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First Lieutenant is a military rank 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.

United KingdomEdit

British ArmyEdit

In the British Army and Royal Marines, the rank above Second Lieutenant is simply Lieutenant, 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 NavyEdit

The First Lieutenant (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 specialisation 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 StatesEdit

U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air ForceEdit

US-O2 insignia

Insignia of a United States Army First Lieutenant.

In the United States Army, Air Force, and 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.

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 experience and 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 (65-150 soldiers). 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 GuardEdit

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, where the deck department may only have a few junior sailors, the First Lieutenant may be a senior enlisted member, such as a First-Class Petty Officer or Chief Petty Officer.

Other countriesEdit

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

  • Flag of Afghanistan.svg Afghanistan: Lomri Baridman
  • Flag of Albania.svg Albania: Toger
  • Flag of Angola.svg Angola: Primeiro Tenente
  • Arabic-speaking countries except former French colonies in North Africa: Mulazim Awwal
  • Flag of Argentina.svg Argentina: Teniente Primero (army); Primer Teniente (air force)
  • Flag of Austria.svg Austria: Oberleutnant
  • Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Azerbaijan: Baş Leytenant
  • Flag of Belarus.svg Belarus: Cтарший Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium: Lieutenant (French); Luitenant (Dutch)
  • Flag of Bhutan.svg Bhutan: Deda Gom
  • Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg Bosnia and Herzegovina: Poručnik
  • Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil: Primeiro Tenente
  • Flag of Bulgaria.svg Bulgaria: Cтарши Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Flag of Cambodia.svg Cambodia: Ak-no-say-ney-tor
  • Flag of Cape Verde.svg Cape Verde: Primeiro Tenente
  • Qing Dynasty Imperial China (Qing Dynasty): 副軍校 (Fù jūn xiào)
  • Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg People's Republic of China: 中尉 (Zhōngwèi)
  • Flag of the Republic of China.svg Republic of China (Taiwan): 中尉(Chungwei)
  • Flag of Croatia.svg Croatia: Natporučnik
  • Flag of Cuba.svg Cuba: Primer Teniente
  • Flag of Chile.svg Chile: Teniente
  • Flag of Cyprus.svg Cyprus: Ypolokhagos (army); Yposminagos (air force)
  • Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Czech Republic: Nadporučík
  • Flag of the Czech Republic.svg Czechoslovakia: Nadporučík
  • Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark: Premierløjtnant
  • Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg Dominican Republic: Primer Teniente
  • Flag of Estonia.svg Estonia: Leitnant
  • Flag of Finland.svg Finland: Luutnantti
  • Flag of France.svg France and all other French-speaking countries: Lieutenant (Air Force/Army), Enseigne de vaisseau de première classe (Navy)
  • Georgia (country) Georgia: უფროსი ლეიტენანტი (Up’rosi Leytenanti)
  • Flag of Germany.png Germany: Oberleutnant
  • Flag of Greece.svg Greece: Ypolokhagos (army); Yposminagos (air force)
  • Flag of Hungary.svg Hungary: Főhadnagy
  • Flag of Indonesia.svg Indonesia: Letnan Satu
  • Flag of Iran.svg Iran: ستوان یكم (Setvan Yekom)
  • Flag of Ireland.svg Republic of Ireland: Lieutenant (English); Lefteanant (Irish)
  • Flag of Israel.svg Israel: סגן (Segen)
  • Flag of Italy.svg Italy: Tenente
  • Flag of Japan.svg Japan: Nitō Rikui 2等陸尉(or Nii 2尉) (modern) / Chūi 中尉 (historical)
  • Flag of Kazakhstan.svg Kazakhstan: Старші Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Flag of North Korea.svg North Korea and Flag of South Korea.svg South Korea: 중위 (Jungwi)
  • Flag of Laos.svg Laos: Roithõäkäd
  • Flag of Latvia.svg Latvia: Virsleitnants
  • Flag of Lithuania.svg Lithuania: Vyresnysis Leitenantas
  • Flag of Luxembourg.svg Luxembourg: Premier Lieutenant
  • Flag of Malaysia.svg Malaysia: Leftenan
  • Flag of Nepal.svg   Nepal: Upa-Senani
  • Flag of Macedonia.svg Republic of Macedonia: Поручник (Poručnik)
  • Flag of Mongolia.svg Mongolia: Ахлах дэслэгч (Ahlah deslegch)
  • Flag of Mozambique.svg Mozambique: Tenente
  • Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands: Eerste Luitenant
  • Flag of Nicaragua.svg Nicaragua: Teniente Primero
  • Flag of Norway.svg Norway: Løytnant
  • Flag of Pakistan.svg Pakistan: Lieutenant (Army)
  • Flag of Paraguay.svg Paraguay: Teniente Primero
  • Flag of the Philippines.svg Philippines: First Lieutenant (English); Unang Tenyente (Filipino), Primero Tenyente
  • Flag of Poland.svg Poland: Porucznik
  • Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal: Tenente
  • Flag of Romania.svg Romania: Locotenent (current); Locotenet-Major (Warsaw Pact)
  • Flag of Russia.svg Russia: Cтарший Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Flag of Serbia.svg Serbia: Поручник (Poručnik)
  • Flag of Slovakia.svg Slovakia: Nadporučík
  • Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia: Nadporočnik
  • Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union: Cтарший Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Flag of Spain.svg Spain and all other Spanish-speaking countries except Argentina, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Uruguay: Teniente
  • Flag of Suriname.svg Suriname: Luitenant
  • Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden: Löjtnant
  • Flag of Switzerland.svg  Switzerland: Oberleutnant (German); Premier Lieutenant (French); Primotenente (Italian)
  • Flag of Thailand.svg Thailand: Roi Tho
  • Flag of Tunisia.svg Tunisia: ملازم أول (Moulazem Awal)
  • Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey: Üsteğmen
  • Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine: Cтарший Лейтенант (Starshiy Leytenant)
  • Flag of Uruguay.svg Uruguay: Teniente Primero
  • Flag of Uzbekistan.svg Uzbekistan: Katta Leytenant
  • Flag of Vietnam.svg Vietnam: Trung Uy
  • Flag of Venezuela.svg Venezuela: Primer Teniente
  • Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Yugoslavia: Поручник (Poručnik)


  1. Partridge, Eric (1984). A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (8th ed.). London and New York: Routledge. 
  2. United States Air Force. "AFI 36-2501, OFFICER PROMOTIONS AND SELECTIVE CONTINUATION", Air Force Instruction, 2009-08-17. Retrieved on 2010-01-23.

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