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Ranks, Uniforms, and Insignia

As a Warsaw Pact member, Romania adopted armed forces uniforms and insignia modeled on those of the Soviet Union. Following the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, however, there was a gradual movement away from the Soviet model and a partial return to the pre-World War II army accoutrements, including the steel helmet formerly known as the "Dutch helmet" and the national crest on head gear, belt buckles, and sleeve patches.

In 1989 the armed forces used four categories of uniforms: full dress, dress, service, and field. The full dress uniform was worn for formal occasions such as parades, ceremonies commemorating Armed Forces Day (October 25), Navy Day (the first Sunday in August), Air Force Day (the third Sunday in July), and Border Guards Day (June 25); conferral of promotions in rank or military decorations; and official receptions. The dress uniform was worn during off-duty hours or during classes at higher military schools. The service uniform was for duty in garrison, and the field uniform was used during training, maneuvers, and firing exercises. The color of the basic uniform for the ground and air force was olive drab, and for the navy it was blue.

Officers wore blue full dress and dress uniforms, which consisted of a single-breasted, open-collar service jacket; matching trousers with a red stripe; black, low quarter shoes or high riding boots; and a service hat. Officers participating with a troop formation in a parade wore the olive drab uniform with a cotton khaki shirt and olive drab tie, a steel helmet, an ornate gold pistol belt, brown gloves, breeches, and high riding boots. Officers in the reviewing stand had the option of wearing the blue uniform with long trousers, black low quarter shoes, the service hat, a white shirt and black tie, white gloves, and a ceremonial dirk or the olive drab uniform but with a service hat, a white shirt and olive drab tie, and white gloves. The dress uniform for officers was either blue or olive drab with long trousers and low quarter shoes but without the ornate pistol belt and ceremonial dirk. In winter the olive drab uniform was worn with a doublebreasted overcoat and brown gloves. Enlisted personnel and noncommissioned ranks wore an olive drab shirt and trousers, a brown leather belt with brass buckle, a garrison cap, and black combat boots. In winter they wore an olive drab overcoat and a pile cap.

The service uniform was the same as the dress olive drab uniform except that officers wore a brown leather Sam Browne belt, breeches, and high boots. Enlisted personnel could wear a field jacket as an outer garment with a brown leather belt and brass buckle. The field uniform was the same as the service uniform except that officers wore the field jacket instead of the service jacket with the Sam Browne belt and hard shoulder boards. Enlisted personnel wore the steel helmet in place of the garrison cap. Depending on the season, the overcoat, gloves, and pile cap were worn in the field.

The prominent features that distinguished air force, air defense, and airborne personnel from army personnel were the background color of the shoulder boards, the color of the collar tabs, and the color of the service hat band. Reminiscent of the pre-World War II era, general and field-grade air force officers wore a series of gold braids topped by a diamond on their sleeves. Members of the elite mountain-troop units wore distinctive olive drab ski pants, field jackets, ski/mountain boots, thick white socks rolled over the boot tops, and olive drab berets. For field training, reconnaissance unit personnel wore a mottled green and brown camouflage jumpsuit with attached head cover in summer and a white uniform in winter. Navy personnel wore uniforms similar in color and style to those used by most of the world's navies. The winter uniform was navy blue, and the summer uniform featured a tropical white service jacket. Enlisted seamen wore a visorless hat with a black band and a hat ribbon worn in pigtail fashion.

In 1989, Romanian military rank structure conformed to that used by the Soviet Union and the other Warsaw Pact nations. There were four general officer ranks, three field-grade ranks, and four company-grade ranks. Enlisted ranks included privates and noncommissioned officers. The naval rank structure was analogous, but there were only three admiral ranks.

All rank insignia was displayed on shoulder loops or shoulder boards and tended to be ornate for commissioned officers and plain for enlisted personnel. General officers wore a shoulder board with a red background and a broad ornate gold stripe and silver stars set on a red background. The shoulder board worn by air force general officers had a blue background, whereas that worn by navy admirals featured a navy blue background and gold stars. Fieldgrade officers wore a shoulder board with three longitudinal gold stripes on a background of the color designated for the branch of service and smaller silver stars. For company-grade officers, the shoulder board had two longitudinal gold stripes and even smaller silver stars. The shoulder boards of enlisted and noncommissioned officer ranks featured transverse gold stripes on a background of olive drab or the color designated for the branch of service along with a branch-of-service metallic insignia. Navy officers wore gold sleeve stripes and stars, and the lowest enlisted seamen wore gold chevrons on the sleeve (see fig. 10; fig. 11).

Data as of July 1989

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Romania Table of Contents