Ranks of characters

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Little_kingsfan, Jan 28, 2016.

  1. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

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    Which suggests that her promotion to "Fleet Admiral" was lateral (HQ Staff to Field Command) rather than an increase rank (three star to five star). This is consistent with Brackett and Shanthi who also wore three pips as "Fleet Admiral" and are the only other Federation Starfleet Fleet Admirals we've seen that were identified as such on screen and wore insignia that can be compared with other ranks. The mirror Fleet Admiral Gardner appears to wear the same five chevron insignia as his junior, Admiral Black, indicating that in the ISF "Fleet Admiral" isn't a substantive rank but a position title (TrekLit later offers Grand Admiral as an alternative, possibly substantive, rank), the Klingons also used Fleet Admiral (and presumably Admiral) as ranks/titles during the 2100s but the seniority vis-a-vis General there is unclear and with only three battlecruisers seen of Krell's 'fleet' can't be assumed to be the senior position.
     
  2. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    This is nothing new. Fleet Admiral Shanthi in Redemption is actually specified in the script to be the head of Starfleet, yet she only wears the three-boxed pips of a Vice Admiral. There's also Fleet Admiral Brackett in Unification who also only wears the insignia of a Vice Admiral.

    IMO, Admiral Leyton should have been a four-star Admiral at least, but he too was only a Vice Admiral.

    The only time in all Star Trek we actually do see an actual five-star Fleet Admiral is Admiral Marcus in STID.
     
  3. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

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    Perhaps by WWII, but the evidence suggests that Marcus would be a "four-star" ADM as the SF flag ranks begin with "no star" (Commodore during TOS, RADM Lower Half or similar from the TNG era onwards), although I agree that he could still be regarded as equivalent of a five-star general.

    US Armed Forces (late 20th & 21st C): Brig Gen, Major Gen, Lt Gen, General, General of the Army.
    UFP Flag Officers (22nd & 23rd C): Commodore, Rear ADM, Lt ADM*, Vice ADM/Fleet ADM, Admiral.
    UFP Flag Officers (24th C): Group ADM^*, Rear ADM, Lt ADM*, Vice ADM/Fleet ADM, Admiral.

    * Speculative, based on role held or equivalent ranks.
    ^ RADML in the United States, Commodore or Flotilla Admiral are more typical internationally.
     
  4. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Marcus has five rank pins on his shoulders, as opposed to Pike who only has four. This is all the evidence I need to call Marcus a five-star Admiral, likewise Pike is a four-star Admiral. What evidence drew you to your conclusions?
     
  5. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

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    I agree that's that true out-of-universe (Pike is the equivalent of a NATO General, Marcus a NATO General of the Army or Field Marshal), however Starfleet ranks and roles don't always line-up with RW practice.

    Pike's sleeve insignia is one broad and three narrow stripes instead of four, which suggests that he would be a "three-boxed pips" Admiral during TNG+ (Quinn and Jameson prove that "no pips" is still an option), which is Vice or Fleet Admiral (or more accurately Fleet Commander), but a Commodore/junior Admiral would still wear one pip in the "Army-style" (as the equivalent of a Brigadier General), so if they exist, he would still rank with a Ground Forces General (four star).
     
  6. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Honestly, this sounds like you're taking what was likely a costuming error way too seriously.
     
  7. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

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    Why is it necessarily an error? As I've already explained there are RW parallels to explain it.
     
  8. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    I really doubt anyone involved with the movie really put that much thought into the matter. And given that Star Trek has almost always based Starfleet directly on the US Navy in some respect, it seems more likely an error was made rather than a conscious effort to draw upon precedents from other navies and military organizations.
     
  9. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

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    As much as I disagree that Starfleet shouldn't borrow elements from other than the US Navy, is not necessary to argue that point in this instance as US Navy v US Marine Corps ranks will do nicely for my purposes.

    [​IMG]
    (No Stripe Admiral v One-Star General)
    [​IMG]

    (Three-Stripe Admiral v Four-Star General)


    [​IMG]

    (No Pip Admiral v Three-Pip Admiral).

    How many ranks of Admiral does this imply Starfleet has?

    At least four directly, one of which was called Commodore during TOS but became a junior grade of Admiral from TNG onwards (assumed to be Rear Admiral Lower Half but there is no canon either way). The four-pip Admiral adds a fifth grade probably titled simple "Admiral" possibly something different.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  10. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Your description of flag officer ranks was a little confusing, but I realized what you were trying to say - that a one-star rear admiral has a thick braid on the sleeve, a two-star has the thick braid with one stripe above it, a three-star has the thick braid with two stripes, and the four-star has the thick braid with three stripes.

    In the real-life US Navy, Commodores were Captains in command of more than one ship (a battle group, a squadron, or a flotilla or something similar). During World War II, the Navy decided, in order to prevent a ship captain from taking orders from a officer in command of such a group with less seniority, to make Commodores a flag officer, senior to captains but subordinate to rear admirals. After the War, all of those one-star Commodores were either promoted or retired, and the rank became defunct, and all flag officers started at two-star Rear Admiral. In 1981, the one-star rank was reestablished and became known as Rear Admiral, lower half in 1985 (all of which is according to Wikipedia and other military sites on the web).

    There are five canonical ranks of Starfleet - Commodore/Rear Admiral, lower half, Rear Admiral, Vice Admiral, Admiral, and Fleet Admiral.

    In one known story (Before Dishonor, by Peter David), the title of Commodore is used in the 24th century by Captain Picard, who is "promoted" by Captain Mackenzie Calhoun in order to demonstrate Picard's place as the fleet's commander; it is also used in The Romulan War duology by Michael Martin when Captain Archer is given operational command of all starships that fought alongside Enterprise during the Earth-Romulan War (during which time he was consistently referred to as "Commodore"). During the signing of the treaty ending the war, he tells a subordinate that without command of the fleet, he is simply "Captain Archer".

    I hope this all helps clear up some confusion.
     
  11. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    The thing to keep in mind with Ross and Jameson, is that Jameson was from early TNG, with a different style of uniform and from before a lot of the aspects of 24th C Starfleet had been established, while Ross was from late DS9 after things had been established pretty well.
     
  12. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

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    Personally, I'm increasingly of the opinion that either Quinn was actually a Commodore and he was accorded "Admiral" as a courtesy title due to his senior position at HQ ("The Admiralty" in age-of-sail terms), or they made a mistake with his wardrobe and he should have been a Rear Admiral (one pip/stripe, cf Kirk in TMP), as he was never identified as a Rear Admiral, never mind lower half, IFAIK (only Satie and Bennet were ever specifically IDed as a RADM, she was never seen in uniform and he wore the wrong insignia (four pips!)).

    Fleet Admiral might have been identified in background info as a substantive rank, but on-screen canon has this as an assignment/billet for a Vice Admiral, and there is no basis in canon for the "five-pip" rank insignia in the TNG era as the "Monster Maroons" are the only uniform that might have specifically identified the rank of Fleet Admiral and they implied that it would be a "four pip". If so, then the majority of the evidence would seem to favour a scheme like:

    Commodore (no stripe/pip, 1 star), Rear Admiral (one stripe/pip, 2-star), ?* Admiral (two stripes/pips, 3 star), Vice Admiral/Acting Fleet Admiral (three stripes/pips, 4-star), Fleet Admiral (four stripes/pips, 5-star).

    * I would favour Lieutenant Admiral for the replacement rank, for simplicity and due it being equivalent to a Lieutenant General anyway.
     
  13. Little_kingsfan

    Little_kingsfan Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Except that it is very explicitly stated/shown that two pips on a 24th century uniform is a Rear Admiral, three pips is a Vice Admiral, and four pips is (full) Admiral (neither one-pip nor five-pip admirals ever appeared on screen, but they have been extrapolated from and referred to in the novels).

    And as far as I can tell, only one Navy in the entire world (the Royal Netherlands Navy) uses the term Lieutenant Admiral (which is the Dutch equivalent of the American/British Vice Admiral) - not that that means anything, but there is absolutely no basis, canonically, fanonically, or otherwise, for such a rank to exist...unless some author decides he or she wants to add it.
     
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  14. tomswift2002

    tomswift2002 Commodore Commodore

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    And don't forget there's the little used rank of Fleet Captain (which Pike was called in "The Menagerie") and Afsarah Eden was given the rank of Fleet Captain for Project Full Circle.
     
  15. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

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    As I noted above, the rank of Rear Admiral is canonical, but there is no dialogue in the episodes to match up references to Rear Admiral to one wearing "two pips" and based on RW practice, Kirk was a Rear Admiral in TMP with a bar and stripe, so it's actually the 'one pip' that should be Rear Admiral (except potentially in Earth Starfleet where it would be two).

    I withdraw my nomination for Lieutenant Admiral as it appears that it would be the "three pip" rank rather than the two if used based on modern practice, which is also IFAIK the only basis for "Rear Admiral Lower Half" being a Starfleet Rank. A better option might be to use the semi-canonical "Branch Admiral" for the 'one-pip' (from FASA and potentially the Encounter at Farpoint novelisation) as it's existence is plausible, but the name is dubious.


    Eden was "Fleet Commander" with the rank of Captain, now as she was the second in command/chief of staff of the Full Circle Fleet (commanded by an Admiral) before taking that post then arguably she was a nominal Fleet Captain before her promotion and a nominal Commodore after.
     
  16. Avro Arrow

    Avro Arrow Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Just to check, are you saying that you think the lowest flag rank in the TNG S3+ system would be a box with no pips in it?
     
  17. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

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    No box at all, same as in the TNG s1 & 2 system, though I'm less than convinced that this designates an admiral rather than a member of the Admiralty with the rank of Commodore (as it did in the TOS era):

    [​IMG]

    Couldn't find a good full-length shot, but the black sleeve bands on Pressman's uniform would also remain.
     
  18. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The triangle on Quinn's right shoulder is supposed to be the rank insignia, isn't it? I think it even has tiny 'pips' inside which would correspond to an Admiral's stars.
     
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  19. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    This page on TrekCore has several better pictures with a better view of Quinn's rank insignia.
    You can see in the second to last picture on this page, that Pressman actually has a box with two pips on his sleeve.
     
  20. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Captain Captain

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    Yes, Aaron and Savar also have officer pips under the 'triangle' to denote seniority (Unknown Grade, and Rear Admiral respectively).

    I would assume if we had seen a 'no-pip' after this version of the uniform was introduced then the 'boxed pip' would also be missing from the sleeve, but the black bar would still be present.

    [​IMG]

    Like so?