Lieutenant commander (United States)

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Insignia of a lieutenant commander, United States Navy

Lieutenant commander (LCDR) is a mid-ranking officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, with the pay grade of O-4 and NATO rank code OF-3. Lieutenant commanders rank above lieutenants and below commanders. The rank is also used in the United States Maritime Service and the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps, and is equivalent to a major in the other uniformed services. Promotion to lieutenant commander in the US Navy is governed by Department of Defense policies derived from the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980. DOPMA guidelines suggest 80% of lieutenants should be promoted to lieutenant commander after serving a minimum of three years at their present rank and after attaining nine to eleven years of cumulative commissioned service.[citation needed]

While lieutenant commander is the Navy's first commissioned officer to be selected by board, they are still considered to be junior officers due to their origin as "lieutenant, commanding."[citation needed] This can be seen by the fact that lieutenant commanders do not wear the oak-leaf gold embellishment (colloquially known as "scrambled eggs") on their combination covers. This is in contrast to other branches, where majors wear the appropriate covers of field-grade officers.[citation needed]

There are two insignia used by lieutenant commanders. On service khakis and all working uniforms, lieutenant commanders wear a gold oak leaf collar device, similar to the ones worn by a majors in the USAF and Army, and identical to that worn by majors in the Marine Corps. In all dress uniforms, they wear sleeve braid or shoulder boards bearing a single gold quarter-inch stripe between two gold half-inch strips (nominal size). Above or inboard of the stripes, they wear their specialty insignia (i.e., a star for officers of the line, crossed oak leaves for Civil Engineer Corps, etc.).[1]

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