Officer (The Salvation Army)
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An officer in The Salvation Army is a Salvationist who is an ordained minister of the Christian faith, but who fulfills many other roles not usually filled by clergy of other denominations. They do so having been trained, ordained and commissioned to serve and lead and given a quasi-military rank.
Candidacy and training
When applying to become a Salvation Army officer, strict acceptance guidelines must be adhered to before training can commence. Each territory will have similar conditions that applicants must fulfill prior to entry and include the following, they must:
- Believe they are called by God to full-time ministry, specifically officership.
- Be active soldiers in their local Salvation Army corps.
- Receive a recommendation from the commanding officer of that corps.
- Be endorsed by the Divisional Candidates' Board.
- Receive satisfactory references from their families, friends, and peers.
- Attend an assessment conference weekend which includes a number of in-depth interviews with various assessors.
- Be accepted for training by the Territorial Candidates' Board, and territorial commander.
While attending a college for officer training, the training participants are referred to as "cadets". The length of training is normally twenty-two months, but a special dispensation may allow cadets to be commissioned after a shorter period, based on prior experience or training. Once this training is complete, the cadets are commissioned.
Officer training centres are located around the world.
United States of America
- College for Officer Training (Chicago, IL)
- College for Officer Training (Suffern, NY)
- Evangeline Booth College (Atlanta, GA)
Commissioning and posting
Commissioning sees the cadets promoted to the rank of lieutenant and formalizes the cadets' first posting (commonly referred to as "marching orders"). These orders can send the new lieutenants anywhere in the territory, and sometimes even see them posted to other territories that could involve overseas service.
Officers have the opportunity to serve within the Salvation Army in many different capacities, and may be posted at a corps, divisional or territorial headquarters, the training college, supplies & purchasing, a recovery and rehabilitation centre, as a chaplain in courts, prisons and hospitals, a street level outreach centre, a new corps (known as an "outpost" or "plant"), or any number of other need specific ministries.
In years past, officers were given "farewell orders" every two to five years when they were reassigned to different posts. Appointments of at least five years are now commonplace.
The rank structure and uniform
Officers hold ranks throughout their service and into retirement, and their rank is reflected in their uniform. The uniform of an officer is much like that of a soldier and, like a soldier's, is defined by the region in which the person is serving. The consistent difference between the two uniforms is that the officer's uniform has red epaulettes, while a soldier's epaulettes are black or blue. Officers' epaulettes feature the Salvation "S" in silver, as well as another insignia to designate rank. These insignias may be sewn into the epaulette, or be separate metal pins attached to the epaulettes.
|Rank||Date adopted||Current status||Description||Insignia / epaulettes|
|General||1878||Active||The worldwide leader of The Salvation Army, elected by the most senior Salvation Army officers in the world||Crest with laurel leaves above bar, all in gold, on velvet epaulettes|
|Commissioner||1880||Active||The Chief of the Staff of The Salvation Army, the leader of a territory, or international secretaries are also usually given the rank||Crest with laurel leaves above bar with another bar above the "S", on velvet epaulettes|
|Colonel||1880||Active||Reserved for territorial and international leaders||Crest above bar with another bar above the "S"|
|Lieutenant-colonel||Active||Crest above bar|
|Major||1879||Active||After 15 years of exemplary service, the officer is eligible to be promoted to the rank of major||Crest|
|Captain||1877||Active||After five years of exemplary service, the officer is eligible to be promoted to the rank of captain||Two stars|
|Following successful term at college for officer training, the cadet is commissioned with the rank of lieutenant||One star|
|Cadet||1880||Active||A Salvation Army soldier who is undertaking training to become an officer at a Salvation Army college for officer training||One (first year) or two (second year) red bars (on blue epaulettes / UK - on black epaulettes)|
|Envoy||Active||A non-commissioned officer who works for the Salvation Army in a ministry position|
|Sergeant||Active||A non-commissioned officer who works for the Salvation Army in a ministry position in the USA Southern territory||Three white chevrons|
|Candidate||Active||A person undergoing assessment for Salvation Army officership or envoyship||Candidate's pin worn on the left side of the tunic above the heart|
Amendments to envoy and lieutenant rank
After a lengthy discussion with other Salvation Army leaders, General Shaw Clifton announced in November 2007 that the rank of lieutenant would be reinstated on March 1, 2008. All cadets are now commissioned as lieutenants for a period of five years. The rank of cadet-lieutenant was discontinued on the same date, but was reinstated in the USA Southern territory in June 2014. 
All officers serving as lieutenants in the UK Territory now receive the rank of territorial envoy (as opposed to divisional envoy). Territorial envoys are soldiers who wish to work as non-commissioned officers for a limited time, usually three years. This replaced the rank of envoy and auxiliary-captain. Other territories have made other ranks to reflect this status such as feldsergeant in Germany; sergeant-major' in the Ukraine; envoy in Russia and corpsenvoy in the Netherlands. In US Central they are simply envoys and in the US Southern territory they are sergeants.
- Generals of The Salvation Army
- Chief of the Staff of The Salvation Army
- High Council of The Salvation Army
- Soldier of The Salvation Army