Company commander

Company commander

A company commander is the commanding officer of a company, a military unit which typically consists of 100 to 350 soldiers, often organized into three or four smaller units called platoons. (The exact organization of a company varies by country, service, and unit type; some specialized companies such as maintenance units are considerably larger and may number as many as 500 personnel). In some forces, the second-in-command of a company is called the executive officer (XO).

Historically, companies were often formed and financed by individual owners rather than by the state. Sometimes these men were unable to personally exercise leadership and command over the men in their units, and would designate another individual to serve in that capacity



In the Austrian Army, a company commander is called a Kompaniekommandant (abbreviated "KpKdt").


In the German Army, a company commander is referred to as a Kompaniechef or Einheitsführer and is usually a captain, sometimes a lieutenant or major. In many companies of the medical corps (Sanitätsdienst), the Kompaniechef must be a medical officer (Sanitätsoffizier) and has the rank of major, titled as an Oberstabsarzt (staff doctor) or may possibly be a lieutenant colonel Oberfeldarzt (field doctor).

In the artillery and the army's anti-aircraft defense corps the company commander is called a Batteriechef. In the German Air Force and Army Aviation Corps the title is "Staffelkapitän", while in training schools "Inspektionschef".


In the Swiss Army, a company commander is called a Kompaniekommandant (abbreviated Kp Kdt). In practical service, a Kompaniekommandant has the rank of lieutenant until graduating from Führungslehrgang or FLG (Leadership course) 1 and completing Abverdienen (practical service), at which point they are promoted to captain. A Kompaniekommandant who leads a Stabskompanie can be promoted to major.


In the Turkish Army, a company commander is called a Bölük Komutanı (abbreviated "Bl.K."). Usually a company commander is in the rank of Captain.

United Kingdom

In the British Army, Royal Marines and Canadian Army, the term "Company Commander" is also commonly used for the officer (usually a major) formally titled the Officer Commanding (OC) a company.

United States

In the United States Army and Marine Corps, the position of company commander is usually held by a captain with three to six years' of service as an officer. A senior first lieutenant may be selected for company command in lieu of an available captain. As commanding officer, he or she exercises full command and control over the unit and may exercise non-judicial punishment authority over unit personnel. A company command is usually considered a prestigious assignment and important in career progression if an officer hopes to attain higher rank. A typical tour of duty for this assignment is 18 to 24 months in the active duty component and 24 to 36 months in the reserve components. Usually, a company executive officer (a first lieutenant) and a company first sergeant are assigned to assist the company commander and are vital to his or her success in commanding the unit. Some specialized company-sized units, such as aviation companies using the Boeing CH-47 Chinook airframe, are assigned a major as a company commander due to the increased responsibility of such assignments; the platoons which comprise these company are typically commanded by captains rather than lieutenants.

In the United States Coast Guard, a Company Commander is the enlisted person in charge of a recruit company's training during boot camp. They are the Coast Guard's equivalent of a drill instructor. (The United States Navy once used the same term in its recruit training, but that title has been replaced by "Recruit Division Commander".)

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