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AMERICA - MILITARY BRANCH & RANK INSIGNIA

Oak leaves on visors

Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines

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Oak leaves on visors

Unread postby Frank Soon » Thu Feb 23, 2006 12:31 pm

Why do the oak leaves on visors start from commander, not Lt. Cmdr. in the US Navy and USCG? While majors (which I think is the equavallent of Lt. Cmdr) in the Army, the Air Force and the Marine Corps have leaves on their visors.
I guess this is an unique practice only exists in the US?
Thanks.
Frank Soon
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Unread postby J.T. Broderick » Thu Feb 23, 2006 2:33 pm

Why do the oak leaves on visors start from commander, not Lt. Cmdr. in the US Navy and USCG? While majors (which I think is the equavallent of Lt. Cmdr) in the Army, the Air Force and the Marine Corps have leaves on their visors.
I guess this is an unique practice only exists in the US?


The US adopted the visor ornamentation in 1897, and followed the pattern of the British Royal Navy, which had used oak leaves on visors since 1856. The division at the commander/O-5 level goes back to the days of the sailing navy, when officers were divided into captains and commanders, who normally commanded warships, and lieutenants, who normally did not. Lieutenant commander is a senior grade of lieutenant.

In the old days the full dress coats, hats and trousers of the USN and RN had increasing amounts and widths of gold trim, divided in the same way (below commander, commander and captain, and flag officers). The cap visor embroidery is all that is left of these distinctions.

Armies have traditionally divided between company, field and general officers, and the US Air Force follows this pattern as well (though they use silver clouds and lightning bolts known as "farts and darts" rather than leaves). The Royal Air Force, however, uses oak leaves only for the rank of group captain (one row) and above (two rows).

best regards,
Justin
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Unread postby Frank Soon » Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:23 pm

Thank you, Justin.
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