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The Rank Insignia Chart for Battlestar Galactica 2003: Update
Sunday, 21 January 2007

Jim Stevenson (aka 137th Gebirg) did some great analysis on Rank Insignia of the Battlestar Galactica 2003 series, which was publiced in this article: The History of the Rank Insignia Chart for Battlestar Galactica 2003. This is an update to that. 

Happy New Year to all and I hope everyone had a great Holiday Season. As the first half of Battlestar Galactica's Season 3 draws to a close, I felt that the time was appropriate to update the rank chart to Version 5. First, a bit of rationale behind what was changed and why.

1.)   The first thing that was changed was how all the Junior Officers rank devices look in general (including the Junior and Senior Qualification Wings). Several folks who attended ComiCon ‘06 took some pretty detailed pictures of some screen-used uniforms and flight suits of the New Series. Much to everyone's surprise in the costuming community, the raised portions of the rank devices weren't gold, but silver, with the central "lowered" portions being a bead-blasted bright gold. The ranks of Ensign, Lieutenant JG, Lieutenant, Captain and Major were all adjusted to accurately reflect this new discovery. The photograph below (taken by "Riceball", a.k.a. "bsg-command" from Dewback Wing ASAP) shows the Starbuck hero flight suit used in Season 1 found here:

Rank Insignia

Close-ups of the revised "wings" can be seen here, from Frank Bono, aka "Mara Jade's Father", the owner of Dewback Wing ASAP:

Rank Insignia

2.)   A correction: Based on newly "canonized" dialog in the extended DVD version of "Pegasus" between Commander Adama and Laura Roslin:

"Fleet promoted her to Rear Admiral over half of the Commanders on the list."

We're assuming, at this point, that Adama is also now considered Rear Admiral, as of the end of "Resurrection Ship Pt. 2". This leads us into...


3.)   An addition: If Cain and Adama are Rear Admirals, do we know what a full Admiral looks like? We do now. As of the episode "Hero", we have a flashback sequence, showing a time when William Adama was the Commander of the Battlestar Valkyrie (BS-41), a seemingly newer Battlestar design than the Galactica (BS-75), and more compact than the Pegasus (BS-62).  We see Adama being given orders for a black-ops mission on the other side of the Cylon/Colonial "Neutral Zone".  The members of the Admiralty present in this particular sequence have two things of significance about their uniforms. First, the decorations and badges that are usually only seen on the sashes of the subordinate officers' "dress grays" are prominently worn on the blue duty uniforms of the Admirals. Secondly, although the Admiral's rank device worn by Admiral Coburn and his peers appears identical to Cain and later Adama, the uniform has a single thick gold braid serving as trim, as opposed to the multi-colored vinyl/leather piping that is seen on all other officers. This gold braid seems to be the only thing differentiating between Rear Admirals and full Admirals in the Colonial Fleet. See below:

Rank Insignia

Admiral Coburn of the Colonial Fleet from “Hero”

4.)   Update: Finally, we have an update of what I believe to be the Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO) rank device. A while back, it was announced that Quantum Mechanix would be the authorized manufacturer of licensed NuBSG props. A promotional photo was subsequently released of a complete line of character dog tags. On the back of each tag pack (an example shown in the upper right hand corner of the pic below), there is a picture of other planned items. Lo and behold, they show several rank devices, including one that looks like a Chief Petty Officer's (CPO) rank device, like what Tyrol wears, but instead of the chevron, there appears to be some kind of starburst motif in the middle. Unfortunately, the picture isn't very clear, so I had to do my best to come up with a reasonable facsimile of what I think this device is supposed to look like. Thus, the reasons why I still have a "conjectural design" icon next to the label. I think we're close with this one, but we won't know until these things are released. You may rest assured that I intend to procure a complete set of these devices in order to accurize my chart to the fullest (and fill out my shadowbox collection). Included below is the QMX promotional picture, followed by my enhancement of the rank device in question. I am confident that this can only be the long-missing MCPO:

Rank Insignia

Rank Insignia

This completes this installment of the “NuBSG Rank Devices Saga”. Depending on the information available, I may have another update by the time Season 3.5 wraps in 2007. Thanks very much and I’ll see you next time! I will leave you with Version 5 of the new chart:


Version 5 – Latest:

Rank Insignia 

Read further: Rank Insignia and Symbolism Analysis for Battlestar Galactica 2003: Update

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