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Second Lieutenant is the lowest commissioned officer military rank in many armed forces.

In British English the rank is pronounced second /lɛf'tɛnənt/ (lef-tenent), while in American English it is pronounced second /lu'tɛnənt/ (loo-tenent).

United Kingdom and Commonwealth

The rank second lieutenant was introduced throughout the British Army in 1871 to replace the rank of ensign (cornet in the cavalry), although it had long been used in the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, Fusilier and Rifle regiments. At first the rank bore no distinct insignia. In 1902 a single bath star (now commonly referred to as a pip) was introduced; the ranks of lieutenant and captain had their number of stars increased by one to (respectively) two and three. The rank is also used by the Royal Marines.

In the Royal Air Force the comparable rank is pilot officer. The Royal Navy has no exactly equivalent rank, and a second lieutenant is senior to a Royal Navy midshipman but junior to a Sub-Lieutenant. The Royal New Zealand Navy – breaking with Royal Navy tradition – uses the ensign grade for this rank equivalent. The Royal Australian Navy also breaks tradition in the sense that it has the equivalent rank of Ensign, but it is titled "acting sub lieutenant."

The Canadian Forces adopted the rank with insignia of a single gold ring around the service dress uniform cuff for both army and air personnel upon unification in 1968. For a time, naval personnel used this rank but reverted to the Royal Canadian Navy rank of acting sub-lieutenant, though the CF Green uniform was retained until the mid-1980s.

United States

Insignia of a United States Second Lieutenant
In the United Statesmarker, second lieutenant is typically the entry-level rank for most commissioned officers.

In the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps, a second lieutenant typically leads a platoon-size element (16 to 44 soldiers or marines). In the Army, the rank bore no insignia until December 1917, when a gold bar was introduced to contrast with the silver bar of a first lieutenant.

In the U.S. Air Force, a second lieutenant may supervise flights of varying sizes, depending upon the career field, as a flight commander or assistant flight commander or may work in a variety of administrative positions at the squadron, group, or wing level.

As a result of the gold color of the bars, second lieutenants are often colloquially referred to as Butterbars, Nuggets, Commissioned Privates, or 2nd Luey.

The corresponding United States Coast Guard and United States Navy rank is ensign.

In the Army Medical Corps, this is the entry-level rank for nurses.


Image:UK-Navy-OF1.gif| An RNoN Fenrik Arm, shoulder or chest insignia (depending on uniform)Image:NOR-Army-OF1b.gif| A Norwegian Army and Heimevernet (Home Guard) Fenrik shoulder insignia.The equivalent rank in Norway(O-1) is "fenrik", but the function of the rank differs drastically from other armies. Although it is an officer rank, it strongly resembles an NCO-rank in practice. The ranking system in Norway is quite different, while they don't have a professional army, Fenriks are usually former experienced sergeants but to become a sergeant one has to go through officer's training and education. Though they still fill such roles as squad leaders and platoon sergeants while at the rank Fenrik, in some cases Fenriks are XOs. Most Fenriks have finished the War Academy as well, and are fully trained officers. This is due to the lack of an NCO-corps in the Norwegian army.

Other countries

  • : Dvahom Baridman
  • : Nëntoger
  • Arabic-speaking countries except Bahrainmarker, Omanmarker, Sudanmarker, Yemenmarker: ملازم (Mulazim)
  • , , and : Teniente
  • : լեյտենանտ (Leytenant)
  • and : Leytenant
  • , , and : ملازم ثان (Mulazim Thani)
  • : Sous-Lieutenant (French); Onderluitenant (Dutch)
  • : Deda Wom
  • , , , , , , and : Subteniente
  • : Podporučnik
  • and : Segundo Tenente
  • : Ak-no-say-ney-trey
  • and : Tenente
  • : 少尉 (Shào wèi)
  • Imperial China marker: 協軍校 (Xié jūn xiào)
  • : Poručnik
  • , and : Podporučík
  • : Løjtnant
  • : Segundo Teniente
  • : Nooremleitnant
  • : Vänrikki (Finnish) or Fänrik (Swedish) (army and air force); Aliluutnantti (Finnish) or Underlöjtnant (Swedish) (navy)
  • and all French-speaking non-European countries: Sous-Lieutenant
  • : ლეიტენანტი (Leytenanti)
  • and : Leutnant
  • and : Anthypolokhagos (army); Anthyposminagos (air force)
  • : Hadnagy
  • : Segundo Teniente
  • : Letnan Dua
  • : ستوان دوم (Setvan Dovom)
  • Second Lieutenant (English); Dara-Lefteanant (Irish)
  • : סגן משנה (Segen mishne)
  • : Sottotenente
  • : Santō Rikui (or San'i) (modern); Shōi (historical)
  • and : 소위 (Sowi)
  • : Roitrïäkäd
  • : Leitnants
  • : Leitenantas
  • : Lieutenant
  • : Leftenan Muda
  • : Du Bo
  • : Sahayak-Senani
  • and : Tweede-Luitenant
  • : Fenrik
  • Ottoman Empire: Mülazım
  • Philippines: Second Lieutenant (English); Magat, Tenyente, Ikalawang Tenyente, Alperes (cognate of Alferez)
  • : Podporucznik
  • and Mozambiquemarker: Alferes
  • : Sublocotenent (modern); Locotenent (former)
  • , , , , and : Лейтенант (Leytenant)
  • : Подпоручик (Podporuchik); Kорнет (Kornet) (cavalry)
  • : ملازم
  • , and : Потпоручник (Potporučnik)
  • : Poročnik
  • and : Alférez
  • : Fänrik
  • : Leutnant (German); Lieutenant (French); Tenente (Italian)
  • (Taiwan): 少尉 (Shào wèi)
  • : ร้่อยตรี
  • : Teğmen
  • : Teniente Segundo
  • : Subteniente (army); Subteniente (air force); Alférez (Navy)
  • : Thiếu Uý

See also


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