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Thread: Commanding Officer or Officer Commanding?

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    Default Commanding Officer or Officer Commanding?

    I'm not sure if this has been asked previously, but what is the difference between Commanding Officer and Officer Commanding? I have a very small unit - initially 2 officers and 5 ORs, but later 4 officers and 25 ORs - and I'm not sure how to describe the man in overall command.

    Brian

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    Hi,

    I've alway seen the signature as O.C. on the official returns and S.O.

    So my money is on Officer Commanding.

    Regards
    Ross
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    Thanks Ross.

    Brian

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    I grew up in the military, R.C.A.F. My father was the Officer Commanding the Advance Flying Training School however the man in charge of the whole base was the Commanding Officer. Hope that clarifies somewhat.

    Leslie

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    Hello Brian,

    In the British Army the convention is that OC is used for sub-units i.e. platoons of 30 men or companies/squadrons of 120 men; whereas CO is used for units i.e. battalions/regiments of 600-800 men.

    James

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    Hi all,

    to be honest I have seen both OC and CO, I have my own list with abbreviation used by RAF compiled from different official and unofficial sources and there are both possibilities...

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Thank you all gentlemen. It seemed such a simple question when I asked it. Unfortunately such few documents that survive for the particular unit (Meteor Flight) give any clue as to the 'correct' terminology.

    Brian

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    Default Oc / Co

    For what it's worth (probably nowt!) I always assumed that 'Officer Commanding' was more like the official 'title' for the role whereas less 'officially' or less formally the person would have been referred to as the Commanding Officer or just the C.O.

    Ian

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    Where are the owners of MAFL when we need them? And where are the owners of AP XXXX (Manual of Service Writing) ditto? There is a laid-down procedure but age and infirmity preclude me from remembering it.
    I always used to use (like Ian) OC for posts in/and formations/Units. CO was for a communication to the person. This is, possibly, not correct and is, probably, one of the many reasons why I never became Chief of Air Staff?!!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 21st May 2009 at 13:08.
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Broadly speaking, officers who command 'units' are called Commanding Officers. Officers who command 'sub units' (i.e. the component parts of 'units') are titled 'Officer Commanding'.

    The above, like anything else in the UK military, comes with a health warning! There has been a lot of mission creep over the years and these terms have become rather blurred.

    Rgds

    Jonny (a current OC of an independent sub unit)

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