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Canadian Armed Forces ranks and insignia

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Title: Canadian Armed Forces ranks and insignia  
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Canadian Armed Forces ranks and insignia

This is a table of the ranks and insignia of the Canadian Armed Forces. As the Canadian Armed Forces is officially bilingual, the French language ranks are presented following the English (in italics).

Contents

  • Commander-in-chief 1
  • Flag officer / general officer rank insignia 2
  • Officer rank insignia 3
  • Non-commissioned member rank insignia 4
  • Service stripes 5
  • Distinctive rank names 6
  • Royal Canadian Navy and the executive curl 7
  • Reinstatement of Canadian Army ranks and insignia 8
  • Reinstatement of Royal Canadian Air Force rank and insignia 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12

Commander-in-chief

While command-in-chief remains vested in the Queen of Canada, the governor general (as the Queen's representative), is the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces,[1][2] and in that capacity may wear the appropriate Canadian Armed Forces uniform.[3][4] The sleeve braid is embellished with the Crest of Canada and this same embroidered crest is worn on the shoulder straps.

Commander-in-chief as
Naval officer Army officer Air force officer
Commander-in-chief sleeve and shoulder insignia
Commander-in-chief sleeve and shoulder insignia
Commander-in-chief sleeve and shoulder insignia
Governor General's Badge (Crest of the Arms of Canada)[5]

Flag officer / general officer rank insignia

Navy Army Air force Description
Admiral / amiral General / général General / général
St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, four maple leaves

Army: St. Edward's crown, one star and a crossed sabre and baton


Vice admiral / vice-amiral Lieutenant-general[6] /
lieutenant-général
Lieutenant-general[6] /
lieutenant-général
St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, three maple leaves

Army: St. Edward's crown and a crossed sabre and baton


Rear admiral / contre-amiral Major general / major-général Major general / major-général
St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, two maple leaves

Army: A single Star and a crossed sabre and baton


Commodore Brigadier general /
brigadier-général
Brigadier general /
brigadier-général
St. Edward's crown, crossed sabre and baton, one maple leaf

Army: Crossed sabre and baton

Officer rank insignia

Navy[7] Army[8] Air force[9] Description
Captain /
Capitaine de vaisseau
Colonel Colonel
RCN and RCAF : Four rows of standard braids
(naval with executive curl)
Army: St. Edward's Crown and two Stars
(colonel gorget)

Commander /
Capitaine de frégate
Lieutenant colonel[6] Lieutenant colonel[6]
RCN and RCAF : Three rows standard braids
(naval with executive curl)
Army: St. Edward's crown and one star

Lieutenant-commander[6] /
Capitaine de corvette
Major Major
RCN and RCAF : One row narrow braid between two rows of standard braids
(naval with executive curl)
Army: St. Edward's crown

Lieutenant[6] /
Lieutenant de vaisseau
Captain / Capitaine Captain / Capitaine
Navy :
Two rows standard braid with executive curl
Air Force:
Two rows standard braid
Army:
Three stars

Sub-lieutenant[6] /
Enseigne de vaisseau
de première classe
Lieutenant[6] Lieutenant[6]
Navy :
One row standard braid with executive curl over one row of narrow braid
Army:
Two stars
Air force:
One row of narrow braid over one row standard braid

Acting sub-lieutenant[6] /
Enseigne de vaisseau
de deuxième classe
Second lieutenant[6] /
Sous-lieutenant
Second lieutenant[6] /
Sous-lieutenant
Navy:
One row standard braid with executive curl
Air force:
One row standard braid
Army:
One star

Naval cadet /
Aspirant de marine
Officer cadet /
Élève-officier
Officer cadet /
Élève-officier
Navy and air force:
One row of narrow braid.
Army:
One star in a white ribbon.

Non-commissioned member rank insignia

Navy[10][11] Army[12][13] Air force[14][15] Description
Senior appointments  
Canadian Forces chief warrant officer
(CFCWO)
Canadian Forces chief warrant officer
(CFCWO)
Canadian Forces chief warrant officer
(CFCWO)
The simplified version of the 1957 Coat of Arms of Canada within a wreath of maple leaves.
Chief petty officer of the navy
Command chief warrant officer
Chief warrant officer of the RCAF
A simplified version of the 1957 Coat of Arms of Canada over a wreath of laurel.
Formation chief petty officer
Formation chief warrant officer
Formation chief warrant officer
A simplified version of the 1957 Coat of Arms of Canada over tri-service emblem.
Senior ranks (Rangs supérieurs)  
Chief petty officer 1st class
(CPO 1)
Premier maître de 1re classe
(pm 1)
Chief warrant officer
(CWO)
Adjudant-chef
(adjuc)
Chief warrant officer
(CWO)
Adjudant-chef
(adjuc)
A simplified version of the 1957 Coat of Arms of Canada.
Chief petty officer 2nd class
(CPO 2)
Premier maître de 2e classe
(pm 2)
Master warrant officer
(MWO)
Adjudant-maître
(adjum)
Master warrant officer
(MWO)
Adjudant-maître
(adjum)
St. Edward's crown within a laurel wreath.
Petty officer 1st class
(PO 1)
Maître de 1re classe
(m 1)
Warrant officer
(WO)
Adjudant
(adj)
Warrant officer
(WO)
Adjudant
(adj)
St. Edward's crown.
Petty officer 2nd class
(PO 2)
Maître de 2e classe
(m 2)
Sergeant
(Sgt)
Sergent
(sgt)
Sergeant
(Sgt)
Sergent
(
sgt)
Three-bar chevron surmounted by a maple leaf
Junior ranks (Rangs subalternes)  
Master seaman
(MS)
Matelot-chef
(matc)
Master corporal
(MCpl)
Caporal-chef
(cplc)
Master corporal
(MCpl)
Caporal-chef
(cplc)
Two-bar chevron surmounted by a maple leaf.
Leading seaman
(LS)
Matelot de 1re classe
(mat 1)
Corporal
(Cpl)
Caporal
(cpl)
Corporal
(Cpl)
Caporal
(cpl)
Two-bar chevron.
Able seaman
(AB)
Matelot de 2e classe
(mat 2)
Private
(Pte)
Soldat
(sdt)
Aviator
(Avr)
Aviateur
(avr)
One-bar chevron.

Air force: One propeller.

Ordinary seaman
(OS)
Matelot de 3e classe
(mat 3)
Private (basic)
(Pte)
Soldat (confirmé)
(sdt [c])
Aviator (basic)
(Avr [B])
Aviateur (confirmé)
(avr [c])
No insignia.

Service stripes

From 1955 to 1968 Militia personnel were permitted to wear service insignia on the right jacket sleeve.[16][17] There were one to five silver chevrons on drab backing for every two years of service or a maple leaf in silver thread on a drab cloth circle to represent 10 years of service. Chevron points were worn either up or down; even official documents and photos were confused on the matter. Further awards after 10 years were believed covered by the Canadian Forces Decoration, which was awarded after 12 years and a clasp added for every 10 years afterwards.

Qualifying service could include prior active service in the active reserves of the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force or the regular or territorial forces of a fellow Commonwealth member nation. Service in Canadian Army reserve forces units (like the regular reserve, supplementary reserve and reserve militia) did not count. The awarding of Service Stripes ceased in 1968 after the Canadian military was unified into the Canadian Armed Forces.

Distinctive rank names

Some branches and regiments use distinctive rank names in place of master corporal, corporal and private:

Branch Master corporal Corporal Private
Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Trooper (cavalier)
Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery Master bombardier (bombardier-chef) Bombardier (bombardier) Gunner (artilleur)
Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Sapper (sapeur)
Royal Canadian Corps of Signals Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Signalman (signaleur)
Corps of Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Craftsman (artisan)
Royal Canadian Infantry Corps (RCIC) members of guards regiments Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Guardsman (garde)
RCIC members of rifle regiments Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Rifleman (carabinier)
RCIC members of fusilier regiments Master corporal (caporal-chef) Corporal (caporal) Fusilier (fusilier)

In the guard regiments, warrant officers are known as "colour sergeants" and second lieutenants are known as "ensigns".

LCdr (medical)'s sleeve variant

Except for those who acquired the Canadian Forces mess dress after 1968 to 2010, naval officers have always worn the Royal Navy-style executive curl rank insignia on mess uniforms (see Royal Navy officer rank insignia). The colour designations for specialist officers are not used except for naval medical officers who may use a variant of the standard rank slip-ons and shoulder boards incorporating a scarlet red background between the gold braid of their rank insignia and naval medical service officers (nursing officers, pharmacy officers, health care administration officers, social work officers, physiotherapy officers, and bioscience officers) who have shoulder boards incorporating a dull cherry red background between the strips of their rank.

Royal Canadian Navy and the executive curl

When the Canadian Navy was established in 1910 it was natural to adopt the same straight rings with the executive curl for the permanent navy that was designated as the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in August 1911 and subsequently the “wavy” shaped rings for the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve (RCNVR) and the rings of narrow interwoven gold lace for the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve (RCNR). Other variations in rank insignia included sky blue lace with a diamond shaped loop for officers of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service and warranted sea cadet corps officers who had a small anchor in place of the executive curl.

Following the Second World War, the Royal Canadian Navy was reorganized with a single reserve component. In 1946 the distinctive wavy gold braid of the reserves gave way to the straight braided executive curl of the regular force until 1968. With the integration of the Canadian Forces the sea element was designated as Canadian Forces Maritime Command. Unembellished straight braid became the common rank insignia for officers of both the regular and reserve forces. The executive curl rank insignia has been in continuous use in the Royal Canadian Navy, but from 1968 to 2010 it appeared only on navy mess dress.

On 5 March 2010, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion (moved by Guy Lauzon[18]) recommending the executive curl be reinstated on the Canadian navy uniform. Subsequently, in recognition of the Canadian Naval centennial, Peter MacKay, minister of national defence, authorized the use of the executive curl for the Canadian Navy on 2 May 2010. The insignia became effective on 11 June 2010, on the occasion of the Pacific Canadian Naval International Fleet Review parade of nations in Victoria, B.C.[19][20]

More than 54 countries including Canada and 18 other of the 22 Commonwealth navies use the insignia. Most navies that do not use the executive curl insignia substitute a star or other national device above the top row of lace such as the United States Navy and the French Navy.

Reinstatement of Canadian Army ranks and insignia

The Minister of National Defence Peter McKay, announced on 8 July 2013 their intention to restore the traditional rank names for all Canadian Army non-commissioned members, as well as the reintroduction of Canadian Army officers' rank insignia.[21] Instead of the air force style rank insignia, Canadian Army officers will once again use the traditional "stars and crowns", a system which is more than one hundred years old.[22] The traditional gorget patches are also to be restored for officers of the rank of colonel or higher.[23] The re-introduction of Canadian Army rank insignia is expected to save the Canadian Armed Forces $53,550 per year, but with an initial outlay of $245,000, savings are not expected to be realised until after the first five years.[24] The reasons behind the return to the traditional Canadian Army ranks and insignia were explained by the minister of national defence as strengthening Canadian Army identity as "our officers who accepted the (German) surrender, were wearing Stars and Crowns. This in no way diminishes Canada's identity, and I would suggest we are returning to the insignia that was so much a part of what the Canadian Army accomplished in Canada’s name".[25]

The reinstated insignia for officers, instead of using the current rank insignia for brigadier (used until 1966), had the pre-1920 brigadier-general insignia (crossed sabre and baton) instead.

Reinstatement of Royal Canadian Air Force rank and insignia

In April 2015,[26] the Royal Canadian Air Force adopted new rank insignia reminiscent of the pre-unification RCAF system. The new officer rank insignia uses pearl-grey-on-black rank stripes instead of gold. Non-commissioned members (NCMs) rank insignia is pearl grey instead of gold. The colour gold found elsewhere on the uniform was also changed to pearl-grey. The air force rank of private, formerly indicated by one chevron, became aviator (Fr: aviateur), and is indicated by a horizontally-aligned two-bladed propeller. All other ranks titles remain as they were.[27]

See also

References

  1. ^ Governor General Commander-in-Chief [1]. Retrieved on: 15 September 2015.
  2. ^ Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada [2]. Retrieved on: 15 September 2015.
  3. ^ Wearing the Canadian Forces Uniforms [3]. Retrieved on: 15 September 2015.
  4. ^ Canadian Forces Dress Instructions [4]. 2011-03-01. p. 3-2-1.
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Language Portal of Canada [5]. Retrieved on: 15 September 2015.
  7. ^ National Defence Canada Navy Rank and Appointment Insignia. Retrieved on: 11 February 2015
  8. ^ National Defence Canada Army Rank and Appointment Insignia. Retrieved on: 11 February 2015
  9. ^ National Defence Canada Air Force Rank and Appointment Insignia. Retrieved on: 11 February 2015
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Service Stripes
  17. ^ Grimshaw, Lou. Military Collector's Club of Canada Journal (Spring 1997 issue)
  18. ^
  19. ^ Marotte. B. (May. 03, 2010). "Navy celebrates centennial by restoring historic insignia." The Globe and Mail. Retrieved on: 20 June 2010.
  20. ^ National Defence Canada. Photo of the day archive. Retrieved on: 20 June 2010.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^

External links

  • Canadian Forces ranks and appointment insignia – official site with images of rank insignia for Navy, Army and Air Force.
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