander. Note that the IDF uses this rank across all three of its services.

New Zealand

Like many other Commonwealth countries, the rank structures of the New Zealand Defence Force usually follow British traditions. Hence the New Zealand Army maintains a rank of second lieutenant and the Royal New Zealand Air Force has its exact equivalent, Pilot Officer.

However, the Royal New Zealand Navy breaks with British tradition and uses the name ensign for its most junior commissioned officer rank (rather than the usual equivalents, such as acting sub-lieutenant or second lieutenant).


The equivalent rank in Norway (O-1) is "fenrik". This is the first rank, where they are commanding officer. Fenriks are usually former experienced sergeants but to become a fenrik one has to go through officer's training and education. Fenriks fill roles as second in command within a platoon. Fenriks are in some cases executive officers. Most fenriks have finished the War Academy as well, and are fully trained officers. To qualify for the Military Academy, Fenriks are required to do minimum 6 months service in international missions, before or after graduation.


The Pakistan Army follows the British pattern of ranks. A second lieutenant is represented by one metal pip on each shoulder in case of "khaki uniform" and one four quadric[clarification needed] printed star on the chest in case of camouflage combat dress. However a second lieutenant in the Pakistan Army is usually promoted to lieutenant 6 months after commissioning.

United Kingdom & other Commonwealth countries

The rank of second lieutenant (2Lt; colloquially known as a one-pip) was introduced throughout the British Army in 1877 to replace the short-lived rank of sub-lieutenant, although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Fusilier and Rifle regiments. At first the rank bore no distinct insignia. In 1902, a single Bath star (now commonly referred to as a pip) was introduced; the ranks of lieutenant and captain had their number of stars increased by one to (respectively) two and three. The rank is also used by the Royal Marines.

New British Army officers are normally commissioned as second lieutenants at the end of their commissioning course at RMA Sandhurst, and continue with specific training with their units, often with mentoring from senior NCOs. Progression to lieutenant rank usually occurs after about a year. In the British armed forces, second lieutenant is a rank which is not used as a form of address. Instead a second lieutenant named, for example, Smith is addressed and referred to as Mr Smith, with the exception that the alternative titles ensign and cornet are still used verbally in the Foot Guards and the Blues and Royals[6] respectively. As these form six of the seven regiments that comprise the Household Division, the Life Guards are therefore the only Household regiment to which the exception does not apply.

In the Royal Air Force, the comparable rank is pilot officer. The Royal Navy has no exact equivalent rank, and a second lieutenant is senior to a Royal Navy midshipman but junior to a sub-lieutenant.

United States

In the United States, second lieutenant is the normal entry-level rank for most commissioned officers in the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps and is equivalent to the rank of ensign in the Navy and Coast Guard.

In the Army and Marine Corps, a second lieutenant typically leads a platoon-size element (16 to 44 soldiers or Marines). In the army, until December 1917, the rank bore no insignia other than a brown sleeve braid on blouses and an officer's cap device and hat cord. In December 1917, a gold-colored bar similar to the silver-colored bar of a first lieutenant was introduced. In US military slang, the rank is sometimes called "butterbar" in reference to the insignia.[7]

In the Air Force, depending upon the career field, a second lieutenant (2d Lt) may supervise flights (of varying sizes) as a flight leader or deputy flight leader, or may work in a variety of administrative positions at the squadron, group, or wing level. A significant number of Air Force second lieutenants are full-time flight students in training for eventual designation as USAF pilots, combat systems officers or air battle managers.


The following are a selection of second lieutenant rank insignia, attempting to illustrate the range of variation (and similarity) between the insignia. Note that although many air forces use the rank of second lieutenant, in most Commonwealth air forces the equivalent rank of pilot officer is used. Very few navies use the rank "second lieutenant".

Australia Bulgaria Canada Denmark France Georgia Germany Greece India Indonesia Iran Ireland Italy Mexico Pakistan Russia Thailand UK US US (1959–2014)
Army Australian Army OF-1a.svg Rank insignia of Лейтенант of the Bulgarian Army.png Cdn-Army-2Lt(OF-1)-2014.svg Rank insignia of sekondløjtnant of the Royal Danish Army.svg Army-FRA-OF-01b.svg Georgia Army OF-1b.png Leutnant Army-GRE-OF-01b.svg 2nd Lieutenant Indian Army.gif 13-TNI Army-2LT.svg Sotvan 2.png IE-Army-OF1b.png Rank insignia of sottotenete of the Army of Italy (1973).svg Mexico army OF1a.svg OF-1(A) Pakistan Army.svg RAF A F1-2Lt 2010.png RTA OF-1a (Sub Lieutenant).svg British Army OF-1a.svg Army-USA-OF-01b.svg US Army O1.svg
Rank insignia of Лейтенант of the Bulgarian Air forces.png CDN-Air Force-2nd Lieutenant (OF1B)-2015.svg RDAF 2nd Lt.svg French Air Force-sous-lieutenant.svg Georgia Air Force OF-1b.png Leutnant Hellenic Air Force OF-1B.svg Pilot
13-TNI Air Force-2LT.svg 11- ستوان دوم--IRIAF.png Ireland-AirForce-OF-1a.svg IT-Airforce-OF1.png Subteniente FAM.gif Pilot
RAF AF F1-2Lt 2010.png Pilot
US Air Force O1 shoulderboard.svg
French Navy-Rama NG-OF1.svg IN Sublieutenant.png 13-TNI Navy-ENS.svg IT-Navy-OF1-1-s.png British Royal Marines OF-1a.svg US Marine O1 shoulderboard vertical.svg
Forest & Environment Corps Sous-Lieutenant des Eaux et Forêts.png
native designation Leutnant Letnan Dua Leytenant

Note: U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) second lieutenant insignia bars have squared off edges.[8]

See also


  1. ^ http://www.home.netspeed.com.au/heritagehorse/images/rank%20in%20aust%20army%202003%20extract.pdf
  2. ^ "Commissioned Officer Ranks". Australian Army. Retrieved 18 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "General Service Officer". Defence Jobs. Defence Force Recruiting. Retrieved 18 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Navy marks centennial by reinstating 'executive curl' http://www.ctvnews.ca/navy-marks-centennial-by-reinstating-executive-curl-1.508191
  5. ^ Canadian Army goes back to the future with return to British-style ranks and designations https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/07/08/canadian_army_goes_back_to_the_future_with_return_to_britishstyle_ranks_and_designations.html
  6. ^ "The Household Cavalry Command Structure - Forms of Address". householdcavalry.info. Enasec Ltd. Retrieved 18 November 2016. In The Blues And Royals, the most junior Officer rank (equivalent to 2nd Lieutenant) is known as "Cornet". 
  7. ^ Dalzell, Tom (2009). The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English. Taylor & Francis. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-415-37182-7. 
  8. ^ Marine Corps Uniform Regulations MARINE CORPS ORDER P1020.34G W/CH 1-5, CHAPTER 4. INSIGNIA AND REGULATIONS FOR WEAR, Sec. 4005. INSIGNIA OF GRADE, OFFICERS, Para. 2. Description by Grade, h. Captain, i. First Lieutenant, & j. Second Lieutenant (p. 4-25) and Figure 4-11. Officers' Grade Insignia (Shoulder/Collar) (p. 4-21)