Sunday the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) unveiled it’s new dress uniforms during the Battle of Britain parade in Ottawa. Currently the uniform colours are blue-grey with gold accents (buttons, patches, etc…). The new uniforms are a slightly more blue colour and the gold is being replaced with “pearl-grey.” Another change that is being made is in one of the ranks. Currently NCM (non-commissioned members) begin at the rank of Private. Now NCMs will begin with the rank of Aviator, which is gender neutral.
You may be ask why are they implementing these changes? Well there’s a few reasons. The main one is they want to go back to the historical look and feel of the the RCAF before the unification of the the 3 military branches back in the 60’s/70’s. Traditionally the RCAF colours were blue and grey, but it was after unification where the grey was changed to gold.
As for the rank change, some are confused as to why only one rank got a new name. However, it’s a step in the right direction. Perhaps a few years down the road they’ll begin to change the rest of the ranks. For those of you confused, currently the RCAF and Canadian Army share the same rank names and the Navy has their own separate rank names. I’ll try to explain the rank names.
Beginning with the NCMs:
Navy: Ordinary Seaman ->Able Seaman ->Leading Seaman ->Master Seaman ->Petty Officer 2nd Class ->Petty Officer 1st Class ->Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class ->Chief Petty Officer 1st Class
Army/RCAF: Private(basic) ->Private ->Corporal ->Master Corporal -> Sergeant ->Warrant Officer ->Master Warrant Officer ->Chief Warrant Officer
Navy: Naval Cadet ->Acting Sub Lieutenant ->Sub Lieutenant ->Lieutenant ->Lieutenant Commander -> Commander ->Captain ->Commodore ->Rear Admiral ->Vice Admiral ->Admiral
Army/RCAF: Officer Cadet ->Second Lieutenant ->Lieutenant ->Captain ->Major ->Lieutenant Colonel ->Colonel ->Brigadier General ->Major General ->Lieutenant General ->General
It would have been nice if they had attempted to restore more of the historical ranks in the RCAF.
NCM: Aircraftman/Airwoman 2nd Class ->Aircraftman/Airwoman 1st Class ->Leading Aircraftman/Airwoman ->Corporal ->Sergeant ->Flight Sergeant ->Warrant Officer Class 2 ->Warrant Officer Class 1
Officer: Flight Cadet ->Pilot Officer ->Flying Officer ->Flight Lieutenant ->Squadron Leader ->Wing Commander ->Group Captain ->Air Commodore ->Air Vice-Marshal ->Air Marshal ->Air Chief Marshal
Obviously some of the officer ranks wouldn’t make much sense nowadays, since not all RCAF officers are pilots. It would seem silly to have someone who doesn’t fly but is in the officer ranks to be called Pilot Officers or Flying Officers. Oh well, like I said maybe one day it’ll happen.
(The top row is for the officer ranks, the bottom is NCM)