It's clear that Harmony Gold staff hadn't the slightest clue how to deal with the subject of military ranks when transforming Macross, Southern Cross and MOSPEADA into Robotech. The Japanese series had commissioned officer ranks that were the same for all services and bore no resemblance to English titles. As with many military terms in Robotech, the way that ranks were translated was unorthodox, inconsistent and in some cases characters have ranks that are at odds with their respective positions. Recent spin-off productions and comments by Harmony Gold employees show that they still have no clue how to deal with the matter.
Many people have opinions on the subject and I've discovered that many of those opinions are very uninformed, bizarre and entrenched. Likewise, a number of official and semi-official Robotech spin-offs contain a lot of nonsense on the subject. And it never ceases to amaze me that so many people assume that an international military service would slavishly adopt even the most superficial military customs of one particular nation, no matter how pointless, abnormal or undesirable such customs may be.
Few people have attempted anywhere near such a thorough analysis as I hope to present here. I know a lot about various military rank systems across the globe so it seemed the perfect subject on which I could contribute to Robotech fandom. To get the best possible result, the only Robotech sources that should be consulted in a project such as this are:
- the Robotech TV series; and
- completed screen sequels that have not been totally botched (The Sentinels, The Odyssey, Robotech 3000 and The Untold Story do not count).
Where there are inconsistencies between these sources (it's to be expected that HG will continue making a hash of it), the content of the TV series must prevail.
The goal was to develop a rank structure that is as realistic as possible whilst being as consistent as possible with the TV series (and the TSC film). Considering what a real international defence force rank structure should be like was the other major factor. I've tried to be as analytical, logical and impartial as possible (avoiding undue bias towards the system of any particular nation).
Firstly, I have to address the horribly confused issue of the general nature of the organisation of the world government's armed forces. I have concluded (from analysis of real-world circumstances, the TV series and plain common sense) that throughout the entire series the armed forces of the world government comprise a single entity. I will refer to this organisation by the term most frequently used in the TV series: the United Earth Forces (UEF).
The UEF is a single organisation, but because it operates in different environments it comprises several services. Apart from common sense there are several things that show that this is the case, including the appearance of navy-style and equivalent army-style ranks (e.g. admiral and general) and references to the UEF's Joint Chiefs. The services are referred to here as the Navy, the Army (notwithstanding the occasional misuse of the term in the TV series), the Air Force and the Spacy (the term 'spacy' is seen several times in the animation). There is only one of each service and they exist continuously from episode 1 to beyond episode 85. Don't be confused by the different uniforms – real world defence forces have many different orders of dress and their design changes over time.
The services' function is to provide forces. Conducting operations is the role of commands such as Southern Cross and the Expeditionary Force. Some fans have the idea that UEF units assigned to the Southern Cross and Expeditionary Force have contradictory rank structures (in the sense that SC naval ranks contradict EF naval ranks, SC army ranks contradict EF army ranks, etc.) Not only is there no evidence for this, the idea is nuts (and would be pointless even if such an arrangement wouldn't be a nuisance). Spacy units assigned to the Expeditionary Force have the same ranks as Spacy units assigned to the Southern Cross, Army units assigned to the Southern Cross have the same ranks as Army units assigned to the Expeditionary Force, and so on. Any change to the UEF rank structure occurs on a chronological basis.
There are numerous references to both navy-style and equivalent army-style ranks in relation to space forces. The UEF has a requirement for ground forces for the space/land equivalent of sea/land operations undertaken jointly by navies and armies. Therefore the Spacy has a ground forces arm that has army-style ranks throughout. This shall be referred to as the 'Spacy ground forces arm'/'SGFA'. Thus the nature of the involvement of General Leonard, General Reinhardt, General Emerson, Colonel Maistroff, Major Carpenter and Dana Sterling's command in space forces is explained. Its existence does not preclude the presence of forces of other services on board space ships.
This is the most militarily sensible interpretation, and it fits with the content of the TV series a great deal better than the nonsense described by other sources.
For more information see Organisation of the Armed Forces of the World Government.
Ranks don't exist for the hell of it; each rank should exist because it fulfils a practical purpose. A person's rank must be an accurate indication of his/her position in a hierarchy. Lieutenants don't command fleets and generals are considerably more senior than company commanders. Examine the rank structures of military services of many nations and you will see many similarities. Some are relatively superficial and some are more important than they may seem at first. There are long-standing and universally accepted conventions that the UEF must adhere to. The rank structure of the UEF doesn't have to be the same as any real-world defence force, but it does have to be comparable. There is no reason why a UEF colonel should not be the same thing as a real-world colonel or why a UEF vice-admiral should not be the same thing as a real-world vice-admiral, and it would be troublesome if they weren't.
There is usually considerable difference between the rank titles of services of the same nation, as well between services of different nations. In a number of cases a certain rank in one service is considerably higher than the 'same' rank in another service (e.g. navy captain is equivalent to army colonel, which is considerably higher than army captain). A navy of a country whose national language is European in origin (such as English) can be expected (though it's not always the case) to have a series of rank titles that differs greatly from that used by the army of the same nation. Many air forces have ranks that differ from those of their sister services, especially commissioned officer ranks. There is no reason why the UEF would have distinctive Air Force commissioned officer or non-commissioned officer ranks, which would be an unnecessary and undesirable complication for a global force. Where Air Force ranks are not distinctive they are the same as those of the Army.
There is a huge difference – which is not always immediately apparent – between the rank that a person holds and the job that he or she performs. For example, any commissioned officer appointed to command a ship is the captain of that ship regardless of whether he or she holds the rank of captain. A reference to someone as a 'group leader' or 'chief of staff', for example, likewise concerns appointment, not rank. The term 'commander' has caused some confusion. It may refer to someone of the rank of commander or lieutenant-commander, or anyone with a command appointment. There are a number of references to General Leonard as 'Supreme Commander Leonard' and he's even addressed as 'Commander Leonard', which sounds a lot like a reference to rank, but this is not the case. Likewise, Rolf Emerson is referred to as both 'General Emerson' and 'Chief of Staff Emerson', and even 'Chief Emerson'.
A 'modifier' is a term that distinguishes one rank from another, such as the 'vice-' part of vice-admiral. In many cases modifiers are rarely used in verbal communication. All flag officers are called 'Admiral' and all general officers 'General'. A lieutenant-colonel is called 'Colonel' and a lieutenant-commander just 'Commander'. Most lieutenant ranks are shortened to 'lieutenant'. Though it's usually the first part of the rank that is dropped, with sergeant and petty officer ranks it is almost always the 'sergeant' or 'petty officer' that is omitted. For example, a staff sergeant is called 'Staff' and a chief petty officer 'Chief'. Where ranks are distinguished numerically (e.g. second lieutenant, warrant officer Class I, private third class) it's normally the numerical part that is omitted.
This shouldn't have to be pointed out, but (after having been referred to some typically silly comments about Robotech ranks) it obviously has to be: like 'colonel' and 'sergeant', the English word 'lieutenant' is not pronounced in its original (French) form. It is generally pronounced leftenant. The pronunciation l'tenant became a naval alternative to leftenant, but is now almost entirely obsolete. The main exception is the United States pronunciation lootenant, which became the standard pronunciation in that country in the nineteenth century. (So bad luck, fans who'd like to think that Roy Fokker or Max Sterling is Canadian – they say 'lootenant'.) Regardless of which pronunciation is used, it is always spelled 'lieutenant'.
Flag ranks are ranks that include the word 'admiral'. General ranks are ranks that include the word 'general'. 'Admiral', 'general' and 'brigadier-general' are in the dialogue.
Brigadier-general is the lowest possible general rank (ranking immediately above colonel). There are several possibilities for the equivalent of brigadier-general. Traditionally commodore occupies this position. However, those in charge of the UEF would doubtless have intended that equivalent ranks would have equivalent status wherever possible. In short, admirals equal generals and vice versa. Commodores are senior captains, not junior flag officers. Commodore is best used in conjunction with brigadier rather than brigadier-general. Some navies now have a second grade of rear admiral instead, which is highly unsatisfactory. Apart from the inevitable confusion over which rear admirals were 'real' rear admirals, it is unfair and extravagant for flag officers to have a title of a higher rank than their equivalents. No-one would consider having two grades of major-general sensible. Commodore-admiral was used briefly by the US Navy, but flotilla admiral is the most obvious and sensible candidate.
Rear admiral, vice-admiral and admiral can all be presumed to exist in the UEF without doubt, as can their respective equivalents, major-general, lieutenant-general and general.
The rank above admiral (where there is one) is usually admiral of the fleet. The notable alternative is the US Navy rank of fleet admiral. (The phrase 'admiral of the fleet' is mentioned in the butchered Sentinels video, but the content of this video is not a bona fide part of the Robotech universe by any sensible measure. The Sentinels project was aborted quickly and this video doesn't follow the actual Sentinels script.)
In some armies the rank at this level is a general rank, in others a marshal rank. Some fans have claimed that Leonard is a field marshal, but he's identified in the TV series clearly several times as a general officer and no marshal rank is ever mentioned. Following the 'admirals equal generals and vice versa' principle, the UEF equivalent should be a general rank. General of the army, general of the air force and captain-general are examples.
General of the army and general of the air force would fit well with admiral of the fleet. However, having different general ranks for the same rank level is unnecessary and somewhat awkward, and both are wordier than need be, as is admiral of the fleet. Fleet admiral with captain-general is probably the best combination. They are simple, efficient, generic and consistent with the style of other flag and general ranks.
Ranks of this level are often reserved for promotions in exceptional circumstances, but such a limitation is unlikely to apply in the UEF. In all cases such ranks will be used if the size of an organisation requires them in order to maintain an effective hierarchy.
Brief note re etymology: fleet admiral means an admiral whose rank is commensurate with command of a fleet; vice-admiral literally means a 'full' admiral's deputy; originally rear admirals commanded groupings of ships that comprised the rear of a formation; flotilla admiral means an admiral whose rank is commensurate with command of a flotilla; captain-general literally means 'head (Latin: caput) general'; lieutenant-general literally means a 'full' general's deputy; major-general was shortened from sergeant-major-general (a sergeant-major-general originally performed a function similar to that of a sergeant-major, but at a higher level); and brigadier-general means a general whose rank is commensurate with command of a brigade.
The Navy/Spacy ranks of captain (Gloval, Hayes, Hunter), commander (at least as the short form of lieutenant-commander and probably as 'full' commander as well) and lieutenant-commander are in the dialogue. Colonel and major are in the dialogue. Lieutenant-colonel must exist also.
It has been suggested that because Major Carpenter commands a spaceship his rank should exist throughout the Spacy, and fairly high up, which is silly. A far more plausible explanation is that Major Carpenter is a member of the Spacy's ground forces arm who succeeded to command due to his being the senior line officer of the Spacy remaining on board.
It's normal to have no more than three commissioned rank levels below the level of major, which is the case in English-speaking nations. A number of services, including those of several NATO and former Eastern Bloc nations, have four and there are several things that suggest that this is the case in the UEF. The UEF includes nationalities other than English-speaking ones, so deviation from what's usual among the latter is not unreasonable. How company officer rank levels correlate with degrees of experience and responsibility vary significantly and having four in the UEF may be helpful in determining appropriate ranks for members who have transferred from national services.
Rick Hunter's advancement proves that the lowest Navy/Spacy commissioned officer ranks are third lieutenant, second lieutenant and first lieutenant. 'F/LIEUT', meaning first lieutenant, appears on an air/spacecraft in episode 10. Lieutenant ranks distinguished by ordinal numbers being normal in armies, not navies (though it used to be that warships' lieutenants were distinguished in this way), suggests that all three exist across the whole UEF.
Dana Sterling is a member of an organisation that has army-style commissioned officer ranks (Phillips is an army-style captain prior to demotion) who is a second lieutenant before promotion to first lieutenant.
The subtraction of an army rank to make way for three (as opposed to the usual two) lieutenant ranks is not an option. Apart from the awkwardness and problems that would result from an omission (such as an implausible lack of parity with ranks of national forces), colonel, major and (army-style) captain are mentioned, lieutenant-colonel is necessary and there is evidence that there are two grades of lieutenant-commander.
Lieutenant-Commander Lisa Hayes is promoted in episode 13 yet she remains a lieutenant-commander. Lieutenant-Commander Fokker commands a fighter squadron and real-world fighter squadron commanders usually (not always) hold a higher rank. In the TSC film Lieutenant-Commander Scott Bernard has two shoulder stripes whereas Lieutenant-Commander Maia Sterling has three. In isolation these anomalies could be ignored or reconciled in some way. But together they indicate that the UEF has two lieutenant-commander ranks. Though I dislike the idea of a second grade of lieutenant-commander, it is the best way of accommodating the third army lieutenant rank. The resulting arrangement has significant real-world precedence, being very much like that of the armed forces of Russia and several of its neighbours.
References to third lieutenant end at episode 20 and ensign is mentioned in episodes 38 and 50. Though mainly an army rank until the 20th century, ensign is now regarded a naval rank. Therefore ensign replaces third lieutenant in the Navy/Spacy sequence at some point after the events of episode 27 and before the events of episode 37. (It is possible that it replaces third lieutenant across the rest of the UEF as well, but it seems unlikely.)
replaced by ensign
There are several reasons for my previous lack of confidence in the idea of there being three army lieutenant ranks after TMS. The main one is that Dana Sterling is a second lieutenant while still a teenager without there being any indication of a high attrition rate (which would increase the promotion rate) before the arrival of the Masters. (My personal dislike of the less orthodox aspects of the rank system might have something to do with it as well.) However, I have been swayed to the view that the arrangement shown above is the most appropriate owing to the fact that the numbered lieutenant ranks are well-established and there are no alternatives (ensign aside) in the dialogue, the possibility of there being an adequate basis for Dana Sterling to achieve the second-lowest commissioned rank quickly (it's increasingly common in the real world for the lowest commissioned rank to be held very briefly or skipped), and that less change to the rank structure is more convenient for creators of fan fiction and other Robotech projects.
In episode 52 there is a reference to Brown as a flight lieutenant. Although several air forces have a rank of this name, references to the same character as a first lieutenant discount the possibility that 'flight' is part of his rank. The use of the term could indicate that he is a flight leader or merely refer to his role as an aviator.
That Claudia Grant is addressed as 'Officer Grant' in episode 15 does not mean that 'officer' is a rank. She's a lieutenant at this point so 'officer' in this context must be like 'mister' and 'miss' in the real world, a generic form of address of people who hold the most junior commissioned officer ranks.
A page showing various real-world commissioned officer rank structures is here.
Officer cadet (or just 'cadet') should be the rank for all UEF members who are undergoing pre-commissioning training. The US Navy is a notable example of a service that uses the rank of midshipman in this context, but this is not the traditional purpose of that rank. 'Proper' midshipmen are not officer cadets – they are comparable to US Navy ensigns. And, again, it makes sense that identical status (including the title in this case) is applied to equivalent ranks where it is normal to do so. (Not all commissioned officers begin their careers as officer cadets. Many real-world enlisted personnel were 'battlefield commissioned' like Rick Hunter and Max Sterling.)
The armed forces of the United States have an entirely separate category of ranks above enlisted ranks and below the level of second lieutenant/ensign. These ranks are warrant officer and several grades of chief warrant officer (which must not be confused with enlisted warrant officer ranks). Such ranks are unusual and unnecessary (especially if non-commissioned officer ranks are well-organised), and all aviators in Robotech who are identified with a rank that is below the level of the lowest lieutenant rank/ensign are sergeants and corporals, not warrant officers. For these reasons such ranks should not be thought to exist in the UEF.
Other ranks or enlisted personnel should comprise at least 85% of the UEF. There is a great deal of variation amongst enlisted rank structures around the world. Some services have a lot more ranks than others, some systems are very complicated and titles vary considerably. A reasonably simple and generic arrangement is highly desirable – especially considering the need for translation between a number of languages – and, as UEF is not encumbered by specific national traditions, entirely feasible.
It has been suggested that because a handful of non-commissioned officers are seen piloting aircraft the distinction between the roles of commissioned officers and enlisted personnel is significantly different from the distinction that exists in the real world. This is nonsense. The difference between the role of commissioned officers and the role of enlisted personnel is the way it is because that's what works. In the real world there have been many non-commissioned aviators, especially in wars where attrition rates were high. The same circumstances exist in Robotech. The difference between commissioned officers and enlisted personnel remains very conspicuous in the British Army, and the British Army has enlisted pilots (including corporals) to this day.
That some enlisted personnel in Robotech are promoted unusually rapidly is not indicative of a difference either. It happens because of a high attrition rate: as vacancies occur in higher positions some people are promoted sooner than they would be in peacetime in order to fill those positions. In the real world Royal Air Force enlisted aircrew members (who aren't even pilots) get promoted directly to sergeant following their initial training (it takes them 14 weeks to achieve a rank it takes others 14 years to achieve), so the rapid rise of pilots Rick Hunter, Ben Dixon and Max Sterling to corporal and higher ranks in a war is not remarkable.
That Rick Hunter (who later holds navy-style commissioned officer ranks), Ben Dixon and Max Sterling belong to a Spacy fighter squadron whilst holding corporal and sergeant ranks means that corporal and sergeant ranks exist throughout the Spacy. Though I don't like the idea of army-style enlisted ranks being used in the same service as navy-style commissioned officer ranks, it's not significant. (This unusual combination could be attributed to a compromise between the Spacy's naval organisational principles and that military responsibility for space is customarily vested in air forces.)
No navy-style enlisted ranks are mentioned (or otherwise appear) in Robotech. However, it would be very strange for the UEF to have navy-style commissioned officer ranks in two services and not have navy-style enlisted ranks in at least one. Also, the greater applicability of naval tradition in the Navy than in the Spacy and the fact that the global Navy would routinely co-operate with other navies support the proposition that the UEF's navy has navy-style enlisted ranks.
Enlisted personnel can generally be divided between warrant officers, senior non-commissioned officers (sergeant ranks and equivalents), junior non-commissioned officers (corporal ranks and equivalents) and privates and equivalents. A number of services have additional sergeant/petty officer ranks instead of warrant officer ranks (some of these services also have warrant officers, but they are not enlisted personnel). To avoid unnecessary complexity and ambiguity the UEF should not have warrant officer ranks.
Non-commissioned officers (and warrant officers) exist to fulfil leadership and other supervisory roles. Therefore the lowest non-commissioned officer rank should be that which is commensurate with the lowest 'proper' leadership/supervisory positions, i.e. command of an infantry fire-team (which comprises four to six people) and equivalent roles. In addition to this rank level there needs to be a different rank level for each of the following positions and their equivalents and approximate equivalents:
- commander of an infantry section (which comprises eight to twelve people);
- platoon sergeant (deputy commander and senior enlisted member of a platoon);
- company sergeant-major (the senior enlisted member of a company);
- sergeant-major of an organisation greater than a company.
A number of services have three enlisted rank levels above the platoon sergeant level. A third rank above this level is not necessary, but it may be useful. There is absolutely no need for more than three enlisted rank levels above the platoon sergeant level.
In episode 33 Rick Hunter, after landing his fighter, addresses a waiting subordinate as 'Chief', which is probably the short form of the man's rank. Real-world chief petty officers are addressed as 'Chief', but the man's job is to look after Hunter's craft so he's probably a member of the Spacy. Therefore, to make sure that this possibility is accommodated, we should conclude that the Spacy has a sergeant rank whose holders can be addressed as 'Chief'. Chief sergeant or the US Air Force rank of chief master sergeant, being adequately unambiguous and generic, would be a good fit.
'S/SGT' appears on an air/spacecraft in episode 10. Normally this is an abbreviation of staff sergeant, the usual rank immediately above sergeant.
In episode 52 there is a reference to Flight Sergeant Kenneth Russell. If flight sergeant were a rank, it should be – as it is in reality – the Air Force rank immediately above sergeant (equivalent to staff sergeant). However, it's unlikely that the Air Force would have a distinctive non-commissioned officer rank (as it would be an undesirable gratuitous complication) and Kenneth Russell is assigned to a space mission, which suggests that he is a member of the Spacy. First Lieutenant Brown is referred to as a 'flight lieutenant', which shows clearly that the term 'flight' can be used in addition to an aviator's rank.
Petty officer ranks are the naval counterpart of sergeant ranks. Chief petty officer is the usual equivalent of staff sergeant. The obvious options for higher ranks are the US Navy's senior chief petty officer and master chief petty officer.
If there are fewer than three enlisted rank levels above that of platoon sergeants:
If there are three enlisted rank levels above that of platoon sergeants:
Sergeant and corporal are mentioned in the dialogue numerous times.
Dana Sterling commands a platoon level organisation (despite it being called a squadron and squad). Its second-in-command and most senior enlisted member (the equivalent of an infantry platoon sergeant) is Angelo Dante. Such a position is traditionally, normally and properly commensurate with the lowest sergeant rank. That he holds this position, that his rank is never identified with a modifier (such as 'staff' or 'chief') and that his rank insignia comprise three stripes indicate that Dante's is the lowest sergeant rank (references to Dante as a corporal in episodes 38 and 39 are errors).
The naval equivalent of sergeant is petty officer.
The two remaining non-commissioned officer rank levels are those of corporal and lance corporal, the ranks traditionally, normally and properly commensurate with command and deputy command, respectively, of an infantry section.
Louie Nichols's rank insignia show that his corporal rank is two levels below sergeant, i.e. lance corporal. Like Louie Nichols, trained privates wear one rank stripe, which means that the privates' version must be thinner to distinguish it from that of Nichols's rank (the animators weren't consistent with dimensions of rank insignia).
The naval equivalent of corporal is nearly always (in the English-speaking world) leading rate or leading seaman. 'Leading rate' is a generic term, 'rate' being supplanted by occupational designations in individuals' titles, e.g. leading cook. Otherwise 'seaman' supplants 'rate' navy-wide and occupational designations are used in addition when relevant, e.g. leading seaman (cook). Occupational rank titles are an undesirable complication for the UEF, so 'seaman' should apply across the entire Navy.
Some navies have no equivalent of lance corporal. Others have upgraded able rate/able seaman from the level of the highest grade of private to the level of lance corporal. Neither of these options is entirely satisfactory. Senior seaman would be a better choice.
The US Navy is a rare example of a service whose non-commissioned officer ranks (technically rates) are all petty officer ranks. Whereas petty officer ranks constitute a single rank class (senior non-commissioned officers) in other navies, those of the US Navy are divided between two very distinct classes of three grades each. Apart from being different from the way rank classes are defined normally, the American arrangement isn't compatible with how rank classes are delineated by body armour design in TRM. Body armour differences delineate the following:
- commissioned officers (and presumably officer cadets);
- sergeant ranks and equivalents; and
- corporal ranks and equivalents, and below.
Private is mentioned in the dialogue numerous times and Sean Phillips (following his disciplinary demotion) is called a private second class. This reference to Phillips proves the existence of private first class. There needs to be a grade for enlisted members undergoing their initial training (generic and occupational), so a third class must exist also. (Alternatively there could be a fourth class for trainees, other privates being divided between the higher classes according to degrees of proficiency and experience.)
The naval equivalent is seaman.
Private is associated mainly with armies and marine corps. However, it's perfectly feasible for private to exist throughout the Spacy, Army and Air Force; there is precedent for its use in navies and air forces (e.g. Singapore); a limitation doesn't apply to equivalents of a number of other languages; and different titles for the Spacy, Army and Air Force would be gratuitously inconvenient in a multilingual context.
It has been suggested that the US Air Force rank of airman is the best alternative to private for the Air Force. However, aircraftman is a much more common rank and airman is a generic term for air force personnel, like soldier and sailor (as distinct from private and seaman) in other services. Crewman is probably the best alternative proposed for the Spacy (excluding the SGFA, which has privates), but it's not entirely satisfactory, mainly because its application to Spacy personnel who are not currently assigned to ships is awkward.
A page comparing real-world enlisted rank structures is here.
replaced by ensign*
* It can't be determined precisely when this change occurs, but it's sometime after the events of episode 27 and before the events of episode 37.
PROSPECTIVE COMMISSIONED OFFICER RANK
If there are two rank levels above platoon-level ranks
If there are three rank levels above platoon-level ranks
For badges of rank, see Rank Insignia of the Armed Forces of the World Government.
|28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 35
7(f), 15, 26, 27
various episodes from 61 onward
|1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31(e), 35(e)
30, 32, 33, 34, 35
30(e), 31, 32, 33, 34, 35
27, 34, 38, 47
|38, 39, 48
13, 15, 23, 26
38, 39, 44, 52, 53, 54
1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 11, 18, 19(p), 22(p)
30, 33, 35, 37(p)
1, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 14(f), 15, 16, 18, 23, 27, 28, 29
28, 30, 31(e)
61, 53, 54
44, 45, 49, 52, 53, 57
rank title mentioned
|38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 44,
47, 48, 51, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60
8, 20, 38
52, 58, 60
37, 39, 40, 50, 51, 52, 54, 58, 60
18(e), 33(f), 37(f)(e)
6(e), 7(e), 14(f)(e), 16(e), 18(e)
8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 14(f), 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 27, 37(f)
38, 43, 47, 48, 49, 50, 52, 57, 58
37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 60
18, 30, 37(p)
27, 32, 45, 47, 51
|62, 68, 83
1, 2, 3, 18, 19(p)
12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 23, 24, 28
|37, 40, 41, 43, 46, 49
39, 46, 47, 57
38, 39, 49(e), 53(e)
|38, 40, 42, 44, 45, 49,
52, 54, 55, 57, 60
• Chart does not include references in dream scenes in episode 17 (Phantasm). There are no ranks mentioned in these scenes that are not mentioned elsewhere.
• The only rank titles that are mentioned in The Shadow Chronicles film are: admiral, general, (navy-style) captain, commander, lieutenant-commander and lieutenant.
Certain inconsistencies in references to ranks may at least be partially reconcilable by supposing that acting rank appointments took place. It is common for members of military services to be appointed to act as a higher-ranking member. They are permitted to wear the insignia of the higher rank and to be addressed as and referred to by the higher rank without officially holding that rank. For example, in episodes 30 and 31 there are references to Rick Hunter as both a captain and a commander. This can be explained by concluding that his actual rank is commander and he has been appointed an acting captain. Of course, later references to him as a captain may be references to either acting or newly-acquired actual rank. Likewise, references in episode 38 to Sean Phillips as both a lieutenant and a captain can be explained by assuming that he was a first lieutenant appointed an acting captain.
Another way of explaining certain inconsistencies is the possibility that certain promotions were subsequently vetoed by a higher authority than whoever authorised the promotion.
Some cannot be reconciled to any extent – e.g. references to Lieutenant Dana Sterling as a sergeant – and therefore must be disregarded.
• "Lieutenant-commander": episode 62 onward. Rank insignia in TSC indicate the lower of two grades of lieutenant-commander.
• "Commander": episode 61 onward. Only as short form of lieutenant-commander (he is concurrently identified as a lieutenant-commander).
• "Lieutenant": episodes 77, 84. Dialogue error.
• "First lieutenant": episode 53.
• "Lieutenant": 52 onward. Short form of first lieutenant.
• Note: also called "flight lieutenant", which refers to his aviation role.
• "Corporal": episode 8. He would have been given a corporal rank only after his initial training. His rapid advancement is due to his being a fighter pilot. Dixon is promoted at least once after his first appearance but there is no reference to a new rank.
• "Lieutenant": pre-2009 flashback in episode 33. Short form of third Lieutenant, second Lieutenant and first lieutenant. In this case most likely first lieutenant.
• "Lieutenant-commander": episode 1 onward.
• "Commander": episode 1 onward. Only as short form of lieutenant-commander (he is identified as a lieutenant-commander up to the time of his death).
• "Lieutenant": episode 18. Irreconcilable dialogue error.
• "Captain": episodes 1 to 27.
• "Admiral": episode 28 onward. Which flag rank(s) he holds is not indicated.
• "Captain": episodes 31, 35. Dialogue error (he is concurrently identified as a flag officer).
• "Lieutenant": episode 18, pre-2009 flashback in episode 33. Short form of third lieutenant, second lieutenant and first lieutenant. She probably would have held several lieutenant ranks in this period.
• "Lieutenant-commander": episode 36.
• "Commander": episode 30 onward. Only as short form of lieutenant-commander (she is subsequently identified as a lieutenant-commander).
• Note: also called "Officer Grant", which is not a reference to a specific rank.
• "Lieutenant-commander": episodes 1 to 28, before and after a promotion occurs.
• "Commander": episodes 1 to 28. Only as short form of lieutenant-commander (she is concurrently identified as a lieutenant-commander).
• "Lieutenant": various episodes 6 to 18. Dialogue error.
• "Commander": episode 29. She's a captain in the next episode so commander is presumably her full rank at this point. However, given the organisational disruption at this time it may be possible for her to have skipped commander.
• "Captain": episode 30 onward.
• "Sergeant": episode 8. Doubtless the lowest sergeant rank given his very recent enlistment and that no modifier is mentioned. His rapid advancement is due to his being a fighter pilot.
• "Lieutenant": episodes 8 to 27. Short form of third lieutenant, second lieutenant and first lieutenant. Hunter becomes a third lieutenant when he's commissioned (which is proven by the existence of that rank at that time and the fact that he is a lieutenant before being promoted to second lieutenant).
• "Second lieutenant": episode 13.
• "Commander": episode 28. May be the short form of lieutenant-commander or may be the full rank.
• "Commander" and "captain": episodes 30, 31. One of these constitutes dialogue error. May be at least partially reconcilable by concluding that he was a commander who had been appointed an acting captain.
• "Captain": episodes 32 to 35. Given the duration of his service at this point it's likely that he would have remained a captain until well after the events of TMS.
• "Admiral": episode 61 onward. Rank insignia in TSC indicate vice-admiral at the time of the events of TSC. There are no other indications of particular flag ranks.
• Note: It's amazing that people still worry about Hunter being a major-general in the awful Robotech II: The Sentinels video because he holds navy-style commissioned officer ranks in TMS, TNG and TSC. But if you insist on including this aspect in your vision of Robotech, the only logical and plausible explanation is that Rick transferred to the Spacy's ground forces arm, or another service altogether, before transferring back again.
• "Colonel": episode 13 onward. Maistroff's insolence towards Captain Gloval indicates that he is Gloval's equal in rank, i.e. colonel, not lieutenant-colonel.
• "Lieutenant" and "captain": episode 38. One of these constitutes dialogue error. May be at least partially reconcilable by concluding that he was a first lieutenant who had been appointed an acting captain.
• "Private second class": episode 38, after his disciplinary demotion.
• "Private": episode 39 onward. Short form of any grade of private. It is possible that Phillips advanced to private first class after a reasonable amount of time.
• "Second lieutenant": episodes 38 to 39.
• "First lieutenant": episode 39.
• "Lieutenant": 37 onward. Short form of second lieutenant and first lieutenant.
• "Sergeant": episode 38. Dialogue error.
• "Second lieutenant": episodes 49, 53. Dialogue error. May be reconciled by concluding that her promotion was vetoed.
Note: it's stated specifically that Sterling was promoted to first lieutenant.
• "Corporal": episodes 8 to 12. He would have been given a corporal rank only after his initial training. His rapid advancement is due to his being a fighter pilot.
• "Third lieutenant": episode 20 (reference to a previous point in time). Sterling says, "They just promoted me to second lieutenant and it's been barely a month since I was promoted to third lieutenant."
• "Second lieutenant": episode 20.
• "Lieutenant": episodes 18 to 30. Short form of third lieutenant, second lieutenant and first lieutenant. Doubtless he would have made it to first lieutenant by episode 30. That Max leads Lisa Hayes's escort in episode 24, which seems to exceed the size of a flight, means that he might be the executive officer of Skull Squadron at this time.
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