Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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Corrected entry: Chief O'Brien seems to have undergone a serious demotion from The Next Generation to Deep Space 9. In TNG, he was a lieutenant, and when he started on DS9, he wasn't even an ensign.

Correction: In The Next Generation, O'Brien is seen to be wearing Lieutenant pips, but in an early DS9 episode, it is mentioned that if he left DS9 he would have to "give up (his) promotion", so it appears he didnt get demoted. And in several episodes, ("Armageddon Game" for example) O'Brien notes that he is not an officer in starfleet, merely an enlisted man, or petty officer. Petty officers dont get ranks like lieutenant. When he got transferred to DS9, he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer, hence why everyone calls him Chief. I would guess that the creators of The Next Generation didnt expect him to be such a major character later on, so didnt give much thought into his rank and history when he was created, hence why he was a lieutennant in TNG.

In TNG O'Brien occupied a position usually held by a lieutenant, which for whatever reason, did not have an officer of that rank assigned. Therefore O'Brien with the position of Transporter Chief, was given the technical rank of Lieutenant, but his actual rank was still an NCO rank. Doesn't explain how Worf's dad recognised him as an NCO in "Family" though.

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