What is a General Officer Commanding?


General officer commanding (GOC) is the usual title given in the armies of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth (and some other nations, such as Ireland) to a general officer who holds a command appointment.

Thus, a general might be the GOC British II Corps (a three-star appointment) or GOC British 7th Armoured Division (a two-star appointment).


A general officer heading a particularly large or important command, such as Middle East Command or the Allied Armies in Italy, may be called a General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C). The Governor of the Imperial Fortress colony of Bermuda was also appointed Commander-in-Chief of the disproportionately-large Bermuda Garrison. From 1912, when Lieutenant General Sir George Mackworth Bullock replaced the late Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Walter Kitchener, through the Second World War, the military office was titled General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Bermuda. GOC-in-Cs are usually one rank higher than a GOC with GOCs of corps-level formations reporting to them.

Equivalent Term in Other Services

The equivalent term for naval officers is flag officer commanding (FOC) and that for air force officers is air officer commanding (AOC). In the case of flag and air officers heading a large or important command, the term is flag officer commanding-in-chief (FOC-in-C) and air officer commanding-in-chief (AOC-in-C).

In the United States Armed Forces, the equivalent is commanding general (CG).


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