Air commodore

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(Redirected from Honorary air commodore)

Air commodore (Air Cdre or Air Cmde) is a air officer rank used by some air forces, with origins from the Royal Air Force.[1] The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure.

Air commodore is immediately senior to group captain and immediately subordinate to air vice-marshal. It is usually equivalent to a commodore or a brigadier/brigadier general.

The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (until 1980) was "air commandant".

Canada

The rank was used in the Royal Canadian Air Force until the 1968 unification of the Canadian Forces, when army-type rank titles were adopted. Canadian air commodores then became brigadier-generals. In official Canadian French usage, the rank title was commodore de l'air.[2] The position of honorary air commodore still exists in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.[citation needed]

India

United Kingdom

Air Commodore
Command Flag
Shoulder and sleeve insignia
A RAF Air Commodore star plate
Country United Kingdom
Service branch Royal Air Force
AbbreviationAir Cdre / AIRCDRE
RankOne-star
NATO rank codeOF-6
Formation1 August 1919 (1919-08-01)
Next higher rankAir vice-marshal
Next lower rankGroup captain
Equivalent ranks

In the present-day RAF, air commodores typically hold senior appointments within groups, acting directly in support of the air officer commanding. However, during the inter-war period, and in the case of the contemporary No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group, the air officer commanding held or holds air commodore rank. In the Air Training Corps, an appointed air commodore holds ultimate authority over the cadet organisation as the Commandant Air Cadets.

Origins

On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with officers at what is now air commodore holding the rank of brigadier-general. In response to the proposal that the RAF should use its own rank titles, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "air" inserted before the naval rank title. Although the Admiralty objected to this simple modification of their rank titles, it was agreed that the RAF might base many of its officer rank titles on Navy officer ranks with differing pre-modifying terms. It was also suggested that air-officer ranks could be based on the term "ardian", which was derived from a combination of the Gaelic words for "chief" (ard) and "bird" (eun), with the term "fourth ardian" or "flight ardian" being used for the equivalent to brigadier-general and commodore. However, the rank title based on the Navy rank was preferred and air commodore was adopted in August 1919.[3]

RAF insignia, command flag and star plate

The rank insignia is a light-blue band on a broad black band worn on both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual uniform. On the mess uniform, air commodores wear a broad gold ring on both lower sleeves.

The command flag of an air commodore has one narrow red band running through the centre and is rectangular with a cut-away section giving it two tails. It is the only RAF command flag of this shape and it is similar in shape to that of a Royal Navy commodore's broad pennant. The vehicle star plate for an air commodore depicts a single white star (air commodore is equivalent to a one-star rank) on an air force blue background. RAF air commodores are classed as air officers and as such have two rows of gold oak leaves on the peak of their service dress hats.

  • An RAF air commodore's sleeve mess insignia
    An RAF air commodore's sleeve mess insignia
  • An RAF air commodore's sleeve on No. 1 service dress uniform
    An RAF air commodore's sleeve on No. 1 service dress uniform
  • An air commodore's command flag
    An air commodore's command flag

Honorary air commodores, air commodores-in-chief and air commandants

Churchill in his air commodore's uniform at the 1943 Tehran Conference

The reigning monarch may appoint honorary air commodores for RAF flying squadrons and stations. For example, King Charles III is RAF Valley's honorary air commodore and Winston Churchill was 615 Squadron's honorary air commodore.[4] As the title suggests, this is an honorary position bestowed by the reigning monarch and it does not grant the recipient command of a unit or formation. It is designed to strengthen the bond between the military unit and the individual and promote the role of the air force amongst the public.

Serving officers may be granted an equivalent appointment to the honorary rank. In such cases the individual is made an honorary air commandant and they retain their regular rank.[5]

Larger air force organisations or formations may be honoured by having an air commodore-in-chief appointed in their name. These RAF appointments are rare and to date (2020) have been given to just five senior members of the royal family, of whom three were reigning or future monarchs of the United Kingdom. Air commodore-in-chief is not a rank and such an appointment does not convey the rank of air commodore upon the recipient.

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. 2007. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2007.
  2. ^ "The RCAF". www.castlearchdale.net. Archived from the original on 3 June 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  3. ^ Hobart, Malcolm C (2000). Badges and Uniforms of the Royal Air Force. Leo Cooper. p. 26. ISBN 0-85052-739-2.
  4. ^ "Questions Answered: Winston Churchill in uniform and Ralph or Rafe". The Times. 13 September 2008. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  5. ^ "New Royal Air Force honorary appointments". The Official Website of the British Monarchy. 2 October 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  6. ^ "Badges of rank" (PDF). defence.gov.au. Department of Defence (Australia). Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  7. ^ "OFFICER'S RANKS". joinbangladeshairforce.mil.bd. Archived from the original on 19 February 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  8. ^ "Rank Structure". gafonline.mil.gh. Ghana Air Force. 2018. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  9. ^ "For Officers". careerairforce.nic.in. Indian Air Force. Archived from the original on 25 February 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Government Notice" (PDF). Government Gazette of the Republic of Namibia. Vol. 4547. 20 August 2010. pp. 99–102. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  11. ^ Smaldone, Joseph P. (1992). "National Security". In Metz, Helen Chapin (ed.). Nigeria: a country study. Area Handbook (5th ed.). Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. pp. 296–297. LCCN 92009026. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Commissioned Officers". airforce.lk. Sri Lanka Air Force. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  13. ^ "RAF Ranks". raf.mod.uk/. Royal Air Force. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  14. ^ "Rank Chart (Commissioned Officers)". 69.0.195.188. Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Ranks and Badges in the AFZ". afz.gov.zw. Air Force of Zimbabwe. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 29 May 2021.