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Four-star rank

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Title: Four-star rank  
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Subject: Recipients of the Order of the Netherlands Lion, Petraeus scandal, 1987 Lieyu massacre, Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld, Pakistan Navy
Collection: 4 Star Officers, Military Ranks
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Four-star rank

A US general's rank insignia[1]

A four-star rank is the rank of any four-star officer described by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members.


  • Australia 1
  • Brazil 2
  • Canada 3
  • Germany 4
  • India 5
  • Pakistan 6
  • United Kingdom 7
  • United States 8
  • Former USSR and Russia 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11


Australian admiral's shoulder board

The four-star rank is reserved in Australia for the Chief of the Defence Force, the highest position in peace time.

In times of major conflict, the highest ranks are the five-star ranks: admiral of the fleet, field marshal, and marshal of the Royal Australian Air Force.


Brazilian general de exército

The four-star rank is reserved in Brazil for the highest post in the military career. The officers in this position take part of the high command of their corporations. The commanders of army, navy and air force are also four-star generals, but they have precedence to all the others military in this rank.


Four maple leaves appear with St. Edward's crown and crossed sabre and baton on epaulettes and shoulder boards. This is the highest rank that is defined in the Canadian Forces under the current National Defence Act Schedule.[2] Usually, only one officer carries the rank of full admiral or general at any one time: the Chief of the Defence Staff. In exceptional circumstances, from time-to-time, the minister may authorize additional officers at that level, for instance, Canadian officers in the position of Chairman of the NATO Military Committee are usually former Chiefs of the Defence Staff seconded to NATO for that duty.

The Command-in-Chief is vested in the Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II; however, the duties are exercised by the Governor General of Canada, who has the title of Commander-in-Chief of Canada.[3] Likewise, the Minister of National Defence, since he or she is not a member of the Canadian Forces, nor in the chain-of-command, also bears no rank. Prince Philip holds the four-star rank of admiral in the Royal Canadian Navy in an honorary capacity as of 2011.

Before unification in 1968, the rank of air chief marshal (maréchal en chef de l'air) was the four-star equivalent for the Royal Canadian Air Force.


The equivalent modern German four-star ranks (OF-9) of the Bundeswehr are as follows:

Not to be confused with Generaloberst, the Wehrmacht (West Germany) equivalent until 1945, or Armeegeneral, the National People´s Army (East Germany) equivalent until 1990.


Indian Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major (wearing four-star insignia)
Pakistan Air Chief Marshal Anwar Shamim (with 4 stars visible on his head-dress)


United Kingdom

See also:

United States

See also:

Former USSR and Russia

Army general (Russian Army since 2013)

While the general armii wore shoulder insignia with four small stars, the marshal and admiral flota wore one single large star on their shoulder boards, and the glavnii marshal the same large star with a laurel wreath, very similar to the modern army general insignia of the Russian Army.

Upon their formation, the Russian armed forces discontinued the ranks of marshal and glavnii marshal.

See also


  1. ^ Note: This rank insignia is not worn by all NATO officers.
  2. ^ Canada - Department of Justice "Laws of Canada: National Defence Act, Schedule I"
  3. ^ The Governor General, Commander-in-Chief "[2]"
  4. ^
  5. ^ RAF Glossary, "Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation",
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