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Ranks in the SFMC
Rank in the STARFLEET Marine Corps is structured similarly to that of STARFLEET. The accompanying rank & insignia chart will help you to understand this structure. Study it carefully, paying particular attention to the abbreviations, which will be used extensively from this point forward.

Grades vs Ranks
In order to simplify comparison between the “naval” and “marine” rank systems, the SFMC often refers to “grades” as opposed to “ranks”. While a rank is a title, like “colonel”, a grade (occasionally referred to as a “pay grade”) is an alphanumeric designator, like “O5” which is the same for both naval and marine ranks. In other words, an O6 (naval CAPT, marine COL) always outranks an O5 (naval CMDR, marine LTC) regardless of whether his rank is SFI or SFMC.

Please note that if a member of STARFLEET wishes to participate in the fan club as a marine, they are entitled to use the ground forces rank structure, as shown in this manual and the STARFLEET Membership Handbook. That is to say, if your Chapter CO promotes you to a grade of O5 and you are a marine (Active or Reserve), you are entitled to use the Marine rank of Lieutenant Colonel, even though your non-marine shipmates who are O5s go by Commander. Using the Marine rank does not change your responsibilities or rights as a member of SFI, it merely designates you as a marine.

In STARFLEET, promotions up  to  the grade of O5 are handled strictly by your SFI Chapter. Promotion to the grade of O6 is handled by the Regional Coordinator, and Grades of O7 or higher are awarded by STARFLEET’s Executive Committee. In different chapters, promotions are handled in different ways. Some ships use a point system, awarding points  for activities and  then promoting you when you accumulate enough points. Other chapters vote as a group on whether or not a member of the chapter deserves a promotion. Still others base their promotions on time-of-service with the club, requiring a certain minimum time in the group before you can be promoted another grade of rank. As you can see, there are probably as many ways to handle promotions as there are chapters in STARFLEET. This is the primary reason why the SFMC does not promote. However, we do offer our recommendations and evaluation of a Marines’ service, if requested by the Chapter CO or Executive Committee.

SFMC Ranks and Insignia
In the SFMC, we use a rank structure very similar to the 20th century United States Marine Corps and United States Army. This is done for two important reasons. First, it allows us to use some commercially available  rank  insignia with only slight modifcations necessary  to make  it distinctly ours. Second,  it  is easily understood by anyone with even a little military experience. Our system also nicely correlates with the system already used by SFI.

There are two basic forms of rank: enlisted and offcer. The enlisted ranks are separated into grades E1 through E9. From lowest grade to highest, the enlisted ranks are Private (PVT), Private First Class (PFC), Lance Corporal  (LCPL), Corporal  (CPL), Sergeant  (SGT), Staff Sergeant  (SSGT), Gunnery Sergeant (GSGT), First Sergeant (1SGT), and Sergeant Major (SGM). One SGM is appointed by the Commandant to the position of Sergeant Major of the STARFLEET Marine Corps (abbreviated as SGM/SFMC). This is a duty assignment, not a rank.

In a similar fashion, the offcer ranks are separated into 11 grades (O1 to O11). From lowest to highest, they are Second Lieutenant (2LT), First Lieutenant (1LT), Captain (CPT), Major (MAJ), Lieutenant Colonel (LTC),  Colonel  (COL),  Brigadier  (BDR),  Brigadier  General  (BGN), Major  General  (MGN),  Lieutenant General (LGN) and General (GEN). There is no equivalent to STARFLEET’s rank of Fleet Admiral, as that rank indicates the individual who is elected President of SFI.

Tips on Understanding Marine Officer Rank
A handy way to remember the order of rank for general offcers is the mnemonic: “Be My Little General” which refers to the ranks Brigadier General, Major General, Lieutenant General and General in order from lowest to highest.

A STARFLEET Marine captain (O3) is very different from a STARFLEET naval captain (O6). In the real-world military, anytime a marine captain serves aboard a navy vessel, he is referred to as major (one rank above his actual rank). This is to prevent confusion during combat or emergencies, since there can only be one “Captain” aboard a Navy ship. Likewise, whenever another naval offcer with the rank of captain was aboard, he was referred to as commodore. Since nearly all chapters in STARFLEET are ships, it poses an interesting problem for the STARFLEET Marines with the rank of captain (O3). Not surprisingly, we have adopted a similar method for reducing confusion. In all situations where a marine offcer with the rank of captain (O3) has that rank announced aloud  (as  in  presentation  of  awards  and  formal  functions),  they  are  referred  to  as  “Marine Captain.” Likewise, whenever such offcers compose correspondence (including e-mail), they designate their rank as “Captain, SFMC.” When abbreviating rank, a marine captain uses “CPT” whereas a naval captain uses “CAPT”.

The NonCommissioned Officer Corps
We  do  this  through  developing  and maintaining  a  body  of  dedicated  enlisted Marines,  known  as  the NCO Corps. The nine enlisted  ranks are  further divided by designating grades E4  through E9 as Non Commissioned Offcers (NCOs), with E4  through E6 being Junior NCOs and E7  through E9 as Senior NCOs. All enlisted Marines who hold grades of rank from E4 through E9 are considered members of the NCO Corps.

The NCO Corps serves two very important functions in the SFMC. The frst is to organize, coordinate and promote community service. It doesn’t matter what form of community service, and it doesn’t matter how large or small the effort. The Marine NCO is there to plan, advise, participate and encourage community service  in his or her chapter. Leader,  laborer and cheerleader,  the Marine NCO  is expected  to set  the standard for others to follow in community service.

The second function of the Marine NCO is to recruit, encourage and guide new members in the SFMC and their local chapter. This is particularly important where younger members are concerned. When a new member joins the chapter, the Marine NCO is there to make them feel welcome. When they have questions, the Marine NCO is ready to help them fnd the answers they need. From helping the new member get a uniform together to explaining the differences between the SFMC and its naval counterparts, the NCO is a leader and a friend.

Warrant Officers
From  their history  in  the real world militaries of  the 20th century,  the Warrant Offcer (WO) has a place within the SFMC.  The Warrant Offcers serve in those felds and billets that are too specialized in scope for unrestricted offcers and billets that require a Marine in a grade above staff noncommissioned offcers. Warrant offcers are, in essence, the technical specialists of the SFMC and serve to fll in holes that would normally require an offcer to cover, thus freeing the offcer for more essential tasks such as base, unit or department administration. Warrant Offcers  are  accessed  exclusively  from  the Marine Corps’  enlisted  ranks  and  are  considered enlisted personnel for purposes of annual awards and promotions.Warrant  offcers  are  accessed  from  enlisted Marines with  (usually  and  historically)  3-5  years  time  in service and primarily from the grades of SGT-GSGT.

The Warrant Offcer grades are:
  1. Warrant Offcer (WO)
  2. Chief Warrant Offcer Two (CWO-2)
  3. Chief Warrant Offcer Three (CWO-3)
  4. Chief Warrant Offcer Four (CWO-4)
  5. Chief Warrant Offcer Five (CWO-5)
The rank insignia to be worn by Warrant Offcers is the gold “half pip” (the gold/black pip worn to distinguish Lt. Commander from Lieutenant by STARFLEET).  One pip is worn for WO, 2 pips for CWO-2, 3 pips for CWO-3, 4 pips for CWO-4, and 5 pips for CWO-5.

It is intended that those selected for Warrant Offcer demonstrate advanced knowledge of the SFMC, and leadership abilities in their chosen career feld.  Therefore, it is SUGGESTED that the following criteria be used for selection of Warrant Offcers by Chapter CO’s and MSG OIC’s for the promotion of any enlisted marine to the rank of WO-1:
  1. 3-5 years in service to the STARFLEET Marine Corps;
  2. Hold the minimum rank of Sergeant;
  3. Be promoted, by the chapter CO, to the rank of WO1.  NOTE: Warrant Offcer promotions are  chapter promotions and not FLEET/SFMC;
  4. Complete  the Marine Offcer  Basic  School  (MOBS)  through  TRACOM  (unless  they  have already completed OTS, PD-10, IN-10, LD-10, and NCO-10); and
  5. Complete a minimum of the –20 level course in their chosen Branch of Service.
It  is strongly suggested  that promotion  to CWO-2  through CWO-5  require a minimum of 2 years  time in grade for promotion and that promotion to CWO-2 require the marine to complete the –30 course for their chosen Branch of service as well as PD-20, LD-20, NCO-20 and IN-20.  It is further suggested that CWO-3 candidates have completed OCC, PD-15, LD-27 and NCO-30.

Warrant Offcers generally have monitors who attempt to match the Marine Corps’ needs with the offcer’s interest/needs.  The monitors are located in the Offces of the Sergeants Major of the STARFLEET Marine Corps.  The Assignment Branch is categorized into the ground and aviation component.  Each year, the monitors visit each major base/station to conduct face-to-face meetings with as many Marines as possible.  Another offcer involved in the assignment process for warrant offcers is the MOS Specialist.  The MOS Specialist for each warrant offcer MOS is a senior Chief Warrant Offcer (CWO).  These programs will be established at a later date and criteria set forth through the Offce of the Sergeant Major of the SFMC and sent down to the various Brigade Sergeants Major for their use, if desired.

Warrant Offcers who reach the ranks of CWO-5 have only one option for further advancement:  Become a fully commissioned Offcer and continue their career advancement.  Otherwise a CWO-5 may continue to serve in that rank and assignment until they decide to retire for whatever reason.