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Operations division

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Enterprise NCC-1701-operations division insignia

Operations insignia from Enterprise


In an alternate future, Lt. Gaines wears operations mustard yellow.

The operations division was the corps of officers and crewmen within Starfleet who specialized in services and military functions on starbases, aboard starships, and at Starfleet Command. Members of the operations division may have specialized in a ship or base service, administration, or military operations, or served as staff officers. Operations officers included engineers, security and tactical, and some service specializations such as communications. Operations division personnel also filled administrative posts as yeomen, personnel officers, and portmasters. By the 24th century, this division had new postings established on ships, such as operations officers (or chief of operations).

The operations division, command division, and sciences division were usually denoted by Starfleet uniform insignia, most often color-coded.

Officers who belonged to the operations division sometimes wore the division color of another department than that which they specialized in. For example, if an operations officer were to become a department head, he or she might have worn the colors of the command division, or an officer with dual specialties in sciences and operations might have worn the sciences colors.

In the United Earth's Starfleet of the 2140s and 2150s, line officers of the operations division wore red division stripes on their uniforms.

The red color had been replaced by the uniforms of the 2250s and early 2260s, as peach uniforms and work gear were worn by operations division personnel.

See here, here, and here for more detail.

Red was again the color of the operations division throughout the later 2260s, worn by line officers and flag officers of this division, though some operations officers continued to wear peach, perhaps indicating a specialized subset.

See here for more detail.

By the 2270s, new uniforms showed different division colors, the operations division was signified by two differing colors, with red backing the Starfleet badge, and also on uniform bands and epaulets, for engineering and maintenance staff. Security and services crew wore silver badge backings and bands.

The operations division was changed again with the 2280s uniforms, with gray representing both security and services, but also sciences. Engineering and maintenance wore yellow colors, which also represent some conn divisions like pilots and navigators. The insignia used gave the officer the option of wearing command division white uniform insignia, with another department color like operations' banded across, or the opposite, with department color insignia with command white banded across.

For the uniforms used from 2350s onward, mustard yellow had become the operations division color, and this continued through several Starfleet uniform styles, including the most recent style, and even several styles observed in alternate futures.


Starfleet uniform operations division colors:
2140s-Early 2160s Mid 2160s 2230s AR 2250s-2260s
Operations Operations Operations Operations
2250s-2260s Mid 2260s-
Early 2270s
Mid 2270s Late 2270s-2350s
Operations Operations Engineering and Maintenance Engineering
Comms Comms
Security Security and
Federation forces
2350s-2370s Late 2360s-Early 2370s 2370s-
Operations Operations Operations

Background information Edit

During The Original Series, red (peach in the pilot episodes*) was regularly worn by security, engineering, and other officers. Communications Officer Uhura normally wore operations red (she wore command avocado green in a few early episodes) as did Chief Engineer Scott and Yeoman Rand. As for the use of the so-called color beige used in the two pilots, it was actually the color peach which appeared beige because of the inaccuracies from NTSC broadcasting which could never portray the true colors from 35mm film; in the same way the command duty tunic at times looked yellow or mustard.

*In the two pilots, security wore blue along side science division.

In the movie era, Star Trek: The Motion Picture featured operations crew Uhura and Chekov wearing gray-colored bands, and engineers and maintenance in red bands. By the Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan uniforms, Scotty wore mustard yellow, but Chekov and Uhura continued to wear gray. The schemes and insignia of the later Star Trek films-era uniforms were designed by Robert Fletcher.

The purpose of the colors was only obvious through inference, but in DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations", red was retconned in dialogue as the "old" style ops color (and the so-called "gold" as the "new" ops color). The decision to switch the colors between the TOS and TNG uniform styles was made in pre-production of TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint". In High Definition remastered presentations of TNG, seasons 1 & 2, the colors are accurately depicted as avocado green. In the following seasons the colors were changed to mustard yellow.

Most often, in the Federation Starfleet, all captains and admirals wore command division colors; however, there were exceptions which prove that this was not a requirement. In TOS, two commodores, Stone and Stocker, wore red operations division uniforms and Captain Krasnovsky wore sciences division blue. In the movie era, Scotty switched back and forth from command white to engineering mustard yellow after receiving his captain's bars. In TNG-era productions, DS9: "The Die is Cast" had an admiral named Toddman wearing operations division mustard yellow, despite every other Starfleet captain and admiral ever seen in this era wearing command colors.

Apocrypha Edit

Engineering uniform - Crew 5

Engineering officers in the 2250s

In the comic series Crew, engineering officers are depicted as wearing a red uniform, with a red collar, alongside the beige uniforms as depicted in "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before". In particular, these uniforms are depicted as only being worn in engineering, rather than elsewhere on the Enterprise, suggesting the engineering section of the Enterprise was never depicted during this era of TOS, such uniforms could have actually existed side-by-side with the beige operations uniforms, thereby continuing the red division color established in Star Trek: Enterprise which makes it a retcon.

NOTE: Retcon: revise (an aspect of a fictional work) retrospectively, typically by introducing a piece of new information which imposes a different interpretation on the previously described events or materials.

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