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Old January 23 2013, 01:33 PM   #1
Infern0
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Why was O'Brien not an officer?

I mean on Enterprise D he was a transporter guy, then all of a sudden he's this miraculous engineer who can make a replicator out of scrap iron.

Did it make that much sense that the Federation would have an NCO as the chief engineer of an important space station?

Also, wouldn't he have to command engineering officers who technically outranked him?

I don't understand how it works in trek, but most times the engineering staff will at least have a lieutenant.

I do remember something about him turning down being promoted to an officer, but how does that work? If he even has an ensign on his staff, they outrank him, you might say he's the chief engineer so hee's in command, but when an Admiral rocks up on a starship or Ds9, the captain has to do what they say. I'm pretty sure Starfleet would have basically said you have to take the promotion to do this job, if you don't take the promotion we are moving you to a less important job, back on the transporters for you, O'Brien.

it just didn't seem well thought out to me
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Old January 23 2013, 01:36 PM   #2
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

The O'Brien rank issue has been discussed many times before, he clearly wore Lt. pips throughout most of his apperances on TNG.

In Trek sometimes position is more important than rank. So his position as Chief of Operations gave him authority despite being a NCO.
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Old January 23 2013, 01:42 PM   #3
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
The O'Brien rank issue has been discussed many times before, he clearly wore Lt. pips throughout most of his apperances on TNG.

In Trek sometimes position is more important than rank. So his position as Chief of Operations gave him authority despite being a NCO.
so massive continuity flaw then.
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Old January 23 2013, 01:44 PM   #4
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

The Captain can put anyone he wants in charge of a certain department on his ship.
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Old January 23 2013, 01:45 PM   #5
MacLeod
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

Yep, it was a continuity flaw. But remember O'Brien start out as a bit character in "Encounter at Farpoint", I don't think the writers/producers at that point thought he would go onto be one of the main recurring characters in TNG let alone one of the lead characters in another Trek spin-off show.
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Old January 23 2013, 01:47 PM   #6
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

Dream wrote: View Post
The Captain can put anyone he wants in charge of a certain department on his ship.
It still doesn't make sense.

NCO's are not trained and qualified for "command", he would be "commanding" a large engineering staff, most likely including people who were trained and qualified to command.
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Old January 23 2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

Infern0 wrote: View Post
Dream wrote: View Post
The Captain can put anyone he wants in charge of a certain department on his ship.
It still doesn't make sense.

NCO's are not trained and qualified for "command", he would be "commanding" a large engineering staff, most likely including people who were trained and qualified to command.
Just saying it how it was shown on screen.

Picard made Wesley a helmsmen and Janeway made Torres the Chief Engineer. Being a captain has its perks.
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Old January 23 2013, 01:55 PM   #8
Infern0
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

Dream wrote: View Post
Infern0 wrote: View Post
Dream wrote: View Post
The Captain can put anyone he wants in charge of a certain department on his ship.
It still doesn't make sense.

NCO's are not trained and qualified for "command", he would be "commanding" a large engineering staff, most likely including people who were trained and qualified to command.
Just saying it how it was shown on screen.

Picard made Wesley a helmsmen and Janeway made Torres the Chief Engineer. Being a captain has its perks.
He was on romulan Ale at the time, and trying to get in Beverly's good books.
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Old January 23 2013, 06:17 PM   #9
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

Infern0 wrote: View Post
Dream wrote: View Post
The Captain can put anyone he wants in charge of a certain department on his ship.
It still doesn't make sense.

NCO's are not trained and qualified for "command", he would be "commanding" a large engineering staff, most likely including people who were trained and qualified to command.

Are you familiar with CPOs in the Navy? They can be responsible for supervising very large numbers of people. There's nothing magical about "command" that only an officer can do it.
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Old January 23 2013, 06:32 PM   #10
Wintertainment
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

wasn't he tactical officer on that rascist-to-cardassians captains ship?
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Old January 23 2013, 07:05 PM   #11
Worf'sParmach
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

This may not be the best analogy but this is how I've always thought of it...

Starfleet officers go to the Academy, kind of like going to Westpoint or the Citadel here in the present-day US. O'Brien on the other hand, just signed up, went to boot camp and started working. He lacks the officer training and therefore will only be able to go so far in his career.

The irony is that he ends up teaching at the Academy, which he never attended.

Infern0 wrote: View Post
It still doesn't make sense.

NCO's are not trained and qualified for "command", he would be "commanding" a large engineering staff, most likely including people who were trained and qualified to command.
Maybe he was able to get the job on DS9 because, at the time, it was a pretty crappy assignment. An NCO would never be able to be Chief Engineer on a ship like The Enterprise, but on a broke down Cardassian station in the middle of nowhere? Why not, no one else wants it.

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Yep, it was a continuity flaw. But remember O'Brien start out as a bit character in "Encounter at Farpoint", I don't think the writers/producers at that point thought he would go onto be one of the main recurring characters in TNG let alone one of the lead characters in another Trek spin-off show.
Ultimatly, this is the real explanation.
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Old January 23 2013, 07:30 PM   #12
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

For the same reason Sgt. Rock is still a sergeant all these years after World War 2.
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Old January 23 2013, 09:27 PM   #13
CorporalClegg
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

Throughout most of Naval history, this sort of thing has happened--especially in times of war. In WWII for example, it was not that uncommon for the chief engineer to be a noncom and to be granted command authority over junior officers by the captain, simply because of his experience. This was especially true on smaller ships submarines (or like the Defiant. ). Think about any of the late battles of the war. Who do you think Sisko would rather have take over if he and Worf were killed or seriously injured, Nog or the Chief?

As far as his junior officer subordinates, command has always been about respect first and pips or bars and oak leafs second. Something I've always thought was a missed opportunity was to have O'Brien in FC. For one thing, Meaney was a fairly recognizable face in those days, but I mean just have him aboard the Enterprise. Geordi would have put him in charge, and none of his officers would have thought twice about it. Obviously, it would have had to have been rewritten since the guy Geordi did put in charge was Borgified right away, but you get the idea.

I think the TNG wardrobe issue was simply a matter of not wasting the costume budget on such a small character.
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Old January 23 2013, 10:18 PM   #14
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

sonak wrote: View Post
Infern0 wrote: View Post
Dream wrote: View Post
The Captain can put anyone he wants in charge of a certain department on his ship.
It still doesn't make sense.

NCO's are not trained and qualified for "command", he would be "commanding" a large engineering staff, most likely including people who were trained and qualified to command.
Are you familiar with CPOs in the Navy? They can be responsible for supervising very large numbers of people. There's nothing magical about "command" that only an officer can do it.
Hell, I'd trust a CPO's judgment (or that of a comparative senior NCO in the other branches) over a lot of officers'. Senior NCOs are not only responsible for supervising large numbers of people, they also mentor junior officers, and senior officers often look to them for advice on certain matters.
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Old January 23 2013, 11:52 PM   #15
Worf'sParmach
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Re: Why was O'Brien not an officer?

MacLeod wrote: View Post
Something I've always thought was a missed opportunity was to have O'Brien in FC. For one thing, Meaney was a fairly recognizable face in those days, but I mean just have him aboard the Enterprise. Geordi would have put him in charge, and none of his officers would have thought twice about it. Obviously, it would have had to have been rewritten since the guy Geordi did put in charge was Borgified right away, but you get the idea.
Agreed. I think he's been in more non-Trek movies than anyone else save for Patrick Stewart perhaps. Then again, they may have had to pay him more because of that.
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