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GENERAL DISCUSSIONS (Rank comparison, translation issues etc)

officers wearing insignia of another countries military...

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officers wearing insignia of another countries military...

Unread postby el taco grande » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:01 am


i know this has been discussed before on the site because i remember reading a topic similar to what i'm asking, but i can't find it.

i was looking through a picture archive site similar to getty images when i came across an image of british pm gordon brown walking with then chief of the defence staff air chief marshal sir jock stirrup...

*by the way*
i don't mean any disrespect with the lack of capitalization, that's the way i type on an internet discussion board. where the all caps is meant as yelling, i always took all lowercase letters as not trying to command attention. if this is a problem, i sincerely apologize, but this is how i communicate on internet discussion boards.
*ok, back to the topic at hand*

...the air chief marshal is wearing the standard british military desert dpm jacket. he's wearing the version with the rank slide on the chest. however, he is wearing the rank slide of a british army lieutenant general. he is also wearing the three stars of a u.s. army lieutenant general (the black stars, not the air force brown stars) on his collar. as a matter of fact, this image has the stars on upside down, since the two prongs of the stars are facing inward. i googled the air chief marshal to see if he was wearing this configuration other times. he is not. apparently he only wore this configuration during the pm's visit to iraq in late 2007. in other pictures he is wearing the appropriate raf badge of rank on his shoulders when he is wearing the british military dpm jacket (the one thick stripe with three thinner stripes, similar to a navy admiral's configuration).

i know, in addition to the four point to point stars he wore on his collar, general norman schwarzkopf wore a rank strap on his right breast pocket with two crossed swords, two stars, and another badge resembling an oval with a peak on it. i can only assume this was a middle eastern badge of rank denoting a general.

i was just curious if:

-this was a foul up on the picture, and that's not really air chief marshal stirrup in the picture and it's some random lieutenant general in the royal army walking with the pm.

-this was a foul up and air chief marshal stirrup was wearing the wrong badge of rank.

-raf badges of rank and royal army badges of rank are interchangeable.

-commanders in a mixed group of soldiers often wear the other badges of rank of the other countries as well as their own.

by the way, the picture in question can be found by entering jock stirrup's name at the site i was talking about, www.jamd.com.

thanks for the long read, and i look forward to reading what you all think.
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Unread postby Medic_in_Uniform » Fri Feb 13, 2009 12:06 am

Some quick thoughts...

1. Senior officers working with other countries forces do seem to have evolved a habit of wearing their counterparts' equivalent insignia - I guess it just makes recognition that much easier, especially when the insignia of different systems are often so very different.

2. That's looks like a SNAFU with the photo caption - I'm afraid I don't recognize the officer in question, but he's clearly not wearing an RAF beret and just as clearly has an Army general officers' beret badge, which would be consistent with his Lieutenant General rank markings. The apparently "upside-down" stars are most likely also a mistake, probably because it never occurred to whoever attached them to the general's uniform to think about which way up the points were!
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Unread postby Caim_Dubh » Sat Feb 21, 2009 6:50 pm

As an example to where else you might see this, on US Army training bases you'll find many foreign officers attending training will wear equivelant US Army rank, i.e. an Ecuadoran Army 1LT pilot trainee wearing Ecuadoran and US Army rank insignia. As mentioned earlier this is just to make it easier for Soldiers stationed on the base to identify the foreign officers as officers, considering many of our troops don't tend to study up on foreign rank insignia like our august body in the forum here.
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Unread postby lordziba » Sun Feb 22, 2009 2:42 am

Kind of stupid to mention [and for some, please note: no, I do not call anybody stupid nor implying that they are stupid!] in a way OPFOR kinda resembles foreign uniform. Which reminds me, are any other armies, besides the US tried to do something akin OPFOR (like USSR before WWII had Blues vs Reds exercises, where blues had quasi-Western markings).

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Unread postby ChrisWI » Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:14 pm

(like USSR before WWII had Blues vs Reds exercises, where blues had quasi-Western markings)

Interesting Ziba, I did not know this.

I believe that in the 1970s and 80s, the British Army had a sort of training center that was mocked up like a Northern Ireland town and it's surrounding area and was populated by civilians and people dressed up like IRA terrorists and instigators.
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Unread postby 60bill » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:55 pm

Chris
Your own lot used to dress up when playing opposing forces at the National Training Centre, using Soviat ranks, for example the 52nd Inf of the 177th Armoured.
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Unread postby Necrothesp » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:37 pm

No, the chap in Army uniform isn't Sir Jock Stirrup. The captions are wrong. In any case, Stirrup, as an air chief marshal, is equivalent to a full general, not a lieutenant-general. British generals serving in Iraq and Afghanistan usually wear US stars on their collars to aid in recognition (presumably because the US star system is so well-recognised).

During the First Gulf War, Schwarzkopf and De la Billičre (and probably other generals too) wore the rank badges of their equivalent ranks in the Saudi Arabian army as a courtesy for recognition.

Incidentally, it's not the Royal Army. The Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, but just the British Army. All sorts of rubbish is spouted about the reason for this (the silliest being that the Army isn't entitled to the prefix because it fought against the King in the English Civil War - so did the Royal Navy!), but the real reason is that the Army isn't a unified service, but a collection of regiments and corps, many of which are entitled to the 'Royal' prefix.
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