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Captain is a rank of officer in many naval services and space forces, most notably Earth Starfleet and its Federation counterpart. The title of captain is also used in a more general sense to refer to any individual, civilian or otherwise, who is the commanding officer of a ship. However, there are times when a captain may not be the commanding officer of a ship, serving as a department head, first officer or adjutant to an admiral or a more senior captain. 3 cases include Spock, who served as first officer under James T. Kirk onboard the USS Enterprise and USS Enterprise-A in spite of holding the rank of captain; Montgomery Scott, who served as captain of engineering on board several ships; and Geordi La Forge, who briefly served as captain of engineering onboard the USS Enterprise-E before returning to his previous rank.

Starfleet captains are sometimes referred to as "Skippers". (DS9 episode: "In the Pale Moonlight", DS9 - Mission Gamma novel: Lesser Evil)

Naval captains[edit | edit source]

Captain is the most senior officer rank, a grade higher than a commander and a grade below either commodore or rear admiral in most rank structures, although some organizations will refer to a captain as a commodore in title only, to show the said captain's seniority over other captains. The Federation also once had a rank of vice commodore, falling below commodore but above captain, and a title of fleet captain that is considered to outrank a captain. The captain rank is roughly equivalent with the authority of a colonel of military forces, although some militaries have an unrelated rank of captain that is equivalent to a naval lieutenant.

Equivalent ranks[edit | edit source]

Insignia[edit | edit source]

22nd century[edit | edit source]

Earth Starfleet pins.

In the Earth Starfleet uniforms of the 22nd century, captains wore pin insignia of four rectangular pips. Their service uniforms also had sleeve insignia of a two white bands with a division color-coded stripe between. (ENT episode: "These Are the Voyages...")

23rd century[edit | edit source]

2230s sleeve.

2250s sleeve.

Captain's 2260s sleeve.

By the era of the 23rd century, Federation Starfleet, captains' uniforms had a sleeve insignia of a two gold braids with a broken braid in between. A captain's dress uniform was similar to a commander's, with thick gold braid at the neck and closure, with added thin gold piping along the shoulder seam. (TOS episode: "Court Martial")

2270s epaulets.

In the early 2270s, captain's uniforms had the same sleeve insignia, and an epaulet that also bore two solid stripes and a broken stripe. (TOS comic: "Domain of the Dragon God!")

2270s-2350s pin.

In the uniforms of the 2280s, captains wore pin insignia with a three central bars attached to two command officer flag devices, above and below. (ST reference: The Star Trek Encyclopedia)

24th century[edit | edit source]

2350s-2380s pins.

2380s-present pins.

In the uniform insignia introduced in the mid-24th century, a captain wears four circular pips as their rank insignia. (FASA RPG module: Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual)

Captain insignia[edit | edit source]

Starfleet captain insignia
era general wear command division operations division sciences division
command tactical/military flight-engineering
(admin, pilot, engineer)
security special services sci-ops
(ops, sci & tac ops)
medical
Earth Starfleet ranks Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2160s) Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2230s) Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2240s) Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2260s) Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2270s)
(Built to Lieutenant)
Uniform sleeve. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2270s-2350s) Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2350s-2366) Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2366-2373) Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2373-2386) Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2386-2410) Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2800s) Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder.

Alternate captain insignia[edit | edit source]

Starfleet alternate captain insignia
era command division operations division sciences division
Federation Starfleet ranks (2250s) alt Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia. Sleeve insignia.
Federation Starfleet ranks (2386-2410) alt Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder. Uniform shoulder.

Positions and lists[edit | edit source]

Earth & Federation Starfleet[edit | edit source]

See: Starfleet captains

Klingon Defense Force[edit | edit source]

Romulan Mining Guild[edit | edit source]

Appendices[edit | edit source]

Connections[edit | edit source]

Enlisted ranks Commissioned ranks Flag ranks
Klingon Defense Force
naval & marine
ENL (bekk) PO/LDR (DevwI')

CPO/TROOP LDR (QaS-DevwI')

ENS (lagh) LT JG LT (Sogh) LT CMDR CMDR (la') CAPT (HoD) CDORE (totlh) ADM ('aj) FADM
ENL (mang) 2C

ENL (mang) 1C


LCPL

CPL (Da') SGT (bu')

SGT MAJ

LT JG LT (Sogh) CAPT MAJ LT COL COL BRIG ('ech) MAJ GEN GEN (Sa')
Earth SF CREW PO2

PO1

CPO

SCPO


MCPO

ENS LT CMDR CAPT

FCAPT


VICE CDORE

CDORE RADM / 2ADM VADM / 3ADM 4ADM FADM / 5ADM

GADM

Starfleet & SFMC ENS JG

ENS


ENS 1C

LT JG LT LT CMDR CDR CDORE

1ADM

PVT CPL SGT

MASTER SGT

SUBLT

2ND LT

1ST LT CAPT MAJOR LT COL COL BRIG GEN
US military
(& US Navy)
PVT CPL SGT

MASTER SGT

2ND LT 1ST LT CAPT MAJ LT COL COL BRIG GEN MAJ GEN LT GEN GEN
CREW PO CPO

SCPO


MCPO

ENS LT JG LT LT CMDR CMDR CAPT RADM LH RADM UH VADM ADM FADM
Vulcan Subaltern Altern SLt Lt Maj SCdr Cpt
Cmdr
Min Admin
Andorian Lt Cdr Cpt Gen

External links[edit | edit source]

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