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Sorry I havn't gotten to this sooner. I've had an issue with my left hand and can't type worth anything, so it will be slow going for a while, but I'll get the stuff up as soon as I can. Here is the first part.

Uniforms, Part I: Rank Structure

What probably confuses most people who are trying to understand the Classic Galactica rank structure is what seems to be a mixing of navy ranks with those of the other services. The confusion comes, however, in assuming that the ranks were (like Star Trek) based on U.S. or U.K. military ranks. This turns out not to be the case.


The Colonial rank structure is instead based on a classical Greek military structure:




Taxiarchos/ Nauarchos

Syntagmatarkhis/ Trièrarchos









This translates as:


Senior Commander


2nd Commander




2nd Lieutenant

Chief Sergeant





There are three “branches” or components of the Colonial forces that we see in the Classic series, although there seems to be some overlap between them. This overlap, however is consistent with the “classical” nature of the armed services.  These are the “Fleet” component, the “Flight” component, and the “Field” component.


The Fleet component dresses in dark blue uniforms, while the other two dress in the tan uniforms (I will go into detail on those later on).


Rank indicators are a combination of color-coded piping, piping arrangement, and pin/medallion arrangement.  There are two rank piping colors for the Fleet uniforms; silver and pale gold. The Flight and Field uniforms have three rank colors; pale gold, bright gold, and bronze.  


I'll post the specific rank colors and layouts in my next post.

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And this means the grade of Major is not included in the Colonial Service rank-grade structure, yes?
Have you a copy of The Colonial Warriors's Technical Manual from which you have drawn this information?

Major and Lt Colonel were Ranks added in the Hatch Novels (I believe this was the first use of them, but the comics might have as well) So they would not have been included in the original series ranking system.


You also mention Silver and pale gold for "fleet uniforms" can you give any example of someone in the blue uniform wearing Pale gold insignia? Every example of a blue uniform from the series I have seen has had only silver insignia.


And those wearing the Tans are always seen with the same gold insignia, no evidence of a "Pale Gold" marking. And definately no bronze insignia in any of the uniforms that I've heard about.


I would like to see how you deliniate the difference in rank between Starbuck, Boomer (both Lts) and Apollo (Captain) since their uniforms were identical. This observation being based on examinations of the screen used costumes after they were sold at auction.


With no disrespect, outside of the Rank structure you have posted, which is Damned close to what we see and very believable, the rest of what you posted seems to be a fan attempt to make sense of what the costume department gave us on screen.

In fact, Ed, that is exactly what it is. There is little or no source material from the production of the show that gives us any idea of what the producers and writers where thinking when they made the decisions they did. So the exercise goes like this; what is canonical? Is it only what was seen on screen during the original run of the show?  Do we include the remastered and cut movies?  Galactica '80?  Do we use the production notes that we actually do have? 


When we started in on the 14th Colony project, Mike Cessna and I decided that we were unhappy with all previous attempts to describe the Colonial milieu, from science to culture to society, as they all violated what we considered canon to one degree or another. We decided that we would use the original episodes as they appeared on the DVDs, then sparingly use the deleted scenes if necessary as reference, and finally would use what studio-produced production notes and references we could find.  Everything we detailed we tried to keep based on something in those sources or suggested in those sources. Thus, we tried very hard to make certain that even when we really had to reach for something (like planetary classifications) that it fit within what little had been established and did not contradict what we considered canon. In this fashion, we created science and cultural justification for almost everything we see or hear about on screen without violation.  I also have come to believe that at least a few of the writers and/or producers put more thought into what they created than most people today give them credit for.


To the color variances on the uniforms:

There are a number of shots of Tigh on the bridge with Adama, where Adama's uniform is clearly silver, as are Tigh's color pips, but Tigh's piping is not silver, but a pale gold.  This also shows up on Tigh's uniform on the Rising Star.

Granted, in reality it is probably the silver picking up the light that they used on Tigh because of his skin tone, but what was seen on screen is different than Adama's uniform.


As for the differences in the gold tones on the checked piping for the tan uniforms, I believe it was actually differences in lighting and uneven wear and fading due to use that creates the illusion that there are different colors. But again, what is seen on screen gives us something else to consider.  I don't have all my notes right now, but I'll dig out some of the reference shots we used and post them.  


Have to head to bed, as I have to be up early again tomorrow, but will continue this discussion when I return from fair.




Uh...that should have read "collar pips" above...

Am very interested to here more on this. I am also researching the same subject, and working to try to come up with something. Cant wait to see more!




Pushing this back up. Hoping the person who posted continues.

Like to discuss more on uniform rank.

Head on over to Blackstar Squadron (you can find the link to the off site forums in the group here). we are a Classic BSG costuming group.
Essentially, Colonial Service flight personnel wear tan and brown with gold trim whereas Colonial Service bridge personnel, stationed on the Main Bridges of battlestars, wear dark blue with silver trim. It appalls me, though, to see the wretched artwork on the covers of Colonel Richard Lawrence Hatch's translations of rather arcane writings about The Legend Of The Twelve Tribes Of Mankind that HE stumbled onto--the paintings in question make Athena's uniform look skin-tight when it is clearly not! Does Colonel Hatch have any objections to this?

Actually..I was talking about the part of the discussion had to do with trying to come up with ways of telling the different RANKS on the uniforms, and some of the differences noted on uniforms so far.


Course, if anyone every comes up with way to make decent patterns...Im all ears!! LOL.


And yes, already know about Blackstar Squadron.  ;-)


I wish this discussion would pick back up again. I was really enjoying the read about the ranks and such. And it was just getting interesting...

Especially the comment about Rank indicators:

"Rank indicators are a combination of color-coded piping, piping arrangement, and pin/medallion arrangement.  There are two rank piping colors for the Fleet uniforms; silver and pale gold. The Flight and Field uniforms have three rank colors; pale gold, bright gold, and bronze."

Would love to know more about that. I would also love to hear if any other groups ever came up with their own ranking system. Thanks!

Problem is, that color and pin combination indicators is wrong. It doesn't hold to what is seen on screen. The color variations are actually tricks of the lighting on the set.


There honestly weren't any rank indicators. But there were variations in costumes. One collar pin, 2 Pins, no pins, Gold trim with the Checkered trim, or some costumes had no trim added.


We can try to crate a rank indication system based on this, but it fails when you concider that Starbuck and Apollo had identical costumes but different ranks.





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