Originally Posted by Bowler1
Two things from Gumboats post, which was very good.
A company strenght still does vary quite a lot. Less in a specialist unit, more in a general unit. So a company can vary in size.
Warrant officers, such as pilots, are officers with skills. A commissioned officer receives a commission which is command over men.
There we go, that should help clear things up!
One thing that should be clarified is the above re: officers is only true of the US.
Originally, an officer in the military was by commission, which meant they paid
for it. A non-commissioned officer is a military officer who exercises their authority due to seniority rather than through authority from the sovereign (which is why sergeants typically have far more experience than Lieutenants).
However a third type of officer was implemented between that of an NCO and a Commissioned Officer; the Warrant Officer. These are highly experienced officers who do not have a commission (which historically meant they couldn't afford one) but due to their extensive experience and skill, were deserving of status above that of other NCOs.
As such they were issued a Warrant giving them authority. Notable is that unlike a Commissioned Officer, a Warrant Officer does not have authority to command
. Rather their Warrant grants them status
. In most modern military forces the Warrant Officer ranks are the most senior NCO ranks, although a WO is considered a little different from an NCO.
Another thing to note, and it's an interesting example of how ranks can evolve, is that while the US Air Force carried over US Army ranks, the Royal Air Force (and subsequently other Commonwealth Air Forces) have their own unique rank structure.
The reason for this is quite simply that the War Office felt the RAF should have its own rank structure.
For non-Americans they may be curious to learn the Commonwealth Air Force ranks which are:
OF-10 - Marshal of the Air Force
OF-9 - Air Chief Marshal
OF-8 - Air Marshal
OF-7 - Air Vice Marshal
OF-6 - Air Commodore
OF-5 - Group Captain
OF-4 - Wing Commander
OF-3 - Squadron Leader
OF-2 - Flight Lieutenant
OF-1 - Flying Officer
OF-1 - Pilot Officer
(Incidentally, the rank of "Pilot Officer" does not mean the officer is a pilot!)
OR-9 - Warrant Officer
OR-8 - N/A
OR-7 - Flight Sergeant
OR-6/5 - Sergeant
0R-4 - Corporal
OR-3 - N/A
OR-2 - Senior Aircraftman/woman
OR-2 - Leading Aircraftman/woman
OR-1 - Aircraftman/woman