In times of peace, it is usually held only as an honorary rank.Traditionally, five-star ranks are granted to distinguished military commanders for notable wartime victories and/or in recognition of a record of achievement during the officer's career, whether in peace or in war.
For example: the insignia for the French OF-10 rank maréchal de France contains 7 stars; the insignia for the Portuguese marechal contains four gold stars; and many of the insignia of the ranks in the Commonwealth of Nations contain no stars at all.Typically, five-star officers hold the rank of general of the army, admiral of the fleet, field marshal, marshal or general of the air force, and several other similarly named ranks. The rank is that of the most senior operational military commanders, and within NATO's "standard rank scale" it is designated by the code OF-10.Not all armed forces have such a rank, and in those that do the actual insignia of the "five-star ranks" may not contain five stars.The only full Capitán General is currently His Majesty the King of Spain, the last not-royal appointment (honorary) was in 1994 to Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado.
The rank of Capitana General is currently bestowed also to several images of the Virgin Mary, among them la Virgen de Butarque, la Virgen del Pilar, la Virgen de Guadalupe, Nuestra Señora de los Reyes, la Virgen de los Desamparados (this one properly Capitana Generalísima), la Virgen de la Serra, la Virgen del Canto y la Virgen de los Remedios.
Other names for highly senior ranks from the twentieth century include généralissime (France), generalisimo (Spain) and generalissimus (USSR).
Only one Australian-born officer, Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey, has held a substantive Australian five-star rank.
As part of the bicentennial celebration, George Washington was, 177 years after his death, permanently made senior to all other US generals and admirals with the title General of the Armies effective on 4 July 1976.
The appointment stated he was to have "rank and precedence over all other grades of the Army, past or present".
Alternatively, a five-star rank (or even higher ranks) may be assumed by heads of state in their capacities as commanders-in-chief of their nation's armed forces.