78 votes
Accepted

Which Star Trek character appeared on screen with the most different ranks?

According to the Memory Alpha wiki, it would be Geordi LaForge. Geordi has held more ranks on screen than any other Star Trek character: he was an ensign in a flashback in TNG: "Identity Crisis", ...
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65 votes

Which Star Trek character appeared on screen with the most different ranks?

I'm going to go with Q. He appears as a Starfleet Lieutenant, a Starfleet Commander, a Starfleet Captain, a Starfleet Admiral as well as an RN Captain, a US Marine Colonel, a WWIII 'Drug Soldier', A ...
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60 votes
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Why wasn't Harry Kim promoted beyond ensign, when others like Tom Paris were multiple times?

Out-of-universe, the answer is pretty much Janeway's. Garret Wang, the actor who played Kim, gets asked this in interviews a lot, as you might imagine. In a 2011 interview with StarTrek.com, for ...
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51 votes
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In Star Trek (2009), was Chekov actually wrong for calling Spock "Commander" instead of "Captain"?

Commander and Captain are (in current Naval practice) both ranks, but "Captain" is a job. One can be "the Captain" (commanding officer) without holding the rank of Captain (JFK ...
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50 votes

Why are all Starfleet ships commanded by Captains?

The Memory Alpha article on Starfleet Captains makes several references to Junior Captains, those who've commanded a Starfleet vessel but don't yet hold the rank of 'Captain'. Commander Riker, ...
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48 votes

Which Star Trek character appeared on screen with the most different ranks?

Nog seems to hold an unfeasible number of ranks; On DS9 he holds the ranks of Cadet, Ensign and Lt Jg as well as a temporary promotion to Lt Cmdr on board the Valiant. He also holds the rank of full ...
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47 votes
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Beverly Crusher's rank aboard The Enterprise

Beverly Crusher holds the rank of Commander as well as being the ship's Chief Medical Officer. She periodically acts as OOD (Officer of the Deck) on the night shift but remains outside the normal ...
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44 votes

Why wasn't Harry Kim promoted beyond ensign, when others like Tom Paris were multiple times?

There's a few things going on in-universe; Janeway is very stingy with her promotions. Over the course of the show, we only really see her promoting a couple of characters; Tuvok to Commander in Voy:...
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  • 621k
40 votes

Beverly Crusher's rank aboard The Enterprise

Being the first or 2nd officer is not a rank - it's an occupation, distinguishing ships chain of command. So is being chief medical officer, like Beverly is. Military ranks are different, they work ...
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  • 1,603
33 votes

Which Star Trek character appeared on screen with the most different ranks?

WORF 11 to 14 ranks Starfleet: Ensign (DS9/TOS Crossover: "Trials and Tribulations") Lieutenant (TNG episode: "Encounter at Farpoint") Lieutenant Jr Grade (TNG episode: "Evolution") ...
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32 votes
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In Star Trek, what's the rank progression from cadet to captain?

While there are plenty of exceptions in the Star Trek universe, due to exceptional valor or need in dire circumstances, typically a cadet needs to graduate from the Academy before he or she can hold a ...
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32 votes
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Why is O'Brien who operates the transporter called Chief in Star Trek?

The reason O'Brien is identified as "chief" actually depends on which episode you're watching. His military rank history is a bit unclear throughout the show, but at any given point, one of two ...
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31 votes
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What's the origin of referring to female superior officers as "sir"?

Professor De Witt Douglas Kilgore, a specialist in English literature and cultural representation at Indiana University, has done significant research on race, gender, and equality in speculative ...
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31 votes
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Why would Worf be First Officer of the Enterprise?

There's a few things going on here; The position of First Officer is at the gift of the captain and doesn't necessarily go to either the next highest ranking person on the ship, nor the person who ...
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30 votes

Beverly Crusher's rank aboard The Enterprise

The hierarchy of ship operation is not tightly bound to any particular rank. Various positions have a minimum rank, but having the rank does not qualify an individual for that position. As a sweeping ...
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26 votes

Why is Tuvok so accepting of others calling him by his first name?

As far as I'm aware, Vulcans only have one name, or at least one commonly used name. Spock, for instance, was simply Commander Spock. T'Pol was simply (Sub-)Commander T'Pol. Generally speaking, it ...
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24 votes
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In Star Trek, are there any (named) low-ranking older officers?

Lt Jg Reg Barclay was (approx) 42 years of age when we meet him in TNG: Hollow Pursuits. That seems rather old for such a low rank. Lt Jg Janice Rand was (approx) 51 years of age when she was ...
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24 votes
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How did Starfleet have an admiralty if it didn't have a fleet?

The "Starfleet" that we see in Enterprise was evolving out of the United Earth Space Probe Agency, which was an international agency set up after Earth's Third World War. It served the same role that ...
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23 votes

Geordi's authority in Arsenal of Freedom

Geordi didn't assume command, he was given command by his superior officer. PICARD: Yes. Doctor Crusher, this is the Captain. Meet me in Transporter room three. Mister La Forge, you have command ...
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22 votes

Besides the famous captains, do we actually know anything any Admiral did to earn that rank?

You are confusing "actions" and "skill" with rank. A common mistake, but in a military organization, a person's rank is often dependent upon the position they hold, and not always based on their ...
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21 votes
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Why did DS9 need a Science Officer (pre-wormhole!)?

The position of Science Officer is alive and well in the 24th century. You're implying several things. So I'm going to try and answer the question with some framing. The question is "Why did DS9 ...
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20 votes

Why is Harry Kim senior staff?

Harry Kim may well only have a relatively low rank but he's still the senior Operations Officer with a staff of (presumably higher ranked) officers and (lower ranked) crewmen reporting to him. As such,...
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19 votes

How did Starfleet have an admiralty if it didn't have a fleet?

It had a fleet. A small one. NX-01 was special not because it was their first ship, but because it was the fastest, first to get to Warp 5.0, thus it was the first capable of speed high enough to ...
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19 votes
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How did Worf's adoptive father know O'Brien's rank?

TL;DR: O'Brien's visible rank in "Family" is a continuity error, but he is assumed to have been wearing the proper rank insignia despite what we see on-screen. Your confusion is understandable. Up to ...
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  • 62k
19 votes

Beverly Crusher's rank aboard The Enterprise

There are a lot of really good answers already, focusing on the rank structure, how Crusher fits into it and highlighting that the role of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is separate from rank. But not ...
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19 votes
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Why did they film a scene for Nemesis with Lt. Wesley Crusher?

This is explained in the film's official novelisation. In short, like the Traveler before him, he's evidently decided to help Starfleet explore the galaxy. One would assume that his god-like powers to ...
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  • 621k
18 votes
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How come there are no middle-aged senior officers on the Enterprise D other than Picard?

It seems the answer may simply be that Picard hand-picked his senior officers (as mentioned here, based on quotes from TNG episodes: "The Next Phase", "Legacy", "The Pegasus") - and he picked younger ...
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  • 9,797
16 votes

Why are all Starfleet ships commanded by Captains?

The ranks in Star Trek are taken from the Navy ranks. In the Navy a Captain is not only a rank but also a title. Someone does not have to be a Captain to command a naval ship. But any officer ...
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15 votes

What's the origin of referring to female superior officers as "sir"?

Star Trek: The Next Generation seems to be the earliest case (that I can find) of a female superior officer being formally addressed as "Sir". However, it's not the first case of a female ...
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  • 103k
15 votes

In Star Trek, what's the rank progression from cadet to captain?

You have to be in the Command division to work your way to the big chair. Unless you are commanding a science vessel (like alternate future Crusher) you aren't going to captain a ship wearing ...
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