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Why do some Admirals of Starfleet have 5 stars on their collar and others with 3 on each side?

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    Can you provide some pictures to make it clearer what you're asking. IRL, there are 1, 2, 3 and 4 (and sometimes 5) star generals and admirals, so this is mirroring real life.
    – Darren
    Nov 21, 2019 at 12:10
  • Because some are five-star (Fleet) Admirals, and some are three-star Admirals.
    – OrangeDog
    Nov 21, 2019 at 13:34

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In the real world, modern military officer's uniforms show some variation, even within the same service and on the same soldier. It depends on the specific uniform being worn at the time. For example, insignia may be worn symmetrically in pairs (typically pins on the collar tips or boards on both shoulders), centered on the chest (typical in combat uniforms), or asymmetrically (often on one sleeve).

Starfleet Admirals tend to show the widest variety of uniform variations - there are some combinations of colors, panel cuts, and piping that you see once and never again. Sometimes you see the doubled-up rank insignia, other times you only see it on one side. Based on real world precedents, there's no reason to believe having the same rank insignia on both sides of the neck indicates a higher rank; they don't "combine" or anything like that.

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