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Captain/Major promotion


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I regularly read up on US generals on Wikipedia to fill some down time and I noticed that in nearly all cases the generals (regardless of the branch of the military they served in) started as second lieutenant and got promoted to first lieutenant and then to captain after exactly two and four years service respectively but promotion from captain to major take anything from five years or more. Promotions from major upwards seems to be unpredictable so I guess that's down to the need for that particular officer's skills at a certain level at a certain time or if if there's a post to be filled. Obviously this only apply to peacetime promotions since it's blatantly obvious from my reading that officers promoted during the World Wars tended to revert to their pre-war rank after the conflict was over.

Is this required ''time on grade/rank'' or is there another reason for this bigger gap?

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I can't give you specifics, but I do know from reading [mostly military fiction] that,  especially at the lower levels, promotion was often for 'time in grade'.  As W.E.B. Griffin put it in a book on WWII Marines, if you could 'hear thunder and see lightning' [and had two years in] the jump from 2nd Lt to 1st Lt was just about automatic. 

I think that would have been especially true in peace time - as a way of retaining officers who might otherwise resign.  The Canadian Armed Forces are very 'NCO heavy' for that reason: to hold onto skilled soldiers such as mechanics, riggers are anybody whose job has a civilian equivalent, you have to promote them regularly.

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