Alright, so I'm confused about the usage of this term, because it seems to refer to both commissioned and non-com officers. What really throws me is how Kirk is referred to as one when he was working to be a commissioned officer? But then again, I know Jack about ranks...either way its a start. --Gvsualan 16:26, 11 Mar 2005 (GMT)
- Midshipman is a commissioned officer in training. The difference between a midshipman and cadet is that a cadet does not have a commission or an assignment, while a midshipman is a "passed cadet" -- a cadet who is on assignment, but still in training.
- The wierdness is because the term midshipman is an actual rank in some systems, but in some its a title -- for example, in the Starfleet usage, Kirk was an Ensign and then a Lieutenant, while still apparently a Cadet -- This title refers especially to that case -- A cadet hold no true rank whatsoever -- he is noncommissioned, and outranked even by a Chief-- but a cadet who has been given a working-assignment has to have a rank in order to be able to function in the chain of command (see Heinlein's Starship Troopers novel for more on this) -- they are "promoted" in title to midshipman, but do not yet hold their actual rank, in a finished commission (this is why midshipman would wear officer rank insignia, rather than cadet -- to show their place in a vessel chain of command). This would essentially be the difference between "Acting Ensign" and "Ensign" in TNG Season 1 -- Wesley was an Ensign, but he was outranked by other ensigns, obviously. So too was Kirk - an Ensign who was still enrolled as a Cadet at the Academy. Starfleet even goes so far to show the Academy graduating lieutenants (like Kirk or Saavik) -- that is an officer who has apparently accrued so much service experience as a midshipman-ensign, to as merit a promotion to a higher grade while still not yet commissioned. The more specific terminology for Saavik might be "Acting Lieutenant Junior Grade" if you follow the parallel, but we don't know as they never addressed the issue in dialogue.
- The character of Preston -- mentioned to be the same age as Wesley, 15, in the ST2 script, seems to be a very junior cadet already in training aboard a starship. addressed as midshipman, he wears the insignia of a mere able crewman. i don't have any knowledge relevant to whether this is correct or not -- i'll have to read further.
- With the parallel between Peter and Wesley, "Acting Ensign" and "Midshipman" seem very much the same thing -- its odd that the TNG producers used the different terminology for Wesley.
- Whew -- i think that's all i know of the subject off the top of my head, but i'll check wikipedia to provide specific references -- Captain Mike K. Bartel 18:14, 11 Mar 2005 (GMT)
At least in modern times (2005), midshipmen and cadets hold the same US military rank. The Navy and Marine Corps call their candidates midshipmen, and the Army and Air Force (along with various private military academies) call their candidates cadets. I know that Crusher was an acting Ensign aboard the Enterprise, but I think we might be getting confused between Starfleet rank and Cadet rank. In individual cadet chains of command, cadets are given make-up ranks in order to facilitate organization and leadership. At the U.S. Naval Academy and in Naval ROTC, midshipmen can be given ranks such as Midshipman-Lieutenant, Midshipman-Petty Officer, etc. based upon billet. This has no bearing upon the fact that all commissioned officers outrank the midshipmen and all midshipmen outrank all enlisted personnel. And while midshipmen technically outrank enlisted personnel, officers usually place enlisted personnel above midshipmen in the chain of command.
I think the difference between midshipman and cadet in Starfleet might be that Starfleet Academy just started calling its students Cadets at one point in time. Maybe nobody could spell midshipman. ;-P
- Might even be an example of Star Trek overlooking the American system, and possibly favoring other European systems where midshipmen exist as a separate entity from cadets and commissioned officers -- Captain Mike K. Bartel 23:59, 11 Mar 2005 (GMT)