Welcome to the third part of our practical Wing Commander ranks guide! The ranks in Wing Commander IV are most familiar to fans owing to the fact that the game's credits clearly identify many characters' full ranks and the DVD quality videos have allowed them to be carefully observed. But our review found some interesting notes - including a Navy rank not called out before and the fact that some of these are quite different from those seen in Wing Commander III!
Wing Commander IV uses the same rank scheme established in Victory Streak, but it shows a different subset of them. The Union of Border Worlds seems to use the same system as the Confederation. We also see the first Marine rank to appear in the games! Let's have a look...
Second Lieutenant (O-1): The Space Force Second Lieutenant insignia is a single gold square. Catscratch wears this insignia in Wing Commander IV. It differs from the version used in Wing Commander III.
First Lieutenant (O-2) or Captain (O3): This Space Force insignia is two gold vertical squares. Since it is not worn by any named characters, it is not clear which rank it represents. This was used as the Major insignia in Wing Commander III, which has changed for Wing Commander IV. Many of the pilots aboard the Lexington wear this rank. Whichever rank it is not is not seen in the game.
Major (O-4): The Space Force Major insignia is a gold rectangle with a vertical part on the right side. This is different from Wing Commander III. Maniac wears a Major's pin.
Lieutenant Colonel (O-5): The Lieutenant Colonel insignia is not seen in Wing Commander IV.
Colonel (O-6): The Space Force Colonel insignia is a gold rectangle with a horizontal part below. This is the same as Wing Commander III. Blair, Seether, Panther and Hawk all wear Colonel insignias.
Flag Ranks: No Space Force flag ranks are seen in Wing Commander IV.
Ensign, Second Class (O-1) & Ensign (O-2): These ranks do not appear on-screen.
Second Lieutenant (O-3): The Navy Second Lieutenant pin is identical to the Space Force Second Lieutenant insignia, though it represents a different grade. Naismith and a variety of background characters wear the Second Lieutenant rank.
First Lieutenant (O-3): The Navy First Lieutenant pin is identical to the Space Force First Lieutenant or Captain insignia, though it represents a different grade. Sosa and the Intrepid's helmswoman wear the First Lieutenant rank.
Lieutenant Commander (O-4) or Commander (O-5): This Navy insignia is visible on one of the Vesuvius' bridge officers. It is the same design as the Space Force Major (O-4) insignia in silver.
Captain (O-6): The Navy Captain insignia is a solid silver retangle. It is the same as the Captain insignia used in Wing Commander III. Eisen and Paulsen both wear this insignia.
Commodore (O-7) or Rear Admiral (O-8): These ranks are not seen on-screen.
Vice Admiral (O-9): Vice Admiral Wilford wears a rank insignia which seems to be identical to the five squares worn by Admiral (O-10) Tolwyn.
Admiral (O-10): Admiral Tolwyn wears the five silver squares of an Admiral. As with Wing Commander III, the game's production seems to have intended him to be a full Admiral (O-10) while the novel does mention that he is a Rear Admiral (O-8.) Note that this rank insignia is different from that used in Wing Commander III, which was a square with four rectangles rather than five squares.
Space Marshal (O-11): When Admiral Tolwyn is promoted to Space Marshal, he is awarded the medal which he wears around his neck.
Lieutenant Colonel (O-5): Dekker wears the only Marine rank seen in the game, which seems to be identical to the Space Force Colonel insignia.
Unfortunately, Chris Roberts' Black Lance uniform has no rank insignia! But Wing Commander IV has many extras who wear all varieties of rank pins - so you'll be able to enjoy recognizing what they mean… especially when watched on the higher quality DVD version!