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Chief petty officer insignia
Cage chief.png

Starfleet, 2250s - 2260s

Starfleet, 2250s - 2260s
Tmp chief.png

Starfleet, Mid 2370s

Starfleet, Mid 2370s
Mov cpo.png

Starfleet, Late 2270s - 2350s

Starfleet, Late 2270s - 2350s
Tng chief.png

Starfleet, Late 2360s - Early 2370s

Starfleet, Late 2360s - Early 2370s

Chief petty officer (CPO) was a non-commissioned officer rank used by the service organizations of different cultures. As a traditional naval grade, CPO was senior to a petty officer, and was the highest enlisted grade in organizations like Starfleet and the US Navy. In comparison to infantry ranking systems, this rank was approximately equivalent to the more senior sergeant grades. Personnel of this grade can be addressed simply as chief, and sometimes by their job title, such as "chief specialist."

While chiefs were subordinate to all commissioned officers, they had far more experience and practical knowledge than ensigns and lieutenants, and were expected to act as mentors to them and to the junior enlisted assigned. (DS9: "Starship Down", "The Ship") As such, chiefs were often among the actual leaders in a Starfleet organization. Chiefs served with distinction in most Starfleet branches and specialties, but were particularly visible in engineering and other technical trades. (DS9: "Hippocratic Oath")

The origins of the rank chief petty officer can be traced to Earth, where the title was used by the United States Navy. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

When Sergey Rozhenko spied Miles O'Brien as the transporter chief aboard the USS Enterprise-D in 2367, Rozhenko was excited to meet another chief petty officer. When O'Brien introduced himself, he acknowledged Rozhenko as "sir", to which Rozhenko told him not to call him sir, because he used to work for a living. Sergey's wife, Helena, then told O'Brien that he was just joking and that Sergey's proudest moment was when their son, Worf, had earned his commission. Sergey then added, "Imagine. An old enlisted man like me raising a boy to be an officer!" (TNG: "Family")

Several years later, O'Brien was identified by a Jem'Hadar as the rank of "chief petty officer," or "what Starfleet refers to as a "noncom,"" adding "you must have a great deal of experience [...] that makes you a priority target." (DS9: "Hippocratic Oath")

In 2374, Cadet Dorian Collins of the USS Valiant introduced herself to Nog and Jake Sisko as "acting chief petty officer." (DS9: "Valiant")

List of chief petty officers Edit

This chart shows only general equivalencies based on the ranks used by many governments on Earth, as well as the rest of the galaxy.

Appendices Edit

See also Edit

Background information Edit

Captain Kirk makes a reference to a "chief" operating the transporter console in "Charlie X", implying the existence of the rank of chief petty officer at that time.

Commodore Mendez talks to a "Chief Humbolt" at the "Computer Center" of Starbase 11 in the episode "The Menagerie, Part I".

In "Mirror, Mirror", Captain Kirk, saved by an enlisted man from Chekov, who intended to assassinate him, was told that "Mr. Chekov was going to make me a chief, sir."

In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, a chief petty officer contacts the CDO Commander Rogerson, regarding a power drain in the energy systems of the aircraft carrier Enterprise. The CPO's voice is not heard on screen, but the commander responds to the question "Yes, chief. We're tracking that too."

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