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I've read several questions and answers here about the uniform colours in Star Trek and their significance. E.g. this answer gives the following list of uniform colours covering the TNG era (with supporting links to Memory Alpha):

  • Red/Maroon - this denotes the COMMAND division. Examples are anyone on the command track, including helmsmen, administrators, and commanding officers.
  • Yellow/Gold - this denotes the OPERATIONS division. Examples are anyone responsible for the daily operation of a starship or base, including engineers, security officers, tactical officers, and non-Engineering support personnel.
  • Blue/Teal - this denotes the SCIENCES division. Examples are scientists/researchers, medical staff, and non-Operations technical specialists.

Now let's take a look at the main cast from the first season of TNG:

Cast image

Most of their uniform colours make sense according to the above classification: as commanding officers, Picard and Riker wear red; as a security officer, Tasha Yar wears yellow; as a medical scientist, Dr Crusher wears blue. But what about Worf?

In the first season, he appears to be a junior security officer - until Tasha's death, when he becomes Acting Chief of Security. Later he's formally instated as Chief of Security and begins to wear yellow, which makes sense. But why should a junior security officer wear red, the colour of the command division? He's not a commanding officer, and indeed seems to be lower-ranking than most of the bridge officers (in fact, originally he wasn't even going to count as part of the main cast).

Why does Worf wear the 'command division' colour in season 1?

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  • 2
    Worf was a Conn Officer (a Command position). He then got promoted to run Security (an Operations position). Command = Red, Ops = Yellow.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:26
  • 2
    Well, Geordie(?) is red too, wasn't he also yellow later on? (Especially since he always seemed to work in engineering.)
    – TARS
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:44
  • 1
    Geordi also started out as a relief Conn Officer. He commanded the Enterprise on at least one occasion. He then got promoted into an Engineering role (Yellow uniform) then again into Chief Engineer.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:53
  • 2
    @CahirMawrDyffrynæpCeallach : Like Worf, Geordi was in command divison at first, not engineering. But engineering is clearly where his interests were, and he transferred to Operations in 2365. See here.
    – Praxis
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:53

1 Answer 1

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He was not a junior security officer before Tasha's death

The simple answer is that he was not part of the security crew before Yar died. From his career summary on the official Star Trek web site:

Starfleet Career Summary

2364 : As lieutenant j.g. in command division, assigned to U.S.S. Enterprise as relief conn and tactical officer under Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, later made acting security chief

2365 : Promoted to lieutenant, named permanent Enterprise security chief.

(Source — StarTrek.com "Worf" database entry)

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  • "relief conn" - does conn mean the officer(s) at those consoles on the bridge, usually Geordi and Data?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:58
  • I guess because Worf was usually up at the back of the bridge behind Tasha, and seemed to take his orders from her, I just assumed he was part of her team. Didn't she even send him as part of a bunch of security operatives in one episode? (Maybe Heart of Glory?)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 15:59
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    @Randal'Thor : The "conn" is the helm. Both the helmsman and navigator are conn officers. While not at the conn, relief conn officers generally remain at the back of the bridge and carry out the commands of the captain or whoever is in charge of the bridge at that time. A relief conn officer can take the conn if and when necessary, but can be sent for another type of duty by a more senior officer as the need arises (as Tasha sometimes did with Worf).
    – Praxis
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 16:15
  • 6
    @Randal'Thor when you factor in the "main cast does everything, regardless of their real job description" aspect of the show, of course the head of security is going to conscript Worf any time she can ;)
    – hobbs
    Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 20:16
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    @Jonathan I believe it's "command of ship" as opposed to "command of ship personnel". Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 10:12

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