Lieut or Capt which is higher

+2 votes

Looking at merge for these profiles but what rank is higher please? Is it different in different countries, or is there a standard? Thanks

asked in Genealogy Help by Marion Poole G2G6 Pilot (181k points)

4 Answers

+2 votes
Best answer
A US. Army 2nd Lieutenant can upgrade to 1st Lieutenant, the next upgrade would be to Captain.

Wikipedia has an article on Comparative military ranks in English. They compare Navies to Armies to Air forces. They also have information on many countries that pertain to military ranks. You can check them out on this.
answered by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
selected by Marion Poole
+5 votes
Captain would be the higher rank
answered by Fred Adamson G2G6 Mach 8 (85.2k points)
Thanks Fred, for quick response.
+3 votes
Captain is the higher rank wherever I have come across it. It doesn't match up across services. A Naval Captain would have more people under him than an Army one.

answered by Tim Partridge G2G6 Mach 2 (24.4k points)
In the USA, a naval Captain is equivalent in rank to a full Colonel in other branches. The commander of a vessel is called Captain regardless of his or her rank, for additional confusion.  Within a branch, captains always outrank lieutenants.
+5 votes
In the United States Navy, A Lieutenant is an O-3, a Captain is an O-6

in other services Lieutenant is an O-2, a Captain an O-3

In both systems, a Captain out ranks a Lieutenant, and a Navy Captain out ranks an Army/Air Force/Marine Captain,  and in the case of the Navy, any commissioned officer can be the commanding officer of a ship, addressed as "Captain."

Are we confused yet?

answered by Roy Lamberton G2G6 Mach 1 (12.9k points)
I'd like to make sure I'm as confused as possible: if I'm comparing a Lieutenant in the US Navy to a Captain in the US Marine Corps, should I conclude that their ranks are equal because they're both at pay grade O-3?
you are correct - and if you are a Navy Enlisted, you only need to salute the Marine Captain (or Navy Lieutenant) once a day, but you always salute the Navy Captain.

Its a little known part of Navy traditions, altho I always saluted officers any time I passed them.

Military members all can salute other military members, but it is required with any officer senior to you.

In any case, you would put the most senior rank on the Profile - but in the Profile, you should note in which service the person served to avoid confusion. Anyone, military or civilian, who commanded or was in charge of a ship would be listed as "Captain"
It is easier when you look at them side by side (starting from lowest US officer rank to highest):

Army                             Navy

Second Lieutenant   =  Ensign
First LIeutenant         =  Lieutenant Junior Grade
Captain                    =  Lieutenant
Major                        =   Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Colonel   =  Commander
Colonel                     =   Captain
General                     =   Admiral

Note: there are 5 levels of General and 5 levels of Admiral

But in the military, you retire at your highest rank.

To go back to the original question, the Profile would list the person's highest military rank, and use his service's designator for that rank.

BTW, Major/Lt. Commander are considered "Field Grade" ranks, whatever that means.IN the navy there are also "telephone" ranks, when you talk with a Lt. Commander, you call him "commander" - the Army will call a Lt. Colonel, Colonel, even tho he is NOT a "bird" Colonel.

Are we really confused yet, folks?
Yup Roy, and additionally, a Lieutenant of any rank is called "Lieutenant."

"Field Grade" are the mid-range officers in the Army (Junior, Field, Senior, General)

From the Wikipedia page:

Today, a field officer in the United States (here called field grade) Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force is typically a major, lieutenant colonel, or a colonel:

The [U.S.] officer corps is divided into 10 Commissioned Officer pay grades (O-1 through O-10) and 5 Warrant Officer pay grades (WO1 through CW5):

Officers in pay grades O-1 through O-3 are considered junior, or company grade, officers in the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force. These pay grades correspond to the ranks of: second lieutenant (O-1), first lieutenant (O-2), captain (O-3) as well as Warrant Officer 1 (WO1) and Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2).

Commissioned Officers in the next three pay grades (O-4 through O-6) are considered field grade officers in the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force. These pay grades correspond to the ranks of: major (O-4), lieutenant colonel (O-5), colonel (O-6). The divisions of company grade and field grade are not used by the Navy or Coast Guard. In those services the divisions are junior officers and senior officers.

In the Navy or Coast Guard, officers in pay grades O-1 through O-4 or are considered junior officers: ensign, lieutenant junior grade, lieutenant and lieutenant commander.

In the Navy or Coast Guard, officers in the following pay grades (O-5 and O-6) are considered senior officers: commander and captain.

The highest four pay grades are reserved for general officers in the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, and flag officers in the Navy and Coast Guard. The ranks associated with each pay grade are as follows: in the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, brigadier general (O-7), major general (O-8), lieutenant general (O-9), and general (O-10); in the Navy and Coast Guard, rear admiral-lower half, rear admiral-upper half, vice admiral, and admiral.[2][3]
As a retired Senior Chief Petty Officer, I knew all that....

From time to time the Navy will refer to a Lt. Commander as having reached "field grade" - which suggest that, in a pinch, they could be in command of a unit larger than a company. In the Philippines in WW II, Sailors who were assigned to shore duty were put into Naval Battalions and fought in the field around Bataan.

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