Earthforce's rank and insignia draws from a number of predecessor militaries in several member states from across the Earth Alliance, without being directly based on any single one in particular. The in fact combine the structures from traditionally separate services - army, navy, and air force - into a single cohesive command structure.
The Earthforce uniforms are color coded according to branch: blue for fleet, grey for security, and brown for marines. Officers are allowed to transfer between those divisions; Richard Franklin was a general in the Earthforce Marine Corps at the time of Operation Sudden Death, but earlier in his career he was the first officer on board the EAS Ares.
The rank insignia is usually displayed on the shoulder epaulets, with the exception of non-comm EF Marine Corps BDUs on which the rank insignia is displayed on the upper sleeve. Stat bars are worn by Earthforce officers and enlisted on the left breast, directly underneath the stylised Earth Alliance Badge and denote the wearer's branch of the service. Flag officers wear an irregular star over their stat bar; also, while most Generals are by definition in command positions, not all of them wear the gold command bar.
The division badge is worn on the upper left shoulder and denotes the wearer's speciality. The exception being the Marine Command patch which is worn on both shoulders of an officer in Marine BDUs. Pilots wear their division patch on the right breast, as the left shoulder is reserved for their squadron patch. The flight wings patch is worn on the upper right shoulder of the standard duty uniform, or incorporated into the upper left breast name patch on the flight suit. The patch itself denotes that an officer is a qualified pilot and the extent of their qualification.
Commissioned Officer Ranks and Insignia
|Joint Chief of Staff||Part of a group comprising the Chiefs of service of each major branch of Earthforce.|
|Admiral||High ranking career military officers, of equal standing to Generals. Admirals serve as commanders of large strategic fleets and are not often seen by front line personnel.|
|General||High ranking career military officers, of equal standing to Admirals. Generals serve as commanders of tactical fleets or infantry divisions.|
|Vice Admiral||High ranking career military officers, of equal standing to Lieutenant Generals. Sometimes found in command of Earthforce destroyers with a Commander serving as XO.|
|Lieutenant General||High ranking career military officers, usually serving as a General's second in command.|
|Colonel||High ranking career military officers, usually in command of bases or military installations.|
|Lieutenant Colonel||High ranking career military officers.|
|Captain||Career military officers, usually in command of single capital ships, bases or military installations.|
|Commander||Career military officers, usually Executive Officers on single capital ships, or in command of small bases, military installations or EA colony governors.|
|Lieutenant Commander||Career military officers, usually Executive Officers on single capital ships, small bases or military installations.|
|Major||Career military officers, usually in support roles or as adjutants to higher-ranking officers, usually Generals.|
|Lieutenant||Junior officers, usually in support roles, as seconds to mid-level or Executive Officers, or as senior pilots/squadron leaders.|
|Lieutenant Junior Grade||Junior officers, usually in support roles or as seconds to mid-level or Executive Officers.|
|Ensign||Junior officers, usually in support roles or bridge officers on Starships. Sometimes leading a Marine squad or EVA team.|
Non-Commissioned Ranks and Insignia
|Flag Officer||Commanding Officer||Executive Officer||Executive Officer|
(Telepath - Circa 2267)
|Master Pilot||Senior Pilot||Junior Pilot||Pilot|
|Earthforce Science team|
- This article includes only those ranks seen or mentioned on the show or from other canon sources, as such there are some gaps where other ranks might logically be.
- Some ranks, such as CWO and LtJG, do not appear to have any specific insignia at all, while some ranks have seemingly identical insignia to one another. For example, there does not appear to be any noticeable difference between the insignia for LtCmd and Lt. While the addition of a stat bar can help identify an officer's status, it is not directly linked to rank.
- Though no characters with the rank of Admiral were ever named or depicted, the existence of the rank was mentioned twice, in "And the Sky Full of Stars" and "Points of Departure." In addition, though the footage has never been released, Wayne Alexander portrayed Admiral Hudgins in the cancelled video game Into the Fire. Interestingly, his insignia appears to been identical to a that of a JCoS.
- It is unclear exactly where the rank of Major fits into the Earthforce structure, as no character is ever seen being promoted directly to or from that rank. What little evidence exists from the show suggests that Major is between Lieutenant and Lieutenant Commander:
- In "Survivors", Major Lianna Kemmer is clearly a junior officer who cannot possibly be old enough to outrank a Captain. Kemmer does not even outrank a Lieutenant Commander, as she is unable to give Susan Ivanova orders in that episode.
- Major Lewis Krantz in "Babylon Squared" is obviously subordinate to Commander Jeffrey Sinclair, since Krantz salutes Sinclair and takes orders from him.
- Major Atumbe ("Eyes") is said to be next in line for command of Babylon 5 after Lieutenant Commander Ivanova.
- The only scene that would contradict this is in the unaired Crusade episode "The End of the Line," in which Captain Matthew Gideon takes orders from a Major. However since this episode was never filmed or aired, its canonicity is debatable; also, Major Lee might have had extenuating circumstances which would allow him to give orders to a superior officer, since the episode takes place in a secret base where Lee is the commanding officer.
Behind the Scenes
Prior to Babylon 5 entering full production, a very different set of EF rank insignia and significantly different uniform was used in the feature length pilot, "The Gathering". Rather than being an alternate set that fell out of use and superseded by the more familiar insignias used throughout the series, later productions that included flashbacks to events prior to 2257 showing second set of insignias and uniforms in use as early as the Earth-Minbari War, effectively retconned the originals out of continuity.
What appears to be at least one iteration of an original defunct scheme was described in the Babylon 5 Security Manual, though the descriptions do not exactly match what was seen in "The Gathering", further confusing matters. Curiously, it lists two separate insignias for Captains in what an appears to be a delineation between fleet and marine ranks, while few insignias (JCoS, Colonel & Major) appear to have been retained in the "new" scheme:
|General (Joint Chiefs)||Five "stars" in a circle|
|General||Polygon, one bronze bar, two stylised stars|
|Major||Three diamond shapes|
|Captain||Two diamond shapes|
|Lieutenant||One diamond shape|
|Chief Warrant Officer||One diamond shape with oblique black stripe areas|
|Admiral||Polygon and three bronze stars|
|Captain||Polygon and two bronze stars|
|Commander||Polygon and one bronze star|
|Lt. Commander||Polygon and one silver bar|
Another curiosity appears in the memos printed in the first volume of the Babylon 5 Scripts. It appears as if the stat bars were at one early stage conceived as being specific indicators of rank and also indicates some ranks that were never used: -
Unidentified Rank Insignias
- The Official Babylon 5 Magazine: Issue 17, p.58
- General Stephen Franklin is seen in "Sleeping in Light" wearing the brass star over his usual red medical stat bar.
- Earthforce Officer in "Endgame" wore patches on both shoulders
- Ensign Gideon has the patch on left shoulder in "The Path of Sorrows"
- The Path of Sorrows
- gallery on Wayne Alexander's Official Website
- autographed photos on Wayne Alexander's Official Website
- Babylon 5 Security Manual - (p.50)