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Air Force First Lieutenant

O-2 Commissioned Officer, U.S. Air Force
(Next) O-3 CaptAir Force Captain

Air Force Ranks » First Lieutenant Rank1st L Pay1st L Rank History

Rank badge of a First Lieutenant O-2 First Lieutenant - U.S. Air Force Ranks

Air Force First Lieutenant
Air Force O-2 First Lieutenant Air Force Military Ranks
Class Commissioned Officer
Abbr. 1st L
Title Lieutenant (last name)
Paygrade O-2 (DoD Paygrade)
OF-2 (NATO Code)
Basic Pay $4,007/mo

First Lieutenant (1Lt) is the second lowest Commissioned Officer rank in the United States Air Force. It is just above Second Lieutenant and below Captain. A First Lieutenant in the US Air Force is equal to a Lieutenant (Junior Grade) in the other armed forces. The differences between First and Second lieutenants are very few and small; the major differences are pay and experience. A First Lieutenant can be a flight commander or section officer with varying responsibilities. Typically, a First Lieutenant is a rated officer who had just completed training in his field and has little supervisory requirements.

The rank insignia for a First Lieutenant is the same as the Second Lieutenant's, except that it is a silver bar instead of a gold one.

First Lieutenant is the 18th rank in the United States Air Force , ranking above Second Lieutenant and directly below Captain. A first lieutenant is a Commissioned Officer at DoD paygrade O-2, with a starting monthly pay of $4,007.

How do you become a First Lieutenant?

A First Lieutenant is most often promoted from Second Lieutenant (2d Lt), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience.

Second lieutenants must have served for at least 18 months in time and rank. However, nearly 100% of all second lieutenants are promoted to first lieutenant. This applies to all second lieutenants in training programs as well.

What is the proper way to address a First Lieutenant?

The correct way to address a First Lieutenant named Mr. Espinoza is "Lieutenant Espinoza", or written as 1st L Espinoza. In formal situations, a First Lieutenant should always be addressed by their full rank.

How much does a First Lieutenant earn?

Basic pay for an entry-level First Lieutenant with 2 or less years of experience is $4,006.50 per month.

A First Lieutenant receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a First Lieutenant's final compensation package.

In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Air Force First Lieutenant may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including education allowance, housing allowance, and more.

For full details on the Air Force's First Lieutenant compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2024 Air Force First Lieutenant Pay Chart. A full table of the Air Force's current paygrades are available at the Air Force Pay Chart.

Patch of a First Lieutenant Equivalent Ranks to the Air Force's O-2 First Lieutenant

To learn more about the Air Force's rank structure, see our complete list of Air Force ranks.

The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a First Lieutenant is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Air Force rank to GS grade conversion table .

To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Air Force and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.