Real World Definition
Definition in the Star Trek Universe'
Captain is a military rank, the equivalent of which is used by the service organizations of many civilizations. The title of captain is often used by vessel commanders and, as a naval rank, in many earth navies and Starfleet, is above commander. As an infantry rank, captains rank subordinate to a major and above a first lieutenant.
By the mid 22nd century, captain was a senior line officer rank of most space services and usually given to the commanding officers of starships. This naval rank is equivalent to the infantry rank of colonel, the Romulan Star Empire's commander grade, the Cardassian Union's title of gul and the Ferengi Alliance's quasi-military DaiMon title.
On starships, the term captain is also often used as a synonym to commanding officer. Proper naval parlance says that, even if a vessel is commanded by an officer whose rank is lower than captain, that officer is still able to be referred to as a captain while on the deck of their own vessel, no matter their literal commissioned rank.
Captains of starships, often located hundreds of light years away from and out of communications with higher authority, must be able to function autonomously and make independent command decisions affecting Federation policy and countless lives. Accordingly, few Starfleet officers ever gain the captaincy of a starship, the result of decades of sustained excellence as a Starfleet leader.
A senior captain given a large degree of responsibility or administrative assignment is sometimes given the title of fleet captain.
The rank of captain may also be held by non-command personnel, especially on ships with a number of veteran and senior officers whose experience has warranted advancement to the rank of captain but without command of a starship. Such was the case on the USS Enterprise-A, where the senior staff consisted of no less than three captains: the commanding officer (James T. Kirk), the first officer (Spock), and the chief engineer (Montgomery Scott). (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) Captain Scott had previously held his rank of captain while chief engineer of the USS Excelsior, where he was known as the "captain of engineering". (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
The rank of captain may also be held by staff officers, such as those assigned to as a Judge Advocate General sector officer. Such was the case with Phillipa Louvois, who was a sector JAG officer in 2365. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man") Reaching the rank of captain in other non-command branches of Starfleet is generally considered difficult, as noticed by one security officer, who once remarked "You don't make captain by wearing a gold shirt". (DS9: "The Adversary") The rank is apparently obtainable in the science division, however, as the rank was held by Captain Krasnovsky in 2267, (and later by Captain Janeway) although he may have held command qualification while also being a science officer. (TOS: "Court Martial")
Use of the rank in Star Trek: Second Fleet Online
The rank of Captain in Star Trek: Second Fleet Online is the most common rank used if the member is the commanding officer of a ship. In order to command a Battleship, Cruiser, Destroyer, or Frigate then the rank of captain is required. Due to precedence being seen in other divisions, the rank of captain can be obtained in the following divisions in ST: SFO:
Members in ST: SFO Holding this rank
Currently the following members hold (or have held) this rank. Their position is stated next to their name as well.
- Winston Cummings (Commanding Officer, USS Indefatigable NCC-74624)
- Robert Garrett (Former Commanding Officer, USS Berlin NCC-14293)
- Samsara Steelman (Commanding Officer, USS Gambit NCC-75013)
Rank Insignia History
For the Original Series Movies Era (2279-2350) the divisions were further broken down then what they are today. For today's Operations-Engineering Division, they were broken up into Engineering / Helm (yellow) and Navigation / Communications (Silver). You will also note that the Sciences Division also uses the Silver color for their rank insignia.