Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,402
I was recently wondering about a few things, maybe someone can clarify it for me.

In TNG-era Starfleet crews, what do "Command Division" officers actually do? I know that the Captain and first officer most likely are "Command" crew, but what do "Command" Lieutenants and Ensigns do? You see quite a lot of reds run around in TNG, yet no one of them seems to have much "commanding" to do.

Other than that, how can I know wether I'm showing my plasma burned wound to a Medic or a Botanist? What does a Lieutenant Commander Geologist do? How can I differ between a Security Officer and a Maintenance Engineer?

Of course, without knowing everyone by name like the show's captains always seemed to do
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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# 2
09-26-2013, 07:25 AM
Just going by what is shown in the show, the command division seemed to mostly be pilots and helmsmen, and if you're on DS9, the Strategic Operations Officer wore red as well (Worf even comments on it in "Way of the Warrior"). The only other one that springs to mind is the woman from the Judge Advocate General's office in "Measure of a Man" who wore red.

I think the implication was that a lot of the people who ended up in the center chair started off steering the ship.

However there was an interesting thing on Memory Alpha when I looked up Command Division. It said a person who commands a section on a ship (i.e. a supervisor) might wear the colors of that division, despite being a command officer. So if you're a command lieutenant overseeing the shuttle maintenance crews, you'd wear gold.
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Last edited by drogyn1701; 09-26-2013 at 07:32 AM.
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,625
# 3
09-26-2013, 07:33 AM
Lower ranks of command would be management positions - shift scheduling, project management, etc. We see helmsman and similar positions sometimes wearing red, sometimes yellow. Inconsistencies in how the red/yellow shirts were distributed were all over every series (even before the switch in TOS), so it's hard to nail down exactly which red shirts really should be red shirts.

Aside from Bashir, we rarely see medical personnel wearing rank insignia. Often not even standard uniforms for that matter. You do, however, see science officers consistently in uniform and wearing appropriate insignia. If it weren't for Bashir adhering to proper uniform, I'd say that's probably your best indication.

A lieutenant commander geologist is likely just a geologist of some distinction. Once you get past the top 2-3 officers, Starfleet really seems to use some sort of brevet system rather than direct rank standings - Harry Kim never made lieutenant but his authority exceeded almost everyone except the senior staff, and Geordi was chief engineer over lieutenant commanders even as a lieutenant - same applied to a number of department heads, such as Bashir who started as an ensign but had lieutenant commanders under him.

This even goes up to the top officers - Chakotay's insignia clearly identified him as a lieutenant commander, but he was functionally a Commander. Dialog identified Spock as lieutenant commander until some point after Court Martial - the next time he's identified by rank he's full Commander - but despite one and possibly two full Commanders on the ship (costume glitches made it impossible to tell sometimes, and dialog mentions were sparse to nonexistent for major characters) he was still first officer with authority second only to Kirk.

All of this particularly means that in the sciences, promotions can be justified in pretty arbitrary and limited ways. When some ensign in operations outranks all of you and even within your own department the position that matters is project leader, it's easy to pass out a couple pips here and there for publishing something significant.

Last edited by hevach; 09-26-2013 at 07:42 AM.

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