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First lieutenant is a commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces and, in some forces, an appointment.

The rank of lieutenant has different meanings in different military formations (see comparative military ranks), but the majority of cases it is common for it to be sub-divided into a senior (first lieutenant) and junior (second lieutenant) rank. In navies it may relate to a particular post rather than a rank.


Israel Defense Forces[]

IDF Ranks Kama

IDF Rank:(קצין מקצועי אקדמאי (קמ"א - Katsín miktsoí akademai (Kama) - Professional Academic Officer

In the Israel Defense Forces, the rank above second lieutenant is simply Lieutenant. The rank of (קצין מקצועי אקדמאי (קמ"א (katsín miktsoí akademai or "kama"), a professional academic officer (that is, a medical, dental or veterinary officer, a justice officer or a religious officer), is equivalent to a professional officer of the second class in the reserve and equivalent to first lieutenant.

United Kingdom[]

British Army[]

In the British Army and Royal Marines, the rank above second lieutenant is simply Lieutenant (pronounced Lef-tenant), with no ordinal attached.

Before 1871, when the whole British Army switched to using the current rank of "lieutenant", the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and Fusilier regiments used "first lieutenant" and "second lieutenant".

Royal Navy[]

The first lieutenant (often abbreviated "1st Lt") in a Royal Navy ship is a post or appointment, rather than a rank.

Historically the lieutenants in a ship were ranked in accordance with seniority, with the most senior being termed the first lieutenant and acting as the second-in-command, unless the ship was complemented with a commander. Although lieutenants are no longer ranked by seniority, the post of "first lieutenant" remains. In minor war vessels, destroyers and frigates the first lieutenant is second in command, executive officer (XO) and head of the executive branch; in larger ships where a commander of the warfare specialization is appointed as the executive officer, a first lieutenant is appointed as his deputy. The post of first lieutenant in a shore establishment carries a similar responsibility to the first lieutenant of a capital ship. Colloquial terms in the Royal Navy for the first lieutenant include "number one", "the jimmy" (or "jimmy the one") and "James the First" (a back-formation referring to James I of England).[1]

United States[]

US-O2 insignia

U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps insignia of the rank of First Lieutenant. Style and method of wear may vary between the services.

U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force[]

In the United States Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps, a first lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer. It is just above the rank of second lieutenant and just below the rank of captain. It is equivalent to the rank of lieutenant (junior grade) in the other uniformed services.

Promotion to first lieutenant is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest all "fully qualified" officers should be promoted to first lieutenant. A second lieutenant (grade O-1) is usually promoted to first lieutenant (grade O-2) after 18 months in the Army or 24 months in the Air Force[2] and Marine Corps. The difference between the two ranks is slight, primarily being experienced and having higher pay. It is not uncommon to see officers moved to positions requiring more experience after promotion to first lieutenant. For example, in the Army and Marine Corps these positions can include leading a specialty platoon, or assignment as the executive officer for a company-sized unit (70-250 soldiers or marines). In the Air Force, a first lieutenant may be a flight commander or section's officer in charge with varied supervisory responsibilities, including supervision of as many as 100+ personnel, although in a flying unit, a first lieutenant is a rated officer (pilot, navigator, or air battle manager) who has just finished training for his career field and has few supervisory responsibilities.

U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard[]

In the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, first lieutenant is a position title, instead of a rank. It is held by the officer in command of the deck department. On smaller ships, the first lieutenant holds the rank of lieutenant, junior grade or ensign. On larger vessels, the position is held by a lieutenant or, in the case of extremely large warships such as aircraft carriers, a lieutenant commander or even commander. However, on submarines and in aircraft squardrons, where the deck department may only have a few junior sailors, the first lieutenant may be an enlisted member, such as a first-class petty officer or chief petty officer. The 1st Lieutenant Division is usually composed of junior sailors(E-3 and below) who are completing their 90 days of Temporary Assigned Duty, or TAD, that all enlisted personal are required to do when initially assigned to a command. The primary mission of the division is servicing, cleaning, organizing and inventorying items within a command.[3]

Other countries[]

For other countries, the equivalent rank to a US Army first lieutenant (O-2) is listed below.

  • Afghanistan: Lomri Baridman
  • Albania: Toger
  • Angola: Primeiro Tenente
  • Arabic-speaking countries except former French colonies in North Africa: Mulazim Awwal
  • Argentina: Teniente Primero (army); Primer Teniente (air force)
  • Austria: Oberleutnant
  • Azerbaijan: Baş Leytenant
  • Belarus: Cтарший Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Belgium: Lieutenant (French); Luitenant (Dutch)
  • Bhutan: Deda Gom
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Poručnik
  • Brazil: Primeiro Tenente
  • Bulgaria: Cтарши Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Cambodia: Ak-no-say-ney-tor
  • Canada: Lieutenant
  • Cape Verde: Primeiro Tenente
  • Imperial China (Qing Dynasty): 副軍校 (Fù jūn xiào)
  • People's Republic of China: 中尉 (Zhōngwèi)
  • Republic of China (Taiwan): 中尉(Chungwei)
  • Croatia: Natporučnik
  • Cuba: Primer Teniente
  • Chile: Teniente
  • Cyprus: Ypolokhagos (army); Yposminagos (air force); Anthypoploiarchos (navy)
  • Czech Republic: Nadporučík (former Czechoslovakia: Nadporučík)
  • Denmark: Premierløjtnant
  • Dominican Republic: Primer Teniente
  • Estonia: Leitnant
  • Finland: Yliluutnantti
  • France and all other French-speaking countries: Lieutenant (Air Force/Army), Enseigne de vaisseau de première classe (Navy)
  • Georgia: უფროსი ლეიტენანტი (Up’rosi Leytenanti)
  • Germany: Oberleutnant
  • Greece: Ypolokhagos (army); Yposminagos (air force); Anthypoploiarchos (navy)
  • Hungary: Főhadnagy
  • Indonesia: Letnan Satu
  • Iran: ستوان یكم (Setvan Yekom)
  • Republic of Ireland: Lieutenant (English); Lefteanant (Irish)
  • Israel: (קצין מקצועי אקדמאי (קמ"א Katsín miktsoí akademai (Kama); see: Israel Defense Forces ranks
  • Italy: Tenente
  • Japan: Nitō Rikui 2等陸尉(or Nii 2尉) (modern) / Chūi 中尉 (historical)
  • Kazakhstan: Старший лейтенант (Russian), Аға Лейтенант (Kazakh)
  • North Korea and South Korea: 중위 (Jungwi)
  • Laos: Roithõäkäd
  • Latvia: Virsleitnants
  • Lithuania: Vyresnysis Leitenantas
  • Luxembourg: Premier Lieutenant
  • Malaysia: Leftenan
  • Mexico: Teniente Primero
  • Nepal: Upa-Senani
  • Republic of Macedonia: Поручник (Poručnik)
  • Mongolia: Ахлах дэслэгч (Ahlah deslegch)
  • Mozambique: Tenente
  • Netherlands: Eerste Luitenant
  • Nicaragua: Teniente Primero
  • Norway: Løytnant
  • Pakistan: Lieutenant (Army)
  • Paraguay: Teniente Primero
  • Philippines: First Lieutenant (English); Unang Tenyente (Filipino), Primero Tenyente
  • Poland: Porucznik
  • Portugal: Tenente
  • Romania: Locotenent (current); Locotenent-Major (Warsaw Pact)
  • Russia: Cтарший Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Serbia: Поручник (Poručnik)
  • Singapore:Lieutenant
  • Slovakia: Nadporučík
  • Slovenia: Nadporočnik
  • Somalia: "Dagaal"
  • Soviet Union: Cтарший Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Spain and all other Spanish-speaking countries except Argentina, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Uruguay: Teniente
  • Suriname: Luitenant
  • Sweden: Löjtnant
  • Switzerland: Oberleutnant (German); Premier Lieutenant (French); Primotenente (Italian)
  • Thailand: Roi Tho
  • Tunisia: ملازم أول (Moulazem Awal)
  • Turkey: Üsteğmen
  • Ukraine: Cтарший Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Uruguay: Teniente Primero
  • Uzbekistan: Katta Leytenant
  • Vietnam: Thượng úy
  • Venezuela: Primer Teniente
  • Yugoslavia: Поручник (Poručnik)


  1. Partridge, Eric (1984). A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (8th ed.). London and New York: Routledge. pp. 612, 621, and 884. 
  2. United States Air Force. "AFI 36-2501, Officer Promotions and Selective Continuation", Air Force Instruction, 2009-08-17. Retrieved on 2010-01-23.
  3. 1st Lieutenant Division plays significant role in supporting base
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