Air Officer Commanding
Air Officer Commanding is a title given in the air forces of Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 (and some other) nations to an air officer
Air Officer
An air officer is a Royal Air Force officer of the rank of air commodore or higher. Such officers may be termed "officers of air rank". The term is also used by many Commonwealth nations who have a similar rank structure to the RAF....

 who holds a command appointment. Thus, an air vice marshal might be the AOC 38 Group. The equivalent term for army officers is General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding
General Officer Commanding is the usual title given in the armies of Commonwealth nations to a general officer who holds a command appointment. Thus, a general might be the GOC II Corps or GOC 7th Armoured Division...

 (GOC) from where the air force term was derived.

An air officer heading a particularly large or important command may be called an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...


Royal Air Force usage

In the RAF those air officers who command a group
Group (air force)
A group is a military aviation unit, a component of military organization and a military formation. Usage of the terms group and wing differ from one country to another, as well as different branches of a defence force, in some cases...

 are styled Air Officer Commanding, followed by the name of the group. Currently, there are three AOCs:
  • AOC 1 Group
    No. 1 Group RAF
    Number 1 Group of the Royal Air Force is one of the two operations groups in Air Command.The group is today referred to as the Air Combat Group, as it controls the RAF's combat fast-jet aircraft and has airfields in the UK plus RAF Unit Goose Bay in Canada, which is used extensively as an...

  • AOC 2 Group
    No. 2 Group RAF
    Number 2 Group is a Group of the Royal Air Force which was first activated in 1918, served from 1918–20, from 1936 through the Second World War to 1947, from 1948 to 1958, from 1993 to 1996, was reactivated in 2000, and is today part of Air Command....

  • AOC 22 Group
    No. 22 Group RAF
    Number 22 Group is one of only three groups currently active in the Royal Air Force, falling under the responsibility of Deputy Commander-in-Chief in Air Command. Its current full title is Number 22 Group and it is responsible for RAF training policy and controlling the Royal Air Force College...

This title is also used for the appointment of the United Kingdom Air Component Commander in the Middle East, who is dual-hatted as AOC 83 Expeditionary Air Group
No. 83 Group RAF
No. 83 Group was a group within the Royal Air Force's 2nd Tactical Air Force during the Second World War and the post-war era. In 2006, the group was re-established as No. 83 Expeditionary Air Group.-History:...


United States Air Force usage

In the United States Air Force, the term "Air Officer Commanding" is used specifically to refer to the specially selected officers who command cadet squadrons and groups at the United States Air Force Academy
United States Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy is an accredited college for the undergraduate education of officer candidates for the United States Air Force. Its campus is located immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States...

 in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Colorado Springs is a Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States. Colorado Springs is located in South-Central Colorado, in the southern portion of the state. It is situated on Fountain Creek and is located south of the Colorado...

, Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

. In the case of a cadet squadron, the AOC is normally a major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

; in the case of a cadet group, the AOC is normally a lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

. These officers exercise command authority over their cadet units and are expected to train cadets in officership and military matters, advise the cadets who hold leadership positions in the unit, and act as role models for the future officers.

Although the vast majority of AOCs at the Academy are, logically, United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 officers, a small number may come from the other U.S. military branches, at least one from each of the other three branches at a given point in time. While holding these positions at the Academy, these officers are still referred to as "Air Officers Commanding" despite their being Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 or Marine
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...


Pakistan Air Force Usage

The title Air Officer Commanding (AOC) also exists in Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Air Force
The Pakistan Air Force is the leading air arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces and is primarily tasked with the aerial defence of Pakistan with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy. The PAF also has a tertiary role of providing strategic air transport...

. The title is given to the commander of an independent formation or command, who is of the rank Air Vice Marshal or above. Like:
  • AOC PAF Academy
  • AOC Northern Air Command
  • AOC Air Defence Command
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