Commodore

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A commodore is a title given to senior captains in some naval organizations, while it is the lowest flag rank in others.

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Historical Context

This title came from Holland. In the Dutch Wars of 1652, there were not sufficient admirals and the Dutch desired to create others without calling them Admirals. There title was brought to England by William III. The broad command pennant or burgee was used by the Dutch at the same time. The rank was officially recognized by the British in 1806. The American Navy used the rank as an honorary title in the Revolution - "Commodore" John Paul Jones; "Commodore" Esek Hopkins, appointed as "commander in chief". Until 1861, all captains in the US Navy, commanding or having commanded squadrons, were recognized as commodores, though never commissioned as such. They wore a broad pennant distinctive of that rank. In 1862, it was established as a fixed rank, as in July of that year, eighteen were commisioned on the active list and seventeen on the retired list. The grade was abolished in 1899. During World War II, the temporary grade of commodore was given to some officers both of the line and of the staff corps. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made the original suggestion that the old title be revived. A captain in the US Navy who commands a flotilla or squadron of destroyers is called a 'commodore' by courtesy. The British Admiralty continued to make appointments of a small number of commodores. The broad stripe of rank is worn by those appointed.

Commodore was established as a temporary rank in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was discontinued in 1945, its previous incumbents having all been advanced to Rear Admiral. Nearly forty years later, it was reinstated as an official rank with a pay grade of O-7, replacing the previously titled Rear Admiral (lower half), which were U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard flag officers paid at the 1-star rank of an O-7, but who wore the 2-star rank insignia of an O-8. In 1982, following years of objections and complaints by the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps, the rank of Commodore was again rescinded in the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. Later that year, the O-7 paygrade in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard was again redesignated as Rear Admiral (lower half), but with the single star for collar insignia and applicable shoulder insignia (i.e., flight suits, jackets, etc.), single silver star on top of solid gold background shoulder board insignia, and a single broad gold sleeve stripe insignia for dress blue uniforms.

Following continued dissatisfaction by U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Air Force officers with the U.S. Navy's and the U.S. Coast Guard's policy of honoring its rear admirals (lower half), who received the pay grade of O-7 with the rank insignia of two-star admirals O-8, the one-star officer's rank and insignia for Navy and Coast Guard officers was re-established once again in 1982, with the initial title of Commodore Admiral.

In 1983, following numerous protests by seagoing officers to the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Coast Guard stating that this new title was both unwieldy and confusing, the rank of "commodore admiral" was simplified to "commodore".

However, the title (not the rank) of "Commodore" had also been in use by the U.S. Navy since at least the 1950s as a "position title" for senior naval captains who commanded Destroyer Squadrons, Submarine Squadrons, Amphibious Squadrons, Patrol Boat Flotillas, Patrol Hydrofoil Missile Ship Squadrons, Special Warfare Groups, Air Groups and Air Wings (other than those officers commanding Carrier Air Groups/Carrier Air Wings, who were historically known and referred to as "CAG"s), Construction Regiments and other large sea-going commands consisting of multiple ships, submarines, aviation squadrons, etc. In contrast, the U.S. Coast Guard had never previously used the title.

Later in 1983, to prevent further confusion between the title of Commodore and the actual rank, the one star U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard admiral rank was changed back to its original O-7 pay grade title of Rear Admiral (Lower Half). From that point on, Commodore has remained a title for U.S. Navy Captains in command of more than a single unit (other than Captains commanding Carrier Air Wings, who retained their traditional title of "CAG") and all U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard one star admirals were subsequently referred to as Rear Admiral (Lower Half).

From 1983 to 2007, in the Navy and Coast Guard all Rear Admirals (Lower Half) and (Upper Half), O-7 and O-8 respectively, used the same acronym "RADM" in written correspondence, and as an abbreviated title. Because this still created confusion, in and out of the sea services, the abbreviation for Rear Admiral (Lower Half) was adjusted to "RDML" by the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Coast Guard in July 2007.

Starfleet Usage

In Starfleet, commodores are as brevet rank for officers who are candidates for promotion into the admiralty. Commodores are not entitled to a bump in paygrade and share O-6 with Captain. Each Branch Admiral must serve at least six to twelve months as a commodore, but are entitled to all privileges due to flag officers. The abbreviation for a commodore in messaging is CDRE.

Starfleet used the following rank insignia to denote this rank of officer:

Period 2410-Present 2373-2410 2368-2373 2365-2373 2352-2365 2280-2352 2270-2280 2255-2270
Naval Insignia
(O-6)
2410 SF O-6a.png 2373 SF O-6a.png 2368 SF O-6a.png 2366 SF O-6a.png 2352 SF O-6a.png 2280 SF O-6a.png 2270 SF O-6a.png
2270 SF O-6a (shoulder).png
2255 SF O-6a.png

Other Usage

Some military and paramilitary groups use the rank "commodore" in their organizations:

Starfleet Merchant & Supply Service (MSS)

Commodores within the MSS are billeted to high-ranking administrative command billets, such as Chief of the MSS, or Deputy Chief of Starfleet Logistics. As within Starfleet, Commodores share the O-6 paygrade with Captain. Additionally, Commodores only serve in the command division; there are no billets for this rank in the services or sciences.

Grade Rank Command Services Sciences
O-6 Commodore SFMSS O-6A CMD.png N/A

Bajoran Defense Force Navy

Within the Bajoran Defense Force Navy, a commodore is the first rank with flag status and is entitled to its own paygrade of O-7.

Grade Rank Insignia (Sleeve)
O-7 Commodore BDFN-O-7.png

Rikon Defense Force

In the Rikon Defense Force, commodore is a unique rank and is the highest rank attainable within the paramilitary organization.

Grade Rank Insignia (Shoulderboard)
O-7 Commodore RDF-O-7.png

See Also

Starfleet Rank Structure
Grade Enlisted Training Warrant Officer
1 PVT CREC MID4 WOJG 2LT ENS
2 PFC CAPP MID3 WO 1LT LTJG
3 LCPL CRMN MID2 CWO CPT LT
4 CPL PO3 MID1 SCWO MAJ LCDR
5 SGT PO2 OC MCWO LTCOL CDR
6 SSGT PO1 COL CAPT
CDRE
7 GYSGT CPO BRGEN BADM
8 MSGT SCPO MAJGEN RADM
9 MGYSGT
SGTMAJ
MCPO LTGEN VADM
10 SGTMAJOS MCPOS GEN ADM
11 GADM
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