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It is not correct to say that chief engineer is third in command on starship vessels. The second officer is a typical post of a CEO on contemporary American submarines, but not on the 24th century Starfleet vessels. Lieutenant commanders Tuvok and Data were not chief engineers. There was a different situation in case of "Scotty" and "Trip", but we should remember that in the 22th and 23rd century the bridge posts were far different from those of the 24th century.
Yeah, scotty and trip are really the only chief engineers to be that high in the chain of command -- its not a rule -- Captain Mike K. Bartel 16:06, 19 Mar 2005 (EST)
I am confused, when was this officially called "Chief engineering officer"? I've always heard someone say "Chief Engineer" or something like that. --Terran Officer 12:09, 14 February 2008 (EST)