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Colombia: Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > The Organization of the Armed Forces > Defense and Security Spending


Colombian military personnel wore a number of different uniforms for both cold and hot weather. Army officer uniforms included a full-dress uniform of blue coat and white trousers for a cold climate; a white full-dress uniform for a hot climate; several different dress uniforms for both hot and cold climates that consisted of some combination of blue and white coat and trousers with piping or fringe on the trousers to indicate branch of service; an olive-drab barracks uniform for a cold climate; a tan gabardine barracks uniform for a hot climate; and tan gabardine service and field uniforms for all climates. Army enlisted uniforms consisted of an olive-drab dress uniform for a cold climate, a tan flannel dress uniform for a hot climate, and tan barracks and field uniforms for all climates. All air force officers and enlisted personnel wore a full-dress uniform of midnight blue cloth for a hot or cold climate, a social dress uniform of midnight blue cloth for a cold climate, a street dress uniform of sky blue blouse and trousers, and a service dress uniform for a hot climate. Commissioned naval officers and cadets had two service uniforms (blue or white service coat and trousers), a white tropical working uniform, and a khaki tropical working uniform. Chief petty officers wore blue or white service coat and trousers. All other navy enlisted personnel wore blue jumpers and trousers.

The rank structure for all services closely paralleled that of the United States military. Each service had nine officer ranks, ranging from the equivalent of second lieutenant to general in the army and in the air force and ensign to vice admiral in the navy The army and navy had eight enlisted grades, ranging from the equivalent of basic private to command sergeant major and from seaman recruit to fleet force master chief petty officer, respectively. The air force had seven enlisted grades, from the equivalent of airman basic to chief master sergeant.

Army and air force officer rank insignia were shown in gold on shoulder boards. Insignia for army enlisted personnel consisted of yellow, blue, and red chevrons placed with their vertices down at the bottom of the right sleeve. Air force enlisted insignia were in gold. Navy officer and cadet insignia were indicated in gold on shoulder boards or sleeves. Navy enlisted insignia consisted of gold markings worn on the outer left sleeve of the coat, jumper, or shirt (depending on the uniform), half-way between the top shoulder seam and the elbow.

Data as of December 1988

Last Updated: December 1988

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Colombia was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Colombia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 167 of 188


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