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Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old September 19 2012, 02:05 PM   #16
od0_ital
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Re: O'Brien

There was also TNG 'Disaster', where while trapped on the bridge, Ensign Ro was ready to defer to "Chief" O'Brien because of his rank, 'til he pointed out that Lieutenant Commander Troi outranked him.

Point is, TNG played fast & loose with O'Brien's rank & titles, and DS9 did they best they could to correct it and keep it consistent.
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Old September 19 2012, 02:16 PM   #17
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Re: O'Brien

"Ready to defer"? It sounded more like Ro believed her own combination of commissioned rank and command-colored uniform ought to make her the queen of the hill, until O'Brien insisted that Troi's higher rank trumped everything else. Which probably wasn't formally true or anything, but O'Brien apparently didn't want Ro running things.

Ro: "We need to start emergency procedures. Who's the duty officer?"
O'Brien: "Lieutenant Monroe was in command, but she's dead. I believe Counsellor Troi is the senior officer on the deck."
Ro (incredulous): "Counsellor Troi?"
O'Brien: "She carries the rank of Lieutenant Commander."
Troi (quickly interjecting): "I'd appreciate some suggestions."
After this exchange, Ro makes all sorts of suggestions, which O'Brien counters with those of his own, and Troi then shoots down with her cleverly formulated "orders" (which are more like suggestions). Ro seems to be making a point of not directly addressing Troi at all; it is only towards the very end that she deigns to address the superior officer as "Sir" (rather than the derogatory "Counselor"), while O'Brien is always eager to formally honor the Lieutenant Commander and support her "decisions".

This is actually one of the more intriguing and enjoyable cases of the writers making use of the ranks and relative hierarchical status of the characters; O'Brien fits right in as the formal underdog who nevertheless gets to pull all the strings.

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Old September 19 2012, 05:00 PM   #18
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Re: O'Brien

It's been a while since I watched "Disaster" but it seemed to be a case of O'Brien running the show. But that might be a case of O'Briens choices were more inline with the goals Troi wanted to achieve, namely the survival of the entire ship and crew. WHilst Ro was prepared to sacrifice the stardrive section.
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Old September 19 2012, 05:49 PM   #19
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Re: O'Brien

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

lets ignore the rank question and assume that he was always an NCO.....why was this?......was it something to do with his military background - it's easy to think of starfleet as nothing more than the military wing of the federation but it was also primarily the institution that dealt with the exploration of space so in this instance, was O'Brien an experienced military man who in peace time, decided to change career or was it due to not attending starfleet academy so he was purely commissioned based on his skill set (why not attempt to become an officer when it was clear he wanted to stay in starfleet)

maybe i don't fully understand the military stuff (if that is the thinking behind it) but i still cannot fathom why they made him an NCO - why bother with this - what's the point - and the writers seemed to want to make this a noticeable thing about his character - what for

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

Timo wrote: View Post
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 (and the training and working experience that may also be of use in civilian life), then gets out and goes on with his life - but unlike the regular grunt, this somebody decided to go through the effort to get into a commanding (and better paid) position during his stay in the military, and thus became a Petty Officer or even a Chief Petty Officer (which is navyspeak for various sorts of sergeant). A commissioned officer chooses the military life as a lifestyle, gets higher-level, "academic" training that is of very little use in the civilian world, and either stays in the force till advanced age, or at least can be recalled to perform his (fairly non-physical) duties at a much greater age than any of the enlisted folks.

Or at least this is the original setup, long since outdated by various developments. Essentially, it dates back to the days when nations only paid for a central core of officers to be full-time soldiers, and drafted/hired/otherwise acquired the rest of the fighting force as needed.

Nevertheless, the idea of the enlisted men as the "ordinary folks", the "not really soldiers save for the circumstances", persists. And O'Brien being an engineering specialist makes him even more the non-soldier; him being a family man of some age and gravitas, still more so. That's his dramatic role in this context. Basically, officer characters are paid for sending people to die; enlisted characters are paid to die. The sympathies of the audience are correspondingly guided. Although a "sarge" like O'Brien falls somewhere in between, being forced to send underlings to die, his motivation in a scene is still that of surviving the mission imposed upon him by the officers, and helping his men survive it as well, in a fatherly or even motherly way. Of course, him being an engineer takes away some of this stereotype, but it surfaces now and then, in episodes like "The Ship".
thanks that was helpful
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Old September 20 2012, 12:33 AM   #20
C.E. Evans
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Re: O'Brien

hayesc0 wrote: View Post
actually his position was chief of operations his rank was chief petty officer he has the same position as data in operations department
Actually, that wasn't the case originally. Chief of Operations was indeed O'Brien's rank--something he declared (rather firmly) several times to the Cardassians in "Tribunal":

O'BRIEN: My name is Miles O'Brien. My rank, Chief of Operations...

While Starfleet's commissioned officer grades generally corresponded with those of the US Navy, the same couldn't be entirely said for the enlisted grades, probably due to writer unfamiliarity with them and/or a need to continue calling O'Brien a chief after his promotion, so we end up with O'Brien having an invented Starfleet-only noncom rank of Chief of Operations.

It wasn't until later that they tried to give O'Brien a more traditional rank and came up with Senior Chief Specialist in "Shadowplay."
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Old September 20 2012, 01:23 AM   #21
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Re: O'Brien

I always figured Ro was ready to "defer" to O'brien not because of his rank, but because he was the man who'd been around and would know what to do in a crisis. She's pretty much repeatedly demonstrated she has little use for the chain of command.

O'brien played the part of a knowledable noncom pretty much running the show by virtue of leading an ignorant officer along with his "suggestions" and what not.
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Old September 20 2012, 01:44 AM   #22
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Re: O'Brien

hux wrote: View Post

why go out of the way to make his character a non-commissioned officer - what was the thinking here
Here's my thought:

To make him more relatable. O'Brien was fairly rare character on Star Trek, he was the Everyman. Sure, most folks may think of themselves as the Captain, or the doctor, or some super smart, strong, attractive character...in the end most of us are O'Brien.
On a station and a starship full of statesmen, androids, shapeshifters, centuries old symbiotic aliens, genetically engineered humans, alien terrorists, blind geniuses etc. he was just a guy doing his job well and had been doing it for years.
He wasn't top of his class. He had prejudices. He had a wife and kids, and would have a nice drink after work with his buddy. At work, the sleeves are rolled up and he was one of the guys.
And another way of showing that is making him a non-com. He's not the manager, he's the foreman. Star Trek plays fast and loose with its titles, and doesn't exactly sync up with present-day military, so it really only needs to be measured against itself.
As a non-com in command situations he subservient to the lowest Ensign (established when he told this to Ensign Nog, fresh from the academy), but his position makes him top dog in Operations and Engineering. I can't think of any examples, but I'm sure he's been in charge of ensigns and lieutenants when it falls under that umbrella.

Just my take.
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Old September 20 2012, 12:56 PM   #23
Timo
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Re: O'Brien

It wasn't until later that they tried to give O'Brien a more traditional rank and came up with Senior Chief Specialist in "Shadowplay."
That would rather easily fit a consistent pattern. His rank is Chief (more specifically Senior Chief Petty Officer), Specialist (more specifically, his speciality is Ops). It's just that the current USN word for both the level of seniority and the line of work of an enlisted person is "rating" rather than "rank".

But "rank" is simpler, and it's partially in line with Royal Navy tradition, and both these arguments are good ones for Star Trek which wants to portray a simple to understand, improved future whilst suggesting the adventurous days of the sailing ship era.

O'Brien could thus be excused for saying the same thing in different ways: his rank is

Senior Chief (Petty Officer), Specialist (of Operations) ["Playing God"],
(Senior) Chief (Petty Officer), (Specialist) of Operations ["Tribunal"] or
(Senior) Chief Petty Officer, (Specialist of Operations) ["Hippocratic Oath"],

depending on how much of the mouthful he decided to swallow at a given instance.

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Old September 21 2012, 06:07 PM   #24
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Re: O'Brien

O'Brien's rank is kind of a mess, and I don't think there's much point in trying to make sense of it. Riker apparently addressed him as "Lieutenant" in an early TNG appearance. For much of his time on the show, he had two full pips, and his uniform was basically identical to Worf's (Personally, I think engineering and security should've had different colors, but that's another matter).

When Sergey Rohzhenko comes aboard, he somehow recognizes O'Brien as a non-com, despite his son (whom they talk about being an officer in that very scene) having the exact same rank insignia.

Still, O'Brien's uniform stays the same until season 6's "Realm of Fear", when he goes from two full pips to one dark one, presumably to make it clear that Barclay (whom O'Brien interacts with quite a bit in the episode) is a superior officer.

Supposedly, O'Brien got some sort of promotion when he moved to DS9: In an early ep, he offers to take a transfer, since his wife obviously hates the place, but she says he'd have to give up his promotion.

Then in the 4th season, O'Brien trades his one dark pip for this weird little square thing I don't think we've seen on anyone else. Whether that was another promotion, or just some uniform change, no one knows.

BTW, is it me or does it seem like the officer to crewman ratio on starships is a lot higher than it is on a real navy ship?
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Old September 21 2012, 08:08 PM   #25
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Re: O'Brien

t_smitts wrote: View Post
Then in the 4th season, O'Brien trades his one dark pip for this weird little square thing I don't think we've seen on anyone else. Whether that was another promotion, or just some uniform change, no one knows.
It's an embroidered patch featuring three chevrons and two dots. http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__...5/Ds9_scpo.png
It corresponds to a master chief in the U.S. Navy.
http://www.dodfire.com/graphics/insi...ty_Officer.gif
BTW, is it me or does it seem like the officer to crewman ratio on starships is a lot higher than it is on a real navy ship?
Trek tends to focus on officers, but it could easily be that the majority of crewmembers we see in the background with no discernable rank insignia are enlisted personnel. In that regard, the ratio between officers and enlisted could be the same, except when it comes to away missions.
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Old September 22 2012, 09:17 AM   #26
Timo
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Re: O'Brien

It's an embroidered patch featuring three chevrons and two dots. http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__...5/Ds9_scpo.png
It corresponds to a master chief in the U.S. Navy.
http://www.dodfire.com/graphics/insi...ty_Officer.gif
Actually, it ought to correspond to senior chief. Which would be nicely consistent with what he says about his rank in "Playing God".

Namely, in the USN system, those three chevrons would mean that he has collected all the Petty Officer ranks (or ratings), but his next step would be to gain a "rocker" to indicate the first Chief Petty Officer rank. That is, he would move from >>> to (>>> at that point. And two little dots (stars in USN) atop that would mean the third Chief Petty Officer rank, Master CPO.

But the thing is, Starfleet doesn't use rockers. So >>> is Petty Officer 1st Class, but >>>. is CPO, >>>: is Senior CPO, and >>>:. is Master CPO.

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Old September 22 2012, 03:07 PM   #27
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Re: O'Brien

It's an embroidered patch featuring three chevrons and two dots. http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__...5/Ds9_scpo.png
It corresponds to a master chief in the U.S. Navy.
http://www.dodfire.com/graphics/insi...ty_Officer.gif
Actually, it ought to correspond to senior chief.
But unfortunately it doesn't. Only master chiefs have an insignia with two stars with three chevrons. Senior chiefs only have one star in the US Navy. So either O'Brien was really a master chief or that Starfleet enlisted insignia differed from today's system more than the officer insignia did.
Namely, in the USN system, those three chevrons would mean that he has collected all the Petty Officer ranks (or ratings), but his next step would be to gain a "rocker" to indicate the first Chief Petty Officer rank.
In an earlier discussion we had about this subject, I proposed that in lieu of rockers, the particular shape of the chevron was different for chiefs in Starfleet, with pettys having a more simpler-shaped chevron.
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Old September 22 2012, 07:29 PM   #28
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Re: O'Brien

R. Star wrote: View Post
I always figured Ro was ready to "defer" to O'brien not because of his rank, but because he was the man who'd been around and would know what to do in a crisis. She's pretty much repeatedly demonstrated she has little use for the chain of command.

O'brien played the part of a knowledable noncom pretty much running the show by virtue of leading an ignorant officer along with his "suggestions" and what not.
I'm not military, but my understanding is that NCOs like O'Brien who have a wealth of experience in the service command a certain level of respect from officers who technically outrank them. Ro - or Nog, once he becomes an Ensign - do supercede O'Brien in the chain of command, but nevertheless any young officer who fails to listen to a much older NCO is seen as foolhardy.
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Old September 23 2012, 09:08 AM   #29
Timo
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Re: O'Brien

Starfleet enlisted insignia differed from today's system more than the officer insignia did.
More in which way? The officer insignia are almost completely different from today's system. The TOS movie pins bear no real resemblance to anything (great imagination there!), the TOS sleeve stripes have different numbers of features (that is, stripes) than the "corresponding" USN insignia for any given rank (generally, it's USN minus one, but not with Captain!), and the TNG pips sort of resemble the modern stripes (even if they are completely unlike the matching modern collar insignia) but LtCmdr is arranged differently (with the "narrow stripe"/dark pip at the outer end rather than in the middle).

Saying that the first dark pip in a Starfleet Chief Petty Officer collar plate equals the rocker allows us to speculate that the plate (as per late DS9) is a specific rank symbol, while the single dark pip on a uniform collar (as per TNG and early DS9) generically means you're dealing with a person who has earned his rocker...

Since Starfleet is such an officer-heavy organization, perhaps everybody knows the very few CPOs by face and thus they don't need the sort of exact symbols for their training and competence that today are part and parcel of enlisted insignia? In today's situation, the few officers are the ones supposed to be known by face, and their insignia tell little about their specific training; in contrast, the enlisted are one-field specialists, essentially tools in a toolbox, and their faces mean nothing whereas their specialty is everything, and is prominently displayed on their sleeves. If Starfleet is the exact reverse of that, the generic "I've got a rocker! Ask me anything about machinery! Or about anything, really!" pip would make quite a bit of sense.

Further fun detail: O'Brien's plate clearly has room for three pips/stars, judging by the placement of the first two. There's no room for a fourth. This is perfect if the three regular CPO ranks are to be expressed by this plate, and two pips is the middle rank. That is, SCPO... We don't know if "MCPO of Starfleet" even exists.

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Old September 23 2012, 04:28 PM   #30
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Re: O'Brien

Starfleet enlisted insignia differed from today's system more than the officer insignia did.
More in which way?
The circular pips generally correspond with the stripes used by officers in the U.S. Navy (the two sets of boxed pips worn by admirals generally correspond with the number of stars worn by admirals there too). They're not identical, of course, but you can see how the four stripes for a Navy captain matches the four pips for a Starfleet captain and the two-and-a-half stripes for a Navy lieutenant commander matches the two solid pips and one hollow pip of a Starfleet lieutenant commander and so on. There's much more parity there in the rank insignia between Navy and Starfleet officers.

In comparison, O'Brien's insignia corresponds with a master chief rather than a senior chief. So as I said earlier, either O'Brien is really a master chief or Starfleet based its insignia for noncoms on a different system than today's Navy.
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