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A. Addressing

  • The use of "sir" will always be used with an OFFICER of higher rank. It is a plain show of respect for rank, even if he/she is "outranked" in terms of position. Enlisted personnel are never addressed as "sir" unless they are a Warrant Officer. Warrant Officers are considered enlisted personnel with commissions as officers in their specific speciality fields.
  • The use of "ma'am" in Starfleet is used only if it is the known personal preference of the female officer - "sir" is used for all genders and all races in Starfleet out of respect to asexual races (not all races have just male or female genders).
  • The Commanding Officer of a starship is referred to as "captain", as he/she is the Captain of the ship, regardless of rank.
  • When asked a question by a superior officer, the proper response is "yes sir" or "no sir" (substitution of their rank in place of "sir" is also appropriate).
  • When given an order, the response is "aye aye sir". "Aye aye" stands for "I understand and will obey".
  • In addressing personnel by rank, it is not necessary to call them by their full rank. In other words, you do not walk down a corridor and say "Good morning, Lieutenant Commander" or "Hello 2nd/1st Lieutenant" or "Hello, Petty Officer First Class". "Commander" or "Petty Officer" or "Lieutenant" are acceptable.
  • The Chaplain is never referred to by their rank (they hold a rank, but never use it). Use "Chaplain" in virtually all situations.
  • Doctors and Counselors: Sometimes use rank, sometimes not. Only use rank when needed to emphasize it (to them or others) or during formal situations where it's needed. Otherwise, Doctor or Counselor works fine.
  • Officers talking to other officers would not address each other by their first names outside of off-duty or private  situations and it would never be done in front of subordinates.


B. CO/Flag Officers Entering Spaces

  • When an Officer holding the rank ofCommodore or above enters a space where junior personnel are present, the senior officer/crewman present yells "Attention on Deck!". At that point, all personnel stand at attention until the superior officer states "as you were", "at ease" or "carry on".
  • The exception to this rule is when the superior enters the bridge of a vessel or Combat Information Center of a base. The senior person present then says "___ on the bridge!" or "___ in Combat!", where the blank is replaced by the rank of the superior. Personnel do NOT stand at attention, as that would disrupt the watch standers on duty. Instead, the senior officer on the deck is the only one that acknowledges.


C. Customs

  • CHANGE OF COMMAND CEREMONIES: When the Commanding Officer of any space-worthy vessel boards his command for the first time, it is customary that all senior staff stand at attention, in formation, at the airlock entrance. Note that, when the CO is taking command for the first time, he/she will use use an AIRLOCK to board, not a transporter. When the CO boards the ship, the XO stands in the middle of the two flanking files and comes to attention as a Boatswain or Boatswain's Mate (enlisted) blows the pitch pipe, signaling that the CO has arrived. The CO then says "permission to come aboard". And the XO's reply is "permission granted". At that time, the CO will usually read his/her standing orders to take command of the vessel. After that, the staff is usually dismissed. Depending on the preference of the CO or XO, dress uniforms may or may not be worn.
  • When an Admiral or political figure comes aboard the ship, it is customary to hold a reception and/or banquet for that individual as a welcome. Dress uniforms are appropriate at that time.
  • When the Commanding Officer, Flag Officer or civilian political dignitary boards or disembarks the ship, he/she is "piped" aboard/ashore. Generally, senior officers will be present, in ranks, and an enlisted Operations Specialist will blow the traditional sounding pipe that has been a Naval tradition for centuries, signaling the officer's departure.