How could Kirk become a Captain at the end of the film, or Uhura be a LT, as Spock referred to her before he and Kirk left to rescue Captain Pike, when they both started the mission as Cadets?

  • possible duplicate of Why was Kirk promoted to first officer? Mar 3, 2012 at 23:00
  • I don't think it's a duplicate. The other question concerns why Captain Pike gave the promotion. This question is about how he could have done so given they all started out as cadets. Mar 4, 2012 at 3:51

1 Answer 1


They were in a state of war. During wartime, flag officers can commission (confer officer status) and promote (raise in rank) to meet battlefield need. These promotions can skip ranks. Often the promotions are temporary, e.g. for the duration of the hostilities (a brevet promotion); but permanent battlefield promotions and commissions can also be made. There are regulations concerning their use, and they currently rare in the US military, but they do exist.

This is how it has been done historically, so we can imagine they have similar rules in the future.

  • Good answer. Live long and prosper!
    – DaveG
    Mar 4, 2012 at 5:37
  • 2
    good answer - also remember that Star Fleet is only a "quasi" military organization and events happen in star trek that drive plot lines, but would never occur in any real military.
    – SteveED
    Mar 4, 2012 at 15:13
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    Exactly! It was like Kirk was so extraordinary that you wondered why anyone else even bothered coming to work. Another clinker was when Amanda Grayson turned and gazed frightenedly at Spock for about 2 entire seconds as if she knew her fate, but made no move away from the cliff edge; and if she knew she couldn't move since she was already in the transporter beam, how could she fall to her death? Or that crap about being emotionally compromised - as if that would be written into a set of regulations. Still, the movie was so compelling that none of these logical fallacies ruined it for me.
    – DaveG
    Mar 4, 2012 at 17:15

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