Coast Guard Officer Ranks

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Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp congratulates Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown during his retirement ceremony. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)
Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp congratulates Vice Adm. Manson K. Brown during his retirement ceremony. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Coast Guard ranks for officers are split into two tiers: officer and admiral.

Commissioned Coast Guard officers do not enlist. They serve indefinitely at the pleasure of the president of the United States. They hold a commission charging them with the duties and responsibilities of their specific rank.

Coast Guard Officer Ranks

 

Ensign 01 insignia

Ensign (ENS)(O1)

Ensigns generally are inducted after naval officer training and obtaining a four-year degree. Their rank is equivalent to second lieutenant in other branches.

 

Lieutenant, Junior Grade (LTJG, O2) insignia

Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG)(O2)

Lieutenant junior grades generally are promoted 18 months after becoming an ensign. They serve as billeted division officers.

 

Lieutenant (LT, O3) insignia

Lieutenant (LT)(O3)

Equivalent to captains in other branches, lieutenants are responsible for sailors and petty officers in different divisions.

 

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR, O4) insignia

Lieutenant Commander (LCDR)(O4)

Usually operating as mid-ranking officers in executive and command divisions, lieutenant commanders are addressed properly by using the full rank.

 

Commander insignia

Commander (CDR)(O5)

Commander is the first Coast Guard rank to command ships or squadrons of aircraft. They also may join the staff of a senior officer aboard a large vessel.

 

Captain (CAPT, O6) insignia

Captain (CAPT)(O6)

Captains are given a high level of authority in a variety of stations. They generally enjoy a high degree of autonomy and must stand out over the course of several years to be promoted further.

Coast Guard Admirals

 

Rear Admiral Lower Half insignia

Rear Admiral Lower Half (RDML)(O7)

Rear admiral lower halves generally command small flotillas of ships. They are promoted from Coast Guard officers through an intense and rigorous process.

 

Rear Admiral Upper Half insignia

Rear Admiral (RADM)(O8)

The highest Coast Guard rank possible during peacetime, rear admirals command fleets of ships and air wings. Rear admirals may fly a special pennant over any ship or base on which they are serving.

Vice Admiral insignia

Vice Admiral (VADM)(O9)

Only 25% of all flag officers in the Coast Guard may be three-star flag officers, vice admirals, during wartime. The rank is temporary.

 

Admiral insignia

Admiral (ADM)(O10)

The highest rank in the Coast Guard, it is used to fill specific needs and is temporary. Admirals report directly to the president and are promoted by presidential selection.

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