In The Child (Season 2), Worf is called "lieutenant" and so is Geordie, but they have different pips (one has 1 full and 1 half pip, and the other 2). Why is this so?

  • 1
    This may help: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/22151/… Mar 8 '14 at 8:12
  • Just as a note, the water based services (Navy, Coast Guard) are the only ones to use this ranking system. For other military (At least in the US) 2nd Lieutenant = Ensign, 1st Lt = Lt Jr Grade, Captain = Lt, Major = Lt. Commander, Lt. Colonel = Commander, and Colonel = Captain.
    – JohnP
    Mar 8 '14 at 14:20
  • @WadCheber testing, testing 123 Jun 20 '15 at 1:43

The reason is that there are three forms of lieutenant - lieutenant junior grade, lieutenant and lieutenant commander (see images below). In this episode, Worf is Lieutenant (Junior grade) and Geordie is a full Lieutenant. An example of the Lieutenant commander rank is Data. For further reference, see this page.

Lieutenant (junior grade) Lieutenant (junior grade)

Lieutenant Lieutenant

Lieutenant Commander Lieutenant Commander

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    For the non-military among us, a Lieutenant Commander is never referred to as a Lieutenant, he is referred to (in order to flatter him, or as a sign of respect) as Commander, which is his next official rank upgrade. Mar 8 '14 at 7:27
  • @Thaddeus I doubt that very much. The "main rank" is given by the number of pips. If one has a dark part (half-pip), that means he is junior in that rank. However, for higher ranks, you will not tell people they are junior. Hence the word "Lieutenant" is used instead of "junior", and it originally means "can take the role of". Hence, as a Junior Lieutenant is a Lieutenant, a Lieutenant Commander is a Commander, and a Lieutenant Colonel is a Colonel as far as responsibilities are concerned. No flattery or special respect there.
    – babou
    Mar 8 '14 at 14:12
  • @babou - I agree with most of your assertion, but Lt Col and Col have very different responsibilities. Ranks are elevated as a courtesy in most situations. The more formal the situation, the more likely it is that the full rank will be used.
    – JohnP
    Mar 8 '14 at 14:17
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    Litutenant Commander was, in the US, originally Lieutenant-Commandant, wore a lieutenant's uniform, not the distinctive uniform of a Master & Commander (which was later shortened to Commander), and both Lieutenant-Commandant and Master & Commander promoted to captain. So stating Lieutenant Commander as a form of lieutenant isn't actually wrong, but it's certainly an archaism.
    – aramis
    Mar 10 '14 at 18:55
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    Babou, as a former member of the United States military, I can attest to the form of address used in the modern Navy as both proper and accurate as I have described it. In previous eras, a Lieutenant might have encompassed some different paradigm but today, A junior lieutenant, a lieutenant and a Lieutenant Commander were three distinctly different ranks, with different protocols of address for all three. A junior lieutenant, a "Luey" (a full lieutenant) and a "Commander" were each afforded a different level of respect and allocation of manpower and resources. Mar 12 '14 at 15:57

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