Battlestar Wiki Talk:Military Ranks (RDM)/Archive2

Talk:Military Ranks (RDM)/Archive2

Discussion page of Military Ranks (RDM)/Archive2

This page is an archive. Do not edit the contents of this page. Please direct any additional comments to the current talk page. Please add new archives to Archive 3.


Here is the list of abbreviations I wrote for the ranks here. The enlisted ranks for Marines are still a little rough though, the "all caps" ranks are in the US Army style, others use lower case, eg Master Sergeant: MSG, MSgt.

O-11 Fleet Admiral No abbrev., FAdm could work
O-10 Admiral Adm
O-9 Vice Admiral VAdm
O-8 Rear Admiral RAdm
O-7 Commander Cdr
O-6 Colonel Col
O-5 Major Maj
O-4 Captain Capt
O-3 Lieutenant Lt
O-2 Lieutenant Junior Grade LtJG
O-1 Ensign Ens

E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer MCPO
E-8 Senior Chief Petty Officer SCPO
E-7 Chief Petty Officer CPO
E-6 Petty Officer 1st Class PO1
E-5 Petty Officer 2nd Class PO2
E-4 Petty Officer 3rd Class PO3
E-3 Crewman CN (based on US Navy Seaman SN)
E-2 Crewman Apprentice CA ("")
E-1 Crewman Recruit CR ("")

E-9 Sergeant Major SGM
E-8 Senior Master Sergeant/Master Sergeant SMSgt/MSG
E-7 Master Sergeant/Sergeant 1st Class MSG/SFC
E-6 Staff Sergeant SSG
E-5 Sergeant SGT
E-4 Corporal CPL
E-3 Private 1st Class PFC
E-2 Private 2nd Class PV2
E-1 Private Recruit PVR
--Talos 22:33, 14 September 2005 (EDT)

I went ahead and formatted your post, Talos, so that it was easier to read. I don't think I broke anything, did I? Anyway, I think the all-caps ranks look loud. I know that's kind of an artifact of the internet, but still... I'd rather just cap the first letter of a word from an abbreviation. Thus "PFC" is fine because each of those are the first letter of a word. On the other hand, I'd rather "Sgt." than "SGT". Also, "Cpt." and "Cmdr." are more intuitive to me, but I don't know if I made those up or where they came from. --Day 03:03, 15 September 2005 (EDT)
Thanks for the formatting, that's how it was whem I typed it in notepad. I see how that works now. Like I said, the reason they are all caps is that it is based on the Army enlisted structure. I didn't go with the Marine Corps structure because it's missing the two ranks unique to the MC, Lance Corporal and Gunnery Sergeant. Here is a link about the US Military ranks: [1]. There is a link on top to the enlisted ranks. What is interesting is the way the US Navy O-6 rank's head is turned compared to the others. Also, Capt and Cdr are how the USN abbreviates Captain and Commander. --Talos 07:00, 15 September 2005 (EDT)
I wanted to add something else, the CAPS are only used in forms, charts, etc. When written with the name it is normal case, so Hadrian,... Rank: SGT, but ...Sgt. Hadrian. I can't believe I forgot this. I must be slipping. --Talos 14:42, 15 September 2005 (EDT)

Rank Pins

The admiral pin as pictured on this picture is wrong. If you look at the super-duper-high-res promo shots, there's one of Adama. His pin has two extra bars on the left side (towards the shoulder) and none towards the right. Perhaps the number of side bars denotes admiral grades. Maybe we should utilize those shots to have actual rank pics... --Steelviper 10:38, 13 September 2006 (CDT)

You should get permission to use "137th Gebirg"s rank chart. It's much better and more accurate:
The pins could also be cut out of that pic and used individually
As for different Admiral ranks. In the extended Pegasus cut Adama refers to Cain as "Rear Admiral". At least he said that "she made Rear Admiral very quick" or something. But I guess that's her - and later his - rank at the point of the episode too. --Serenity 10:51, 13 September 2006 (CDT)
What is werid is that the photos we have show a red color not a white for Admiral. Who's right? I go with the show anyday. --Shane (T - C - E) 10:56, 13 September 2006 (CDT)
You mean the trim of the uniform? A regulation Admiral's uniform like Cain's is white/gold. They didn't update Adama's unform, but I think it makes perfect sense to assume that they don't just happen to have spare Admiral's uniforms lying around. At least not in Adama's size.
Btw, I think you can't see the other side of the pin because of the angle. When they were presented to him in the case they were symmetrical --Serenity 11:01, 13 September 2006 (CDT)
Aaah. Gotcha. Think you're right on that. Perspective... very tricky. Good eye, Serenity. Oh, and there's stuff about the piping on the Uniforms (RDM) page (though if THAT'S wrong, we should change it too). --Steelviper 11:09, 13 September 2006 (CDT)
With what we've seen on the show, the piping info on the uniform page is correct. I also think we should ask Gebirg to use his rank images, t2hey are dead on. --Talos 11:15, 13 September 2006 (CDT)
The uniform page is right. People just get confused because Adama is still wearing his commander uniform, while Lee got a new one. Look at pics of Adm. Cain and you'll see that hers is white/gold. Noticable when she steps off the Raptor for example. This rank chart is as accurate as it gets considering all available information --Serenity 11:17, 13 September 2006 (CDT)
I'm leery of using this rank/pin chart, because the creator admits to using unofficial fan-made props and insignia, so we don't know how much "fanon" is actually on that chart... -- Joe Beaudoin So say we all - Donate 11:46, 13 September 2006 (CDT)
The conjectural designs are marked as such, and you don't have to use them if you cut it into smaller pieces. The rest is depicted as seen on screen from everything I can tell, and I've been paying attention to that lately --Serenity 11:51, 13 September 2006 (CDT)
With regards to Adama's rank pin, I'm inclined to agree with the notion that the "bars" on the side of the "Admiral" pins denote the level of Admiralty. Adama's has three distinct bars, clearly visible during his conversation with Tigh about half an hour into "Sacrifice". If that was the case, it'd be:
  • 1 bar - Rear Admiral (lower half)
  • 2 bars - Rear Admiral (upper half)
  • 3 bars - Vice Admiral
  • 4 bars - Admiral
  • 5 bars - Fleet Admiral

So that would make Adama a Vice Admiral? Thoughts? --Madbrood 13:06, 17 September 2006 (CDT)

Maybe. They could also add additional stuff on the gold plate. Like some additional silver. Anyways, I think he's a Rear Admiral:

1.) see the rank chart: two gold bars
2.) in the Extended Cut of "Pegasus" Adama says about Cain "she made Rear Admiral very fast". While he could just have meant her first flag rank, that could also refer to her current rank. And they have indentical insignia. Interpretation here is highly subjective I guess.
3.) Galactica's Dradis shows 2 stars next to Pegasus which some believe means a 2-star admiral. But I can't find the picture atm. Todays "two stars" could be the same as the two bars on the pins --Serenity 13:24, 17 September 2006 (CDT)

Well, I just went to the Season 3 promo pics and Adama's insignia does show what looks like three bent vertical bars on each side. This is a pic of the pin. Adama Rank Pin
This could prove interesting if Cain was a two star Admiral like the Dradis screenshot implies, since Roslin would have promoted Adama above Cain. I'm looking for that Dradis pic right now. --Talos 13:39, 17 September 2006 (CDT)
I think what you see as the inner bar there is just the silver plate behind the diamond that's actually above the gold plate with two bars. In-universe wise I think they only made one insignia and gave Adama the same one as Cain. I still wonder why Billy went to jeweler instead of just giving him Cain's pins. Or maybe he lied because that would have been somewhat morbid ;) --Serenity 13:45, 17 September 2006 (CDT)
If Roslin did promote Adama to Vice Admiral, that would explain why they had to go to a jeweler- using Cain's Rear Admirla pins as a reference to get a set of Vice Admiral pins made? Besides, in "Sacrifice", and the above pic of Adama's pin, the "bars" look to be seperated by distinct colour, as opposed to the first part being a silver plate? --Madbrood 14:04, 17 September 2006 (CDT)
For me it looks like the bars are seperated by small indentations, which would create darker shadows in bad lighting. I also think Adama's and Cain's insignia look the same. But if you have any clear pics to the contrary... --Serenity 14:15, 17 September 2006 (CDT)
Okay, just went over the final scene of Res Ship pt II, where Roslin gives Adama his new rank pins, and they do indeed appear to have a silver plate, with a larger gold plate behind it. So, Serenity, it would appear that I'm wrong and you're right, as a gold plate with two "bars" separated by a small indentation- along with the smaller silver plate- would give the appearance of three distinct "bars" under certain lighting. I can't get screenshots at the moment, but will post some later tonight if anyone wants confirmation- but I move that Adama's rank be clarified as Rear Admiral, upper. --Madbrood 07:08, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
Ok, I'll go ahead and do the change and also give some reasons for the definition (2 bars = 2 stars on Dradis, comment in Extended Pegasus cut, Adama and Cain with same insignia.)
Could you have a look at my rank pin proposal below? --Serenity 07:18, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
Bingo, found the dradis pic. Hmm, if there are only two bars, and two stars on the screen.... --Talos 13:47, 17 September 2006 (CDT)
Galactica/Pegasus Dradis screens. a two-star Admiral is a Rear Admiral UH. That would also fit with Adama's "Rear Admiral" comment (see point 2). Maybe wait for some other opinions before editing anything --Serenity 14:00, 17 September 2006 (CDT)
I know the angle on this shot is funky (and I keep going back to it because it's so high-res), but I agree that the "third" vertical bar appears to actually be the silver part of the Commander insignia, with the outer two being the actual "gold" bars (presumably distinguishing the degree of "admiralness"). --Steelviper 08:04, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
The silver plate is already there on the Commander pin. Basically the Admiral insignia are Commander pins on a gold plate of variable size. I don' t know if having 4 or 5 bars on each side is practical though. So maybe there is some additional bling for the highest Admirals --Serenity 08:09, 18 September 2006 (CDT)

As detailed below something needs to be done about the rank pins depicted. They are completely wrong. To be honest, I don't see how someone can object to conjectural designs, given that the ones used now are also conjectural and even the ones shown on TV are sometimes entirely wrong (see below).
Another possibility would be to make some screencaptures from the show. I could point you towards some good scenes to get caps of Admiral or Major for example. But that's probably more work for a worse result than using such artwork.
If there is really such concern about conjectural designs, we can only use the ones clearly established on the show, by cutting "137th Gebirg"'s chart apart. I did so with one pin to demonstrate what I mean and uploaded it to my own webspace for now: Captain's inignia. Before including them in the main article I'd ask for his permission of course

Errors in rank pins:

  • Admiral has two gold "bars" with a silver plate between that and the diamond
  • Commander's silver plate is not just on the top half
  • Colonel doesn't have any trimming on the diamond's upper half
  • Major actually looks like the Captain pin depicted here
  • Captain only has two chevrons
  • The PO insignia is "PO 1st class" (seen on Sgt. Hadrian). "PO 2nd class" is missing completely
  • The thingy inside the diamond of "specialist" is far larger

--Serenity 06:06, 18 September 2006 (CDT)

I agree with you Serenity- that rank chart, cut apart as per your example, is probably the best way forward. They seem to be the most accurate example of the rank pins we've found without taking screengrabs (which, you've noted, isn't really the best way to go about it- I'll refer you all to our recent discussion regarding Adama's Admiral pins :P ) The remind me a lot of Steve Marriot's Star Trek rank graphics (Tango Fleet pbem).

Hell, if "137th Gebirg" agrees (and no-one has any major objections to using conjectural designs), we could even ask him to throw together some pics for the other Admiralty ranks? And could this be a good basis for a BW:OC question? "Is Adama a Rear-Admiral?" or something? --Madbrood 11:02, 18 September 2006 (CDT)

Good news everyone! I got his permission and already updated the page. This is only a first draft. I'll do some more cosmetic formatting, explinations and of course the crediting.
I might also upload new pictures because some of the cutouts are off by a few pixels.
Unfortunately I broke the table in the process. It's shown at the bottom and not under "insignia" /o\
Plzfix! :) I'm no expert with tables. --Serenity 11:10, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
Awesome! Looks sharp! --Steelviper 11:14, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
Pics with bright lines at the bottom have been replaced. Looks a bit better now.
I tried centering the ranks on the pictures but that didn't work despite using "align=center" on both. Maybe someone who's better at tables wants to try, but it's not really important --Serenity 12:51, 18 September 2006 (CDT)

Just one little thing... I'm watching Res Ship pt2 as I type, and I've noticed that the rank pins we see close up (everything except Ensign and Major) have what appears to be a yellow enamel backing much like the green enamel on the NCO ranks. Also, the "chevrons" on the junior ranks appear silver on screen (this could, of course, be lighting). Does anyone have contact with 137th Gebirg? And does anyone think this warrants a re-doing of the existing images to incorporate the yellow sections? --Madbrood 12:13, 15 November 2006 (CST)

General update of the page

When we have come to a consensus about Adama's rank, the page need to be updated. Right now it lists Adama as Commander.
Footnote 2 could be replaced with Adama's "Rear Admiral" comment. While he didn't state her current rank with 100% certainty it's an indication. Or do an additional footnote about it.
Footnote 3 which now gives some arguments about his Commander rank could then include reasons for fixing his Admiral rank at "Rear Admiral" or "Vice Admiral" --Serenity 14:10, 17 September 2006 (CDT)

And I've come to realize, that it needs huge overhaul:
1.) Not only Adama's rank needs to be updated, but also Lee's. Dualla as well I guess. She's now an LT
2.) Is it really necessary to have a comparison with Air Force and Marines too? IMO modern Navy is enough. The Marines don't play a huge role on the show
3.) The enlisted ranks are wrong. They go Recruit -> Deckand -> Specialist. No "apprentice" there
4.) Prosna is listed as "specialist" on his site, but here as "apprentice/deckhand". I think specialist is correct
5.) The rank chart doesn't even list "Petty Officer, 2nd class" despite it being displayed prominently with Dualla

All in all, the article is almost more about equating BSG ranks with real life US military ranks than documenting the ranks within the BSG universe. Some of that can be retained, but maybe it should be dialed back a bit.

For now I cleaned up the rank comparisons and updated and changed some example ranks. I left out Admiral Adama's rank as per ongoing discussion above --Serenity 18:20, 17 September 2006 (CDT)

Any time you list ranks of living characters you put yourself at risk of having obsolete information. Since there is still a lot of potential for ranks to shift around a lot, perhaps we could try to target dead or unused characters for the examples. Or, perhaps as an alternative there could be some sort of reminder on the pages of all characters used as examples here that they are on this page, so that when their rank is updated on their character article the editor can be reminded to propagate the change to this page as well. --Steelviper 07:50, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
Yeah, I'm aware of that and I'll change the page if and when new promotions come. I still left Dualla as PO2, but indicated that this it was her rank in season 1 and 2, since she's the only example of that rank. I put Adama at Rear Admiral now and gave the reasons for it. That was a bit harder since it' s debatable. Though there were errors in it that were apparent in season 1 already. Like listing Sharon as full LT.
But the character examples are really the least problem of the article, even if a focused a lot on it here. The rank pin pictures need to be updated. Look a bit further above
Btw, shouldn't the older entries here be archived? The page is getting rather long (>32kb) and bloated --Serenity 08:04, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
Sounds like you're on it. The rear admiral (with justification) sounds good. I think it was noteworthy enough that she made that rank at her young age. To have gotten promoted above that would likely have been noteworthy (and noted in further dialogue). As for the rank pics, I think everybody would be happy if you could manage to get gebirg's permission to hack his beautiful work to pieces to be placed into the article. As for the archive... done. --Steelviper 08:21, 18 September 2006 (CDT)


All this discussion of rank pins has me looking through all my BSG stuff now... and I noticed something. It doesn't look like Ensign Davis wears any kind of pin on her collar (Hand of God). Anyone think otherwise?

PS: Can anyone help me out with regards to screencapping from DVD's? All I can do at the moment is cap from poor-quality avi/mpeg files :( --Madbrood 11:24, 18 September 2006 (CDT)

For DVD capping I use VLC. It works fine (it kicks out files in png format, I think). My biggest gripe about it is a lack of "frame by frame", since the way that VLC reads the data renders the concept of "frames" meaningless, apparently (or there's some other technical reason why it doesn't do it). Hopefully our screencap gurus might weigh in (Talos, FordSierra, etc). --Steelviper 11:29, 18 September 2006 (CDT)

Either she doesn't wear one or it can't be seen from the angle. I don't think the prop departement even made Ensign pins. Some nuggets in "Scar" are called Ensigns but they wear LT pins. A comment by Bradley Thompson in the Official Communiques doesn't list the Ensign rank either. ("the sketches I've seen don't yet carry the ensign rank designator") Interestingly, he lists Lt.Col. and that one doesn't show up in RDM's blog. But that entry is over one year old and shouldn't be considered the absolute authority. Ideas of the writers might have changed now --Serenity 11:39, 18 September 2006 (CDT)

Gold Bars

Yes, it's me again :) Just a thought- if the Commander rank is the equivalent to Rear Admiral (lower), and the Admiral ranks have gold bars on them surely the Cdr rank pin should have a single gold bar?

Or, perhaps, Commander is in fact equivalent to Captain? This would move the other ranks down the list, meaning Ensign would be perhaps a probationary rank? --Madbrood 13:26, 18 September 2006 (CDT)

Well, yeah. I/we argued that RA is a two-star Admiral, but there isn't really a one-star Admiral. Unless CF also uses that Upper Half/Lower Half nonsense, and Adama went straight to UH.
But I think it's just best to not equate BSG excactly with the US Navy. Those comparisons serve as a rough analogy, but they shouldn't be taken too seriously IMHO --Serenity 14:39, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
I could see Commander being a RALH or Commodore equivalent. Of course, RDM was in the Navy and took a lot of stuff from that (snipes for example) and put it into BSG. --Talos 15:06, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
NROTC, I believe. (He mentions it in one of the podcasts.) --Steelviper 15:20, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
He actually wanted to join the Marines, but the USMC technically belongs to the Navy. See this blog entry --Serenity 15:32, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
That's what I was talking about. Speaking as an current Army ROTC cadet, he was pretty much in the Navy. :) --Talos 15:37, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
Well even after my Army ROTC experience (I think I may have left something about that on your talk page), I wouldn't really say I was "in" the Army... but I know what you mean. RDM did spend some time on a frigate (USS W.S. Sims), though it's hard to tell when it's military stuff coming from RDM vs. Bradley & Thompson or the military technical advisor, etc. --Steelviper 15:49, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
Or if we stick with Adama and Cain as Rear Admirals (which we should for now), then maybe Commander used to be a one-star rank, but the Colonial military doesn't count it as full flag rank anymore for whatever reason (maybe a restructuring in the command structure of the BSGroups). So their flag officers start with two stars/bars. If there is even anything to the number of bars. That UH/LF business only exists since about 50 years ago. While the BSG rank structure is very similar to today's, I see no reason why there couldn't be slight changes.
I know that Commander is listed as flag rank on the list, but that's really to line it up the with the US Navy ranks and the footnote explains that it could go either way --Serenity 17:06, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
It's possible that when the Colonial Fleet was structuring the ranks, they decided that someone if command of such an enormous ship and crew should hold a higher rank. Or Its possible that Ensign is more like midshipman, and this would make the Commander rank equiv to a Navy Captain.
Regarding the Admirals' bars, everyone is assuming that the rank with the 4 bars is Rear Admiral, and that Cain was a Rear Admiral. But it seems to me that Cain seemed like the kind of person to self promote herself to full Admiral after the attack. I mean who would stop her, she is the highest serviving Colonial officer, so why not. Plus, why would Roslin promote Adama only to Rear Admiral, why not go all the way with him and promote to full (just in case they run into any more admirals ; ) ). In my opinion the rank Cain and Adama wear is probably full Admiral --Jrmurph 12:14 EST 21 November 2006

I disagree- the piping on Cain's uniform (Red/White/Gold) suggests as much, since we know that White (or silver) denotes a junior rank of some kind- in this case, a Junior Flag Officer.

And, following "Hero", is it just me or does it seem that the rank of the Admiral is depicted by their uniform piping? Corman's pin appears to be identical to Cain and Adama's rank pin. Does this make sense? Here:

  • Rear Admiral: Red/Gold/White (junior)
  • Vice Admiral: Red/Gold/Red (senior)
  • Admiral/Fleet Admiral: Gold braid

I know it's just conjecture, but I thought I'd put it out there. --Madbrood 11:59, 21 November 2006 (CST)

At least it's reasoned conjecture, and it's on the talk page. It looks like the only way we'll be getting good canon material will be via flashbacks (if they continue to develop "the Admirality"), but the fact that they bothered to do some shots of the Admirals for "Hero" gives hope that they may do so again in the future. And we'll be ready to pounce on it, dissect it, and put it on a neat little display slide whenever they do. --Steelviper 12:14, 21 November 2006 (CST)


  • "It is assumed that Nagala's given rank of Admiral (Miniseries) equates to that of Admiral in the US Navy. However, when he took personal command of the Colonial Fleet following the Cylon Attack (Miniseries), it is assumed he adopted the (war time) role of Fleet Admiral." This seems like an arbitrary assumption. Why do we assume this?
  • "Helo states his rank as "Lieutenant, Junior Grade" in "33", but he consistantly wears the rank insignia of a full Lieutenant." This seems a little backwards—doesn't spoken dialogue take precedence over our assumptions of how the insignia work?

Philwelch 19:06, 18 September 2006 (CDT)

This page, like the Cylon agent speculation page are assuming pages mostly based on visual evidence. There are no "defience" time periods of the ranks because of prop errors. For now, I am reverting your edits while we discuss this more. --Shane (T - C - E) 23:05, 18 September 2006 (CDT)
Um, the promotions of Starbuck, Apollo, Adama, et. al are all established in dialogue. Philwelch 01:29, 19 September 2006 (CDT)
I'll take one error in dialogue over 30+ errors in costuming any day of the week. And how the rank insignia work isnt an "assumption". It's fact. From the show alone you can deduce that "short chevron" means Lt.jg. And Bradley Thompson confirmed that in the BW:OC !
The Nagala thing is more in the realm of fantasy and I didn't write that. It's save to remove I guess, but the Helo point make sense, and there is a long-term conflict that needs to be resolved some way.
As for the promotions of the characters. Listing them under all or at least 2 ranks they held probably makes the most sense. Saying that Lee was a Major in "The Captain's Hand" would maybe a bit much. What about specifying the episode of the promotion just by number? Like "Episode 2x11" for "Resurrection Ship, I". That's usually shorter than writing out the episode and can be linkified too. --Serenity 04:14, 19 September 2006 (CDT)
I am going to be reverting again, but if they are placed, it should be inside the ref tags. I still don't see a reason to list the episodes of when they were this rank. Rank changes through out the show. That's why under the credits we don't wiki link the rank with the character name because if there rank does change, without any dialog. Will this is not policy, it's clearly shown in the QOD guidelines that it does not happen. Season_1_(2004-05)#Stars, Season_2_(2005-06)#Stars, and Season_3_(2006-07)#Stars all do not have the rank because it changes without notice. Putting any hard examples in on a rank page, even with "Miniseris to Season 2.5" (Which doesn't mean anything to UK viewers) doesn't mean the on-screen evidence (BW:CITE#Acceptable_Sources) That's why we ask questions to the cast and sometimes other people interview cast members as way to find out their rank. --Shane (T - C - E) 05:07, 19 September 2006 (CDT)
Alright. It makes perfect sense to not mention the ranks all over the Wiki, but concentrate it in one place like a character page where it can be easily change. So we'll just go by last established rank here? I think having reference tags for every promotion clutters things up too much.
An exception I'd like to make is Dualla since she's the only example of a PO2.
But just to make it clear, it's alright to make arguments and deductions about ranks (like Helo or Sgt. Hadrian) as long as they are clearly marked as such? In the first paragraph it's said that some things are assumed and the footnoots are worded with qualifiers and in the conditional as well. They aren't just wild assumptions but list some evidence for the decisions. --Serenity 05:26, 19 September 2006 (CDT)
Like the first paragraph says, this is just clearly examples assumputions. Charaecter pages are the best place to track rank and to list it. Who knows, it might be wrong because William Adama could be the Fleet Admiril. Going to wait on the revert but I think I said what I wanted to say. --Shane (T - C - E) 05:38, 19 September 2006 (CDT)
Despite the attempts for the writers and costumers to get the details right, folks, they are going to make inconsistencies. If I had my preference, we would stick to dialogue and command protocol to establish this, and not nitpick the details of each subrank. Keep in mind that this is a TV show, please. Try to glean the most likely information, but, because of the nature of the show, please realize we aren't going to get precise information. This may be a Official Communiques question for help in understanding, rather than excessive debate. --Spencerian 07:05, 19 September 2006 (CDT)
Yeah, excessive arguing shouldn't be the point, and I'm content to leave the page as it is concerning explanations for ranks. Most of the ranks are clearly established and more justifications aren't necessary.
And yes, they make errors, but those errors can also be in dialogue. I don't see why one snippet of dialogue should get preference when he's clearly wearing "Lieutenant, Senior Grade" pips in all episodes. Just by logic a longer chevron means a higher rank, and Mr. Thompson confirmed the meaning of the Officer insignia already. --Serenity 07:26, 19 September 2006 (CDT)

OK, Helo aside, I still think we should retain the multiple examples per character. While it's true that Adama is currently an admiral, Lee is currently a commander, and Starbuck is currently a captain, they were a commander, captain, and lieutenant (respectively) throughout most of the show. Commander Adama throughout the first season and a half is a better example of a commander than, for instance, Garner (who was a commander for one episode) or Apollo (who was a commander for only a handful of episodes, and didn't even appear in all of them). Apollo was a captain almost continuously until "The Captain's Hand", while Starbuck has only been a Captain for half a season. By the same token, it's not worthwhile to mention Apollo's stints as Lieutenant and Major. Philwelch 15:08, 19 September 2006 (CDT)


As forewarning, this may not of the strictest relevance here. Watching "Black Market", the scene where Captain Adama initially confronts Colonel Tigh shows what would be called a "shadow box" by today's military behind Lee's shoulder on Tigh's wall. The shadow box contains what are plainly three rank insignia from today's US Air Force: Airman (E-2), Senior Airman (E-4), and Staff Sergeant (E-5).

This presents us with two distinct problems. This first of which is the appearance of obviously modern, 21st century, military rank insignia from Earth on Tigh's wall.

The second being if the item on his wall was meant to be a shadow box. Shadow boxes are typically given when somebody separates from today's military as recognition of their accomplishments while on military service; in fact, several other unidentifiable (by myself) patches and accoutrements appear in the box. Furthermore, all three of those insignia are enlisted ranks, whereas Tigh is a high-ranking officer. Was Tigh prior enlisted, separated/retired, and later commissioned as an officer? Was ... Ellen perhaps prior enlisted, and later separated or retired?

Lastly, as a disclaimer against my possible ignorance: "Black Market" is currently as far along the series as I have watched - and I have been meticulously avoiding spoilers on this wiki until I have caught up with the live airings. — pd_THOR | =/\= 09:08, 9 October 2006 (CDT)

Tigh was prior enlisted (deck hand up through CPO) and was later "dragooned" into OCS and came back in as a Viper pilot. --Steelviper 09:16, 9 October 2006 (CDT)

IIRC, there was a similar shadow box also showing USAF enlisted ranks in the background of one of the scenes in Scar where Kat and Kara argue. Whalepelt 23:18, 27 February 2007 (CST)

Commander equals more to USN Captain, my argument

Of course the rank page is speculative and may not represent of how BSG ranks may equal to actual USN ranks.

This is just my argument based on what I've been watching on TV, to why I think the rank of Commander of BSG is more equal to the role of USN Captain than it is to rear admiral or commodore.

Case points (not in any particular order):

1. Adm Cain dies, Colonel Fisk is promoted to "Commander" of the Pegasus.
2. Barry Garner is promoted to Commander of the Pegasus after Fisk, considering Garner was chief of engineering, I would assume he had a much lower rank than Colonel, maybe Captain? Adama and Tigh talk about how he was promoted from engineering, so he jumped ranks to become "Commander of the Pegasus"
3. Lee Adama held the rank of Major and XO of the Pegasus, Garner dies, Lee Jumps over the rank of Colonel to become "Commander" of the Pegasus.

The issue of rank never really came up before Pegasus showed up because the Galactica was the only major Military Vessle in the fleet, then Commander William Adama didn't have any military issues when it came to commanding a military fleet, Galactica was the only major military ship, with the rest of the fleet being Civilian.

When Pegasus showed up, then it opened a new can of worms with an Admiral.

The Rank of Colonel as mentioned by bsg wiki is highly speculative, there have been no cases where someone who held the rank of Colonel (aside from the tenure Colonel Tigh had when Adama was shot) to be a perminate Commanding officer of a ship. All "commanders" of major BSG ships have been either a Commander or an Admiral (see below)

From the working knowledge of what is being shown on BSG, mainly the Pegasus cases, the Rank of Commander is the Commanding officer of a ship, unless there happens to be an Adminral on the ship, then in that case the Admiral is the Commanding officer of the ship they are on AND the supreme commander of all Military ships. This may not happen in real life, but I'm talking about the BSG universe here.

The rank of Colonel has been shown to be more of a support/2nd in Command type of position similar to the rank of USN Commander (Colonel Tigh and Colonel Fisk are good examples as both have been XO's, Colonel tigh under both Commander and Admiral Adama and Colonel Fisk under Cain, then himself becoming a Commander after Adm Cain dies).

All of these cases leads me to believe and lean towards that the rank of Commander the show is more equal to the Rank of USN Captain, than it is equal to the rank of USN Rear Admiral. -Themoonrulez 14:51, 9 October 2006 (CDT)

You are probably right, and the page does state that it can encompass the role Captain too (see the footnote!). The ambiguity of Colonel is also stated there.
I didn't make those comparisons and I've found that they were taken way, way too seriously in the last version of the page. It's just meant to be a rough comparison and one can make arguments that go either way. Fact is that the BSG rank system isn't compatible perfectly with the US Navy one. And neither should it. But placing Adama as Captain messes up the chart because it moves everything else further in the Navy column down as well --Serenity 15:50, 9 October 2006 (CDT)
While I tend to agree with Themoonrulez, I'm going to play devil's advocate here and forward some more reasoning for the thought that Commander is a flag rank. As far as I'm aware, a USN carrier is often presided over by an Admiral- could it be, in the BSG universe, that the lead vessel in a Battlestar Group is commander by a Flag Officer (in this instance, a Commander), and the "XO" is the equivalent of USN Captain?
If this is so, it also brings up an issue with Adama/Cain's rank insignia. If "Commander" is a Flag rank (and Colonel the equivalent of USN Captain), with the flag denoted by the silver diamond behind), then perhaps Cain was a Vice Admiral by the time of Pegasus? Just throwing up ideas for discussion. --Madbrood 13:49, 16 October 2006 (CDT)
Personally I just think that Colonial Fleet works slightly different than the US Navy (or some other navies with a similar structure).
As for Commander being a flag rank. Adama mentions a 'Captains List'; only in the BSG universe it's a 'Commanders List'. That's something from the old Royal Navy. There were normal Captains and 'Captains of the List'. A place on the Captains List was a garantueed promotion to flag rank (Admiral) as positions became free. The promotions were then awarded in order of seniority/position on the list.
It's possible that Adama commanded Galactica only because it was an old ship without an attached BS Group and usually Admirals are in charge. In the US Navy that's a bit different I think, with a Captain commanding the ship and the Admiral the whole Carrier Group --Serenity 14:04, 16 October 2006 (CDT)
That's what I thought of immediately after posting. However, there's something I think we've missed so far. Adama says to Roslin that he "gave up trying to get" the Admiral pins, which (to me, at least) shows there is a distinct difference between the rank of Commander and the Admiralty ranks. --Madbrood 14:10, 16 October 2006 (CDT)
I just wrote a paragraph agreeing that Commander=USN Captain but it got lost in a hiccup when I tried to post. The major point I added is that the Commanders List is alive and well in the US military, its the list of soldiers and sailors eligible for promotion to the next officer rank, eg Captains list FY78, Lieutenant Commanders list FY05, Majors list FY45 (FY is fiscal year, how the government runs years). Also, in the old RN, the list was based on seniority and time in grade, and it still is in the US somewhat. --Talos 14:39, 16 October 2006 (CDT)
Ok, let's for a moment assume that Commander = Captain (and basically I agree.) That moves everyone below further down as well and destroys the neat 1:1 comparison that exists now. There would be some overlap or Ensign falls out of the chart (not really acceptable).
As said, read the footnote with it. Maybe it could be reworded to move it more clearly to Captain while leaving it at RALH in the comparison? --Serenity 14:55, 16 October 2006 (CDT)
I think the best thing to do is the re-write of the footnote. I did, a while back, suggest that perhaps Ensign was a probationary rank, much in the same fashion as Heinlen's "3rd Lieutenant" in Starship Troopers, which might be a plausible explanation for Ensign "falling off" the table? --Madbrood 15:19, 16 October 2006 (CDT)

I think Commander is more equivalent to Commodore. "Historically" speaking, most ships and units of less-than-battlestar-strength were/are probably commanded by Colonels, but when the first Battlestars were commissioned, they were such leviathan vessels of such rarity and power (there were twelve original battlestars, although this was later expanded) that Commanders were tasked to command them. In real-world naval history, commodores often held personal command of large and important ships and installations, so commanders (their analog in the BSG universe) would logically be posted to the leviathan battlestars when they were first launched. Tradition being what it is, this practice continued even as more and more battlestars were commissioned. Another alternative is that the "battlestar group" (which would include support ships and perhaps even the Viper and Raptor spacecraft embarked aboard the battlestar itself) is treated as a small squadron of ships which are collectively commanded by the Commander. Commodores often commanded small squadrons as well.

Also of interest is that Commander rank comes and goes along with command of a Battlestar. It's possible that, again as an analog to commodores in real life, "Commander" is not a full-fledged rank, but rather a temporary rank reflecting command position. (As Wikipedia reports about Royal Navy commodores: "Commodores could revert to the rank of Captain at the end of their posting (and Captains could be promoted directly to Rear-Admiral without ever having served as a Commodore)." If rumors about the Pegasus's destruction and Lee's reverting back to the rank of Major come true, this parallel will be more clearly established.)

Of course, the United States did away with commodores by making them all "Rear Admirals, Lower Half". Before this rank was invented, there was of course no "upper half" or "lower half", simply Rear Admiral (equivalent to today's RAUF), which again meshes nicely with Cain's (and now Adama's) rank. Philwelch 02:12, 19 October 2006 (CDT)

Good points, all. But if Commander is analogous to the old-style Commodore, like you said, this raises some questions regarding the rank pins.
As it stands, the rank pin of Commander is identical to that of Colonel, with the exception that it has a silver "diamond" behind the main diamond with the Colonial seal. Cain's/Adama's Admiral pin has both the gold diamond with the seal, and the silver diamond, but also has two distinct gold bars, which- as we have discussed in detail- likely represents the two stars seen on DRADIS (Pegasus) and the 'stars' mentioned by Lee Adama (Occuprice- I forget which episode :P ) SO! If the gold bars represent the stars of an Admiral, and (starting from the bottom of the rank table and moving upwards) Commander is the rank that doesn't fit in, it suggests one of two things:
  • Commander is in fact a distinct rank in the Colonial Fleet, immediately superior to the rank of Colonel and immediately inferior to the rank of a "one-bar" Admiral. In turn, this tells us that the BSG rank structure features more officer ranks than todays military- this is entirely plausible.
  • Commander is, like you said, a billet, and not a standalone rank at all. The silver diamond behind the gold one merely symbolises the billet of Commander.
I believe both scenarios are entirely possible. However, given that the rank pins from Lieutenant JG all the way up to Major follow a distinct progression, and that the vast majority of modern day rank insignia follow the same kind of progression, I believe that Commander is a distinct rank, not a billet. Maybe we should just accept that the Colonial military has more officer ranks than we're used to dealing with, and- like the footnote says- the rank of Commander does not neatly equate to Captain OR "Commodore"? Now, I know I've been saying that Cdr = Capt, but thinking about it now... the majority of us have been used to watching things like Star Trek, where the master of a vessel is, for the mst part, a Captain, and as such we've been comparing the military ranks in Galactica to these shows, which copy our own militaries rather neatly. And, to be fair, who can blame us when there are so many other paralells? --Madbrood 14:33, 19 October 2006 (CDT)
PS: That's a long winded way of my agreeing with Serenity. --Madbrood 14:50, 19 October 2006 (CDT)

Commander could easily be a full-fledged rank, and it's entirely possible that the Admiral ranks start with two-star Rear Admirals. If you look at the British military, the progression from captain on up is "commodore, rear admiral, vice admiral, admiral", and from colonel on up is "brigadier, major general, lieutenant general, general". Starting with two stars seems weird, but then again, so does this whole thing. Lee does refer to "admiral's stars" as if every admiral has more than one star, so... Philwelch 16:17, 19 October 2006 (CDT)

Sorry to drag this thread up again, but... I don't think it works that a BSG Colonel = USN/RN Captain, as opposed to BSG Commander = USN/RN Captain. As I remember it, RdM discussed that he didn't want to make Adama "Captain Adama," so he kept the rank of Commander for Adama.
To me it seems that BSG ranks of Major and Captain are both equivalant to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. I think the major point for this is to look at the position of the CAG. I don't know what the rank for the CAG would be in the USN/RN, but considering that:
*Lee as a Captain and a Major as CAG.
*Jack Spencer from the MiniSeries was of Major rank when CAG.
Hence it would seem that these two ranks are similar enough that they can be both be used a specific position.--Cohnee 08:37, 8 November 2006 (CST)
Mhhh, that's a very good idea and would clear up the confusion about "Commander = Admiral or Captain" for example. No reason why the table can't be broken up in the middle. It would also put the XO as real life Commander then --Serenity 08:53, 8 November 2006 (CST)
I don't quite follow. First off, a real-life Colonel *is* equivalent to a Navy Captain, *not* a Navy Commander. Making Commander equivalent to Commodore (which the current table implicitly does) makes much more sense than making Colonel equivalent to Commander. Philwelch 20:28, 8 November 2006 (CST)
Incidentally, in real life, the CAG is a full Captain, equivalent in rank to the commander of the carrier. This is because the Carrier Air Wing is not part of the carrier's ship's company, but rather a separate embarked unit. In other words, pilots and support personnel are assigned to the air wing itself, not to the ship. It's quite similar to a situation where, for instance, a Marine unit is embarked aboard an amphibious ship—the Marine unit that is embarked has a CO who may be of equivalent or higher rank than the CO of the ship. As a consequence of this, the commander of the ship itself probably does not make tactical decisions about launching planes—that would be up to the Admiral commanding the carrier battle group, who has command over the carrier, the carrier's escort ships, and the air wing. (It goes without saying that the captain of a US aircraft carrier still holds authority over the embarked personnel—it is his ship, and his word is final.) BSG follows a slightly different model where each Battlestar has an air group permanently assigned to it so that the pilots and other support personnel assigned to the Battlestar itself and not its embarked air group. This places the CAG within the command structure—pilots, as well as maintenance personnel like Chief Tyrol, report to the CAG, while the CAG reports to the CO and XO. Of course, the BSG command structure is probably different in that Commander Adama (pre-Cylon Attack) wasn't merely the commander of the Galactica, but of the entire BSG-75 (Battlestar Group 75), comprising Galactica, her embarked planes, and her other support ships. This justifies not only the CAG reporting to Adama (since in the US Navy, the CAG reports to the commander of the Carrier Battle Group), but also the apparent equivalence between Commander and Commodore (since Commodores usually commanded small groups of ships, but not vast fleets). So it's probably more accurate to say that, in BSG, the commander of the Battlestar Group also holds personal command of the group's flagship (Galactica for BSG-75, Pegasus for BSG-62) as well as overall command over the air group and other support ships. Philwelch 20:48, 8 November 2006 (CST)
I think the major and captain BSG ranks should be essentially equavalant to naval lieutenant commander, even if major is obviously the superior rank. BSG Commander is obviously equivalant to a naval ship captain. Adama just commanded all the ships before because (as it was previously stated) those ships are civilian. Since Roslin promotes him to admiral so he command both battlestars, Commander is obviously not a flag rank. Just my thoughts.
--Jaguar 16:20, 9 December 2006 (CST)

Idea for updated comparison list

I took a look at the TOS rank page and there is a very obvious solution to the problem. On that page there isn't a direct 1:1 comparison for each rank (which I don't think is really useful anyways, but good for aesthetic reason). Instead some are just stated as "N/A". That could work here too.

So we could move Commander out of the "flag officers" and on top of "commissioned officers". Merge RAUH and RALH into just Rear Admiral. And then pick one rank that doesn't have a direct comparison. Maybe keep Colonel as Commander because of the XO thing and put Major at "N/A" or something similar.

All in all, I think it's better to orient the list towards the BSG rank scheme and bend the American ranks around a bit, than making up things to twist the Colonial military to perfectly conform it to the US Navy. The comparison is only meant as a rough guideline after all --Serenity 14:55, 19 October 2006 (CDT)

Waaaaaaaaaait a second. Is it just me, or would the TOS list make perfect sense transposed straight over here? IE, Ensign = no equivalence (ensign has no rank pin that we know of), then everything is neat all the way up to BSG Colonel = USN Captain, BSG Commander = no equivalence, and then flag ranks? --Madbrood 02:37, 20 October 2006 (CDT)
There is an Ensign rank in BSG (Hand of God, Scar). They just haven't established a rank pin yet. That doesn't mesn there isn't one. In "Scar" they used Lt. pins. But the TOS list is a comparison to Airforce ranks for some reason. Here's it's Navy. That's why there isn't an Ensign there.
And forget what I said above. Putting Commander at N/A probably makes the most sense as we established that they stand somewhere inbetween modern Captains and Admirals. That can then be mentioned in a footnote. --Serenity 08:26, 20 October 2006 (CDT)
I know there's an Ensign rank, only reason I said that was because of what the TOS rank chart did. Besides, Ensign = 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF, so if we did decide to have it = nothing, there wouldn't be a problem- it's already been done once. --Madbrood 11:30, 20 October 2006 (CDT)

EDIT: okay, how's this (we can figure out Flag Officer ranks later --Madbrood 11:47, 20 October 2006 (CDT)
Colonial Fleet Rankings U.S. Navy Rankings BSG Examples
Commander N/A Lee Adama
Colonel Captain Saul Tigh
Major Commander Cottle
Captain Lieutenant Commander Starbuck
Lieutenant Lieutenant Helo
Lieutenant JG Lieutenant JG Boomer
Ensign Ensign Ensign Davis

I think we should mention somewhere (possibly in a footnote) a possible Commander/Commodore equivalence. Otherwise this is fine. Philwelch 15:24, 20 October 2006 (CDT)

Yeah looks fine. Commodore is already mentioned in the current footnote. But that needs to be reworded anyways --Serenity 15:30, 20 October 2006 (CDT)

That looks fine to me. --Talos 15:41, 20 October 2006 (CDT)

Impressive Page, 1 Nitpick about dense chart

I'm quite impressed with the level of detail and discussion here. The page looks sharp too; great work all involved.

The part that bothers me, and someone probably knows how to correct this, is that in the enlisted/NCO areas of the text chart, the Fleet and Marine ranks are uncomfortably bunched together. It needs separation. Can someone make a separate column within the chart so we can have Fleet ranks on the left, and Marine ones offset, to the center? That way we'd save the room used by writing, "marine" next to each of them, as well as clearly marking the distinction. Or does the Wiki software not enable that kind of table personalization to be done? - Keithustus 22:47, 23 October 2006 (CDT)

There used to be a seperate column for real life Marine ranks. But that just cluttered everything up. Marines aren't that important and adding them in own column would detract from the overall readability IMHO. Maybe it's possible to seperate the NCO and enlisted rank column into two columns each, so the Marine ranks start at the same place. But I don't think that an overall own column is needed or even desirable --Serenity 07:05, 24 October 2006 (CDT)
Yes, that's what I mean...just to get a bit of space between the words as now they run together. It would be easiest thing to do in Word or Powerpoint, but this is an html-based system with which I'm not as familiar. - Keithustus 18:14, 24 October 2006 (CDT)
I'm not very knowledgable in table-editing, but I think I managed to do it. It's basically the same as HTML just with different operators. There is a help page on Wikipedia about it --Serenity 06:54, 25 October 2006 (CDT)
Nice. - Keithustus 07:56, 26 October 2006 (CDT)