Forgive my lack of military understanding, but shouldn't a Flag ship have a flag officer on board? The Enterprise is often described as the Flag ship, but which flag officer does this refer to, or does it just mean "it's our most famous ship" ?

  • 7
    It's described as the "flagship of the Federation," not of Starfleet. I would interpret that as an informal designation.
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 13:25
  • 7
    Because the writers don't know anything about the military. The lowest rank on the ship is "ensign" which would make them all officers and no actual crew too!
    – Gaius
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 17:37
  • 6
    Tho' if this were a Star Wars question there would be loads of tedious waffle trying to justify it anyway, so count yourself lucky!
    – Gaius
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 17:39
  • 6
    @gaius chief O'Brian was an enlisted member so the lowest rank was not ensign. We just didn't see more than a handful of enlisted crew members.
    – Joe W
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 18:14
  • 8
    @Gaius - not true. The lowest rank we see on the bridge and in most cases is Ensign, but that's certainly not the lowest on the ship. In fact, most away teams include 1-2 non-enlisted crewmen, and they appear in several episodes as well. One episode - The Lower Decks - shows everything from their perspective instead of the main cast.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


That's a different meaning of flagship. Dictionary.com defines it as:

1. a ship carrying the flag officer or the commander of a fleet, squadron, or the like, and displaying the officer's flag.

2. the main vessel of a shipping company.

3. any of the best or largest ships or airplanes operated by a passenger line.

4. the best or most important one of a group or system: This store is the flagship of our retail chain.

Here, it is being used in the 4th sense. It is the most advanced, best, prettiest, coolest of all Federation ships. It is, therefore, the federation's flagship. It similar to saying that Windows is Microsoft's flagship product.

  • And you don't think that any of the flag officers want to be on that ship? That's one of the benefits of being in charge. You can do the cool jobs.
    – Ernie
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 22:19
  • @Ernie The Enterprise crew had to put up with a lot of danger. Star Fleet admirals seem to be desk jockeys who wouldn't care to put up with that nonsense.
    – Harabeck
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 13:44

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