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Captain rank pin

The rank insignia of a Starfleet captain in the late 23rd century

For the mirror universe counterpart, please see Starfleet ranks (mirror).

Starfleet ranks were the identifying titles for the officers and enlisted members of Starfleet, under both United Earth and the United Federation of Planets. These ranks used the titles and positions adopted from earlier Earth naval forces.

Creation and early usage Edit

Starfleet ranks in the early 22nd century had at least three enlisted positions, four officer ranks, and three ranks for use by flag officers. Rank was displayed on the right breast of the Starfleet uniforms, above a colored shoulder trim denoting what department the crew member was assigned to (command, security/engineering, or science/medical.) (Star Trek: Enterprise, et al.)

The Starfleet rank pattern in the 2140s/2150s included:

Ent crew3
Crewman 3rd class
Ent crew2
Crewman 2nd class
Ent crew1
Crewman 1st class
Ent ens
Ensign pip
Ent lt
Lieutenant pips
Ent cmdr
Commander pips
Ent capt
Captain pips
Ent cdore
Commodore pip
Ent radm
Rear admiral pips
Ent vadm
Vice admiral pips
The earliest depicted usage of this rank system is in 2143 in "First Flight".
Dialogue from Star Trek: Enterprise indicated that the "four star" rank of admiral also existed in the United Earth Starfleet, but no character was shown holding this rank. (citation needededit)

23rd century Edit

Early 23rd century Edit

By the 2230s, the Starfleet uniform used a sleeve stripe system instead of pips to denote rank. The rank of lieutenant commander had also been introduced. (Star Trek)

No insignia
(Enlisted ranks)
Starfleet gold bands lt
Lieutenant
Starfleet gold bands lt cmdr
Lieutenant commander
Starfleet gold bands capt
Captain

Mid 23rd century Edit

By the late 2230s, Starfleet had changed its uniform and had a new rank and insignia system. Enlisted personnel wore no rank insignia. Commissioned officers were denoted by the number of pips on their Starfleet insignia badge, and the Admiralty wore a Starfleet insignia surrounded by a wreath made up of smaller Starfleet insignia on a dark disc. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")

Starfleet DIS CDT1st
Cadet 1st class
Starfleet DIS CREW
Crewman
Starfleet DIS ENS
Ensign
Starfleet DIS LT JG
Lieutenant junior grade
Starfleet DIS LT
Lieutenant
Starfleet DIS LT CMDR
Lieutenant commander
Starfleet DIS CMDR
Commander
Starfleet DIS CAPT
Captain
Starfleet DIS RADM
Rear admiral
Starfleet DIS VADM
Vice admiral
Starfleet DIS ADM
Admiral

Lower rank grades among the Admiralty were indicated by blackened arrowheads on each side of the large arrowhead. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry", "The War Without, The War Within")

As rank was shown on the breast badge that also indicated the division one worked for, the above ranks were shown similarly on the below division insignia. (DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?")

Starfleet DIS CREW
Command
Starfleet DIS OPS
Operations
Starfleet DIS SCI
Science
Starfleet DIS MED
Medical
Starfleet DIS S31
Section 31

Another variation of this uniform style that was new in the 2250s changed the rank system back to a sleeve stripe system similar to the one used in the 2230s. (DIS: "Brother")

No insignia
(Enlisted ranks)
Starfleet gold bands lt
Lieutenant
Starfleet gold bands lt cmdr
Lieutenant commander
Starfleet gold bands cmdr
Commander
Starfleet gold bands capt
Captain

In the 2250s the uniform was in flux, and Starfleet changed its uniforms more than once in the decade. One of these transitional styles had a much simpler rank and insignia system. Enlisted personnel wore no rank insignia while the rank of chief petty officer was denoted by a special sleeve stripe. Commissioned officers wore a solid gold stripe. This system would be in use concurrently with other rank insignia systems for at least fifteen years, with only a slight modification in the early 2260s, when those holding the rank of captain were authorized to wear two gold stripes whereas other officers wore one.

By 2265, the rank system included another variety of sleeve stripes. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before")

No insignia
(Enlisted ranks)
Cage chief
Chief petty officer
Officer stripe, 2254-2265
Commissioned officer
WNMHGB capt
Captain
No ranks above captain were seen in the Star Trek pilot episodes.

The 2260s and 2270s Edit

By 2266, Starfleet had once again changed its uniforms and, while still using the sleeve stripe system to denote rank, the rank stripes had been modified to show more detail for each particular rank. An exception was that enlisted personnel, chief petty officers included, now had no insignia whatsoever with most enlisted personnel also wearing Starfleet jumpsuits instead of the standard tunic uniforms worn by the officers.

Starfleet flag officers wore a thicker braid insignia than regular officers and the rank of cadet and midshipman were both apparently in use at Starfleet Academy.

The 2266 rank and insignia pattern was as follows:

No insignia
Enlisted
Ensign
Tos ltjg
Lieutenant junior grade
Tos lt
Lieutenant
Tos lcdr
Lieutenant commander
Tos cmdr
Commander
Tos capt
Captain
Tos cdore
Commodore
Tos vadm
Vice admiral
The only admiral seen wearing insignia in the Original Series was Admiral Fitzpatrick who, although addressed as "admiral", wore an insignia which has been equated in numerous technical manuals and fan publications as vice admiral. The rank of fleet admiral was also mentioned to have existed in "Space Seed" but an actual fleet admiral was not seen on camera until Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

In the mid 2270s, Starfleet changed its uniforms again, although mainly in appearance only. The rank insignia of officers remained relatively the same, with the exception that the rank of lieutenant junior grade was apparently done away with. Enlisted personnel also adopted a style of their own rank insignia and both officers and admirals could now wear a short sleeve "Class B" uniform which displayed rank insignia on shoulder tabs.

The 2271 rank insignia pattern was as follows:

Tmp po
Petty officer
Tmp chief
Chief petty officer
Tos ltjg
Ensign
Tos lt
Lieutenant
Tos lcdr
Lieutenant commander
Tos cmdr
Commander
Tos capt
Captain
Tmp radm
Rear admiral

Corresponding officer shoulder boards appeared as follows:

STTMPRankBoards

Late 23rd to mid 24th century Edit

By the year 2278, Starfleet had again changed its uniforms, abandoning the previous sleeve stripe system and adopting a totally new insignia design which incorporated a series of rank pins worn on a shoulder strap with the color of the strap determining the bearer's branch within Starfleet. At this point, the lieutenant junior grade rank had also been re-established.

The shoulder strap system also matched with a cuff strap which could display various citation and years-of-service pins. Finally, in the case of admirals, another series of cuff straps denoted the particular rank of the admiral.

Enlisted uniforms were also completely revamped from previous versions and now were worn as jumpsuits with rank pins worn on the lower right sleeve. Enlisted ranks themselves were expanded, encompassing several grades of petty officer and chief petty officer.

With the exception of some minor cosmetic changes to officer uniforms, including the introduction of a standard communicator pin around 2344, the uniforms and insignia of the late 23rd century remained unchanged until approximately the year 2355.

A captain rank badge was among the items which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [1]

The insignia pattern was as follows:

Able seaman rank insignia, 2280s-2290s
Crewman
Mov po2
Petty officer, 2nd class
Mov po1
Petty officer, 1st class
Mov cpo
Chief petty officer
Mov scpo
Senior chief petty officer
Mov mcpo
Master chief petty officer
Mov ens
Ensign
Mov ltjg
Lieutenant junior grade
Mov lt
Lieutenant
Mov ltcmdr
Lieutenant Commander
Mov cmdr
Commander
Mov capt
Captain
Mov cdore
Mov cdore-sleeve
Commodore
Mov radm
Mov radm-sleeve
Rear admiral
Mov vadm
Mov vadm-sleeve
Vice admiral
Mov adm
Mov adm-sleeve
Admiral
Mov fadm
Mov fadm-sleeve
Fleet admiral
 

24th century Edit

Starfleet ranks, 2360s

Ranks in the 2360s

Picards rank pips

A captain's rank pips

By the year 2355, Starfleet had introduced a new uniform design with the manner of insignia returning to the pip system used a hundred years earlier. (TNG: "The Battle")

The 24th century pip system introduced a generic "hollow pip" insignia to denote chief petty officers. (TNG: "Realm of Fear")

The pip system used in the mid 24th century remained relatively unchanged and by 2385 was still the standard insignia system used by Starfleet, although the uniforms themselves had undergone several changes. (PIC: "Maps and Legends")

The original officer and enlisted pip system, introduced in the 2350s was as follows:

Tng chief
Chief petty officer
Tng ensign
Ensign
Tng ltjg
Lieutenant junior grade
Tng lt
Lieutenant
Tng ltcmdr
Lieutenant commander
Tng cmdr
Commander
Tng capt
Captain
In some episodes of TNG Season 1 and TNG Season 2, officers wore silver pips instead of gold. Most reference manuals, however, state that the gold pips were used all along to denote rank on Starfleet uniforms of this era.
Nakamura, 2365

Admiral insignia worn in the vertical fashion

The insignia for flag officers had a slightly different history than those of the regular officer and enlisted corps. In the 2360s, admirals wore a type of triangular insignia on a special flag officer uniform.

By 2365, this insignia had been replaced by a "boxed pip" system worn vertically on the flag uniform collar. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man") The very next year the admiral insignia changed again, this time worn flat against the collar in the same way as the insignia worn by other grades.

The original flag officer insignia pattern was as follows:

TngS1 radmlh
Rear admiral (lower half)
TngS1 radm
Rear admiral
TngS1 vadm
Vice admiral

By 2367, the admiral insignia appeared as follows:

Tng radm
Rear admiral
Tng vadm
Vice admiral
Tng adm
Admiral
Ds9 scpo

Senior chief petty officer

By the mid 2370s, Starfleet had changed the enlisted personnel rank insignia, replacing the hollow pip with chevrons and dots. (DS9: "Hippocratic Oath")

Chief O'Brien's senior chief petty officer pin was the only badge ever visible on camera, although the Deep Space Nine costume designers had designed a system covering all ranks between petty officer 3rd class up to master chief petty officer. (citation needededit)
Burke's rank insignia in "Nor the Battle to the Strong" was not entirely visible.
In "Hippocratic Oath", Goran'Agar identifies O'Brien's rank insignia as "chief petty officer."

Late 24th century Edit

In the 2390s, Starfleet made minor changes to their uniforms having a familiar pip design for rank now located on the right breast of the uniform. The rank insignia were now designed with curved silver pips.

PIC Ens
Ensign
PIC Lt
Lieutenant
PIC Cmdr
Commander
PIC Cpt
Captain


The pips of flag officers were placed on a dark gray isosceles trapezoid with a silver border.

PIC Com
Commodore
PIC FAdm
Fleet admiral

Alternate timelines Edit

Mirror universe Edit

Alternate reality Edit

By 2258 in the alternate reality, Starfleet had adopted uniforms and an insignia pattern more reminiscent of the mid 2250s in the prime reality.

Starfleet uniforms in the late 2230s, Countdown to Darkness

Starfleet officers in the late 2230s

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness, Issue 2 depicts that this style of uniform was in use by 2239. This would make it seem that a few versions of the prime reality uniform were never adopted in the alternate reality, unless they was used very briefly after 2233.

These new insignia consisted of silver bands worn on the lower sleeves of the Starfleet uniforms. Ensigns and enlisted personnel wore no rank insignia.

Altensignrank
Ensign
Altltrank
Lieutenant
Altltcdrrank
Lieutenant commander
Altcmdrrank
Commander
Altcptrank
Captain
Altadmrank
Admiral

Alternate universe Edit

In an alternate universe observed during a quantum fissure, Starfleet had adopted an additional form of insignia which was incorporated directly into the design of the Starfleet combadge. The insignia appeared as metal bars behind the Starfleet crest, designed to show the rank of the wearer and accompanied the prime universe's collar pips. This same insignia also appeared in the "prime" universe, when it was used by the alien Barash during a holographic simulation of the USS Enterprise-D designed to trick Commander William T. Riker into thinking he was in the future. Barash's simulation did not include the collar pips. (TNG: "Parallels", "Future Imperfect")

A.I. Starfleet CREW
Crewman
A.I. Starfleet ENS
Ensign
A.I. Starfleet LT
Lieutenant
A.I. Starfleet LT CMDR
Lieutenant commander
A.I. Starfleet CMDR
Commander
A.I. Starfleet CAPT
Captain
A.I. Starfleet ADM
Admiral
A rank of lieutenant junior grade would also logically seem to exist, but no one was seen wearing this rank on screen.

29th century Edit

The uniforms worn by the Starfleet crew of the USS Relativity during the 29th century displayed rank insignia on the right collar. (VOY: "Future's End", "Relativity")

29th ens
Ensign
29th lt
Lieutenant
29th capt
Captain
Only three rank insignia types were observed in the episode "Relativity". More were likely to have existed, but they remain conjectural.

Comparative rank tables Edit

Flag officers Edit

Admirals in Starfleet were described as the "flag officers." These ranks constituted the highest authorities of Starfleet Command.

Starfleet flag ranks and insignia
2140s-2160s 2230s 2240s-2250s 2250s 2260s 2270s 2280s-2350s 2350s-2380s 2390s-
--- --- --- --- --- --- Mov fadm
Fleet admiral pin
Mov fadm-sleeve
Sleeve stripe
--- PIC FAdm
Fleet admiral
--- --- Starfleet DIS ADM
Admiral
--- --- --- Mov adm
Admiral pin
Mov adm-sleeve
Sleeve stripe
Tng adm
Admiral
---
Ent vadm
Vice admiral pips
--- Starfleet DIS VADM
Vice admiral
--- Tos vadm
Vice admiral
--- Mov vadm
Vice admiral pin
Mov vadm-sleeve
Sleeve stripe
TngS1 vadm
Vice admiral (2360s)
Tng vadm
Vice admiral (2370s)
---
Ent radm
Rear admiral pips
--- Starfleet DIS RADM
Rear admiral
--- --- Tmp radm-epaulet
Rear admiral epaulet
Tmp radm
Sleeve stripe
Mov radm
Rear admiral pin
Mov radm-sleeve
Sleeve stripe
TngS1 radm
Rear admiral (2360s)
Tng radm
Rear admiral (2370s)
---
Ent cdore
Commodore pips
Captain-Commodore sleeve stripes, 22nd century
Sleeve stripe
--- --- --- Tos cdore
Commodore
--- Mov cdore
Commodore pin
Mov cdore-sleeve
Sleeve stripe
TngS1 radmlh
rear admiral (lower half)
PIC Com
Commodore
Fleet admiral
The most senior flag rank in Starfleet. In 2293, the commander in chief of Starfleet held this rank. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Admiral
The second most senior flag rank known to exist in Starfleet.
Vice admiral
Starfleet flag rank immediately inferior to full admiral, but superior to a rear admiral.
Rear admiral
The lowest grade of admiral in Starfleet. It was inferior to a vice admiral, and superior to a commodore or captain.
Commodore
Superior to captain, inferior to rear admiral.

Line officer ranksEdit

Starfleet officer ranks and insignia
2140s-2160s 2230s 2240s-2250s 2250s 2260s 2270s 2280s-2350s 2350s-2380s 2390s-
Ent capt
Captain
Starfleet gold bands capt
Captain
Starfleet DIS CAPT
Captain (2240s)
Starfleet gold bands capt
Captain (2250s)
WNMHGB capt
Captain (early 2260s)
Tos capt
Captain
Tos capt
Captain sleeve stripes
Blank
Mov capt
Captain
Tng capt
Captain
PIC Cpt
Captain
Ent cmdr
Commander
Blank Starfleet DIS CMDR
Commander (2240s)
Starfleet gold bands cmdr
Commander (2250s)
Officer stripe, 2254-2265
All commissioned grades
Tos cmdr
Commander
Tos cmdr
Commander sleeve stripes
Blank
Mov cmdr
Commander
Tng cmdr
Commander
PIC Cmdr
Commander
Starfleet gold bands lt cmdr
Lieutenant commander
Starfleet DIS LT CMDR
Lieutenant commander (2240s)
Starfleet gold bands lt cmdr
Lieutenant commander (2250s)
Tos lcdr
Lieutenant commander
Tos lcdr
Lieutenant commander sleeve stripes
Blank
Mov ltcmdr
Lieutenant commander
Tng ltcmdr
Lieutenant commander
---
Ent lt
Lieutenant
Starfleet gold bands lt
Lieutenant
Starfleet DIS LT
Lieutenant (2240s)
Starfleet gold bands lt
Lieutenant (2250s)
Tos lt
Lieutenant
Tos lt
Lieutenant sleeve stripes
Blank
Mov lt
Lieutenant
Tng lt
Lieutenant
PIC Lt
Lieutenant
Blank Starfleet DIS LT JG
Lieutenant junior grade
Tos ltjg
Lieutenant junior grade
Mov ltjg
Lieutenant junior grade
Tng ltjg
Lieutenant junior grade
---
Ent ens
Ensign
Blank Starfleet DIS ENS
Ensign
(Ensign had
no sleeve insignia
in the 2260s
)
Tos ltjg
Ensign sleeve stripe
Blank
Mov ens
Ensign
Tng ensign
Ensign
PIC Ens
Ensign
Captain
The most senior regular line rank in Starfleet. It was most often held by starship and starbase commanders, as well as adjutants and executives serving beneath admirals. This rank was usually considered a big transition, because it was often the first rank in which officers ran a base of operation (for example, a starship) more or less by themselves. The equivalent ground forces rank to Starfleet captain was colonel. It should also be noted that there are rare cases of officers holding the captain's rank serving as other than the commanding officer of starship. Examples of this include Spock and Montgomery Scott, who both held the rank of captain while serving under James T. Kirk, who also held the equal rank of captain. Departments in rare cases could get a captain as the superior head of that particular department, such as Montgomery Scott being a "Captain of Engineering". (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) Other examples of this include William T. Riker and Worf, both of whom attained the rank of captain (in Worf's case, through the Klingon Defense Force) while under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Another example of a captain holding a position other than commanding a starship was that of Phillipa Louvois, who held the rank while working as a prosecutor under the office of the Judge Advocate General.
In the modern US Navy, captain is a four-stripe officer rank. This insignia style was used in ENT and all TNG-era productions. During TOS and the movies, captains had differing insignia. The TOS captains wore one full braid, a broken braid, and another full braid. However, in the pilot "The Cage", Captain Pike wore only a single rank strip, so it was not clear how other officers were differentiated from captains. By "Where No Man Has Gone Before", Kirk was the only officer with two stripes, but that system didn't differentiate any other officer grades below captain except for no-stripe ensigns.
Commander
The Starfleet line rank immediately inferior to captain. Typical assignments at this rank included executive officer of larger vessels such as the Galaxy- and Sovereign-class, space station commander (such as Benjamin Sisko of Deep Space 9 prior to his promotion to captain in 2371), and commanding officer of smaller vessels (William Riker was offered command of the Drake, presumably as part of promotion to full commander, but declined in favor of serving as first officer on the Enterprise). The rank of commander was also available to chief medical officers and ship counselors who passed the Bridge Officer's Test. An officer who held the rank of commander was expected to be able to assume command of a starship should the situation call for it. Officers at this rank typically had ten to fifteen years of experience in Starfleet.
Lieutenant Commander
The Starfleet line rank immediately inferior to commander. Officers with this rank typically held positions as senior department heads on larger vessels such as the Galaxy- and Sovereign-class ships, or serve as the executive officer of smaller or older vessels. On most starships, the second officer held this rank (such as Data of the USS Enterprise or Tuvok of the USS Voyager). In some rare cases, a lieutenant commander could also serve as the commanding officer of a smaller vessel, such as Jadzia Dax of the USS Defiant for a brief period in 2374.
Lieutenant
The Starfleet line rank immediately inferior to lieutenant commander. Officers at this rank typically had some command experience, and were occasionally appointed department heads on starships. Typically they were shift commanders in a department under a lieutenant commander; for example, a lieutenant commander would be chief of engineering and commander of A shift, and there would be a B and a C shift, each under a lieutenant. Additionally, some advanced Starfleet training programs, such as Advanced Tactical Training, commissioned their graduates at this rank. (TNG: "Preemptive Strike")
The United States armed forces have various programs for service members to begin their careers as officers in higher pay grades than second lieutenant or ensign, with commissioning in the rank of lieutenant common for such United States Navy occupations as Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG), Chaplains, Medical and Medical Service Corps, and the Navy Dental Corps. Whether Starfleet utilized a similar policy for commissioning officers in the medical and science fields is unknown, although highly likely given Counselor Deanna Troi's rapid rise to lieutenant commander after her advanced studies on Betazed. This may also explain how Saavik of Vulcan was both a cadet and a lieutenant in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Lieutenant junior grade
The Starfleet line rank immediately inferior to lieutenant. Officers at this rank typically held support positions on starships and starbases. At this rank, they had begun to prove their ability to perform acceptably in Starfleet, and typically began to take on more senior roles in command situations. Typical posts at this rank were conn officer, communications officer, or second officer of a shift (see lieutenant). It was also the rank bestowed on medical doctors and counselors (but not nurses) upon completion of their studies and training at Starfleet Medical Academy or elsewhere. This rank acknowledged the additional time required to become commissioned as reflected in Beverly Crusher's service record and Julian Bashir's age as a recent Academy graduate. (DS9: "Emissary") Assistant counselor Ezri Dax skipped her final months of training and was explicitly given "commission as a full counselor with the rank of lieutenant (junior grade)." (DS9: "Afterimage")
Ensign
The most junior Starfleet line rank. It was the rank bestowed on newly-commissioned officers when they graduated from Starfleet Academy. Ensigns typically began their careers as the most junior officers in the department of their chosen specialty. Ensigns who had distinguished themselves in their academy class or on duty could be given posts as main-shift bridge officers (for example Ensign Harry Kim). A typical officer spent approximately three years at the rank of ensign. (TNG: "Datalore")

Provisional officers Edit

During some periods of its existence, Starfleet maintained a procedure of granting temporary rank to civilians when the civilian in question was required to have authority over Starfleet personnel.

In 2364, Starfleet propulsion expert Kosinski ran several upgrade experiments on the Enterprise-D. Kosinski wore a unique rank insignia denoting his special position. (TNG: "Where No One Has Gone Before")

It is unknown what rank Kosinski held. It is possible that he was a provisional lieutenant junior grade. Other sources have stated he was a warrant officer.
In Star Trek Online, this insignia is used to denote specialists, additional black rectangles indicating higher ranks.
Kosinski rank
Rank insignia worn by warp specialist Kosinski

The crew of the USS Voyager, which included non-Starfleet Maquis members, was forced to make use of provisional rank appointments as a matter of course since the ship was stranded in the Delta Quadrant and the Maquis members were essential to shipboard operations. The provisional insignia system as of 2372 was as follows:

Vgr chief
Provisional
Enlisted
Vgr ensign
Provisional
Ensign
Vgr ltjg
Provisional
Lieutenant junior grade
Vgr lt
Provisional
Lieutenant
Vgr ltcmdr
Provisional
Commander
The insignia for Voyager's provisional crewmembers were designed by Jim Magdaleno. He intended for the insignia that has a single black line within the lozenge to represent the position of chief warrant officer. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 72)
The insignia for provisional commander followed the pattern of what would be a lieutenant commander, which Jim Magdaleno intended it to be. However, the only character ever seen wearing this insignia – Chakotay – held a rank of provisional commander throughout the series. An insignia resembling that of a traditional commander rank insignia, logically consisting of three solid gold lines within the lozenge, was never seen on camera, although it was designed by Magdaleno. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 72)
In "Before and After", Chakotay is promoted to captain and wears the standard Starfleet insignia of four pips. This may indicate that there is no provisional rank insignia for captain – and/or that Starfleet policy simply did not allow a person with a provisional commission to command a starship. However, Chakotay was a commissioned Starfleet officer with a rank of lieutenant commander prior to his defecting to the Maquis, so gaining a Starfleet captain's rank wouldn't be an issue. Behind the scenes, a provisional captain's rank insignia, featuring four solid gold lines, was designed by Jim Magdaleno, despite it never appearing on camera. (The Official Star Trek: Voyager Magazine issue 1, p. 72)

Cadet ranks Edit

Starfleet cadet ranks and insignia
4th class 3rd class 2nd class 1st class
2250s --- --- --- Starfleet DIS CDT1st
2360s
Tng cdt4
Tng cdt3
Tng cdt2
Tng cdt1

Cadet ranks were held by those attending Starfleet Academy during their training to become commissioned officers.

Cadet 1st class
Cadets of this rank were fourth-year students at Starfleet Academy. After graduation, these cadets were granted the rank of ensign.
Cadet 2nd class
Cadets of this rank were third-year students at Starfleet Academy.
Cadet 3rd class
Cadets of this rank were second-year students at Starfleet Academy. Cadets at this rank took part in field training at a space station or outpost.
Cadet 4th class
Cadets of this rank were first-year students at Starfleet Academy.
The rank of midshipman has occasionally been interchanged with that of cadet, although this rank's exact status remains unclear.

Enlisted ranksEdit

Enlisted ranks were achieved by members of Starfleet who had not attended Starfleet Academy.

Non-commissioned officersEdit

Starfleet noncom ranks and insignia
2250s 2260s 2270s 2280s-2350s 2350s-2370s Provisional 2370s-later
Cage chief
Chief petty officer
No known insignia
Chief petty officer
Tmp chief
Chief petty officer
Mov mcpo
Master chief petty officer
Tng chief
Chief
Vgr chief
Noncom
---
Mov scpo
Senior chief petty officer
Ds9 scpo
Senior chief petty officer
Mov cpo
Chief petty officer
---
No known insignia
Petty officer
No known insignia
Petty officer
Tmp po
Petty officer
Mov po1
Petty officer first class
No known insignia
Petty officer
---
Mov po2
Petty officer second class
---
---
Master chief petty officer
Senior chief petty officer
Also known as "senior chief specialist".
Chief petty officer
Petty officer
  • Petty officer, first class; also known as "technician first class", etc.
  • Petty officer, second class; also known as "specialist second class", etc.
  • Petty officer, third class; also known as "yeoman third class", etc.

CrewmenEdit

Starfleet enlsted ranks and insignia
2140s-Early 2160s 2240s-2250s 2270s-2350s Late 24th century Provisional
Ent crew1
Crewman first class
Starfleet DIS CREW
Crewman
Able seaman rank insignia, 2280s-2290s
Crewman
No known insignia
Crewman
Vgr chief
Enlisted
Ent crew2
Crewman second class
Ent crew3
(or no insignia)
Crewman third class*
Crewman first class
Crewman second class
Crewman third class

The lowest possible rank of recruit, rated below the crewman grades, had no insignia.

Titles and positionsEdit

Fleet captainEdit

Fleet captain was a title bestowed on senior Starfleet captains. It was a rare distinction, held by particularly distinguished captains. The title of fleet captain was held by former Enterprise Captain Christopher Pike in the year 2266. It was also held in the 2260s, by Captain Garth, one of Starfleet's most decorated captains and hero of the Battle of Axanar.

Although this title was not used in canon at any point after TOS, fleet captain was assigned a rank pin in the Star Trek Encyclopedia, as part of a movie-era set of ranks established for Star Trek II through Star Trek VI. The pin was the same as the captain's rank pin, but with two additional "flags" attached to the long edges of the pin. In addition, FASA's Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual carried the idea of a fleet captain insignia into the TNG era, using five solid pips to designate the rank.

Deputy DirectorEdit

Tng fcapt

Deputy Director insignia

DS9 Dep Dir

Deputy Director insignia

Deputy Director was a positional title whose exact relationship to the regular Starfleet rank tier is somewhat unclear, although the position did warrant some command authority over a captain. The insignia for Deputy Director was the four pips of a captain centered above a gold bar. Note: some rank lists show this as fleet captain, which might be the actual rank a deputy director held, as both seem to have been staff officers.

In Deep Space Nine, "Deputy Director Sloan" wore this insignia, and was introduced as Deputy Director of Internal Affairs.

ColonelEdit

West

Colonel West in 2293

In 2293, Starfleet Colonel West was involved in the Khitomer conspiracy. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

In the US Armed Forces, the rank of colonel in the Marines, Army, and Air Force is equivalent to a captain in the Navy and Coast Guard; both ranks have the position on the rank charts as "O-6" (O for officer, 6 for the 6th rank up, with ensign/2nd lieutenant being O-1), so it is unclear why Colonel West wore the uniform of a Starfleet vice admiral (vice admirals being O-9). His rank was in fact taken from the real-life Lt. Colonel Oliver North. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 22, no. 5) It was not revealed if there was a special branch of services in Starfleet that colonels served in.

CorporalEdit

In 2154, Starfleet Corporal Askwith perished at the Earth embassy on Vulcan. (ENT: "The Forge")

It is likely that the costuming department was supposed to place the actor in a MACO uniform.

MiscellaneousEdit

Starfleet uniform shoulder epaulet, 2254

The space officer's shoulder epaulets

In 2254, Captain Christopher Pike, while on Talos IV, imagined himself as an Orion trader. He imagined an officer in a dress uniform with him at the Orion colony wearing peculiar shoulder epaulets and of unknown rank. (TOS: "The Cage")

The space officer wore one stripe, indicating he may have been a simple line officer between the ranks of lieutenant and captain. It is possible that the officer represented an admiral.

In 2376, The Doctor aboard Voyager briefly resigned his Starfleet commission. (VOY: "Virtuoso")

The Doctor wore no rank insignia, and this was the only indication that he was a commissioned Starfleet officer. It is likely that The Doctor's unique situation allowed him (and perhaps other Emergency Medical Holograms) to have a Starfleet commission without a rank.
This chart shows only general equivalencies based on the ranks used by many governments on Earth, as well as the rest of the galaxy.

Appendices Edit

Development Edit

Monster maroon flag officer rank collection

Flag rank insignia used for the TOS films

The Starfleet rank system was designed by William Ware Theiss, with the first versions cribbed principally from the insignia of the United States Navy. According to Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, since Gene Roddenberry didn't want an overtly military Starfleet, Theiss toned down his stripe system by giving ensigns no stripe and lieutenants one full stripe, which is what an actual USN ensign wears.

The later pip designs of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Enterprise emulate US Navy insignias almost exactly, although Star Trek: The Magazine's March 2003 issue notes there aren't any lieutenant commander and lieutenant jg ranks in United Earth's Starfleet. Since such ranks also don't appear on Star Trek: Enterprise, there is some question about their existence during that timeframe.

Among the items sold off on eBay's It's A Wrap! sale and auction was an able seaman's rank pin. [2] [3]

Implied ranks Edit

Several insignia patterns were designed and created by the producers of Star Trek films and television series, although the full rank spectrum never appeared on camera. The first such pattern was the full array of Theiss-designed flag officer insignia which appeared in Star Trek: The Original Series. Dialogue from the first-season episode "Space Seed" revealed Starfleet admiral ranks as high as fleet admiral, but the highest on-screen rank was a simple admiral (bearing vice-admiral insignia according to costume notes). In modern USN ranking, fleet admiral is a special rank earned during wartime only, bearing gold sleeve cuffs in one two-inch-wide stripe with four ½-inch-wide stripes, and five five-pointed silver stars in a tight circle upon gold shoulder boards. Five silver stars also appear on the uniform shirt collar in the same pattern as the shoulder boards.

Including the official insignia designed by Theiss, the full range of admiral insignia from the Original Series is as follows:

Tos cdore
Commodore
Tos radm
Rear admiral
Tos vadm
Vice admiral
Tos adm
Admiral
Tos fadm
Fleet admiral

Script notes and costume design templates from Star Trek: The Motion Picture also provide insignia patterns for the first three Starfleet flag ranks. The senior ranks of admiral and fleet admiral, although definite to exist, were not discussed in the film leaving the question open as to how the insignia for these two ranks may appear. The rank of commodore has been used on and off in modern nautical military services (US Navy, US Coast Guard), with the rank being called "rear admiral lower half" (see below) when not used as "commodore". Currently, the proper name for this rank is "rear admiral lower half" and has the insignia of one two-inch-wide gold stripe on the sleeve cuffs, and one silver star on gold shoulder boards, and one star worn on the shirt collar. (There is no change to the naming of the two-star rank of "rear admiral" regardless of whether "commodore" or "rear admiral lower half" is used for the "one-star" rank.)

Thus, the flag officer insignia pattern for Star Trek: The Motion Picture is as follows:

Tmp cdore
Commodore
Tmp radm
Rear admiral
Tmp vadm
Vice admiral
 ???
Admiral
 ???
Fleet admiral

The first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation showed admiral ranks ranging to vice admiral; however admiral and fleet admiral were never seen on camera. Surviving script and costume notes indicate the following pattern for the first season admirals of The Next Generation.

TngS1 radmlh
Rear admiral
(lower half)
TngS1 radm
Rear admiral
 
TngS1 vadm
Vice admiral
 
TngS1 adm
Admiral
 
TngS1 fadm
Fleet admiral
 

During the entire run of The Next Generation, two flag ranks which were never seen on camera were that of the one star admiral rank, which would have been properly referred to as "rear admiral lower half", using the "boxed pip" insignia, as well as a Starfleet fleet admiral. Costume notes, in particular those of Michael Okuda, provide the insignia for these two ranks. A similar matter also arose during Star Trek: Enterprise when the ranks of full admiral and fleet admiral were never seen, although they were discussed, leaving costume notes from the series as the only known source for how these insignia would appear. Also never seen on screen is the rank of lieutenant junior grade in the Starfleet insignia rank system used in the TNG episodes "Future Imperfect" and "Parallels". This rank is implied since that system paralleled the "pip" system used in the rest of the series.

In all, the following five insignia never appeared on camera and thus are not considered as canon material; however, in modern nautical military services they are real ranks:

Ent adm
Admiral (ENT)
Ent fadm
Fleet admiral (ENT)
Tng radmlh
One star admiral (TNG)
Tng fadm
Fleet admiral (TNG)
A.I. Starfleet LT JG
Lieutenant junior grade (TNG)

Another array of insignia which the viewing audience never was able to see were the full spectrum of enlisted insignia patches designed for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In all, the costume designers for the show developed rank patches for every enlisted rank from petty officer, 3rd class to master chief petty officer. (citation needededit) The budget of the show, however, prevented mass production of these insignia and, other than Miles O'Brien and Dorian Collins, no enlisted personnel appeared wearing the following collar patch enlisted ranks:

Tng po3
Petty officer 3rd class
Tng po2
Petty officer, 2nd class
Tng po1
Petty officer, 1st class
Tng cpo
Chief petty officer
Ds9 scpo
Senior chief petty officer
Tng mcpo
Master chief petty officer

The rank systems used in 2009's Star Trek were based on the rank system used in TOS. The insignia used for the 2230s Starfleet uniform aboard the USS Kelvin in the beginning of the film would seem to contain two ranks that were not seen on screen, lieutenant junior grade and commander. The full system would then appear as:

No insignia
(Enlisted ranks)
Starfleet gold bands lt jg
Lieutenant junior grade
Starfleet gold bands lt
Lieutenant
Starfleet gold bands lt cmdr
Lieutenant commander
Starfleet gold bands cmdr
Commander
Starfleet gold bands capt
Captain

Warrant officers Edit

According to the personal notes of the movie-era Starfleet ranks designer, Robert Fletcher, "there is no warrant rank." (p. 11)

A 2 June 1987 '"Star Trek" Cast Ranks' memo from Rick Berman to Bill Theiss confirms the intention of having warrant ranks, whereas it was stated that the "C.W.O." ("Chief Warrant Officer") was described as having "1 Black Disk" (pip).

According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 211), the insignia worn by CPO Miles O'Brien in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's first few years and enlisted Maquis on Star Trek: Voyager was supposed to represent a warrant officer, even though numerous dialogue references and general naval parlance about the ranks of those referred to would seem to contradict this.

The non-canon reference manual Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual speaks briefly on the subject.

See also Edit

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