Rank Insignia of Robotech Defense Force
Army, Navy, Air Force, Spacy, and Marine Corps
Commissioned Officers

* Denotes RDF/UNDF Marine Corps, Army, Air Force Rank

Pay Grade
(Air Force)
O-1 Third Lieutenant 3LT
O-2 Second Lieutenant 2LT
O-3 First Lieutenant 1LT
O-4 Lieutenant Commander
Captain *
O-5 Commander
Major *
O-6 Captain (Lower)
Lieutenant Colonel *
O-7 Captain (Upper)
Colonel *
O-8 Rear Admiral
Major General *
O-9 Vice Admiral
Lieutenant General *
O-10 Admiral
General *
O-11 Fleet Admiral ***
General of the Army
General of the Air Force

The rank of O-12 has been reserved for the position of Supreme Commander only.

RDF Non-Commissioned Officer Insignia

Background notes as they relate to the ROBOTECH TV series:

 This rank structure has evolved out of nearly three years of discussion and debate on the ROBOTECH Mailing List, and private discourse between Dr. Peter W. Walker and myself. Round after round of email was exchanged between the two of us to arrive at this scheme, not to mention a literal ton of research on Peter's part, for which ROBOTECH fans should be grateful.

 Using cues from the show I devised (or perhaps more accurately, catalogued) a Navy/Spacy scheme that contained ranks specifically mentioned in "The Macross Saga" (3LT, 2LT, 1LT/CAPT, LCDR, CDR, CAPT, ADM), and for some time this was accepted. Peter Walker then began to investigate the possibility that the RDF was the controlling entity for the SC. When it was determined that this was the case, a unified rank structure seemed appropriate. Problems were encountered because of the existence of the rank of "Major," as seen in "Southern Cross." Peter has argued that (with the ship's sheer size as evidence) that Major Carpenter's command required an O-Grade befitting the commander of a large vessel. I disagree (Carpenter could be the X.O. or the senior officer still alive after the long journey to Earth), but concede that it is a valid theory.

 Assuming Carpenter is not the ship's original C.O., we would have the following structure:

Jason's Original Army/Navy Structure

O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 to O-11 Service
3LT 2LT 1LT LCDR CDR CAPT Admiral Ranks Navy/Spacy
2LT 1LT CAPT MAJ LTCOL COL General Ranks Army/AF/Marines

 This is the structure I used for some time and was modified more than once. However, Peter felt that Carpenter's ship warranted a commander of higher rank. I proposed that Carpenter might have been a junior officer, but this suggestion was rejected. I devised a rank structure to deal with Carpenter's rank, assuming he is the ship's X.O. or something less than its Commanding Officer. I simply moved all the Army ranks up one notch by adding a 3LT for the O-1.

Jason's Revised Army/Navy Scheme--a.k.a. "The Carpenter Scheme"

O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 to O-12 Service
3LT 2LT 1LT LCDR CDR CAPT (l.) CAPT Admiral Ranks Navy/Spacy
3LT 2LT 1LT CAPT MAJ LTCOL COL General Ranks Army/AF/Marines

 Adding this rank into the Army/AF/Marine scheme required the addition of a rank in the Navy/Spacy structure to balance things out. I argued against the elimination of a flag rank to avoid the problems associated with rank compression, and Peter placated me by agreeing that the rank of Captain (lower) should be used instead of Commodore to balance out the ranks between the Army/AF structure and the Navy structure.

 The discovery of an Army "Commander" in "Southern Cross" forced us to consider the possibility of a fairly unified rank structure from O-1 through O-5. Also, Carpenter's rank of Major seemed undervalued based on the size of his command. Peter's methodology to address these two issues follows...

Jason's Navy/Spacy scheme from the show:

O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 to O-11
3LT 2LT 1LT LCDR CDR CAPT Admiral Ranks

Army/AF/Marines scheme as seen in Southern Cross (LCDR Bernard, MAJ Carpenter and COL Wolff, all REF, and COL Maistroff, RDF):

O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 to O-11
??? 2LT 1LT CAPT MAJ COL General Ranks

These two schemes can be made to line up for three ranks (2LT, 1LT, CDR) if we line them up like so -

O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 to O-12 Service
3LT 2LT 1LT LCDR CDR ??? CAPT Admiral Ranks Navy/Spacy
??? 2LT 1LT CAPT CDR MAJ COL General Ranks Army/AF/Marines

Since there's a gap after the Spacy/NavyO-5 we added a second grade of Captain to the SPACY, and came up with:

O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 to O-12 Service
3LT 2LT 1LT LCDR CDR CAPT (l.) CAPT Admiral Ranks Navy/Spacy
3LT 2LT 1LT CAPT CDR MAJ COL General Ranks Army/AF/Marines

 The end result is the rank structure you see before you. I dare say that Peter deserves the bulk of the credit for what you see here (though I would not call my contributions minor!!), particularly his ability to listen to my complaint-filled whining and accommodate my concerns. Also, it should be noted that the insignia were developed by me after exhaustive study of the Third Lieutenant insignia we see Roy Fokker give Rick Hunter. Peter Walker should be credited for coming up with the "Saturn" symbol for the Spacy ranks (a perfect fit) as well as the "Space Anchor" symbol for the Marines. Peter and Robert Morgenstern should each get credit for looking at the ranks as I submitted them, and making suggestions and comments that helped me develop them into what you see here.

 Please remember: this is not a United States Military structure. Frankly, I don't particularly care if the structure conflicts with the U.S. scheme because it is NOT the U.S. scheme. I believe the United States military had a great deal of influence, but not necessarily the final word. If the RDF structure conflicts with the U.S. scheme that is because the TV show did so and we must remain true to it.

 Jason W. Smith
 November 1998

Examples of the ranks shown above can be seen in the series at various times. They include:

  • 3LT - Max Sterling, Justin Black, James Rothra, Rick Hunter
  • 2LT - Yan Lou, Carl Jones, Marcus Miller, Dana Sterling
  • 1LT - Thomas Watson, Adam Olsen, Justin Black, Rick Hunter, Dana Sterling
  • Captain (O-4) - Captain Kramer (Marine), Captain Komodo, Sean Phillips (prior to demotion)
  • Lieutenant Commander - Roy Fokker, Lisa Hayes, Scott Bernard
  • Commander - Roy Fokker, Lisa Hayes, Scott Bernard
  • Major - Major Carpenter
  • Captain (O-6) - Rick Hunter
  • Captain (O-7) - Henry Gloval
  • Colonel - Maistroff, Jonathan Wolff
  • Admiral (Various) - Hayes, Hunter, Gloval

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    Rank images Copyright © 1996 by Jason W. Smith.
    Drawn by Jason W. Smith using MS Paintbrush 95.

    (Author's Note: This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual events, persons, etc. is coincidental--even if intentionally so!-- June 1995)

    Based on characters and situations from
    Robotech, © 1985 Harmony Gold, USA, Inc.

    Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

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    Copyright © 1997 Jason W. Smith
    Version Last Updated: 11 November 1998