=Early Legion Ranks
For centuries our predecessors in the Human Marine Corps had their unit structures and ranks determined by Jotun officers according to local needs, officer whims, and planned experimentation. With the creation of the Human Legion came the opportunity to set new human ranks and structures. The initial rank structures were swiftly overtaken by the actual usage of Marine and Navy personnel, and then complicated further as the Legion grew to absorb new service roles and specialisms, such as: Ground Army, Void Engineers, Cyber War, Artillery, Irregulars, Air Force, Pacification, Diplomacy, Logistics, and many others. Rank and unit structure became even more convoluted when the Legion expanded to include biologically non-human units.
So it proved a good decision right from the beginning of the Legion to follow an earlier Earth pattern of numbering ranks in order of seniority, and further splitting into enlisted and officer ranks, even though the concepts of enlistment, commissioning, and conscription had no practical meaning in the early decades of the Legion. Even when units with mutually incomprehensible rank names were forced to merge, this rank numbering allowed commanders to quickly make sense of seniority.
Here are the very first Legion rank lists. In the First Tranquility Campaign, several of these ranks and their roles were theoretical, with no one actually in those posts. There were no warrant officer ranks at this time.
Service: Void Marine
|E1||Marine||Sometimes called ‘carabiniers’ after principle weapon, the SA-71 assault carbine.|
|E2||Lance Corporal||Typically would lead a fire team or specialist small unit, such as a gun crew.|
|E3||Corporal||Typically would lead a fire team or specialist small unit, such as a gun crew.|
|E4||Lance Sergeant||Typically would lead a section or specialist small unit, such as a gun crew.|
|E5||Sergeant||Typically would be the senior NCO in a squad or taskforce.|
|O1||Ensign/ 2nd Lieutenant||The initial rank name for the most junior Marine officer rank was ‘Ensign’, as it had been with the Human Marine Corps. However, this proved deeply unpopular because the rank was associated with the notorious traitor, Marine Ensign Fraser McEwan. After a brief, informal use of ‘Subaltern’, the Legion had settled on ‘2nd Lieutenant’ by the time of the First Tranquility Campaign. Other services, notably the Navy, continue to use ‘Ensign’ as the O1 rank name.|
|O4||Major||Officer ranks above O4 were not added until later. This caused some friction in the First Tranquility Campaign because the Marine O4-ranked Major McEwan was in overall command of the Legion, despite the presence of Navy O5-ranked Captain Indiya.|
Service: Void Navy
|E1||Spacer||Void Navy personnel qualified as flight crew take the prefix ‘flying’. For example, ‘Flying Petty Officer’. The Atmospheric Air Force take the same approach but use the prefix ‘flight’, as in ‘Flight Sergeant’.|
|E2||Leading Spacer||Navy ranks are often officially referred to along with their specialism. For example: ‘Spacer – damage control’. Or ‘Leading Spacer – signals’. The same is true unofficially, of course. Naval signals specialists would be more likely in everyday shipboard life to be called ‘bunting tossers’, though not always to their face.|
|E4||Chief Petty Officer||More senior enlisted ranks were added later.|
|O5||Captain||Ranks above O5 were added later.
The rank of Reserve Captain was considered an honorary rank assigned to a unique Jotun individual.
Different services, and even units within those services, have always had an insatiable tendency to foster a sense of distinctiveness. These can manifest as subtle differences in uniform insignia, saluting, protocol in addressing superiors, rituals of remembrance, and of course, rank naming. That distinctiveness helps to build the core belief that your unit is truly the best. A common practice is to reach back in time to Earth history and re-invent ancient rituals and terminology and apply them to the modern era.
For example, the official name of the E0 rank for Army units is ‘Rifleman’ [used equally for both genders]. However, some army units insist on using archaic terms such as ‘Private’, ‘Fusilier’, or ‘Infantryman’. In addition, ‘Rifleman’ and ‘Fusilier’ are sometimes used to refer to all personnel in a unit, even officers (although at other times, junior enlisted ranks only), much as ‘Marine’ or ‘Carabinier’ is used in this way by Void Marines.
Some other common formal and informal terms for junior enlisted ranks by service:
Engineer: Digger, Sapper
Diplomacy: Speaker, Schmooze.
Supply/ Logistics: Trucker, Wagoneer
Artillery: Gunner, Bombardier
Signals: Signaler, Flag waver or bunting tosser (after an ancient form of visual communication), Tapper (after the encoding tool used in ancient electromagnetic telegraphy)
A note on gender in rank naming
The Human language is a senseless wonder, with such an ability to absorb loan words that alien linguists regard Human speech as a pigeon trading language. The use of gender in addressing service personnel is one example of haphazard convention that has grown up with little logic or consistency.
Several ranks take on a male form, such as Rifleman, but are applied indiscriminately to both male and female, and indeed, non-human personnel. Some say this is a tradition from a past when infantry soldiers were almost always male. Probably the ‘man’ ending has endured because it is a single syllable.
But there are other conventions, equally illogical, that stem from more recent tradition. For many centuries, human combat personnel were led by Jotun officers, and senior Jotuns were predominately female. As a result when referring to officers in general, rather than to a specific individual with a known gender, they are always referred to as ‘she’. For example, an officer training guide might have the sentence: ‘For an officer to be effective, she must understand and earn the respect of her senior NCOs.’
A male officer would not find this strange in the slightest, any more than a female E0 infantry soldier would think twice about referring to herself as a rifleman. If questioned on this point, both would readily point to many examples of far more convoluted military logic.
Another gender issue – the protocol for addressing superior female officers – is also inconsistent. Marine and Atmospheric Air Force units tend use the address “ma’am”, while Navy and Army use “sir”.