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Lieutenant Commander

Coast Guard Commander

O-5 Senior Officer, U.S. Coast Guard
(Next) O-6 CAPTCoast Guard Captain

Coast Guard Ranks » Commander RankCDR PayCDR Rank History

How to get promoted to Commander History of the Coast Guard Commander Rank

A Commander is a Senior Officer in the United States Coast Guard at DoD paygrade O-5.

The military term "commander" means one who gives commands and is derived from the Latin "commandare" ("to give into one's hand"). The rank started as a second-in-command to the captain of a large vessel, known as 'Master and Commander'. In the case of smaller vessels not requiring the command of a Captain, the Commander would be in charge. The US Navy adopted the Royal Navy's system of three ranks of captain and in 1838, Captain 2nd Grade was renamed Commander.

With the formaton of the US Coast Guard in 1915 and the decision to use naval ranks in the service from 1920, the six senior captains in the Coast Guard, who had been carried over from the US Revenue Cutter Service after amalgamation, were renamed Commanders.

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History of the Coast Guard

The Coast Guard has changed names several times over its 200+ year history, but it is largely the same organization as it was in 1790 as the Revenue Marine. Uniforms, culture, and professions are very similar to the Navy, but the mission is different. While the Navy ensures freedom of navigation internationally, the Coast Guard does so for our nation's coasts through vessel inspections, law enforcement, drug and migrant interdiction, maintenance of navigation aids, environmental protection and research, ice operations, and search-and-rescue. Sailors of the Navy and Coast Guard have a high respect for each other, knowing that one can do what the other cannot.