Coast Guard CommanderO-5 Senior Officer, U.S. Coast Guard
O-5 Commander - Senior Officer - U.S. Coast Guard Ranks
Commander is the first senior commissioned officer rank in the U.S. Coast Guard, and is equivalent to the rank of Liutenant Colonel in the other Armed Services.
Commanders often serve as the captain of a small Coast Guard vessel, such as a cutter, frigate, destroyer, or submarine. Commanders may also lead squadrons of aircraft, be placed in charge of a small shore mission, or serve on the staff of a senior officer aboard a larger Coast Guard vessel.
Commanders wear the navy-blue uniform of a full Line Officer and are the first rank permitted to wear gold-embellished cap brims, often called "scrambled eggs".
Commander is the 21st rank in the United States Coast Guard , ranking above Lieutenant Commander and directly below Captain. A commander is a Senior Officer at DoD paygrade O-5, with a starting monthly pay of $6,112.
How do you become a Commander?
A Commander is most often promoted from Lieutenant Commander (LCDR), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience.
To advance to Commander, a more junior-ranked officer, usually a Lieutenant-Commander, eligible for advancement, must have served at least four years as a lieutentant-commander. After the Secretary of the Coast Guard determines the number of posts vacant, a selection board is convened to recommend eligible officers for promotion.
What is the proper way to address a Commander?
The correct way to address a Commander named Mr. Weber is "Commander Weber", or written as CDR Weber. In formal situations, a Commander should always be addressed by their full rank.
How much does a Commander earn?
Basic pay for an entry-level Commander with 2 or less years of experience is $6,112.20 per month.
A Commander receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Commander's final compensation package.
In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Coast Guard Commander may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including hostile fire pay, food allowance, and more.
For full details on the Coast Guard's Commander compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2023 Coast Guard Commander Pay Chart. A full table of the Coast Guard's current paygrades are available at the Coast Guard Pay Chart.
Equivalent Ranks to the Coast Guard's O-5 Commander
To learn more about the Coast Guard's rank structure, see our complete list of Coast Guard ranks.
The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a Commander is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Coast Guard rank to GS grade conversion table .
To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Coast Guard and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.