Training Tutorial 6

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Tutorial 6: Military time, stardates, and how to address officers


Our group uses military time. It's a simple concept, but one that can take a little getting used to. Here's a quick example: 6:23am is written 0623 hours. For AM times, just add a “0” at the beginning.

Instead of the clock resetting at 1pm, it continues to count up. 1pm becomes 1300, 2pm becomes 1400, and so on. An easy way to calculate this is to take any PM time and add 12 to the number. So, 6pm would be 6+12=1800 hours. At midnight, the clock starts over at Zero-hour: 0000 hours.


The Star Trek universe uses a special dating system, due to the fact that everyone is moving around the galaxy at different times of the night and day. Our calendar is based on the Earth moving around the sun, but not everyone in Starfleet comes from Earth. So we use a system called "stardates."

On the show, stardates were usually selected arbitrarily as a series "start value" and an "end value," so they didn't really mean anything. For our purposes, though, we need a way to keep track of everything that's happening In Character. You will be glad to hear that the In Character Stardate system is very simple. The format of our stardates is as follows:



  • yyyy = The current In Character year
  • mm = The current REAL month
  • dd = The current REAL date


  • The current REAL date is simply the current date. For example, if today is the 18th day of the month, the number you'd put in for "dd" would be 18. Note that the date portion is always two digits, so the 4th of the month would be 04.
  • The current REAL month is a two digit number representing the real month. If it is January, the number is 01, in February is 02, and so on.
  • The current In Character year is figured by adding 377 to the actual current year. So, in the year 2000, we added 377 to create a In Character year of 2377. In 2014, we added 377 to create an In Character year of 2391.

When you add all these parts together, you have a stardate. Let's try one: June 15th, 2004 would become 238106.15. And the time, if it's 6:30 p.m.: 238106.15 – 1830h.

To make it easy for you, today's stardate – 240102.27 – can always be found on the main page of the wiki:


The appropriate formal forms of address are as follows:

At all times, use of an officer's rank combined with their last or only name is appropriate, as is their rank alone. For example:

  • Commander Marlet
  • Commander

It's fine to abbreviate ranks in our narrative, and it often makes things easier to read. For example, you might want to write "Lt. (JG) Bloggs", instead of "Lieutenant Junior Grade Joe Bloggs". You can see below for a list of ranks and their common abbreviations.

The exception to this rule is when we're writing dialogue. We're transcribing character speech, so abbreviations should not be used. "FltAdml. Wolf" would be "Admiral Wolf" when spoken.

When speaking to an officer of lower rank, you can use their rank combined with their last or only name, OR their last name alone, OR their rank alone, OR "mister" (yes, you can call a female officer "mister"). For example:

  • Ensign Kyle
  • Kyle
  • Ensign
  • Mister Kyle

When speaking to a doctor, you can address them by their rank, or call them "Doctor," followed by their last or only name. For example:

  • Commander McReedy
  • Doctor McReedy
  • Doctor

StarFleet officers generally only call others by their first names while off duty, or when they're alone together and regulations aren't important. Be careful if you're speaking to an officer of higher rank, at any time!


There are many ranks one can ascend through in our group. Here's a list of them, with their abbreviations:

  • Ensign (Ens.)
  • Lieutenant Junior Grade (Lt. JG / LtJG / LtJg.)
  • Lieutenant (Lt.)
  • Lieutenant Commander (Lt. Cmdr. / LtCmdr.)
  • Commander (Cmdr.)
  • Captain (Capt.)
  • Fleet Captain (FltCapt.)
  • Commodore (Cmdre.)
  • Rear Admiral (RAdml.)
  • Vice Admiral (VAdml.)
  • Admiral (Adml.)
  • Fleet Admiral (FltAdml.)

More detailed information about ranks, including Marine Corps ranks and their Starfleet equivalents, see the Starfleet Rank Index.


Once you have completed training and are posted to a ship, you are automatically promoted to the rank of Ensign. At the discretion of your commanding officer, you can rise in rank to Lieutenant Commander. To become a Commander or Captain, you must take both a written and a practical exam, which is administered by a friendly member of the community staff. You must also receive a recommendation that you are prepared for promotion.

All ranks above Lieutenant Commander are presented at the discretion of the Captains and Executive Councils.

For more information on promotion criteria, check out the Promotions area.


Starfleet Academy