Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard/Captain Rank


Simple question, Can the commanding officer of a US Naval ship be of a rank lower than Captain even though they are called captain? Or does a promotion to the rank of captain come automatically with the taking of command of a vessel? If so what is the lowest rank that would be allowed to be a commanding officer of their own naval ship?

The "Captain" of a Navy Ship does not indicate Rank, it is a position title, indicating he is the Commanding Officer of the ship.  It can be a Lieutenant Commander or Commander as well.  Captain in the navy is a full bird O-6.  Usually the rank of the " Captain"  is dependent on the size of the ship, smaller frigates will usually have a Commander, while larger ships will have a Captain.  back in WW2, some captains were the rank of LTCDR or lower, depending on the type of ship it was.

Careers: Military--Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard

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John L


I am a National Guard Recruiting NCOIC, been doing recruiting jobs for the military for over 12 years and am a subject matter expert on qualifications for National Guard and Army ( as we use the same regulation) and I keep up to date on other services regulations as well. In my job, I process questionable applicants and determine eligibility, I process waivers of all types and know the regulations inside and out. I will not sugar coat my answers to you. They are usually short and to the point. If you need more in depth, ask me. Because each situation is different, alot of times you need to actually talk to a recruiter and let them evaluate your situation in person, by looking at your documents, issues etc. If I suggest this, it would be in your best interest to do so. Finally...thank you for your interest in serving this great nation of ours. Very few people can actually make the cut to serve let alone choose to do so. So thank you for wanting to and hopefully you will get a chance. Whatever branch you choose, thank you and good luck.


18 years Guard experience, combat missions and homeland missions. 12 years recruiting. I have been a platoon sergeant and squad leader. Mentor to new recruiters and recruits.

Recruiters course and advanced courses in recruiting

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