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Navy Lieutenant CommanderO-4 LCDR (Previous)
Lieutenant Commander

Navy Commander

O-5 Senior Officer, U.S. Navy
(Next) O-6 CAPTNavy Captain

Navy Ranks » Commander RankCDR PayCDR Rank HistoryPromotion Information

How to get promoted to Commander History of the Navy Commander Rank

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

Up until the mid-1800s, Commanding Officers of small ships were given the rank of Lieutenant and called "Lieutenant, Commanding". The US Navy created the separate rank, "Lieutenant Commander" during the Civil War, and the British Royal Navy and other Navies followed suit shortly after. For this same reason, the USN and USCG are the only branches that consider O-4s to be Junior Officers, and do not wear oak leaf embellishments ("scrambled eggs") on their combination covers (hats).

Want to learn more? Read about the Navy's Commander rank on

History of the Navy

The Navy traces its heritage back to the Revolutionary War, when Congress funded the construction of several warships to repel the British Empire. Nowadays, much of the Navy's mission is to defend international "freedom of the seas." The Navy considers itself to be more technology-centric than the Army, but more traditional than the Air Force. Surface ships patrol the seas, conducting diplomatic relations with all nations of the world, while also enforcing the law against pirates and drug smugglers. Aircraft Carriers are the most powerful individual assets in America's arsenal, with a single unit being able move and be a major player in an armed conflict. Submarines conduct clandestine intelligence-gathering operations. SEALs are internationally reknown for counter-terrorism and irregular warfare in every possible environment. All Sailors are both warfighters and technical specialists.