History of Vietnamese military ranks
System name of Vietnamese military ranks are a relatively complete set on 22 March 1946 by President Ho Chi Minh, originally based on the military ranks system of Japanese military. Reference designs to the military ranks system of the French military. In 1958, the Vietnam People's Army military ranks system to be changed and used almost constantly since then.
Now, basically, the Vietnamese ranks has no Marshal, General of the Army as some countries. Brigadier General rank did not exist in this system. In contrast, the Colonel General, Senior Colonel or Senior Lieutenant in Vietnam at present do not exist in many countries the military. Therefore, to compare similar levels between Vietnam and other countries, people often use the comparative military ranks equivalent table.
1. General level (3 ranks):
- General: 3 gold stars on red background
- Lt.General: 2 gold stars on red background
- Major General: 1 gold stars on red background
2. Field Grade level (3 ranks):
- Colonel: 3 yellow chevrons and 1 gold star on red background
- Lieutenant Colonel: 2 yellow chevrons and 1 gold star on red background
- Major: 1 yellow chevrons and 1 gold star on red background
3. Company Grade level (4 ranks):
- Captain: 3 yellow chevrons on red background
- Lieutenant: 2 yellow chevrons on red background
- Sun-lieutenant: 1 yellow chevrons on red background
- Warrant-officer: yellow on red background
4. Non-Commissioned level (3 ranks):
- Sergeant major: (symbol) red on yellow background
- Sergeant: (symbol) red on yellow background
- Corporal: (symbol) red on yellow background
5. Enlisted level (2 ranks):
- Private 1st class: (symbol) red on light-yellow background
- Private: no rank insignia
However, due to war conditions, the ranks system had not been applied, except for few exceptions. The rank system was changed to the current one in 1958, and several rank changes have occurred since their adoption.
The adoption of the 1958 rank system and some changes
With the official adoption of the armed forces rank system in 1958, the VPA has three levels of ranks: General Officers, Field Grade Officers, and Company Grade Officers, and each level has four steps are classified by number of stars: 4 stars, 3 stars, 2 stars and 1 star; specially, Company Grade officers have one more rank which is that of Warrant-officer (professional officer).
Below the Commissioned Officers level are the Non-Commissioned Officers level and Soldiers and Students levels. Non-Commissioned level have 3 steps: Sergeant major, Sergeant and Corporal. Soldiers have 2 ranks: Private 1st class and Private. Until 1982 the Vietnam People's Navy used the same ranks as the rest of the armed forces.
Senior Colonel rank was officially abolished.
The following naval ranks were officially adopted for flag-level officers of the Vietnam People's Navy: Admiral (equivalent to Colonel General), Vice Admiral (equivalent to Lieutenant General), and Rear Admiral (equivalent to Major General). With this change the English language translations of the Vietnamese ranks of the VPN after the 1982 flag officer rank introduction are as follows (with their equivalent land-based ranks in parenthesis):
- Ensign (Junior Lieutenant)
- Lieutenant Junior Grade (Lieutenant)
- Lieutenant (Senior Lieutenant)
- Captain Lieutenant (Captain)
- Lieutenant Commander (Major)
- Commander (Lieutenant Colonel)
- Captain (Colonel)
Regulations on professional officer ranks were amended, and the ranks were formalised from being Officer Cadet/Warrant Officer (lowest) to Colonel/Captain (highest).
The Senior Colonel rank was restored, and the Commodore rank was adopted in the VPN.
Ranks of the Border Defence Force were formally decreed to use the same ones used by the Army with dark-green background and red piping. The shoulder boards of all officers, NCOs and enlisted personnel formally changed to their present design.
Coast Guard ranks and ratings were defined with dark-purple and yellow background.
New regulations on military rank insignias with some improvements were officially issued.
Professional officers also use the straight metal chevron but have a pink stripe running between the shoulder boards to differentiate.
General and flag officer's shouler boards are woven with floating Dong Son drums and flamingos. Field Grade ranks have woven lines just like the old Generals' shoulder boards.
Current official ranks
Ranks can show information about branches of military personnel.
Hem Color of the ranks can show branches:
- Army: red
- Air Force: azure
- Navy: dark-purple
Army-Air Force-Navy ranks have background are yellow.
Border Defence Force's ranks have background is dark-green and hem colour is red.
The Coast Guard's ranks have background is blue and hem colour is yellow.
- The Highest ranks - General Officers:
|Ranks||Translation||Ground Forces||Air Force||Navy||Border Defence||Coast Guard|
|Đại tướng||Army General|
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