Commodore (United States)

Commodore (United States)

Commodore (United States)

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Please see "Commodore" for other uses of this rank


Commodore is a former rank in the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard and a current honorary title in the U.S. Navy with an intricate history. Because the U.S. Congress was originally unwilling to authorize any admirals in its service until 1862, considerable importance was attached to the office of commodore. Like its Royal Navy counterpart at the time, the U.S. Navy commodore was not a higher rank, but a temporary assignment for captains, as Herman Melville wrote in his 1850 novel, White-Jacket.

An American commodore, like an English commodore or a French chef d'escadre, is but a senior captain, temporarily commanding a small number of ships, detached for any special purpose. He has no permanent rank, recognized by government, above his captaincy; though once employed as a commodore, usage and courtesy unite in continuing the title.


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...
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