In today's armies, where being a soldier is a paid job first and foremost, a non-commissioned officer is somebody who joins the force for a specific length of time to get the money ……..
I don’t even know where to begin with this; as it is so far off, it’s unbelievable.
In today’s armies and navies, Soldiers, and Noncommissioned officers are NOT people who simply joined for the money and training. We are professionals, who take extreme pride in our jobs, and our ability to do those jobs.
So, why are we Non-Com’s instead of Commissioned Officers; for most of us, our parents didn’t have enough money to buy our commission (i.e. pay for us to go to college)
as interesting as the discussion about what rank O'Brien actually was, it's not something that concerns me personally (as far as i'm concerned he was a non-commissioned officer and i'm happy with that) but what i don't understand is why - what was the thinking here……..does it really make sense for NCO's to still exist in the context of starfleet - and on the exploration flagship in particular - what is it i'm missing
I would say, they could have taken the plot line with O’Brien a lot further than they did. But; in any case, I could easily see a young man, ready to go out into space, apply for the academy, and then get told that they did real good on the entrance examine, but not well enough to attend the academy this year. (I believe Picard even told Will Crusher, that he didn’t make it in on his first attempt) The young man, unwilling to wait yet another year, goes out and signs up as an enlisted man, thereby, bypassing another year waiting, and the time at the academy to get out into space right away. Once there though, because he was talented, moved up the ranks on the enlisted side very quickly.
As far as others talking about why Starfleet would need Non-Com’s and Enlisted; well, as others have said. Commissioned Officers, decide what to do; “take that hill”; Non-Com’s are then responsible for carrying out the order, and ensuring it happens, junior/lower enlisted; privates and seamen, do the work. Not to mention, someone has to scrub the plasma manifold, a job which is dirty, nasty, and not very pleasant.