Country Listing

Portugal Table of Contents


Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia

The official grade structure of the Portuguese armed forces showed nine officer ranks for the army and the air force and nine for the navy (see fig. 12). The rank of general was not subdivided as in the United States armed forces. Officers of the highest rank, that of general, wore three stars, except for the chief of staff of the armed forces and the three service chiefs of staff, who wore four stars. The rank of marechal (fleet admiral in the navy) was honorary and, as of early 1992, was held by only two persons, both retired army generals. The army and air force each had nine enlisted ranks; the navy used only seven (see fig. 13). Officer ranks were displayed by peak decorations on the headgear and chin cords. The peaked caps of all three services also bore the Portuguese coat of arms.

On the pale gray full dress uniform of the army, rank designations were displayed in the form of gorget patches for general officers and cuff bars for other officers. On the olive green service uniform, usually worn with shirt and tie, shoulder board insignia denoted officer ranks. Shoulder boards or sleeve chevrons were worn by enlisted personnel and warrant officers. The highest NCO rank of first sergeant was denoted by four upward-pointing chevrons.

Army fatigue uniforms were olive green, and combat uniforms were of camouflage material. The standard headgear for enlisted personnel was a brown beret bearing the national colors of red and green. Armored troops were distinguished by black berets, and paratroops wore green berets. Special forces wore distinctive camouflage uniforms with red berets.

The air force uniform was light blue with a peaked cap as standard headgear for both officers and NCOs and berets for other ranks. All ranks wore garrison caps with nondress uniforms. Stars and sleeve rings denoting ranks were worn on the sleeve cuffs of officer uniforms. Rank chevrons similar to those of the army were worn on the shoulder by enlisted personnel.

Navy personnel wore either blue wool or white cotton uniforms for shore or sea duty. In either case, pullover blouses were standard. Navy enlisted men's headgear was similar to those of other European navies--round caps with the name of the ship sewn on the headband. Peaked caps were worn by officers and petty officers, bearing the state arms and designating rank by peak decoration. Marines wore dark blue berets. Ranks displayed on uniforms consisted of sleeve rings for officers and rank chevrons for NCOs. As in the other services, warrant officers' ranks were denoted by a combination of chevrons and the coat of arms.

Data as of January 1993