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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A group captain's sleeve/shoulder insignia
A group captain's sleeve/shoulder insignia

Group captain is a senior commissioned rank in many air forces. Group captain has a NATO rank code of OF-5, meaning that it ranks above wing commander, immediately below air commodore and is the equivalent of the naval rank of captain and the rank of colonel in other services.

While the rank originated in the British Royal Air Force (RAF),[1] group captain is a rank used by the air forces of many Commonwealth and other countries that have been influenced by British military culture. It is sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure.

It is usually abbreviated Gp Capt. In some air forces (such as the RAF, IAF and PAF), GPCAPT is used while in others (such as the RAAF and RNZAF) and sometimes, especially in historical contexts, as G/C. The rank of group captain is not correctly abbreviated as "captain".

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  • ✪ Group Captain Margot-Lee Forster

Transcription

The responsibility of Combat Support Unit was essentially to support the air bridge into Afghanistan. We also ran the life support at Al Minhad Air Base. We also ran the life support at Al Minhad Air Base and that is essentially accommodation, catering, medical. I had a physical training instructor, fire fighting, vehicle mechanics, aviation safety, refuelling. Essentially everything that you need to keep the aircraft moving backwards and forwards between the UAE and Afghanistan. I had a detachment in Tarin Kowt and in Kandahar. They were air load team, a small air load team in both locations, where as the aircraft arrived they would get the - manage the passengers disembarking and also taking the pallets off and breaking the pallets down, and making the equipment available to the soldiers at the destination. I guess the function, the life support function at Al Minhad was - it was very important but it was very repetitive... ...Every day was the same but it was important that every day was the same. It was important that - that our team reliably delivered everything that was needed to keep that base ticking, keep it running like clockwork. The advice that I gave my team, before we left and regularly while we were there, was that whilst their job may be routine, mundane, not terribly dangerous or exciting, they needed to remain focussed on the fact that the people that were passing through our base were soldiers and airmen that were about to head into the front line. And they were - more often than not - they were afraid, they were nervous, they were anxious about what lies ahead. Moving a task force into theatre is a very, very complicated undertaking. The timing has to be right, the equipment has to be brought into theatre in the right sequence, the specialists need to be brought into theatre in the right sequence. And although my unit wasn't controlling the sequencing of this, we did have to make sure that when things were required in theatre, the pallets needed to be packed in the correct order, the timing had to be right. part of my team build the pallets to be loaded into the aircraft. We were responsible for building the pallets that basically had the soldiers' kits, the ammunition, very importantly, the mail, into theatre. And those pallets needed to be built. It's very, very hard work, manual labour. A lot of lifting. And when you're working in 50 degrees, you obviously don't have a lot of capacity to work past about 15 minutes. We had to be really careful that we rotated our people in and out of the heat into a cold environment to - basically to get their body heat down. When they were out on the tarmac, they wore vests that were full of frozen water. We'd rotate these vests - they'd only last about, as I said, 15 minutes - and they'd be completely melted. Sometimes we would try and build the pallets at night when it was colder, or cooler, and then minimise the amount of time the teams had on the tarmac during the day. The mail. My goodness. Very important. Don't mess with the mail. Ah, it was essential. It was a lifeline and people rely on it, not only for the letters from home, but also the little morsels of Australian chocolate and Tim Tams and all of those things that - that families at home would send. And it wasn't even the families that would send it. We would get mail from school children, from RSLs, from complete strangers. And they would have little mementoes in them. And just getting those things from people back in Australia made so much difference to the morale. Down time...as the commanding officer, I had very little down time. But we did try and organise activities to keep people from going stir crazy. We had volley ball competitions, we had movie nights, we were very fortunate to get some fantastic acts come through: singers, comedians. So that was a wonderful break from the monotony. One of the most dangerous activities on the base, that I had the highest injury rate from, was Zumba. The PTI decided he'd run some Zumba classes. And the girls were really excited about that, but there was a lot of injuries from the guys who watching the Zumba when they should have been paying more attention to the weight lifting. We had a couple of broken fingers, a couple of broken toes, a de-gloved finger. So we had to stop the Zumba classes. The Australians, my team, were - were very clever and I think that's why we were recognised at doing such a good job and doing the job so well, was that we have intelligent and well trained people, who went out there and were told what the job was we needed to get done, and then were left to get on and do it. I remember there were several unfortunate occasions when we had ramp ceremonies at Al Minhad. And that's when the remains of soldiers that had been killed in the theatre are - were passing through our base, and we would show our respect by coming out on to the tarmac and lining up, and basically creating a passage for them onto the aircraft. And on those days - there was one, it was 54 degrees on the tarmac. And part of me was grateful for the heat because the sweat that it caused, you know - 90, 95 percent humidity or greater - it helped disguise the tears as they were running down your face, mixed in with the sweat that was running down your face. It was hard. The experience has had a long term effect on me. I was so privileged to have the opportunity to command on operations. It gave me a great sense of purpose, a feeling that I trained for 30 years and then actually got to do what I'd trained for, for so long. Why did I volunteer to go? I guess that's a question that would be strange to answer for a lot of people in the defence force. We join the defence force to serve our country. We train for years and years to be given the opportunity to do something like this. So when I had the opportunity to put my hand up and say, I want to go and do this job, the thought of not doing it just doesn't even enter into your - into your mind. It's like, this is the reason I've been in the Defence Force for all these years. This is what I've been training for. This is how I serve my country. And I am fortunate I have a husband the three children who understand my commitment and were very, very supportive and quite happy to say, Mum, off you go, you go and do this, this is very important, and we'll be here waiting for you when you get back.

Contents

RAF usage

History

On 1 April 1918, the newly created RAF adopted its officer rank titles from the British Army, with Royal Naval Air Service captains and Royal Flying Corps colonels becoming colonels in the RAF. In response to the proposal that the RAF should use its own rank titles, it was suggested that the RAF might use the Royal Navy's officer ranks, with the word "air" inserted before the naval rank title. For example, the rank that later became group captain would have been "air captain". Although the Admiralty objected to this simple modification of their rank titles, it was agreed that the RAF might base many of its officer rank titles on naval officer ranks with differing pre-modifying terms. It was also suggested that RAF colonels might be entitled "bannerets" or "leaders". However, the rank title based on the Navy rank was preferred and as RAF colonels typically commanded groups the rank title group captain was chosen. The rank of group captain has been used continuously since 1 August 1919.

Although in the early years of the RAF groups were normally commanded by group captains, by the mid-1920s they were usually commanded by an air officer.

In the post-World War II period the commander of an RAF flying station or a major ground training station has typically been a group captain. More recently, expeditionary air wings have also been commanded by group captains.

Insignia and command pennant

The rank insignia is based on the four gold bands of captains in the Royal Navy, comprising four narrow light blue bands over slightly wider black bands. This is worn on both the lower sleeves of the tunic or on the shoulders of the flying suit or the casual uniform. Group captains are the first rank in the RAF hierarchy to wear gold braid on the peak of their cap, informally known as 'scrambled egg'; however, they still wear the standard RAF officer's cap badge.

The command pennant for a group captain is similar to the one for a wing commander except that there is one broad red band in the centre. Only the wing commander and group captain command pennants are triangular in shape.

Other air forces

The rank of group captain is also used in a number of the air forces in the Commonwealth, including the Bangladesh Air Force, Ghana Air Force, Indian Air Force (IAF), Nigerian Air Force, Pakistan Air Force (PAF), Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), Sri Lankan Air Force and the Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard.[2] It is also used in the Egyptian Air Force, Hellenic Air Force, Royal Air Force of Oman and the Royal Thai Air Force.

The Royal Canadian Air Force used the rank until the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968, when army-type rank titles were adopted. A Canadian group captain then became a colonel. In official French Canadian usage, a group captain's rank title was colonel d'aviation. In the Argentine Air Force commodoro (commodore) is the rank in Argentine Spanish while in the Chilean Air Force, the rank in Chilean Spanish is colonel de aviacion or "colonel of aviation". Until 1973 it was used by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), today the sleeve insignia is that of a full Colonel.

Equivalent ranks in other services

In addition to the equivalents used in most air forces, such as Colonel, other air services, especially non-combat auxiliaries in Commonwealth countries, have used a variety of alternative names for equivalent ranks.

The equivalent rank in the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force, Women's Royal Air Force (until 1968) and Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service (until 1980) was "group officer".

The equivalent rank in the Royal Observer Corps (until 1995) was "observer captain", which had a similar rank insignia.

Notable group captains

Fictional characters

  • Ian Gilmore, a fictional character in the old Doctor Who series who first assisted Sylvester McCoy's Doctor in repelling the Daleks in the episode 'Remembrance of the Daleks'
  • Captain Jack Harkness, fictional character in Doctor Who and its spin-off Torchwood carries the rank of group captain on his great-coat, however he is always mistakenly referred to as just "captain".
  • Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake, a fictional character in the movie "Dr. Strangelove", played by Peter Sellers, in frantically attempting General Ripper to recall the wing, on orders to attack Russia.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Ranks and Badges of the Royal Air Force". Royal Air Force. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-01.
  2. ^ http://www.news.gov.tt/archive//E-Gazette/Gazette%202014/Gazette/Gazette%20No.%20140%20of%202014.pdf
This page was last edited on 12 July 2018, at 05:39
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