A lieutenant is the third lowest rank of commissioned officer in most naval organizations.
A word derived from the French, meaning "holding in lieu of" or "one who replaces." The introduction of this rank into the British Navy in 1580 was for the purpose of providing the captain with an assistant and qualified relief if necessary. The first lieutenant was for years, both in the British and American services, the executive officer of the ship. In smaller British ships, the title First Lieutenant obtained, and was referred to as Number One.
Since at least 1580, lieutenants in a ship had been the officers immediately subordinate to the Captain. Before the English Restoration Lieutenants were appointed by their Captains, and this inevitably led to abuses and to the widespread appointment of men of insufficient qualification. In 1677 Samuel Pepys introduced the first examination for Lieutenant, and it is from the date of this examination that their seniority was set.
Lieutenants were numbered by their seniority within the ship, so that a frigate which was entitled to three would have a First Lieutenant, a Second Lieutenant, and a Third Lieutenant. A first-rate was entitled to six, and they were numbered accordingly. At first a Lieutenant's commission was given only for the ship in which he served, but after the loss of HMS Wager in 1741 and the subsequent mutiny, Lieutenants were given full commissions upon passing their examination.
During the early days of the naval rank, a Lieutenant might be very junior indeed, or might be on the cusp of promotion to Captain; by modern standards he might rank with any army rank between Second Lieutenant and Lieutenant Colonel. As the rank structure of navies stabilized, and the ranks of Commander, Lieutenant Commander and Sub-Lieutenant were introduced, the naval Lieutenant came to rank with an Army Captain.
A lieutenant in Starfleet is an officer with at least two years of service in commission. Most lieutenants work as a division officer aboard heavy cruisers and battleships, though a senior lieutenant may be placed in command of a corvette-class vessel.
Starfleet used the following rank insignia to denote this rank of officer:
Some military and paramilitary groups use the rank "lieutenant" in their organizations:
Lieutenants within the MSS are usually placed in command of the smaller transports or light freighters. They may also serve as Division Officers aboard medium or heavy vessels within the MSS.
Bajoran Defense Force Militia
Rikon Defense Force
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