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Old 04-28-2009, 06:57 PM
M29since14 M29since14 is offline
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The thread about five-star officers reminded me of an old aggravation. I am always amused at the various experts who pipe up on almost any subject, so here is another chance for you guys.

Tell me about the rank of Commodore? I gather it is never used anymore... ? I also gather it was the equivalent of a BGN.

If a Navy Captain is "roughly the equal" of an Army Colonel, how is it that Navy general officers skip the one-star rank and go on to Rear Admiral (Major General)?

This has always puzzled me and I have never heard a plausible explanation. Anyone care to jump in?
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:57 PM
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The thread about five-star officers reminded me of an old aggravation. I am always amused at the various experts who pipe up on almost any subject, so here is another chance for you guys.

Tell me about the rank of Commodore? I gather it is never used anymore... ? I also gather it was the equivalent of a BGN.

If a Navy Captain is "roughly the equal" of an Army Colonel, how is it that Navy general officers skip the one-star rank and go on to Rear Admiral (Major General)?

This has always puzzled me and I have never heard a plausible explanation. Anyone care to jump in?
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:08 PM
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Yes the rank of Commodore is equivelent to the one star rank of Brigadier. When I was in, the Navy used the rank of Rear Admiral (2 stars) and seperated it into upper half (= to MGN) and lower half (= to BGN). Both grades wore 2 stars. Traditionaly, a Commodore was a division commander (such as a battleship division, destroyer division etc.) Therefore the rank lended itself to a war time setting. Having said that, I don't believe the rank of Commodore was used in WW2.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:10 PM
gunsmith11 gunsmith11 is offline
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Doesn't the Coast Guard still have Commodores
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:11 PM
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Commodore is used in many navies for officers whose position exceeds that of a navy captain, but is less than that of a rear admiral. Sometimes referred to as a 'one star' and was effectively discontinued by the United States around 1899 but revived during WWII, mainly as a title given to a senior captain of a squadron.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:11 PM
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A navy one star is a rear admiral lower half. No skipping allowed. The commodore is used in foreign navies and is somewhere between Capt and Admiral. A navy Capt is exactly equal to an Army Colonel, Both O-6 on the pay scale.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:11 PM
M29since14 M29since14 is offline
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Jim - When you say upper half and lower half, I suppose you are referring the list of dates of commission?
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:13 PM
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The Coast Guard uses the word Commodore in the Auxiliary. Which are volunteer civilians.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:26 PM
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M29since14 - I believe it was used as an actual rank ( for seniority and pay). You went from Captain to Rear Admiral, Lower Half. Then to Rear Admiral, Upper Half. Then to Vice Admiral. The Commanding Officer of the Ship I was on, (USS TARAWA) went from Captain to Rear Admiral, Lower Half. You'll also remember in the John Wayne (God bless him) epic IN HARMS WAY when he is promoted at the dinner party, Admiral Nimitz (Played by Henry Fonda) reads the citation promoting him to Rear Admiral, Lower Half. I'm sure they did this for a reason, but damned if I know why.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:27 PM
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1. A Navy Captain IS the equal of an Army (or Air Force or MC COL-same pay grade.
1. "Commodore" has gone in and out of fashion over the years, it has been both a rank and a position. Congress did not authorize the rank of admiral until 1862, a Commodore was the title given to a captain in command of a squadron-Commodore Perry, e.g.
2. Then as the United States began to take a more active role in world affairs and the US Navy began to "show the flag", questions of protocol made the rank of Commodore seem rather old fashioned and not quite prestigious enough.
It was revived in 1981 as part of Reagan's efforts to restore military prestige and morale after Carter, it was finally abolished in 1985.
(A college friend went in the Marine Corps in 1977, there was an attempt to revive the practice of Marine officers wearing the Sam Browne belt, went by the wayside, alas.)
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:31 PM
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So far, the rank of Rear Admiral info is correct. You have a lower half, 1 star, and an upper half, 2 star.

The title Commodore is still used, but there is not a specific rank of Commodore.

A Commodore is usually a senior Captain that is in charge of a division of destroyers,subs,an Air Wing or other large groups of people who are seperate commands under one division commander. So although the person holds the rank of Captain ( 0-6 ) he is given the honorary title of Commodore.

In WW2 there were fears of a glut of admirals following the war so the rank of commodore was used ( 1 star, O-7). They quit using the rank Commodore in 1947 and by 1953 or so they had either all been promoted to Rear Admiral (2 stars)or retired.

In 1982, because the other services were whining about the Navy Rear admirals being paid for O-7 but wearing O-8 insignia the one stars again appeared, but this time they were officially Commodore Admirals, not senior Captains.

That got really confusing, we had Commodores by title who were in fact senior Captains (O-6) and Commodore Admirals who were O-7's (1 star).

So that lasted a couple of years and we lost the one star again, went back to Rear Admiral lower half and upper half and senior Captains in charge of divisions of destroyers, subs, airplanes, etc were called Commodore once again, although they wear the insignia of a Captain.

And all was right with the world and the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps 1 stars went back to crying in their wheaties.

bob
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:35 PM
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Sounds good to me Bob. I can imagine it would be dishearting to those "other" services.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:44 PM
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Thank you, guys. I am beginning to understand. The answer to the question seems to be dependent on the time period. That does explain a few things.

When I said "roughly equal" to an Army Colonel, I was remembering a friend who retired as a Navy Commander. When I said something like that in casual conversation once, he was quick to point out that I had better not let a Navy Captain hear me saying that! Apparently a Captain who commands a ship takes exception to that kind of langauge.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:55 PM
BLACKHAWKNJ BLACKHAWKNJ is offline
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AFAIK in the Navy the commander of "a ship"-an old Navy vet gave me the definition years ago, I have forgotten it-has the position of "captain" while holding whatever rank he has.
In the 19th Century I think the term "Master" or
"Master of Vessel" was used. Naval ranks developed later than and were standardized later than Army ranks and changed quite a bit-at the Battle of Lake Erie Oliver Hazard Perry
held the rank of Master Commandant.
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Old 04-28-2009, 07:58 PM
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Yes, you could be a Lt. and as long as you are the senior officer on board (actually in command of the ship) you are called Captain. Master was a sailing ship hold over (and may still be used in the Coast Guard). Like a senior petty officer in command of a small craft.
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:16 PM
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Bob R has it exactly correct.

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Old 04-28-2009, 08:17 PM
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Guys, I didn't say that right. I think I should have said, "A Navy Captain who ALSO commands a ship takes exception to that kind of language." I think what the good Commander was trying to tell me is that the Navy boys don't consider themselves equal, pay grade notwithstanding, but maybe I didn't understand him properly.

Anyway, thanks again for the additional info.
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Old 04-29-2009, 05:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by gunsmith11:
Doesn't the Coast Guard still have Commodores
While in the Gulf ('91) we were invited to the promotion of a Coast Guard Captain to Commodore. Right in the middle of the ceremony there was a scud alert-the newly promoted Commodore was way ahead of me in getting into the back end of a Bradley.
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Old 04-29-2009, 08:54 AM
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Old 04-29-2009, 09:16 AM
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Silvercorvette, you beat me to it.
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Old 04-29-2009, 03:02 PM
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In the early 80s the Coast Guard went to the rank of Commodore just as the Navy did for one star admirals. Shortly thereafter the issue was settled by giving lower half rear admirals one star and upper half rear admirals two stars. At that time the Coast Guard did the same thing for their flag officers.
One thing that I did not see mentioned was the "flag status" of a commodore. A commodore did not get his flag as an admniral did, but instead flew a pendant from his flagship indicating the squadron commander (the commodore). That is still the case, a captain of the (usually) biggest combatant ship and who had seciority in rank is designated the squadron CO, or commodore. this can be for as few as 2 ships, or as many as are in the squadron.
However today with the profusion of admirals there are rarely 3 or more ships assigned together that do not have an admiral assigned.
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Old 04-29-2009, 06:56 PM
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More for the hubris already collected...

History
The rank of Commodore derives from the French commandeur, which was one of the highest ranks in orders of knighthood, and in military orders the title of the knight in charge of a commenda (a local part of the order's territorial possessions).

The Royal Netherlands Navy also used the rank of commandeur from the end of the 16th century for a variety of temporary positions, until it became a conventional permanent rank in 1955. The Royal Netherlands Air Force has adopted the English spelling of Commodore for an equivalent rank.

The rank of Commodore was at first a position created as a temporary title to be bestowed upon Captains who commanded squadrons of more than one vessel. In many navies, the rank of Commodore was merely viewed as a Senior Captain position, whereas other naval services bestowed upon the rank of Commodore the prestige of flag officer status - Commodore is the highest rank in the Irish Naval Service, for example, and is held by only one person. In the Royal Navy, the position was introduced to combat the cost of appointing more Admirals - a costly business with a fleet as large as the Royal Navy's at that time.

In 1899 the substantive rank of Commodore was discontinued in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard, but revived during World War II. It was discontinued as a rank in these services during the postwar period, but as an appointment, the title "Commodore" was then used to identify senior U.S. Navy Captains who commanded squadrons of more than one vessel or functional air wings or air groups that were not part of a carrier air wing or air group. Concurrently, until the early 1980s, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard Captains selected for promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral (Lower Half), would wear the same insignia as Rear Admiral (Upper Half), i.e., two stars or sleeve braid of one wide and one narrow gold stripe, even though they were actually only equivalent to one star officers. To correct this inequity, the rank of Commodore as a single star Flag Officer was reinstated by both services in the early 1980s. This immediately caused confusion with those senior U.S. Navy Captains commanding destroyer squadrons, submarine squadrons, functional air wings and air groups, etc., who held the temporary "title" of Commodore. As a result of this confusion, the services soon renamed the new one star rank as Commodore Admiral (CADM) within the first six months following the rank's reintroduction. This was considered an awkward title and the rank was renamed a few months later to its current title of Rear Admiral (Lower Half), or RDML. The "title" of Commodore continues to be used in the U.S. Navy for those senior Captains in command of organizations consisting of groups of ships or submarines organized into squadrons, air wings or air groups of aviation squadrons other than carrier air wings, special warfare (SEAL) groups, and construction battalion (SeaBee) regiments. Although not Flag Officers, modern day Commodores in the U.S. Navy rate a blue and white command pennant that is normally flown at their headquarters facilities ashore or from ships they are aboard.
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Old 04-29-2009, 07:56 PM
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the official USNavy site shows 0-7 Rear Admiral(Lower Half) RDML - one star
They are a Flag Officer and fly such from the ship upon which they embark
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