Who is the highest level military official authorized to carry a loaded sidearm?

Asking for a friend.

In what context?

I’d assume a private can carry one in some places (a battlefield), while a general can’t in others (a non-battlefield).

Here’sGeneral William Westmorelandwearing a sidearm while he was commanding in Vietnam.

So four stars, at least in a combat zone.

You’re asking who is the highest ranking on record. But then, Generals can and often do carry sidearms in combat areas. US ordnance issue general officers pistols, first in the form of the colt 380, followed by the 1911 .45, and then the beretta M9. It’s really a distinctive issue with leather holster, magazine wells and other accessories. In WW2, German field marshals normally didn’t since the baton was a sufficient symbol of rank. But we know Herman Goering had several side arms.

Bradley, Eisenhower and Patton were said to have bought their issue pistols after they retired (but didn’t Patton die while still active?)

Carrying of weapons is government by regulations and standing orders. Which often mean different orders at different times and places.

Here’s a trio of Israeli generals, including the current Joint Chief of Staff (on the left). As you can see, none of them are carrying sidearms.

Here you go.

And you infer that this is because they lack the authorization to do so?

Authorization from whom? They’re generals. They can authorize themselves if they wanted.

Then I don’t understand your earlier post. The question being discussed here is the highest-level military official allowed to carry sidearms. You posted a photo of some generals and drew attention (without further explanation) to their lack of sidearms. Exactly what argument were you trying to make?

It was my way of wondering whether the OP wS referring specifically to pistols or to firearms in general - no pun intended.

Which country? Saddam Hussein was as high as you could get in his country’s hierarchy, and he had a penchant for carrying, and using, all sorts of firearms. If the U.S., I’m sure there’s a photo somewhere of John J. Pershing carrying a sidearm after he received the rank, “General of The Armies” in 1919. The rank has only been used for him, and, retroactively in the 1970s, awarded to George Washington. Beyond that, Ronald Reagan was known to carry a firearm in his briefcase while President. There are plenty of cites attesting to it; a typical one may be seen here: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/president-ronald-reagan-packed-heat-briefcase-article-1.2257391

I doubt the Secret Service was amused, but what can you do?

Being in the military or being of a certain rank does not give you an all purpose carry license. Weapons are carried when i) They are needed to perform a duty and ii) when orders state they must be carried.
A Private at a desk job might never carry one. A Colonel in the field might always do so.

As for generals, they’re the ones who decide whether firearms are needed, and they’re the ones who issue the orders to carry them. In practice, this means that they themselves can carry whatever they want - pistol, rifle or longbow - and nobody will tell them not to.

I was thinking of someone like Jim Mattis, whether he could just casually stroll around carrying a pistol in the White House if it suited his fancy.

The Whote House isn’t a military base, and tge Secret Service isn’t under military command. Mattis can probably issue hself a weapon, but he’d have to leave it at the White House door.

Jim Mattis is the Secretary of Defense, not a military officer.

Do military regulations trump civil laws when it comes to carrying firearms in public places that are not on military real estate? That is, if Virginia law allows open carry, what would preclude a five-star general from carrying a holstered sidearm into the Pentagon City mall? (For those outside the Beltway, Pentagon City is named for the Pentagon but is just a shopping mall unaffiliated with the government.)

Well, not in the strict sense. But he’s the second highest person in the US military chain of command, and a former 4-star general. He is part of the National Command Authority making him a joint wielder of nuclear weapons. So he is packing some heat, in a sense. It would be comical if he weren’t allowed to carry a pistol on top of that, hence my curiosity.

Nobody’s saying he isn’t, but it wouldn’t be via his authority as Secretary of Defense, or his previous job as a general.

I think it would be more along the lines of deciding he needs to carry one and then getting that approved by the Secret Service and any other White House security.