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Starfleet ranks

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Captain rank pin

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

Rios' rank pip collection

Cristóbal Rios' rank pip collection from his Starfleet career

Paris loses his stripes

Tom Paris is demoted to ensign for disobeying orders

Starfleet ranks were identifying titles of rank for the officers and enlisted members of Starfleet denoting the chain of command under both United Earth and the United Federation of Planets . These titles were generally adapted from earlier Earth naval forces. ( TOS : " The City on the Edge of Forever ", ENT : " Storm Front ")

  • 1 Early usage
  • 2.1 Early 23rd century
  • 2.2 Early-mid 23rd century
  • 2.3 Late-mid 23rd century
  • 2.4 Late 23rd century
  • 3 24th century
  • 4 25th century
  • 5 29th century
  • 6 32nd century
  • 7.1 Mirror universe
  • 7.2 Alternate reality
  • 7.3 Alternate universe
  • 8.1 Flag officers
  • 8.2 Officer ranks
  • 8.3 Provisional officers
  • 8.4 Cadet ranks
  • 8.5.1 Non-commissioned officers
  • 8.5.2 Crewmen
  • 9.1 Fleet captain
  • 9.2 Deputy director
  • 9.3 Colonel
  • 9.4 Corporal
  • 9.5 Miscellaneous
  • 10.1 See also
  • 10.2 Background information
  • 10.3 Apocrypha
  • 10.4 External links

Early usage [ ]

By the development of the NX-Alpha in 2143 , the Starfleet rank structure had at least three enlisted ranks, four officer ranks, and three ranks for use by flag officers . Silver rank pips were displayed on the right breast of the Starfleet uniforms , above a colored shoulder trim denoting what division the crew member was assigned to. Flag officers' pips were surrounded by a black rectangle with a silver border. ( ENT : " First Flight ", et al.) This system was still in place by 2161 . ( ENT : " These Are the Voyages... ")

23rd century [ ]

Early 23rd century [ ].

By the 2230s , the Starfleet uniform used a sleeve stripe system instead of pips to denote rank. ( Star Trek )

Early-mid 23rd century [ ]

Cornwell, Pike and Saru review recording

Gold shoulder trim of a flag officer, captain, and officer (left to right)

By 2239 , Starfleet had adopted a uniform where officer rank was denoted by the number of raised or indented pips on a Starfleet delta . ( ST : " The Brightest Star ") The admiralty wore a Starfleet insignia surrounded by a wreath made up of smaller golden or black Starfleet insignia on a dark disc; the more of them are gold, the higher the rank. ( DIS : " The Vulcan Hello ", " The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry ")

A variation of this uniform introduced in the 2250s changed the rank system back to a sleeve stripe system. For the command and operations division officers, the stripes matched the division color: gold stripes for command, red stripes for operations. Sciences division officers wore silver stripes. ( DIS : " Brother ", " Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2 ")

A new uniform was introduced around 2259 , retaining the rank insignia system from the previous style with only slight modifications. Sciences officers wore blue stripes in the new system, while silver stripes were reserved for medical officers. Doctors wore a light-blue variant of the sciences uniform while nurses wore white. ( SNW : " Strange New Worlds ", et al.)

Another Starfleet uniform used around this time had a much simpler rank and insignia system, in which 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 by 2265 , when those holding the rank of captain were authorized to wear two gold stripes whereas other officers wore one. ( TOS : " The Cage ", " Where No One Has Gone Before ")

Late-mid 23rd century [ ]

By 2266 , Starfleet had phased out the simple rank system that gave all commissioned officers the same insignia. They also modified the other system that had been in use for the last decade or so. In this new system, all enlisted personnel, chief petty officers included, as well as ensigns, had no insignia whatsoever with most enlisted personnel also wearing Starfleet jumpsuits instead of the standard tunic uniforms worn by the officers. ( TOS : " The Corbomite Maneuver ", et al)

Starfleet flag officers wore a thicker braid insignia than regular officers. ( TOS : " Court Martial ", " The Trouble with Tribbles ")

The rank of cadet and midshipman were both in use at Starfleet Academy . ( TOS : " Shore Leave ", " Court Martial ")

In the mid- 2270s , Starfleet changed its uniforms yet again, although mainly in appearance only. The rank insignia of officers remained almost the same, though the lieutenant junior grade braid was now used to indicate ensign. Enlisted personnel 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. ( Star Trek: The Motion Picture )

Late 23rd century [ ]

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 . ( Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan )

With the exception of some minor cosmetic changes to officer uniforms, including the introduction of a standard communicator pin by 2344 , the uniforms and insignia of the late 23rd century remained unchanged until the late 2340s . ( TNG : " Yesterday's Enterprise ", " Family ")

Robert Fletcher's enlisted rank pin chart

Concept art by Robert Fletcher

24th century [ ]

Starfleet ranks, 2360s

Ranks in the 2360s

Picard's rank pips

A captain's rank pips

By the year 2355 , Starfleet had introduced a new uniform design , with a pip system of golden pin insignia worn on the collar. ( TNG : " The Battle ")

The 24th century pip system included a black pip insignia to denote chief petty officers. ( TNG : " Realm Of Fear ")

The pip system used in the mid-to-late 24th century remained relatively unchanged through 2385 , having been kept across several uniform design changes. ( PIC : " Maps and Legends ")

In the 2360s , admirals wore a triangular insignia on a special flag officer uniform. ( TNG : " Too Short A Season ", " Coming of Age ", " Conspiracy ")

Nakamura, 2365

Admiral insignia worn in the vertical fashion

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 ") By 2366 , the admiral insignia was commonly worn horizontally against the collar in the same way as the insignia worn by other grades. ( TNG : " The Defector ")

Starfleet chief petty officer insignia (2370s-early 2380s)

Chief petty officer

By the mid- 2370s , Starfleet had changed the chief petty officer rank insignia, replacing the black pip with chevrons and dots. ( DS9 : " Hippocratic Oath ")

25th century [ ]

By the year 2399 , Starfleet's familiar pip design had been relocated from the collar to the right breast of the uniform and the pips had become silver. ( PIC : " Remembrance ") By the early 2400s , the silver rank pips were back on the collar of the uniform. ( PIC : " The Star Gazer ")

The pips of flag officers were placed on a dark gray isosceles trapezoid with a silver border. ( PIC : " Maps and Legends ")

29th century [ ]

The uniforms worn by the Starfleet crew of the USS Relativity during the 29th century displayed a new design for rank insignia, with horizontal bronze chevrons on the right collar instead of pips. ( VOY : " Future's End ", " Relativity ")

32nd century [ ]

By the 32nd century , Starfleet had passed through a number of rank insignia systems. ( DIS : " Forget Me Not ", " Su'Kal ")

By 3189 , rank was indicated on an officer's tricom badge . The ranks of captains and admirals were also shown on the collar and shoulders. The shoulder and collar had a similar design; captains had a vertical shoulder rank band at the edge of the shoulder, while admirals had a horizontal band along the top of the shoulder. ( DIS : " Die Trying ") Other officers had a plain collar badge.


Tricom badge concept art

Alternate timelines [ ]

Mirror universe [ ].

  • See : Starfleet ranks (mirror)

Alternate reality [ ]

By 2258 in the alternate reality , Starfleet had adopted uniforms and an insignia pattern reminiscent of the mid 2250s in the prime reality . These new insignia consisted of silver bands worn on the lower sleeves of the uniform. Ensigns and certain skirt uniforms displayed no rank insignia. ( Star Trek )

Alternate universe [ ]

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 black, gold, and silver bars behind the Starfleet delta, designed to show the rank of the wearer and along with collar pips. ( TNG : " Parallels ")

The same insignia was also 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 : " Future Imperfect ")

Comparative rank tables [ ]

Flag officers [ ].

Admirals in Starfleet were described as the flag officers , a term held over from naval tradition. These ranks constituted the highest authorities of Starfleet Command . ( TOS : " The Deadly Years ")

Officer ranks [ ]

Provisional officers [ ].

Starfleet provisional rank insignia, 2364

Insignia worn by warp specialist Kosinski

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 ")

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. ( VOY : " Caretaker ", et al.)

Maquis Voyager pips Magdaleno

Emblems designed by Madgaleno

Cadet ranks [ ]

Cadet ranks were held by those attending Starfleet Academy during their training to become commissioned officers. ( TNG : " The First Duty ")

Enlisted ranks [ ]

Enlisted ranks were achieved by members of Starfleet who had not attended Starfleet Academy. ( DS9 : " Starship Down ")

Non-commissioned officers [ ]

  • Petty officer, first class; also known as " technician first class ", etc. ( TOS : " Space Seed ")
  • Petty officer, second class; also known as "specialist second class", etc. ( citation needed • edit )
  • Petty officer, third class; also known as " yeoman third class ", etc. ( TOS : " Charlie X ")

Crewmen [ ]

  • Crewman first class ( TNG : " The Drumhead ")
  • Crewman second class ( ENT : " Shuttlepod One ")
  • Crewman third class ( ENT : " Cold Front ")

The lowest possible rank of recruit , ranked below the crewman grades. ( ENT : " Rogue Planet ", " Cogenitor ")

Titles and positions [ ]

Fleet captain [ ].

Pike's fleet captain insignia

Fleet captain insignia, 2259

Fleet captain was a title bestowed upon Starfleet captains when in command of more than one facility. It was a rare distinction, held by particularly respected captains. ( TOS : " The Menagerie, Part I ", " Whom Gods Destroy ") The 2259 fleet captain rank insignia used the flag-officer-disk-version of the Starfleet insignia, with only the two small delta leaves below the main delta colored gold; the cuff stripes and other elements of the uniform were those of a captain. ( SNW : " Lost in Translation ")

In 2259, Captain Christopher Pike , commanding officer of the USS Enterprise , was temporarily promoted to fleet captain, bringing the USS Farragut and Bavali Station under his command. ( SNW : " Lost in Translation ") Pike was permanently promoted to this title by 2266 . ( TOS : " The Menagerie, Part I ") In the 2260s , it was also held by Captain Garth , one of Starfleet's most decorated captains and hero of the Battle of Axanar . ( TOS : " Whom Gods Destroy ")

Deputy director [ ]

Starfleet deputy director rank insignia, 2374

Sloan's insignia

Luther Sloan

Sloan posing as a deputy director with Internal Affairs

While posing as a deputy director with Internal Affairs , Luther Sloan wore captain's pips with a gold bar connecting them beneath. ( DS9 : " Inquisition ")

Colonel [ ]


Colonel West in 2293

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

Corporal [ ]

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

Miscellaneous [ ]

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 ")

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

Appendices [ ]

See also [ ].

  • Starfleet admirals
  • Starfleet captains
  • Starfleet commanders
  • Starfleet lieutenant commanders
  • Starfleet lieutenants
  • Starfleet lieutenants junior grade
  • Starfleet ensigns
  • Starfleet cadets
  • Starfleet enlisted personnel
  • Starfleet crewmen

Background information [ ]

The rank system used during Star Trek: The Original Series was originally designed by William Ware Theiss , with the first versions inspired principally by the insignia of the United States Navy. According to Inside Star Trek: The Real Story [ page number? • edit ] , 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.

For Star Trek: The Motion Picture , Jon Povill sent Fletcher a production memo, dated 3 August 1978 , explaining the rank insignia to be used in the film, with no reference to lieutenant junior grade or other flag officers. ( The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture , p. 126) Robert Fletcher , who designed the Starfleet uniform used in the film, developed a rank system which displayed on straps over both shoulders. These insignia included a circle for "mid shipman", a triangle for "lieut comm jr. grade", a chevron for "lieutenant comm", a single stripe for "commander", two stripes for "captain", two stripes a circle with spines for "admiral" and two spiney circles for "adm of the fleet". ( Star Trek: Costumes , p. 45) An unidentified triangular insignia is worn on the epaulets of several crewmembers, but is not identified in any production or background sources. It's A Wrap! sale and auction listed it as representing the rank of petty officer . [6] While an additional epaulet insignia featuring a single thin strip was also used but not identified to a rank. [7]

Monster maroon flag officer rank collection

One version of the flag officer rank insignia sold as part of It's A Wrap! sale and auction

During the production of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan , Director Nicholas Meyer wanted the uniforms to feel as real as possible, and asked for new rank insignia. Fletcher explained: " There was kind of a complicated arrangement of divisions and ranks expressed by the braid on the sleeves. I made that up. I organized it and produced a little instruction booklet about it for the wardrobe department […]. " ( citation needed • edit ) On the early version of the uniforms, the insignia was on a band around the upper arm, which was later moved to the cuff. ( citation needed • edit )

Starfleet rank chart (late 2270s-2350s)

The Star Trek Encyclopedia omitted and created insignia, introducing some confusion

The Star Trek Encyclopedia  (3rd ed., p. 201), depicted an overview of the rank system used in the Star Trek films , though it omitted the petty officer second class, created the master chief petty officer second class and fleet captain (which had not been used in the films,) and depicted erroneous insignia for lieutenant commander and admiral. The Star Trek Fact Files Part 70 and the Star Trek: The Magazine  Volume 2, Issue 10 , p. 99, would also include the apocryphal fleet captain and master chief petty officer second class insignia, the erroneous lieutenant commander insignia (with a broken vertical gold stripe, instead of a solid horizontal gold stripe,) and an almost entirely different depiction of flag officer insignia. This system created an insignia with one gold dart to represent commodore, used the commodore insignia for rear admiral, created a three gold dart insignia for vice admiral, and used the rear admiral insignia for admiral. A three gold dart insignia was included in some It's A Wrap! sale and auction flag officer sets, but never seen on screen. [8]

The later pip designs of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Enterprise emulated US Navy insignias almost exactly, although an article on the 2151 uniforms and rank did not mention lieutenant junior grade or lieutenant commander. ( Star Trek: The Magazine  Volume 3, Issue 11 , p. 42) Neither rank is used during Star Trek: Enterprise .

Apocrypha [ ]

The role-playing game supplement Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual discusses ranks.

Starfleet uniforms in the late 2230s, Countdown to Darkness

Starfleet officers in the late 2230s

Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness , Issue 2 depicts that a 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 .

A rank senior to fleet admiral was first referenced in " The Wormhole Connection ". The rank of grand admiral is said to have existed in 2285 and has a special uniform with shoulder boards worn on the red maroon jacket uniform. The rank also appeared in the novel The Sorrows of Empire , held first by the counterpart Garth , then by the counterpart Matt Decker and then by Spock , before he becomes Emperor of the Terran Empire .

Six star rank pin

A "flag admiral" pin used as one of Data's medals

A "flag admiral" insignia design (a six pointed starburst) from the fan-published Klingon Covert Operations Manual was used as one of Data's medals in " The Most Toys ".

External links [ ]

  • Earth Starfleet ranks at Memory Beta , the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
  • Federation Starfleet ranks at Memory Beta , the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
  • 1 Nick Locarno
  • 2 Sito Jaxa
  • 3 Sabrerunner class

rank and insignia

Non-Commissioned Officer ranks:

Archivist's note: All ranks award to Maquis and Equinox crew are field ranks. While the captain can award a field rank or promotion, such as Jean-Luc Picard did with acting Ensign W. Crusher, such ranks are subject to review by Starfleet Command and may not stand once Voyager returns to the Alpha Quadrant.

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