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A French aide-de-camp (right) assisting a général de division (centre), during the Napoleonic wars.

An aide-de-camp (UK or US ; French expression meaning literally helper in the (military) camp) is a personal assistant or secretary to a person of high rank, usually a senior military or government officer, a member of a royal family, or a head of state. This is not to be confused with an adjutant, who is the senior administrator of a military unit. The first aide-de-camp is typically the foremost personal aide.

In some countries, the aide-de-camp is considered to be a title of honour (which confers the post-nominal letters ADC or A de C), and participates at ceremonial functions.

The badge of office for an aide-de-camp is usually the aiguillette, a braided cord in gold or other colours, worn on the shoulder of a uniform. Whether it is worn on the left or the right shoulder is dictated by protocol.


  • Argentina 1
  • Commonwealth of Nations countries 2
    • Australia 2.1
    • Canada 2.2
    • United Kingdom 2.3
  • France 3
  • Hong Kong 4
  • Imperial Russia 5
  • India 6
  • Japan 7
  • Pakistan 8
  • Singapore 9
  • Sri Lanka 10
  • Tanzania 11
  • United States 12
  • Variations 13
  • See also 14
  • Notes 15
  • Further reading 16


In Argentina, three officers (one from each armed service, of the rank of lieutenant colonel or its equivalent), are appointed as aide-de-camp to the president of the republic and three others to the minister of defense, these six being the only ones to be called "edecán", which is one Spanish translation for aide-de-camp ("ayudante de campo" is another – "edecán" is a phonetic imitation of the French term; "ayudante de campo" is a word-for-word translation of it).

A controversy was raised in 2006, when president Néstor Kirchner decided to promote his army aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Colonel Graham to colonel, one year ahead of his class. Upon taking office, current president Cristina Kirchner decided to have, for the first time, female officers as her aides-de-camp.

In each of the armed forces, the chief of staff and other senior officers have their own adjutants, normally of the rank of major or lieutenant colonel, or its equivalent. At unit level, the unit S-1 (personnel officer) doubles as the unit commander's adjutant, although in recent times in many units this practice has been left only for ceremonial purposes, while for everyday duties a senior NCO performs the adjutant's activities.

An aiguillette is worn on the right shoulder by aides-de-camp and adjutants as a symbol of their position, the colour of the aiguillette depending of the rank of the person they are serving (there are golden, tan, silver and red aiguillettes, as well as an olive-green one for combat uniform).

Commonwealth of Nations countries

Her Aide-de-Camp, early 19th-century humorous/symbolic drawing

Charles James Esquire's Military Dictionary (1810) pp 29–30 stated that an aide-de-camp is an officer appointed to attend a general officer and is seldom under the grade of captain: “The King may appoint for himself as many as he pleases, which appointment gives the rank of colonel in the army. Generals being field marshals, have four, lieutenant generals two, major generals one”.

In British colonies and modern-day British overseas territories, the aide-de-camp is appointed to serve the governor.

In 1973, the Governor of Bermuda, Sir Richard Sharples, and his aide-de-camp, Captain Hugh Sayers, were murdered on the grounds of Government House.

On the last day of British rule in Hong Kong on 30 June 1997, the police aide-de-camp to Governor Chris Patten, presented Patten with the flag at Government House. He then gave the Vice Regal Salute before proceeding, with the Pattens, to leave Government House for the last time.

Prince Charles is a personal aide-de-camp to Queen Elizabeth II.


Australian Defence Force officers serve as aides-de-camp to specific senior appointments, such as the Queen, Governor-General, state governors, Chief of the Defence Force, and other specified Army, Navy and Air Force command appointments. Honorary aides-de-camp to the Governor-General or state governors are entitled to the post-nominal ADC during their appointment. Officers of and above the ranks of rear admiral, major general, and air vice marshal in specifically designated command appointments are entitled to an aide de camp with the army rank of captain (or equivalent). Within the navy, an aide-de-camp is called a "flag lieutenant" (as senior naval officers are "flag officers").


Aide-de-camp Colonel Jean-Claude Cloutier with then–Quebec Lieutenant-Governor Lise Thibault.

Aides-de-camp in Canada are appointed to the Queen and some members of the royal family, the governor general, lieutenant governors, and to certain other appointments (e.g., Minister of National Defence, flag and general officers, Canadian heads of mission, foreign heads of state visiting Canada).[1]

In addition to the military officers appointed as full-time aides-de-camp to the governor general, several other flag/general and senior officers are appointed ex officio as honorary aides-de-camp to the governor general including:[2]

Most aides-de-camp wear a gold pattern aiguillette when acting in their official capacity; however, members of St. John Ambulance Canada wear silver aiguillettes consistent with their other accoutrements. All aides-de-camp also wear the cypher or badge of the principal to whom they are appointed.[3] Honorary appointees to the Queen (royal cypher), to the Duke of Edinburgh, or the Prince of Wales, wear the appropriate cypher on their uniform epaulette and are entitled to use the post-nominal letters ADC for the duration of their appointment.

Three lieutenant shoulder boards of the Royal Canadian Navy with the insignia worn by honorary aides-de-camp to the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia (left) Lieutenant Governor of Québec (centre) and Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick (right).

Aides-de-camp to the governor general wear the governor general's badge (crest of the

  • Lawrence P. Crocker (September 1996). Army Officer's Guide.  
  • Australian Army Protocol Manual 1999. Defence Publishing Service DPS: 31568/99.

Further reading

  1. ^ Canadian Forces Administrative Order 3-4
  2. ^ CFAO 3-4
  3. ^ Canadian Forces Publication 265
  4. ^ a b CFP 265
  5. ^ Canada Gazette, February 9, 1974
  6. ^ Canadian Heritage - Styles of address - Others
  7. ^ "103 honorary aides-de-camp appointed". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Army Regulation 614-100, Officer Assignment Policies, Details, and Transfers, U.S. Department of the Army, dated 10 January 2006, last accessed 19 November 2013
  9. ^ "Flag Aide". United States Navy — Navy Personnel Command. August 8, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 
  10. ^ "PERS-412 Flag Aide Nomination Availabilities List" (PDF). United States Navy — Navy Personnel Command. 27 January 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2014. 


See also


The military aides to the President number five (one from each of the uniformed services), and they are majors and lieutenant-colonels. One of their major roles is to hold the Presidential emergency satchel. There are, in addition to these five permanent aides-de-camp, some 40-45 military social aides, who are more junior (lieutenant to major) and are temporary officers whose appointment is, as their titles suggest, for social purposes (primarily as hosts at the White House). They are part-time, required for perhaps 2-4 afternoons a month.

The aide-de-camp in the United States Navy is also known as a flag aide (command ashore) or flag lieutenant (command afloat).[9][10]

U.S. Army aides-de-camp wear a special device in place of the branch-of-service (i.e., infantry, artillery, quartermaster, et al.) insignia they would otherwise wear on the lapels of their service uniform. The rank of the general officer being served is indicated on the device worn by the aide-de-camp, as illustrated below. Although the Chief of Staff of the Army and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are O-10 positions, their aides-de-camp wear devices specific to those offices, rather than the normal four-star aide device. Also, an aide-de-camp wears a special aiguillette on the shoulder of his or her dress uniform.

Lieutenant colonels and colonels commanding units (battalions and brigades, respectively) do not have aides. Occasionally, the unit's adjutant – called the S-1 – will assist the commanding officer as an aide but this is uncommon.

Note: AR 614-100 states a general officer may choose any commissioned officer of any rank equal to or below the allowed rank stated above.
Brigadier general: one lieutenant
Major general: one captain; one lieutenant
Lieutenant general: one major; one captain
General: one lieutenant colonel, one major, one captain
General of the army (or Chief of Staff, USA): one colonel, one lieutenant colonel, one major

Within the United States Army, aides-de-camp are specifically appointed to general-grade officers (NATO Code OF-6 through OF-10), the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of Defense, Vice President, and President of the United States; rank and number determined by the grade. For those general officers with more than one aide, the senior-ranking aide is usually considered to be the senior aide and serves in the capacity of coordinating the other aides and the others of the general's personal staff such as the driver, orderlies, et al. In general, for the majority officers, the maximum tour of duty for aides is two years. The following is a listing of the accepted number of aides and allowable maximum rank allotted a general officer:[8]

US Captain A. S. McDill (left rear), aide-de-camp to Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, COMINCH.

United States

The President of Tanzania has an aide-de-camp from the Tanzania People's Defence Force from the rank of colonel.

President Kikwete (centre) with his aide-de-camp


In Sri Lanka, the president has aides-de-camp from the three armed services as well as extra-aide-de-camp. All general, flag and air officers have their ownaide-de-camp usually selected from their parent regiment or unit.

Sri Lanka

Their duties include assisting in liaison for important guests on behalf of the president and taking care of visiting foreign dignitaries.[7]

In Singapore, the President appoints aides-de-camp from the armed services as well as officers selected from the police force and civil defence force. These officers usually hold the rank of major for both armed services and civil defence, whereas an assistant superintendent of police is chosen from the Singapore police force. Both male and female officers may serve as aides de camp.


In Pakistan the President, Prime Minister and Governors have their own aides-de-camp. The aide-de-camp can be from any one of the three Armed Forces and typically are of the rank of captain (army), lieutenant (navy) or flight lieutenant (air force). It is interesting to note that the aide-de-camp to Justice Khan Habibullah Khan, while he was chief minister and leader of the house of West Pakistan, was his son, a senior bureaucrat, Captain Akhtar Munir Marwat and Captain Gohar Ayub Khan was to his father, President Field Marshal Ayub Khan. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and all the three service chiefs are authorised to have an aide-de-camp. In Pakistan, officers of the rank of major general and equivalent and above in the sister services who are in command of divisions or of peacetime commands have aides-de-camp who usually belong to their general's parent regiment/battalion.


From 1896 until the end of World War II, the Emperors of Japan had army and naval aides-de-camp.


In India, officers of the rank of major general and equivalent and above in the sister services who are in command of divisions or of peacetime commands have aides-de-camp who usually belong to their general's parent regiment/battalion. There have been instances where the sons have served a tenure of aide-de-camp to their fathers. The service chiefs (Chief of the Army/Air/Navy Staff) usually have three aides-de-camp and the President of India has five aides-de-camp (three from the army and one each from the navy and the air force). There is also one honorary aide-de-camp from the Territorial Army.The president may at his pleasure appoint any distinguished officer from the armed forces including the service chiefs as honorary aide-de-camp. The governors of the states have two aides-de-camp, one each from the Indian armed forces and the Indian and state police services except for the state of Jammu and Kashmir where both the aides-de-camp to the governor are appointed from the Indian Army.


In the 18th-Century, under Catherine the Great of Russia, favorites of the Empress were frequently appointed as her aides-de-camp.

Portrait of Alexander Lanskoy, aide-de-camp to the Empress, 1782, Russia

Imperial Russia

The Hong Kong Police Force, the Fire Services Department, the Customs and Excise Department, the Immigration Department, the Government Flying Service, the Civil Aid Service, the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force, the Auxiliary Medical Service, the St. John Ambulance Brigade, and the Correctional Services Department each sends an aide-de-camp to the territory's chief executive, which replaced the governor in 1997.

Hong Kong

When the president travels, an aide-de-camp often rides in the front passenger seat of the presidential car. He is one of the people who are closest to the president.

The President, as commander-in-chief of the French armed forces, is served by aides-de-camp. In general, there are three, including one who traditionally serves in the French Army, and all of whom are at the rank of lieutenant colonel. In essence, their mission is to transport the briefcase permitting the use of nuclear weapons. They can also provide general assistance to the President: For instance, at times aides-de-camp are seen placing the president's speech on his lectern when he arrives, or holding up notes during award ceremonies to remind him of the official words to be pronounced when handing over medals.


Aides-de-Camp and Equerries (along with certain other officers) are distinguished by the addition of aiguillettes to dress uniforms, which differ in size, colour and position of wear, depending on the appointment. In addition, ADCs to the monarch wear the monarch's royal monogram on their shoulder straps in various orders of dress. A distinctive and elaborate full-dress uniform used to be worn by army ADCs, but use of full-dress was largely discontinued after World War I.

Certain members of the Royal Family with military rank may be appointed personal aides-de-camp to the Queen. Those currently holding this appointment are HRH The Duke of Kent; HRH The Prince of Wales; HRH The Duke of Cambridge; Captain Mark Phillips; HRH The Duke of York; HRH The Earl of Wessex and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.

There are several categories of these senior aides-de-camp to the Queen. Most are serving military, naval, and RAF officers, usually of colonel or brigadier rank or equivalent. There are also specific posts for very senior officers, such as first and principal naval aide-de-camp, flag aide-de-camp, aides de camp general, and air aides-de-camp. Analogous offices include the Lieutenant of the Admiralty, the Rear Admiral of the United Kingdom, and the Gold Stick and Silver Stick.

In the United Kingdom, junior officers serve as aides-de-camp to certain senior officers. Flag lieutenant is the Royal Navy's equivalent. Equerries are equivalents to aides-de-camp in the Royal Household, in which aides-de-camp are restricted to senior officers with a primarily honorific role.

General Sir Baker Russell wearing the full-dress uniform of an Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria

United Kingdom

Aides-de-camp to royal and vice-regal personages wear the aiguillette on the right shoulder. Aides-de-camp to all others wear their aiguillette on the left shoulder.[4]

[6] for the duration of their appointment.[5]

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