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Memory Alpha
"What's the matter, Chief?"
"It just occurred to me. As soon as that kid graduates from the Academy, I'm going to have to call him sir."

In Starfleet, an enlisted crewman was one who had not completed the four-year Starfleet Academy course. Enlisted crewmen receive basic training, along with any specific courses required for their position at the Starfleet Technical Services Academy on Mars, before being posted. (TNG: "The Drumhead", "Eye of the Beholder"; DS9: "Shadowplay", "Starship Down")

Other force structures, such as the Klingon Defense Force and the Bajoran Militia, have enlisted personnel in their ranks.

As with commissioned officers, there was a rank structure among enlisted crew. (DS9: "Starship Down") The term "non-commissioned officer" refers specifically to any enlisted personnel given authority over other personnel. (DS9: "Hippocratic Oath") In Starfleet, this refers to any petty officer up to master chief.

All commissioned officer ranks, from ensign upward, outrank all enlisted officers in the chain of command. (DS9: "Facets", "Hippocratic Oath") Additionally, chief petty officers, such as Miles O'Brien, wielded influence far beyond their place in the rank structure due to their extensive experience and skill and act as mentors to junior enlisted and commissioned officers. (DS9: "Starship Down", "The Ship") Enlisted personnel may be promoted to receive a commission. (DS9: "Once More Unto the Breach")

Rank structure

Naval ranks

Ground-side and aviation ranks


This chart shows only general equivalencies based on the ranks used by many governments on Earth, as well as the rest of the galaxy.


Gene Roddenberry initially envisioned a Starfleet entirely composed of officers during the creation of Star Trek: The Original Series. "Although the Enterprise is a military vessel," he said, "its organization is only semimilitary. The 'enlisted men' category does not exist. Star Trek goes on the assumption that every man and woman aboard the USS Enterprise is the equivalent of a qualified astronaut, therefore an officer." (The Making of Star Trek, p. 209) In a six-page memo he sent Gene L. Coon about the first draft script of TOS: "Court Martial" (sent on 15 August 1966, while the episode had the working title "Court Martial on Star Base 811"), Roddenberry pointed out, "There is a feeling of an officer-enlisted man arrangement in this script. Actually, we've avoided terminology or playing of 'enlisted men' aboard our vessel. Every man aboard is a trained astronaut, even the cooks."

Robert Fletcher's original costume notes, page 9.

For the Star Trek films, costume designers created insignia for chiefs, petty officers, and even crewmen. In particular, Robert Fletcher's Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan uniforms had an entire series of enlisted rank insignia (p. 9). Some of these were reproduced (albeit incorrectly) in the Star Trek Encyclopedia. This is the origin of the "ables'man" term, which has not been used elsewhere in Star Trek. Fletcher's original costume notes actually referred to the rank of crewman as "able seaman", a term which has been used nowhere else in Star Trek.

Additionally, in Fletcher's personal notes (p. 11), he indicated that "there is no warrant rank," however, in a later 2 June 1987 '"Star Trek" Cast Ranks' memo from Rick Berman to Bill Theiss, the intention during TNG was to have warrant ranks, whereas it was stated that the "C.W.O." ("Chief Warrant Officer") was described as having "1 Black Disk" (pip). The Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 369) labels this enlisted rank insignia as "Chief Warrant Officer".