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This article is about the military rank. For other uses, see Major (disambiguation).
Common Military Ranks</font>
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This table shows the hierarchy of widely recognized military rank titles. Not all variants ranks in between are included. If "broadly" equivalent ranks do not appear alongside each other, they are indicated by matching numerical notation.

Major is a military rank the use of which varies according to country.

Major frequently denotes an officer of mid-level command status (usually immediately superior to the rank of Captain and immediately subordinate to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel).

However in some armies major is essentially a senior sub-officer. This usage derives from "sergeant-major".


[edit] Early History

The rank of Major originated in English as a suffix to certain other military positions, usually to denote a more senior status than others of the same position. The most common usage of the word Major in a rank and the first recorded in English (1643), was in the term "Sergeant-Major", the third-in-command of a regiment. In several European navies, the rank of Major was used in the term "Pilot-Major" to denote the senior deck officer of a vessel in contrast to the Captain (or Captain General) who was typically an Army officer, with little naval knowledge, assigned to command the mission on which a vessel was embarked.

[edit] Officer rank

In most comparative military scales a Major is ranked as a "Level 4" (O-4) officer although some systems (among them the NATO rank codes) list a Major as a Level 3. The naval equivalent to a Major is, in some nations, the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

By the time of the English Civil War, Major had become its own rank and was assigned to mid-level officers on the battlefield and was most often used by those who served as aides to a superior General.

The rank of Major General arose during the 18th century, and was a shortening of the rank Sergeant Major General.

By the 19th century, the rank of Major was being used by nearly every English-speaking military, as well as some others. It quickly developed into a senior staff position and was seen as the first of the "command" or "field" ranks, in contrast to the rank of Captain and below which were viewed as "company ranks".

[edit] Non-commissioned rank

In the french military, a major is the most senior non-commissioned rank. This rank can only be awarded by senior NCO (adjudants-chefs), after a very selective exam. Officialy it is not a non-commissioned rank, but an intermediate rank between non-comissioned and commissioned.

In the United States Military, a major is 0-4, a mid level ranking between a captain (0-3) and a (0-5).

[edit] Use as a suffix

The rank of Major may still be found in its original form as a suffix (with or without a hyphen), to denote an officer more senior to the base rank. Examples as the ranks of Adjutant-Major, and Colonel-Major. It is also still commonly used in the rank of Sergeant Major, and is also used in ceremonial appointments such as Drum-Major and Pipe-Major.

In Argentina, the armed forces all use the rank of sub-officer-major as the highest non-commissioned rank. The army and air force also use the officer rank of major. The army has a rank of colonel-major, but this is essentially an automatic promotion for long-serving colonels rather than a functional rank in its own right. The Argentine National Gendarmerie uses the rank of commandant-major, which is roughly equivalent to a colonel or chief superintendant in the commonwealth.

It is similarly still used as a prefix for the General officer rank of Major-General, which is similarly used in many other languages (e.g. Generaal-Majoor in Dutch).

[edit] Links to Major ranks by country

[edit] Links to ranks equivalent to Major by country

[edit] See also

[edit] Sources and references

da:Major de:Major et:Major el:Ταγματάρχης es:Mayor eo:Majoro fr:Major id:Mayor nl:Majoor ja:少佐 no:Major pl:Major ru:Майор sl:Major sr:Мајор fi:Majuri sv:Major zh:少校


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