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Memory Alpha

"Vice admirals don't fly, do they?"

Vice admiral was a flag officer rank above rear admiral but below admiral, the equivalent of which was used by various service organizations, including Starfleet. As a Starfleet rank, vice admirals were often referred to as simply "admiral."


In the early 22nd century, Starfleet vice admirals, such as Maxwell Forrest, were denoted by three rank insignia enclosed in a rectangular frame, worn on both sides of a uniform jacket. These officers also had a series of rank stripes on their sleeve, a group of five stripes (four in a group, and one separate towards the cuff). (ENT: "Broken Bow")

Starfleet ceremony attendee vice admiral 1

Starfleet sleeve insignia in 2161

By 2161, the sleeve stripes had changed to be more in line with the style used in the 2260s. An unnamed vice admiral at the signing of the Federation Charter wore a solid white/grey stripe with silver braiding (about three standard stripes wide), flanked by two single stripes of a similar material (one above and one below). (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")

In 2263 of the alternate reality, Captain James T. Kirk had considered leaving the USS Enterprise and applied for a Vice Admiral position at Starbase Yorktown. Following the Attack on Yorktown and the death of Krall, Kirk was offered the promotion in honor of his heroics. He ultimately turned it down in favor of continuing to command a starship. (Star Trek Beyond)

In the subsequent Federation fleets, vice admirals (like Fitzpatrick) were again denoted by sleeve stripes, this time signified by a similar insignia, one solid gold band (about three stripes wide, worn by the rank of Commodore) of braid, and two additional stripes separate, above and below. (TOS: "The Trouble with Tribbles")

By the Starfleet uniform design of the 2280s, all officers wore their insignia as a pin device attached to the shoulder on the jacket clasp. The vice admiral pin was a small round field with four gold arrowheads arranged pointing towards a gold pip in the center, and was accompanied by an embroidered sleeve stripe. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

The rank insignia of the Star Trek films were created with detailed notes by Robert Fletcher.

Another redesign in the 2360s denoted vice admirals (like Vice Admiral Nakamura) by three gold rank pips surrounded by a rectangular frame. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man")

Starfleet vice admirals[]

Background information[]

Fitzpatrick was the only flag officer above commodore whose rank insignia was visible (if barely) during Star Trek: The Original Series.

Robert Blackman's production notes during Star Trek: The Next Generation described this rank as "3 Starfleet Admiral, gold framed bar w/3 dots." [1](X)

The Star Trek Encyclopedia, 3rd ed., p. 210-211 labeled this rank as "vice admiral" referring to the late 2270's-2350's uniforms, and "admiral, three star" referring to its use on 2350s-2370s, late 2360s-early 2370s, and 2370s uniforms.

Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 10, p. 99, mistakenly used a late 2270's-2350's rear admiral insignia, with only the top three gold arrows, as the vice admiral insignia.

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