The rank of Ensign was typically an entry-level officer in a navy who has completed their training and received a proper commission. Said officer would have control over enlisted crew, but not other officers. Similarly, an Ensign may be in charge of a role or department aboard ship, such as damage control, and would answer directly to a higher officer or work alongside a senior non-com. Ensign also could not take command of any situation, unless in the absence of a Lieutenant. Becoming an Ensign was the first road to command. Serving primarily as an apprentice, Ensigns would be tested in many situations. On off hours, or when in hyperspace, an Ensign could be given command of an aspect of the ship, primarily to test their abilities, but also to give the regular officers some time off. When the Captain or another higher-ranking officer judged them ready, the Ensign would be promoted, and continue on their command path.
In Imperial Service Edit
Template:Rank plateIn the Imperial Navy of the Galactic Empire, the rank of Ensign was the first rank a recent graduate of an Imperial Naval College was assigned to. They were tested in many situations and judged on their character, command and tact, and then promoted on to Lieutenant when the Captain of the vessel felt it was appropiate.
Ensigns were allowed to fly starfighters, but were not given any authority in the squadron and usually given the "dirty" work the higher ranking officers do not wish to handle. Ensigns do have authority over the enlisted, but generally do not give orders unless under the directive of a Lieutenant or higher ranking individual.
In New Republic Service Edit
In Union Service Edit
Any number of Ensigns may be aboard a Union starship, but usually, they are in assistant roles underneath a lead officer or posting, such as the ship's engineer, or the PLOT officer. In some instances, they'll even be placed under the watchful eye of a senior non-com, such as the boatswain or chief-of-the-watch. In such cases, their regard as officers is more or less moot, as the importance is more on the proper functioning of the ship over decorum. When away from posting, their status as officers is to be fully regarded.
Perhaps the greatest concentration of Ensigns exists in the Naval Aerospace Arm, wherein newly vested pilots are now included in their respective squadrons and rub shoulders with Lieutenants, commanders, and Captains. All fighter and bomber pilots must be officers, and as such, must be at least an Ensign to be on active flight status.