Brigadier General

Brigadier General

Brigadier General is the lowest ranking General Officer in some countries, usually sitting between the ranks of Colonel and Major General.

The rank can be traced back to the militaries of Europe where a brigadier general, or simply a brigadier, would command a brigade in the field. The rank spread throughout the world after being adopted in the 18th century by the United States with simultaneous spreading of the rank by the British Empire.

In the Commonwealth of Nations the equivalent rank is normally Brigadier, while many other countries use the rank of brigade general. A few countries use Major General as the equivalent of Brigadier General, rather than as the rank above. These are countries which then generally use a rank of Colonel General to make four general officer ranks.

The naval equivalent is often Commodore or Rear admiral, but this depends on the rank system of the navy in question.

Brigadier general ranks by country


The rank of brigadier general (with some local variations) is used in the Argentine Air Force. The use of the rank is different from that of other military forces of the world. Unlike other armed forces, the rank of "brigadier general" is actually the "highest" rank in the Argentine Air Force. This is due to the use of the rank of "brigadier" and its derivatives to designate all general officers in the Air Force: brigadier (lowest general officer) brigadier-major (middle) and brigadier-general (highest). The rank of brigadier general is reserved for the Chief of the General Staff of the Air Force, as well as the Chief of the Joint General Staff if he should be an Air Force officer.

The Argentine Army does not use the rank of brigadier-general, instead using the equivalent rank of brigade general (in Spanish "general de brigada").


In the Australian Imperial Force during World War I, the rank of brigadier-general was always temporary and held only while the officer was posted to a particular task, typically the command of a brigade. When posted elsewhere, the rank would be relinquished and the former rank resumed. This policy prevented an accumulation of high-ranking general officers brought about by the relatively high turnover of brigade commanders.

As in the United Kingdom, the rank was later replaced by brigadier.


The rank was known as Brigadier inconformity with the rank structure of the Commonwealth Nations prior to 2001 in the Bangladesh Army. It is the lowest ranking General Officer between the ranks of Colonel and Major General.

The Bangladesh Army introduced the rank of Brigadier General in 2001, however the grade stayed equivalent to "Brigadier" . Brigadier General is equivalent to Commodore of Bangladesh Navy & Air Commodore of Bangladesh Air Force. It is still more popularly called "Brigadier" (One Star General).


The Belgian Army uses the rank of "général de brigade" (French) and "brigadegeneraal" (Dutch). However, in this small military there are no permanent promotions to this rank, and it is only awarded as a temporary promotion to a full colonel who assumes a post requiring the rank, notably in an international context (e.g. as Military Attaché in a major embassy such as Washington, D.C.).


Brigadier General (in Portuguese, "General-de-brigada") is the lowest rank amongst general officers of the Brazilian army. They are casually known as "two stars' general".


In the Canadian Forces, the rank of brigadier-general (BGen) ("brigadier-général" or "bgén" in French) is an Army or Air Force rank equal to a commodore of the Navy. A brigadier-general is the lowest rank of General Officer, the Army and Air Force equivalent of a Naval flag officer. A brigadier-general is senior to a colonel or naval captain, and junior to a major-general or rear admiral.

The rank title "brigadier-general" is still used notwithstanding that brigades in the army are now commanded by colonels. Until the late 1990s brigades were commanded by brigadier-generals. In the air force context, brigadier-generals used to command air force "Groups" until these bodies were abolished in the late 1990s.

The rank insignia for a brigadier-general is a single gold maple leaf beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown, worn on the shoulder straps of the service dress jacket, and on slip-ons on other uniforms. The service dress jacket also features a wide strip of gold braid around the cuff. On the visor of the service cap are two rows of gold oak leaves; the air force wedge cap features gold braid on the edges of the ear flaps. The cap insignia for a general officer is a modified version of the Canadian Forces insignia; the collar insignia (Army generals only) is two crossed sabres. Some brigadier-generals, by nature of holding a branch-specific appointment, may continue to wear the insignia of their personnel branch; for example, the chaplain-general wears the general officer's cap insignia with the collar insignia of the Chaplain Branch, [ [ Canadian Chaplain General] ] while the surgeon-general continues to wear the cap and collar insignia of the Canadian Forces Medical Service. [ [ Canadian Surgeon General] ]

Brigadier-generals are addressed by rank and name; thereafter by subordinates as "Sir" or "Ma'am". They are normally entitled to staff cars.

Note: Before unification in 1968 of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Navy, rank structure and insignia followed the British pattern. In army usage, the term "brigadier" was used to denote what is now known as a brigadier-general while the air force used the term "Air Commodore".


Chinese rank of Da-Xiao (大校) or "Senior Colonel" is a direct equivalent of a brigadier. It ranks above colonel (上校) and below major general (少将). A brigadier is commonly in command of a division(师) or a brigade(旅团). Divisional commanders are seldom general officers.


The equivalent modern German rank is "Brigadegeneral". The concept of a brigadier general rank is relatively new, as prior to 1950 the lowest German general officer rank was "generalmajor", which was often considered equivalent to brigadier general in other armies.



The equivalent rank for Brigadier General in Iranian army and air force is called Sar-Tip. It is above the rank of Sar-Hang (colonel) and below the rank of Sar-Lashkar (major general).

Notice that Iranian Revolutionary Guards also use this rank. The difference is in salutation. One refers an army or air force brigadier general as "Timsar Sar-Tip", while a revolutionary guard general is referred to as "Sardar Sar-Tip".As an unwritten rule which states the highest Iranian military rank to be the rank of a Majorgeneral the Brigadier General is considered to be second highest rank of Iranian military. Which is customly the rank of the commander of Airforce and equvalantly the Navy.


In the Israel Defense Forces, the rank of brigadier general is called Tat Aluf and is the third highest rank, below "Aluf" (major general) and "Rav Aluf" (lieutenant general or general), and above "Aluf Mishne" (colonel).


In the Jordanian military, the rank of Brigadier general is known as "Amid", and it is higher than colonel "maebh t" and lower than Major general "Liwa"


The rank of brigadier general is known in South Korea as "Junjang" and is a direct equivalent to the United States one star rank, with very similar insignia. The military of North Korea does not technically maintain a brigadier general rank, but the first rank of major general ("Sojang") displays one star as its insignia and is the effective equivalent.

Myanmar (Burma)

The rank of brigadier general is known in Myanmar as " Bo Mhu Gyoke" and is often the deputy commander of one of Myanmar's Regional Military Commands (RMC), commander of the light infantry division (LID) or Military Operation Commands (MOC). In civil service, brigadier general often hold the office of deputy minister or director general of certain ministries.


The Pakistan Army has followed the British Army rank system since independence from the British Empire in 1947. However, the crown in the ranks has been replaced with a star and crescent, which symbolizes the sovereignty of the Government of Pakistan.

Brigadier General is equivalent to brigadier in the Pakistan army, commodore in the Pakistan Navy and air commodore in the Pakistan Air Force. Brigadier is also called a one star general. Like other armies, this rank is higher than colonel and lower than major general.


Prior to 2002, the Polish rank of "Generał brygady" was equivalent to both the ranks of major general and brigadier general.


In the Portuguese Army and Air Force, Brigadier-General (Brigadeiro-General) is a temporary general rank for the colonels that have to exercise a special command. It is the equivalent of the commodore rank in the Portuguese Navy.


In the Spanish Army and Spanish Air Force, Brigadier-General (General de Brigada) is the lowest rank of general officers. Its equivalent on the Navy is "Contraalmirante".


In the Turkish Army and the Turkish Air Force, the equivalent rank is "Tuğgeneral" (the Turkish Navy equivalent would be "Tuğamiral"). The name is derived from "tugay", the Turkish word for a brigade. Both tugay and tuğ- as military terms may owe their origins to the older Turkish word "tuğ", meaning horsetail, which was used as a symbol of authority and rank in Ottoman and pre-Ottoman times.

United Kingdom

Brigadier-General was formerly a rank in the British Army and Royal Marines, and briefly in the Royal Air Force.

It first appeared in the army in the reign of James II, [ [ The Brigade: A History, Its Organization and Employment in the US Army] ] but did not exist in the Royal Marines until 1913. [ [ Senior RM Officers - Promotion] , London Gazette]

It was abolished in both the army and the marines in 1922, being replaced in the army by the grade of Colonel Commandant (which already existed in the marines). Colonel Commandant was in turn replaced by the grade of Brigadier in the army in 1928, and at some time between
World War II and 1957 in the marines. [ [ RN Pay Tables] ] [ [ PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF OFFICERS - RN, RM, WRNS, QARNNS AND VAD - April 1956] ]

From its formation on 1 April 1918 until 31 July 1919, the Royal Air Force maintained the rank of brigadier general. It was superseded by the rank of air commodore on the following day.

Brigadier-General was a temporary rank only, bestowed on a colonel or lieutenant-colonel (or on a colonel commandant in the marines) for the duration of a specific command.

The insignia for the rank was a crossed sword and baton on its own; higher grades of general at the time and still consist of this device with the addition of a star, crown or both for a full general.

Brigadier is the highest field officer rank (hence absence of the word "general"), whereas brigadier-general was the lowest general officer rank. However, the two ranks are considered equal.

The equivalent naval rank is commodore and the equivalent Air Force rank is air commodore.

United States

List of notable Brigadier Generals

U.S. Brigadier Generals

* Kit Carson (Brevet US Army)
* William Lee Davidson North Carolina militia general during the American Revolutionary War
* Moses Hazen (Continental Army)
* Susan J. Helms (USAF / NASA)
* Janis Karpinski (USA)
* Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko (Continental Army)
* James McDivitt (USAF / NASA Project Gemini and Project Apollo flights)
* Jonathan Moulton (New Hampshire Militia)
* Franklin Pierce (USA)
* Edmund Rice (USA)
* Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (USA)
* Angela Salinas (USMC)
* William Seawell (USAF)
* John Stark (Continental Army)
* James Stewart (USAF Reserve)
* Joseph Warren Stilwell, Jr (USA)
* Paul Tibbets (USAF)
* Edward Bancroft Williston (USA)
* Chuck Yeager (USAF) [Yeager was promoted to Major General on the retired list in 2005.]
* Richard Dean Anderson USA best known for his role as Macgyver, was given this honorary rank by the airforce for portraying the airforce in a positive light in stargate.

Other Brigadier Generals

* Benedict Arnold (British Army / He held the rank of Major General in the Continental Army before defecting)
* Reginald Dyer (Indian Army)
* ABM Elias (Bangladesh Army: Military Secretary to The President - 1984 to 1989; Defence Attache to Turkey - 1991 to 1993)
* David Fraser (Canadian Forces)
* Charles de Gaulle (President of France)
* Ismet Inönü (Turkish Army) Second President of Turkish Republic
* Avigdor Kahalani (Israeli Defence Force)
* Lee Hsien Loong (Prime Minister of Singapore)
* Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez (Cuban Air Force)
* Julio Ximenes Senior (Brazilian medical officer in World War II)

ee also

* wiktionary definition of .
* Comparative military ranks
* U.S. Army officer rank insignia
* British Army officer rank insignia
* Generał brygady
* Military unit



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