The senior staff of every vessel (that is to say, the player characters) in our community are almost always Starfleet Officers. So although most anyone in the fleet are officers, there are actually three options for players of UFOP: Starbase 118 characters: officers, enlisted crewmen and civilians. This article deals with enlisted crewmen.
Enlisted crewmen form the backbone of any starbase, starship or significant Starfleet installation (such as the embassy on Duronis II). There are generally between five and ten times more enlisted crewmen than officers on any Federation station, and even a junior officer outranks the most senior enlisted crewman. Enlisted crewman make simple repairs, restock supply stores, man various inane duty stations (such as the transporter room) and are an essential part of the crew- without them the ship could not function. Enlisted crewmen can be the head of divisions aboard some vessels (most notably Engineering, Operations, Security or Tactical) but are generally subordinates.
It’s important to note that, although your character may be inferior in rank to even a junior officer, your OOC rank progresses as normal. However, an enlisted crewman cannot be part of the command division under normal circumstances- but don’t worry. At any time, if you wished for your character to receive a field commendation, simply talk to your CO. This is even a good chance to explore “learning to be an officer” and field training, something other “real” officers miss out on!
Simming an enlisted crewman has its advantages. One of the big advantages is flexibility in rank and experience- an enlisted crewman can be any rank available to them, right down to Crewman Third Class and right up to Warrant Officer Forth Class. This presents all kinds of interesting opportunities- if you were a new writer to the fleet and wanted to play a grizzled old veteran of a dozen battles, it wouldn’t make much sense to have that character be ranked an Ensign would it? But this character is well suited to be an enlisted crewman.
Thinking of simming an enlisted crewman? They make good secondary characters, if your OOC rank is Lieutenant or higher, and they work nicely as PNPCs as well. Talk to your CO if you feel like seeing how the rest of the crew lives!