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.[1]

Overview[edit | edit source]

Earth Alliance Badge

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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[4][5] 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[edit | edit source]

Rank Description Insignia
Joint Chief of Staff Part of a group comprising the Chiefs of service of each major branch of Earthforce. EF rank FO-JCoS.png
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. EF rank FO-Gen.png
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. EF rank CO-Col.png
Lieutenant Colonel High ranking career military officers.
Captain Career military officers, usually in command of single capital ships, bases or military installations. EF rank CO-Capt.png
Commander Career military officers, usually Executive Officers on single capital ships, or in command of small bases, military installations or EA colony governors. EF rank CO-Cmdr.png
Lieutenant Commander Career military officers, usually Executive Officers on single capital ships, small bases or military installations. EF rank CO-LtCmdr.png
Major Career military officers, usually in support roles or as adjutants to higher-ranking officers, usually Generals. EF rank CO-Maj.png
Lieutenant Junior officers, usually in support roles, as seconds to mid-level or Executive Officers, or as senior pilots/squadron leaders. EF rank CO-LtCmdr.png
Lieutenant Junior Grade Junior officers, usually in support roles or as seconds to mid-level or Executive Officers. EF rank CO-Ens.png
Ensign Junior officers, usually in support roles or bridge officers on Starships. Sometimes leading a Marine squad or EVA team.[6] EF rank CO-Ens.png


Non-Commissioned Ranks and Insignia[edit | edit source]

Rank Description Insignia
Chief Warrant Officer Non-commissioned rank that has all the authority and responsibilities of a commissioned officer, but restricted to a single speciality or discipline. Warrant officers are placed in authority over enlisted personnel, but answerable to senior officers. EF rank nco-WO.png
Sergeant Major Senior Non-commissioned rank most often held by Marines. EF rank nco-SgtMaj.png
Sergeant Non-commissioned rank held by both Marines and non-military peace officers in Earthforce Security. EF rank enl-Sgt.png
Private First Class Non-commissioned rank most often held by Marines. No Insignia
Private Low non-commissioned rank most often held by Marines. No Insignia


Other Insignia[edit | edit source]

Stat Bars
EF stat FlagOfficer.png EF stat Command.png EF stat ExecutiveOfficer.png EF stat Telepath.png
Flag Officer Commanding Officer Executive Officer Executive Officer
(Telepath - Circa 2267)
EF stat Commandstaff.png EF stat Medical.png EF stat Science.png EF stat Security.png
Command Staff Medical Science Security


Flight Wings
EF insig Wings-MstPilot.png EF insig Wings-SnrPilot.png EF insig Wings-JrPilot.png EF insig Wings-Pilot.png
Master Pilot Senior Pilot Junior Pilot Pilot


Division Badges
EF insig Div Command.png EF insig Div Command-M.png EF insig Div Security.png EF insig Div Security-P.png
Command Division Command Division
(Marine BDUs)
Security Division Presidential
Security Division
EF insig Div Eyes.png EF insig Div Medical.png EF insig Div Eng.png EF insig Div EFCommand.png
EF Internal Affairs Division Medical Division Engineering and
Maintenance Division
Earth Central Division
(Security & NCO)
EF insig Div Mars.png EFComm wiki.png EF-OffWorld wiki.png B5StrFor wiki.png
Mars Command
(Security & NCO)
Earthforce Command
(Starfury Pilots)
Earth Forces
Off World
(Starfury Pilots)
Babylon 5
Strategic Forces
(Starfury Pilots, 2260 onwards)
EFSci wiki.png
Earthforce Science team
(Pilots)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • 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.[7] Interestingly, his insignia appears to been identical to a that of a JCoS.[8]
  • 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[edit | edit source]

Commander rank insignia from "The Gathering".

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.[9] 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:

B5 Security Manual Ranks
Rank Insignia Description
General (Joint Chiefs) Five "stars" in a circle
General Polygon, one bronze bar, two stylised stars
Colonel Silver bird
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
Ensign Bronze star


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: -

Over the lest breast of a uniform (pocket or otherwise) is a thin horizontal metal bar -- say, 3" to 4" inches long, about 1/4" to 1/3rd" wide -- color-coded to specific ranks. (the color would be an enamel overlay.) For some hyphenated ranks, two colors, evenly divided on the bar, would be displayed.

Major-General: Gold and Red
Commander: Gold
Lt. Commander: Gold and Silver
Captain: Silver
Corporal: Blue
Sergeant: Green
All other NCOs: Brown
– Babylon 5 Scripts: Volume 1

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Unidentified Rank Insignias[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Official Babylon 5 Magazine: Issue 17, p.58
  2. GROPOS
  3. General Stephen Franklin is seen in "Sleeping in Light" wearing the brass star over his usual red medical stat bar.
  4. Earthforce Officer in "Endgame" wore patches on both shoulders
  5. Ensign Gideon has the patch on left shoulder in "The Path of Sorrows"
  6. The Path of Sorrows
  7. gallery on Wayne Alexander's Official Website
  8. autographed photos on Wayne Alexander's Official Website
  9. Babylon 5 Security Manual - (p.50)
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