Air Chief Marshal


Air Chief Marshal

Air Chief Marshal (Air Chf Mshl or ACM) is a senior air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force (RAF). [cite web |url=http://www.raf.mod.uk/structure/commissionedranks.cfm |title=Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force |accessdate= 2007-12-01 |year=2007 |publisher=Royal Air Force] The rank is also used by the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence and it is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. Officers in the rank of Air Chief Marshal typically hold very senior appointments such as the air force or armed forces commander in those nations which have significant military capability. An Air Chief Marshal may be described generically as an "Air Marshal".

eniority

Air Chief Marshal is a 4 star rank and has a NATO ranking code of OF-9. An Air Chief Marshal is equivalent to a "full" Admiral or a "full" General.

The rank of Air Chief Marshal is immediately senior to the rank of Air Marshal but subordinate to Marshal of the Royal Air Force (or other national equivalent - see Marshal of the Air Force). Although no RAF officer has been promoted to Marshal of the Royal Air Force since the British defence cuts of the 1990s, British Air Chief Marshals are not the most senior officers in the RAF as several retired officers continue to retain the RAF's highest rank. Such officers are still to be found on the RAF's active list even though they have for all practical purposes retired. A similar situation also exists in the Indian Air Force as the honorary promotion of Arjan Singh to Marshal of the Indian Air Force in 2002 resulted in Indian Air Chief Marshals no longer being the most senior IAF officers.

Origins

Prior to the adoption of RAF-specific rank titles in 1919, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "Air" inserted before the naval rank title. For example, the rank that later became Air Chief Marshal would have been Air Admiral. The Admiralty objected to any use of their rank titles, including this modified form, and so an alternative proposal was put forward: Air Officer ranks would be based on the term "Ardian", which was derived from a combination of the Gaelic words for "chief" ("ard") and "bird" ("eun"), with the unmodified word "Ardian" being used specifically for the equivalent to full Admiral and General. However, Air Chief Marshal was preferred and was adopted on 1 August 1919. The rank was first used on 1 April 1922.

RAF usage

In the RAF, the rank of Air Chief Marshal is held by the current Chief of the Air Staff and the Commander-in-Chief of Air Command. Additionally, RAF officers serving in British 4 star rotational posts hold the rank.

The rank insignia consists of three narrow light blue bands (each on a slightly wider black band) over a light blue band on a broad black band. This is worn on the both the lower sleeves of the service dress jacket or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual uniform. The command flag for an RAF Air Chief Marshal is defined by the two broad red bands running through the centre of the flag. The vehicle star plate for an RAF Air Chief Marshal depicts four white stars (Air Chief Marshal is equivalent to a four star rank) on an air force blue background.

Other air forces

English-speaking countries

The rank of Air Chief Marshal is also used in the air forces of many countries which have English as an official language and were under British influence around the time their air force was founded. This includes many the air forces of many Commonwealth countries. Officers have served in the rank of Air Chief Marshal in the Indian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Sri Lanka Air Force and the Air Force of Zimbabwe. It is also maintained as a rank in the Bangladesh Air Force, Ghana Air Force, Nigerian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force but not all of these air forces have ever actually used it.

Royal Australian Air Force

In Australia, this rank is only used when the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) is an Air Force Officer. [To date, only three Australians have held this rank: Frederick Scherger, Neville McNamara and Angus Houston.] When this is not the case, the senior ranking Air Force officer is the Chief of Air Force, an Air Marshal.

Royal Canadian Air Force

The Royal Canadian Air Force used this rank until the 1968 unification of the Canadian Forces, when Army-type rank titles after the American pattern were adopted and an Air Chief Marshal became a General. Throughout the history of the Royal Canadian Air Force, only two officers held this rank: Lloyd Samuel Breadner and Frank Robert Miller. In official French Canadian usage, the rank title was "maréchal en chef de l'air".

Use in non-English-speaking countries

The rank of Air Chief Marshal is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. In such situations, it is sometimes the case that the non-English rank might also be translated as "general". Nonetheless, it is commonly found in English translations relating to officers in the following air forces:

*Egyptian Air ForceFact|date=August 2007
*Hellenic Air Force (Greek: "Pterarchos")
*Indonesian Air Force (Indonesian: "Marsekal" - literally just "Marshal")Fact|date=August 2007
*Royal Thai Air Force (Thai: "Phon Akat Ek")

Notable air chief marshals

*Hugh Dowding, commander of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain.
*Lloyd Samuel Breadner, the first Canadian to hold the rank. [ [http://www.junobeach.org/e/3/can-pep-can-breadner-e.htm Biography of L. S. Breadner] ]
*Angus Houston, current Chief of the Australian Defence Force.

ee also

*RAF officer ranks
*Ranks of the RAAF
*Comparative military ranks

References and notes


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