Country Listing

Spain Table of Contents


Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia

Service uniforms for officers of all military services consisted of a blouse, shirt, tie, pants, black socks, and black shoes. Service uniforms for army and air force officers were similar in style, in that both were single-breasted and had four patch pockets, but different in color--olive green for the army and blue for the air force. The navy had a white and navy blue service uniform. Uniforms for enlisted personnel were more simply tailored, and they were made from heavier, longer wearing fabric. The army's enlisted personnel uniform jacket was similar to that worn by officers, but it lacked the lower patch pockets. Air force enlisted personnel wore waist-length jackets similar to those worn by officers. Navy enlisted personnel wore the conventional blues and whites. The military's field uniform consisted of an olive green fatigue jacket, a shirt, trousers, a belt with vertical shoulder suspenders, a field cap and/or a helmet, and combat boots. Additional field uniforms for special forces included winter and summer camouflage uniforms.

Ranks in all three military services generally corresponded to those in the armed forces of the United States. Each of the three services had ten officer ranks, ranging from the equivalent of second lieutenant in the army and the air force and ensign in the navy to general of the army, general of the air force, and fleet admiral. The only difference between the two countries' officer rank structures was that Spain had only four, rather than five, general officer ranks. The highest actual rank held by a general officer was that of three stars. Only the king, as supreme commander, held the four-star rank of captain general. Spain had eight enlisted grades for the army and the air force (as opposed to nine in the United States), ranging from basic private and airman basic to command sergeant major and chief master sergeant, respectively. Spain lacked an equivalent for the United States army grade of sergeant first class/master sergeant or its air force grade of master sergeant. The Spanish navy had only seven enlisted grades, ranging from seaman apprentice to master chief petty officer. It lacked an equivalent for the United States grades of seaman recruit and chief petty officer.

Insignia of rank for Spanish military personnel were displayed on sleeves or shoulder boards and, in some cases, on headgear. Officer rank insignia were the same for the army and air force (a varying number and type of symbols in gold). Naval officer ranks were usually distinguishable by gold stripes worn on sleeves or shoulder boards (see fig. 16). Enlisted personnel ranks were designated by stripes: red for army private and private first class as well as for navy seaman and seaman apprentice; green (on shoulder boards) for air force airman first class; and gold for all other enlisted ranks including warrant officers, but on different colored backgrounds depending on the service (red background for army, blue for navy, and green for air force). In addition, army and air force warrant officers wore a single five-pointed star on service background; the naval warrant officer was identified by a single short horizontal stripe (see fig. 17).

Data as of December 1988