Commodore admiral

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Commodore admiral (COMO) was a short-lived military rank of the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard that existed for less than 11 months during the year 1982.[1] The rank of commodore admiral was established as the Navy's one-star admiral rank after nearly forty years of all Navy and Coast Guard captains receiving promotion directly to the two-star position of rear admiral, but still being paid as a one-star officer in the pay grade of O-7 while in a "rear admiral, lower half" category.

The new rank of commodore admiral was created both as a means to appease the other three branches of the U.S. military, who felt promoting USN and USCG O-6s to O-7, yet entitling them to wear the insignia of an O-8, was unfair, and also as a means of distinguishing that Navy and Coast Guard one-star admirals were in fact flag officers. This had been a major problem in World War II when cultural mistakes had led to several Navy commodores being regarded as senior captains by members of foreign militaries and in turn denied honors due to a U.S. flag officer.

Upon its establishment, many in the leadership of the US Navy and US Coast Guard felt that the rank of commodore admiral violated over a century of tradition and there were numerous petitions to the Chief of Naval Operations to eliminate the rank. As a compromise, the rank of commodore admiral was changed simply to "commodore" at the start of 1983. However, this change caused even further problems internal to the Navy due to those senior captains commanding multiple units, those in charge air wings and air groups, destroyer squadrons, submarine squadrons, etc., having had the honorary title of "commodore" for decades. Plus many commodore admirals found that their mail was being redirected to the base officer's club, also known as the Commissioned Officer's Mess (aka COMO). As a result, the "rank" of commodore in the USN and USCG was itself was abolished as a rank in 1985. It was replaced by the new rank of rear admiral (Lower Half), essentially the same title as before dating back to before World War II. However, in this case, those officers promoted to O-7 with this title would continue to wear one-star insignia.

The rank of commodore admiral is one of the rarest ranks in the history of United States Navy and United States Coast Guard. Only a handful of officers, mainly those captains promoted to O-7 during the year 1982, have ever held the position, such as Admiral Leon A. Edney, when promoted while serving as the Commandant of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. Another famous example was that of Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.[2]


  1. ^ United States Code, p. 202.
  2. ^ Cantrell, Mark (2014-03). "Amazing Grace: Rear Adm. Grace Hopper, USN, was a pioneer in computer science". Military Officer. 12 (3). Military Officers Association of America. pp. 52–55, 106. Retrieved 2014-03-01.  Check date values in: |date= (help)


  • Office of the Law Revision Counsel, United States. Congress. House. United States Code, Washington: The Office, 2001.