Air Force Second LieutenantO-1 2d Lt (Previous)
Second Lieutenant

Air Force First Lieutenant

O-2 Commissioned Officer, U.S. Air Force
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Air Force Ranks » First Lieutenant Rank1st L Pay1st L Rank History

How to get promoted to First Lieutenant History of the Air Force First Lieutenant Rank

A First Lieutenant is a Commissioned Officer in the United States Air Force at DoD paygrade O-2.

The origins of the lieutenant rank can be traced back to early armies in global conflicts. The word “lieutenant” is derived from the French words “lieu” and “tenant”, which roughly translates to “holding a place.” In practice, it refers to the person who is in control when the superior is not present. This is still observed in modern lieutenant responsibilities as he or she is in command when the higher ranked officers are not available.

Following the Air Force’s partition from the Army, the senior Air Force leaders elected to continue using the Army officer ranks. As a result, while the enlisted Air Force ranks do not resemble the Army’s, the officer ranks are identical in name and in insignia.

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History of the Air Force

The Air Force was founded in 1947, just after WWII. It was created using most of the existing Army Air Corps that had just made significant contributions to the war effort. The Air Force is the most technological of the branches, as well as the "most business-like" (least strict). There is a general concensus in the military that quality of life for servicemembers in the Air Force is highest. Just as the Army fights land wars and the Navy fights sea wars, the Air Force was originally envisioned to fight air wars. While wars in the past 70 years couldn't be fought with aircraft alone, the age of Drones and Artificial Intelligence may cause a paradigm shift where air-only wars are possible.