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Sub-Lieutenant

Sub-Lieutenant

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Sub-lieutenant is a military rank. It is normally a junior officer rank.

In many navies, a sub-lieutenant is a naval commissioned or subordinate officer
Subordinate officer
Subordinate officer is a term used in some armed forces for a grade of officer above a non-commissioned officer but still not actually commissioned, usually still in training...

, ranking below a lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

. In the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 (RN) the rank of sub-lieutenant is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 and of flying officer
Flying Officer
Flying officer is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence...

 in the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF). An RN sub-lieutenant ranks above an Army second lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

 or an RAF pilot officer
Pilot Officer
Pilot officer is the lowest commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. It ranks immediately below flying officer...

.

In some armies, sub-lieutenant is the lowest officer rank. However in Brazil it is the highest non-commissioned rank, and in Spain it is the second highest non-commissioned rank.

The NATO rank code is OF-1 (senior).

History of naval rank


In the British Royal Navy, a passed midshipman
Passed midshipman
A Passed Midshipman, sometimes called as Midshipman, Passed, is an unused and historic term which describes a Midshipman who had passed the Lieutenant exam and was eligible for promotion to Lieutenant as soon as there was a vacancy in that grade....

 awaiting promotion often elected to become a master's mate, normally an experienced petty officer who assisted the sailing master. Though formally the rating did not lead to promotion to lieutenant, master's mates were paid more than any other rating and were the only ratings allowed to command any sort of vessel. A midshipman who became a master's mate got an increase in pay from £1 13s 6p to £3 16s per month, but initially reduced his chances at a commission. Over time, however, service as a master's mate became a normal part of the path to a commission. The situation caused some confusion during the last part of the 18th century, when two parallel roles—master's mates trying to become masters, and former midshipmen working toward a commission—held the same title and responsibilities aboard ship.

By the first years of the 19th century, the prefix "master's" was dropped for passed midshipmen, to distinguish them from master's mates in the navigator's branch. In 1824 two further grades were also introduced, consisting of master's assistants and second-class volunteers. These corresponded to midshipmen and first-class volunteers respectively in the executive line. From this point, passed midshipmen had the rating master's mate, abbreviated as mate, and prospective masters had the rating master's assistant. These changes helped eliminate the confusion caused by the mingling of midshipmen in the navigator's branch.

In 1838 a Royal Commission
Royal Commission
In Commonwealth realms and other monarchies a Royal Commission is a major ad-hoc formal public inquiry into a defined issue. They have been held in various countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia...

, presided over by the Duke of Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

, recommended the institution of the rank of mate as an official step between midshipman and lieutenant. In 1861 mate was abolished in favor of sub-lieutenant.

Acting sub-lieutenant


In 1955, the Royal Navy created the rank of acting
Acting (rank)
An Acting rank, is a military designation allowing an commissioned- or non-commissioned officer to assume a rank—usually higher and usually temporary—with the pay and allowances appropriate to that grade. As such, an officer may be ordered back to the previous grade...

 sub-lieutenant. Unlike their substantive counterparts, acting sub-lieutenants are subordinate officer
Subordinate officer
Subordinate officer is a term used in some armed forces for a grade of officer above a non-commissioned officer but still not actually commissioned, usually still in training...

s, as they hold their ranks by order and not by commission. Upon passing Fleet Board
Fleet Board
Fleet Board is a term in the Royal Navy for the examination cadet officers take which qualifies them to become commissioned officers.After passing the examination, officers who entered as sub-lieutenants have their commissions backdated to the date when they entered the Royal Navy...

, acting sub-lieutenants were confirmed as sub-lieutenants and issued commissions backdated to the date when they were appointed acting sub-lieutenants. The rank of acting sub-lieutenants was abolished in the Royal Navy around 1993, and now exists only in the Royal Naval Reserve
Royal Naval Reserve
The Royal Naval Reserve is the volunteer reserve force of the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. The present Royal Naval Reserve was formed in 1958 by merging the original Royal Naval Reserve and the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve , a reserve of civilian volunteers founded in 1903...

.

Before its abolition, the rank of acting sub-lieutenant in the Royal Navy corresponded with, but was junior to, the ranks of lieutenant (Army) and flying officer (RAF). This can be seen in print versions of STANAG
STANAG
STANAG is the NATO abbreviation for Standardization Agreement, which sets up processes, procedures, terms, and conditions for common military or technical procedures or equipment between the member countries of the alliance. Each NATO state ratifies a STANAG and implements it within their own...

 2116 edition 5 (1992).

In many Commonwealth navies (e.g. Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

) however, the rank of acting sub-lieutenants still exists as a commissioned rank equivalent to Second lieutenant, while the rank of sub-lieutenant is equivalent to that of an army lieutenant. As the term "acting
Acting (rank)
An Acting rank, is a military designation allowing an commissioned- or non-commissioned officer to assume a rank—usually higher and usually temporary—with the pay and allowances appropriate to that grade. As such, an officer may be ordered back to the previous grade...

" is a designation, both acting and substantive ranks should be orally addressed as "sub-lieutenant;" the full designation including "acting" should be used in written documents, however. Indeed, when someone is addressed as "Acting sub-lieutenant" it can be seen as a way of patronizing an individual in a derogatory manner due to the emphasis of their "acting" rank.

The Royal New Zealand Navy
Royal New Zealand Navy
The Royal New Zealand Navy is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

 follows the U.S. precedent in titling its lowest commissioned officer ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

.

In the Royal Thai Army, Army Reserve Force Students
Army Reserve Force Students
Army Reserve Force Students are a military youth organization in Thailand under control of the Royal Thai Army.-History:Prior to World War II the Yuwachon Thahan were established in 1934 by Field Marshal Luang Pibulsonggram...

 who complete grade 5 and their B.D. are promoted to the rank of acting second lieutenant (ว่าที่ ร้อยตรี).

Modern practice


In the modern Royal Navy, those joining as graduates start as Sub-Lieutenants with non-graduates joining as Midshipmen
Midshipman
A midshipman is an officer cadet, or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the Royal Navy, United States Navy, and many Commonwealth navies. Commonwealth countries which use the rank include Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Kenya...

. Sub-lieutenants are confirmed in their rank and receive their commission parchments upon passing out of Britannia Royal Naval College
Britannia Royal Naval College
Britannia Royal Naval College is the initial officer training establishment of the Royal Navy, located on a hill overlooking Dartmouth, Devon, England. While Royal Naval officer training has taken place in the town since 1863, the buildings which are seen today were only finished in 1905, and...

.

The same is true in the Royal Canadian Navy, with all undergoing basic officer training as Naval Cadets, but upon graduation those who joined with a bachelor's degree receive an immediate promotion to Acting sub-lieutenant while those that do not retain their rank as Naval Cadet until such time as they finish more career-related training.

Rank insignia: Armies


In France, a sub-lieutenant (sous-lieutenant) is the junior commissioned officer in the Army or the Air Force. He wears a band in the colour of his corps (e.g. gold for infantry, silver for armoured cavalry, etc.). During the 18th century a rank of sous-lieutenant de vaisseau existed in the French Navy. It was the equivalent of the master's mate rank of the Royal Navy. It is now replaced by the rank of "First Ensign" (enseigne de vaisseau de première classe).

In Argentina, a sub-lieutenant wears a single silver sun on each shoulder.

In Brazil, a sub-lieutenant, the most senior non-commissioned rank, wears a golden lozenge
Lozenge
A lozenge , often referred to as a diamond, is a form of rhombus. The definition of lozenge is not strictly fixed, and it is sometimes used simply as a synonym for rhombus. Most often, though, lozenge refers to a thin rhombus—a rhombus with acute angles of 45°...

.

In Mexico, the sub-lieutenant is the junior officer in the rank scale, wearing a single gold bar.

In Thailand, a sub-lieutenant and Acting sub-lieutenant wears a single star on each shoulder.

Rank insignia: Naval



In the Royal Navy, the Royal Australian Navy
Royal Australian Navy
The Royal Australian Navy is the naval branch of the Australian Defence Force. Following the Federation of Australia in 1901, the ships and resources of the separate colonial navies were integrated into a national force: the Commonwealth Naval Forces...

 and the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

, the insignia of both sub-lieutenants and Acting sub-lieutenants consists of one medium gold braid stripe with curl. The size of this stripe should not be confused with the narrow stripe, colloquially referred to as "spaghetti strap," used on the Royal New Zealand Navy
Royal New Zealand Navy
The Royal New Zealand Navy is the maritime arm of the New Zealand Defence Force...

 rank of ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

 and the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

's naval cadets
Officer Cadet
Officer cadet is a rank held by military and merchant navy cadets during their training to become commissioned officers and merchant navy officers, respectively. The term officer trainee is used interchangeably in some countries...

. The Royal Air Force also followed this example of braiding when developing their rank system (see Flying Officer
Flying Officer
Flying officer is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence...

).

The insignia of sub-lieutenants in most commonwealth countries are identical to the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 and United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 grade of Ensign (although US ranks do not use the executive "curl"), even though its equivalent grade in the USN is actually lieutenant junior grade.

In the Royal Canadian Navy
Royal Canadian Navy
The history of the Royal Canadian Navy goes back to 1910, when the naval force was created as the Naval Service of Canada and renamed a year later by King George V. The Royal Canadian Navy is one of the three environmental commands of the Canadian Forces...

, acting sub-lieutenants display one medium stripe. A sub-lieutenant adds a narrow stripe below the medium stripe to maintain the Elliot's eye on the top. The equivalent Army and Air Force second lieutenant rank, since it does not need to maintain the thicker bar on top, has the narrow stripe above the medium stripe, much like the RCN did before the addition of Elliot's eye.

British Army


The British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 briefly had a rank of sub-lieutenant in the late 19th century, replacing the ranks of ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

 in the infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and cornet
Cornet (military rank)
Cornet was originally the third and lowest grade of commissioned officer in a British cavalry troop, after captain and lieutenant. A cornet is a new and junior officer.- Traditional duties :The cornet carried the troop standard, also known as a "cornet"....

 in the cavalry. After a few years, it was replaced in turn by the rank of second lieutenant
Second Lieutenant
Second lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.- United Kingdom and Commonwealth :The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign , although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal...

.