The militaries of the twelve colonies all use different rank systems. In an effort to get everyone on the same page, soldiers are assigned consistent CF ranks for the duration of their CF assignment.
Enlisted soldiers sign up for 3-6 year "enlistments" or "tours". When their tour is up, they're done. They can re-up for another, or leave the military.
Officers, on the other hand, serve until they resign. You can become an officer by attending the academy, being selected for Officer Candidate School (OCS), or entering a specialty where everyone's an officer (pilots, doctors, lawyers, clergy and a few others). A college degree makes you a good candidate for OCS, but it is not automatic.
The Colonial Forces are more egalitarian than many RL militaries in terms of how they view the officer/enlisted divide. There is definitely a lot more mingling than you would find in RL - or even on some of the colonies IC.
All PCs are on pretty even footing. Nobody is in a direct position of authority over another (e.g. squad/squadron or platoon leader). Rank only really matters in figuring out who's in charge of a combat mission.
Outside of combat, a certain level of respect and deference expected of lower-ranking people toward higher-ranking people, but a Captain/Sergeant can't just order an Ensign/Private around because s/he feels like it.
Storytellers will try to work with you if you do not wish to be in charge of a combat mission, but this is a military game and crap happens. Sometimes the leader gets killed and you end up in charge. If you want to minimize the chances of that happening, make a low-ranking character.
Enlisted soldiers with advanced education or prior experience in their field may start out at E2 or E3.
Medical/Clergy/Law officers start out at a higher rank (usually O3).
Please use the service times as a guide when selecting your rank in chargen. These times are not cast in stone. Different colonial militaries have different policies for promotion, and some soldiers may be promoted faster/slower than others. Just don't go crazy and try to have an 18 year old captain or something.
Ranks indicated with a @< >@ are restricted as starting ranks. If your time in service would call for a higher-than-allowed rank, consider a non-traditional career path. Perhaps you delayed joining the military for college/career/family, switched branches, got demoted (enlisted only) or left the military for some time after your initial obligation. If you get stuck, talk to staff.
|Insignia||Level||Navy Enlisted||Marine Enlisted||Total Years Service|
|E1||Crewman Apprentice||Private||0 years|
|E2||Crewman||Private First Class||9 months|
|E3||Able Crewman||Lance Corporal||18 months|
|E5||Petty Officer 2nd Class||Sergeant||3 years|
|E6||Petty Officer 1st Class||Staff Sergeant||6 years|
|E7||Chief Petty Officer||Gunnery Sergeant||10 years|
|E8||Senior Chief Petty Officer||Master Sergeant||12 years|
|E9||Master Chief Petty Officer||Sergeant Major||15 years|
|Insignia||Level||Navy/Marine Officer||Total Service|
|O2||Lieutenant Junior Grade||2 years|
|O8||Rear Admiral / Brigadier General||20+ years|
|O9||Admiral / General||20+ years|
Rank insignia taken from the BSG Rank Insignia Chart.