Snco as OC Sqn with Officers under their command

Is this something that is becoming more and more ?

Whereby an experienced SNCO placed as incumbent as OC of a Sqn with baby pilot officers under their command ?


I’ve heard this happening with a WO & Baby officer under an OC Sqn who’s a CI……

Yes case in point sgt as an adj, OC left and the SWO became OC then retired, APO posted in but sgt adj became OIC even though the officer is now a flying officer and is herself now the adj!

I think it will depend on the Wing and the individuals at the unit.

I know of a number of units where newly promoted officers have been thrust into the OC hotseat with very experienced SNCOs still in attendance and who would have probably been better suited in the position for 6 months.

If the officer doesnt put themselves forward what can the Wing Co do??

It shouldn’t be (and where I’ve come across it isn’t) a problem.

But because we have the officer / NCO divide it creates those anomalies.

Of course we could ditch the ranks and just have a squadron boss and their assistants. Works well enough in other youth outfits.

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But what would people wear on dining in nights?

Yeap, I know of one that has a WO as OC and 2 officers under their command

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How can this be. The baby officer would be senior, I would add not necessarily superior, to the experienced SNCO so should be “technically” Officer Commanding. Any newly appointed officer should if possible have a period within a unit where they can develope before being thrust into the command seat. I know this is idealistic but for my mind, the senior rank is always the de facto OC in theory at least, hopefully guided by experienced SNCOs and staff.


I am very proud of my association with the RAFAC but at the end of the day we are only dressing up as RAF. Yes, we take it seriously and some take it more seriously than others, but we do not have any legally enforceable command authority over others on our unit. That disappeared with the VR commissions.
In all my days of being a sqn OC I never gave an order to my staff team and I never needed to give one. We are all volunteers we all freely give our time on Sqn parade nights. CIs freely give their time all of the time. People go what they can do, if no one else is able to do it then it is down to me. I am in the big chair, it is up to me.
I use the analogy of the captain of an aircraft, the aeroplane may be carrying a Gp Capt but the Flt Lt who is the captain is the one in charge of the aircraft. The same with a Sqn. It should always be the best person for the job.


Big difference between RAFAC SNCOs & regular Air Force is that regular Sgt would have 12 years of service where a RAFAC Sgt can have a service of 12 months.

So if you have a RAFAC FS or WO as OIC with a Plt off or Fg off on unit then not a problem but if it’s a RAFAC Sgt then there is no real difference in experience.

you could use the analogy of the Guard room.

the one on the side of the keyboard and PC is a SAC or at best a Cpl…it is they who say yay or nay if a Grp Capt has the correct documents to enter


However, there is always a distinction between rank and authority. The aircraft captain or guardroom NCO may not have the rank but still hold the authority. This can become quite confusing.

yes this is the point being discussed.

a WO may not have the “commanding” Rank to be a OC but has the appointed person has the authority over others within the team

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Potentially. Equally that Sgt could have 3.5 years experience and the Plt Off 6 months?

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The Sgt could have any number of years experience and just not completed part of the arbitrary matrix…


Way back in the day when I was a regular baby officer, my father, who had been a senior RAF NCO, gave me some sound advice about where the authority really was, and it wasn’t me. I’d been brought up on the stations so I understood the dynamics at that time. It served me well in service and ACO life.

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Yeah, although they wouldn’t be an OC they’d be an OiC (Officer in Charge). Lack of officers willing to take up the role as OC Sqn seems to be a problem in my wing, not sure about others.

These days & in the RAFAC the real authority (certainly on Sqns) is with the CIs :grinning:


Nowt wrong with that though if the cadets benefit.


I’ll always be of the opinion that officers should be in the OC position if available. All CFAV who choose the Officer route should expect and desire to take over a squadron in their future.

Ideally, the officer in question would have experience under their belts before taking over but that’s getting harder and harder to come by.

A new Officer as an OC with an experienced SNCO below them works just fine if both parties work together.

The only time I’d say you’d have an officer below an SNCO would be if the SNCO was already OiC when an officer becomes available. Then a six-nine month transitional period would be the best way to go about it.