Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by DavidGutierrez, Oct 3, 2013.
Double post - My apologies.
There are actually quite a few different meanings of the term, including the description of commissioned and noncommissioned personnel.
But then O'Brien is constantly referred to as an officer, even on DS9, and even to his face. Example, in Sons of Mogh O'Brien is about to speak in Worf's defense but Sisko cuts him off saying "I've already got one officer defending Worf, I don't need another." Although every time I watch that episode I always say "you won't, since he's not an officer" at that point.
But really, most of the time Trek has shown other enlisteds something is usually screwed up. There are several examples of enlisted people going to the Academy, even O'Brien. Calling them "officers" is hardly worth getting upset about.
Chief Petty Officer O'Brien.
I got the impression that members of Starfleet were called...Starfleet.
This is what I've always done. It covers all the bases.
You see a group, at a table, in a bar, with officers, enlisted, male, female, Human, Vulcan, Andorian and whatever. You can still just say, "They're Starfleet."
I just don't follow this this idea of Starfleet being set up "the same" as a civilian police force when one has categories of commissioned officers and petty officers and enlisted men, and the other does not.
As for everyone in Starfleet being called "Starfleet officers" collectively, maybe so, but I would be more convinced if there were examples of it being used for enlisted personnel other than O'Brien, whose history as an "officer" is muddled at best. Picard's line in "The Drumhead" stringly suggests that the term "officer" does not cover everyone serving in Starfleet.
But "initially" lasted for years.
Good question. Since O'Brien wore the insignia of a lieutenant at the time, it's hard to know what to make of it.
But female yeomen is one the fundamentals of Star Trek!
You know, I didn't think of that. In Italian they were just called attendenti ("attendants").
You're too caught up on that idea.
It's simply a case that the term "police officer" is commonly used to describe anyone regardless of their rank and it seems to be the same case with "Starfleet officer."
Given how much the term is used, it actually does seem to do so. It doesn't preclude getting into specifics (commissioned, noncommissioned, enlisted), but it does seem to be the more commonly used phrase to describe all Starfleet personnel. It's even fitting if we think of Starfleet as being its own thing from another time and not a 100% exact extension of today's U.S. Navy.
The only time O'Brien's rank was seriously mishandled was in "Where Silence Has Lease," the second episode of the second season.
In "Encounter at Farpoint" O'Brien wears a single pip, but isn't referred to by rank.
In "The Child" he begins wearing two pips.
In "Where Silence Has Lease" Riker refers to O'Brien as "Lieutenant." I believe this is the sole time he is verbally referred to as a officer.
In "Family" O'Brien is wearing two pips and is direct referred to as being a "Chief Petty Officer." It is subsequently made abundantly clear that O'Brien is in fact a non-commissioned officer.
So merely having collar pips does not automatically mean that the person is a officer, O'Brien while wearing two pips is clearly a non-commissioned officer.
Again, it's not a good example because the two cases are not directly comparable. Civilian police forces do not have officer and non-officer categories. Starfleet officers regularly start their careers as an ensign. A police officer does not start out as a lieutenant.
Are there examples of Starfleet enlisted personnel, other than O'Brien, being referred to as officers? There may be, I just don't know of any. But it still doesn't explain "The Drumhead."
I never assume it is.
So the same pips mean lieutenant as well as chief petty officer? It doesn't seem likely, if the insignia are to be of any use.
Agreed witht the comment about two pips, now lets say they were silver instead of gold and we would have a difference.
I think we can more or less chalk it upto that Colm Meany was orginally going to be a one shot appearnce in "Encounter... " and they never really thought much beyond that. I doubt the thought that they would use him as the most prominant re-curring character in TNG ever entered their mind, let alone that he woulc go onto be a regualr in another spin-off.
I totally disagree. I think they're completely comparable. Both use the term "officer" to describe most of their personnel, regardless of rank. Seems pretty simple, really.
Sure, it does and rather easily. As I said earlier, the use of "Starfleet officer" as a general term for both commissioned and noncommissioned personnel doesn't preclude specifics being discussed when specifically called for.
Then that solves issues when Starfleet does something differently.
For lack of another term having popped up in Trek's almost 50 years and hundreds of hours, we're left with "Starfleet officer" being the generic term by default. In a case like Picard discussing officer status with an enlisted personnel, it's a matter of the context within which the term is being used.
And FWIW regarding O'Brien...in those early Season 1 appearances, he's not referred to by name. We like to think that it's Chief O'Brien, but as actors have played dual roles on Trek before and since, we can't assume that it is.
Otherwise, I'd just consider his being addressed as "Lieutenant" one time, and never having gotten his pips changed because the show didn't have an enlisted rank structure at the time, to just be apocryphal details.
At least they were consistent about it, after establishing O'Brien as a NCO they continued to employ two pips on his uniform. When TPTB created a formal dress uniform for O'Brien to wear at his wedding, it had two pips.
One of the advantages to this would be that many of the nameless people we see about the ship over the course of the series wearing pips would be NCOs, making the ship less top heavy with officers.
Would the similarity of the rank insignia be confusing? Apparently not for them.
Except, AGT established that was O'Brien wearing a red shirt in Farpoint, therefore it's not too much of a stretch to assume the security officer seen in Lonely Among Us was also O'Brien.
^In which case, see my next paragraph.
Not really, you are only a non commissioned officer when you reach E-4 in the enlisted ranks. Whatever basic training Starfleet has would most likely produce what starfleet would call crewman. (E1 through E3) Navy calls them Seamen.
Which doesn't change at all what I said above. The term "officer" is not exclusive to commissioned personnel nor even to military personnel.
Fine, but Occam's Razor has to come into play at some point here. Starfleet is obviously modeled after the Navy. The term officer in Starfleet obviously refers to commissioned officers. Like I said, just ask Sergey Rozhenko.
I have no interest in arguing over such a trivial thing but it comes down to the writer's muddling their way through enlisted terminology on the show. Their job is to write compelling stories for television so I'm not going to hold that against them but that is where the rank confusion stems from.
Separate names with a comma.