Star Fleet Marines

I am quite fond of the MACOs and the SFMC. For rules purposes, I just use the MACO template and remove the human only restriction. Cannon wise, the are in ST6 and can be inferred in DS9 during the Klingon War (wearing special uniforms/armor) and the Dominion War (Weyoun speaks of Federation troops and we see the armor again in the Siege of AR 558).

What do you all think?


I disagree on the canon status. But it’s your game so do what you want. The existence of marines is not far fetched, it seems reasonable that Starfleet could have something like this. In my game they will be present as well.

Also in Nor the Battle to the Strong we learn that they have special shuttles (dropships?) called Hopper.

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I think actual canon evidence for them being called marines is lacking.

That said, I went through on slow-mo on the DVDs, and noted that they are NOT all in yellow, hence not Starfleet Security. Plus, distinctive uniforms.

Only one canonical ground forces rank is canonical to starfleet after the founding of the Federation, and that’s Colonel West (René Auberjonois), and his scenes got deleted from ST VI, but were put back in on the VHS version (which was a director’s cut) - and thus he makes his way into canon. Note that a Starfleet Colonel apparently ranks as a Vice Admiral…

The Episode The Siege of AR-558 has green shirted soldiers. They wear Starfleet combadges, and their leaders have red stripes across the chest.
It also has a clearly standard uniformed Engineer in the locals (played by Bill Mumy).

I do think the term Marines should NOT be used, unless one is doing the Star Fleet Universe or the FASA-Trek universe (both of which had explicit marine additions).

We know the MACOs are canon, obviosusly…
They have rank issues. Like only 2 officer ranks known (General and Major).
Enterprise era Starfleet also has rank issues - 9 officer ranks, of which 5 are flag officers. And both only show us 3 grades of non-coms. (Props calls the enterprise ranks Crewman 1st Class (Delta and 3 bends sinister), Crewman 2nd Class (delta and 2 bends sinister), and Crewman 3rd Class (delta and 1 bend sinister)

Given that positional authority is a real thing, I expect Major ranks as Commander, Colonel as captain… but the junior officer ranks, I’d expect to see Lieutenant and Sublieutenant. (I also expect a 4th, unseen, rank for the enlisted: Chief Specialist for Starfleet, and Sergeant Major for MACOs…

(It’s also worth noting: The prop department always refers to the one pip flag officer as Commodore, and so they’re in the auction lists as commodore, in ALL series. Even in cases where it is either unseen or is seen only in passing. Scripts also use commodore. But I need to not go into the weeds of rank titles and insignia history; it gets funky.)

We see commandos in ST V or STVI. We See Col West in one cut of ST VI.
He’s wearing a vice admiral insignia, so perhaps TMP era all the flag-equivalents are “Colonel de ___” and he’s a Colonel de Corps…
(Don’t laugh - several nations had periods where they did that. Rank history gets WEIRD…)

I don’t think they are shuttles. I think they’re just gravitic vehicles.

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Given that starfleet security does most of the jobs you’d expect from Marines in a peacetime enviroment (secruity on starfleet vessels and installations) I suspect that starfleet has a ground forces division they only activate for times of war. assuming that’s correct the officers would be security officers transfered in, with the bulk made up of non-coms. but that’s mostly just because I can’t imagine starfleet NEEDING a dedicated army, and the idea of only really bulking out your army during wartime’s not without precident. STO suggests MACO still exists in the 25th century so it may be MACO that fills that role.

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Very thorough research @aramis :+1:. I don’t have any experience with SFU or FASA, but having followed the other SFU discussion, it seems like a can of worms :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:. But I guess there is nothing wrong with getting inspiration from there.

Colonel West is pretty much the starting point and it is a nice nugget that can be anything or nothing in your personal canon. I for once love taking these nuggets and develop something out of them.

In my universe, Starfleet has ground forces, unofficially referred to as “Marines”, and just as it is tradition to call the CO of a starship “Captain”, it is tradition there to call the CO of a regiment of ground troops “Colonel”. So the “Marines” won’t have separate ranks (for me, Nor the Battle to the Strong establishes that ground forces use the same ranks as regular Starfleet). Also I imagine Hoppers as dropships to circumvent transporter scramblers, shuttles designed to bringing troops to the ground (because why have gravitic vehicles when you can just fly). They are heavily shielded and have specialized transporters which are close range but very fast.

Anyway, call them Marines or Commandos or just ground forces, that’s all just trappings for the same thing.

In the age of sail, Major of Marines was a title given to the man designated to train the ships dedicated land forces… but that’s long since gone the way of the dodo. Colonel was almost never used for deployables aboard…
… because no ship carried that many men.
A platoon, commanded by a Lieutenant, is typically 30-50 bodies.
A company, commanded by a captain or major, is typically 100-250, normally around 150.
A Regiment has traditionally been 8-16 companies, commanded by a colonel, with 1000 to 2000 troops, nominally 1500…

Modern systems formalize the in-between levels that were often ad hoc until WW I…
The Battalion of 3-5 companies is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel or a senior Major. 2-3 form a regiment.
The platoon, traditionally 4 squads, was often divided into two sections. A few armies have used demicompanies - 2 platoons, and a senior lieutenant.

I love this dialog. Thank’s everyone!

For the Dominion War, Weyoun speaks of Federation troops landing on Dominion soil. I don’t think that a ship based security detachment can handle planetary invasions. Personally, I envision Starfleet Marines supplemented by member world specific armies (IE MACOs or Andorian Guard)

Just to broaden the options others can draw from, let me suggest a different view:

In my universe, there probably will not be any Starfleet Marine Corps, at all. There are several countries that divide their armed forces into Army/Navy/Air Force only, with the personnel for amphibious operations integrated into the Navy (e.g. the Corps of Royal Marines is part of the UK Royal Navy). I will probably stick to that because it’s more “natural” to me and my own military experience. Thus, I will probably have Starfleet Security personnel dealing with shipboard man-to-man combat and some kind of ‘Army’ doing planetary combat.

Regarding this ‘Army’, I planned to have several armies throughout the Federation, as I would leave planetary defense to the respective single planetary governments. So, just like @Anaxnder, I thought of having different planetary forces of Federation member worlds that in times of conflict would be summoned to deal with foes.

But there are hints at Starfleet doing ground-combat as well (e.g. Chief O’Brien and his stories of the Cardassian War or Ensign Nog on that one planet in DS9). So I might even ignore the several mentions of a ‘Colonel’ so there would be less ranks for my players to remember.

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There are canon mentions of non-Starfleet military or security organizations, like the Federation Naval Patrol and the Vulcan V’Shar. Although they don’t exactly represent ground troops, but it shows that Starfleet is not the be-all and end-all.

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Honestly the federation naval patrol is proably just a glorified paramilitary sailing club.


I’m in the “no Starfleet Marines” camp, but in my headcanon, the MACOs and Andorian Guard (and many others) survived into the Starfleet era as the Federation’s reserve forces (this was inspired by the SFU’s (see other thread) Local Defence Fleets). These are funded by local worlds to supplement Starfleet’s defence operations, but often use decommissioned Starfleet vessels. Many of the officers are also Starfleet officers (or were) and regularly do exchange duty to keep up to date. They would be activated in times of war to provide ground forces, man the mothball fleets and supply replacement personnel to cover casualties.

Although with the start of the Dominion War, I would be surprised if the FEDs did not raise a standing army. Retaking Betazed and the other conquered world takes troops.

That’s what I’m doing with my campaign. Even though the Shakleton expanse is far removed from the bulk of conflict, Narendra station is being assigned a company of Marines to be assigned to each of the 3 ships stationed there. Each ship gets a platoon of 50 men. One cargo bay on each ship is converted to a large bay barracks for housing and one holo-suite assigned for training purposes.

The Marines are comprised of new, trained recruits making up the bulk of the lower enlisted men (it is a new organization after all) and the officers and cadre made up of experienced security personnel voluntarily transferred over. Medics are enlisted medical personnel. The mother ship provides sick bays and mess.

Weapons are primarily type 3 phasors and plasma grenades with type 2 phasors as back ups and officer’s side arms.

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Now we are talking. Ablative combat armor and k-bars. Show the Jem Ha Dar that we fight like hell!


Speaking of Narendra station, since the Alpha quadrant SB didn’t answer the question… what happened to it when Gowron withdrew from the Khitomer accords?

According to the canon-police from prior inquiries back during Decipher Trek times (15 yrs ago)… Starfleet Marines are NOT canon. This was very strict as Roddenberry was very specifically against the term. So you will see whoever holds the IP (CBS), vigorously defend that point. SFU can make the reference, but of course, that is not canon. FASA lost its contract to do Star Trek, in part, due to the militarization of the setting.


Doesn’t negate that we see ground forces in distinctive uniforms in DS9. Nor that a character is credited as a colonel. (albeit, in admiral insignia.)

Doesn’t negate, either, that Starfleet needs a ground component, and that the security guards training is not a full overlap with what infantry need.

Several novels and comics also are explicit about there being marines separate from security. Several novels had marines in black tunics with the division insignia a stylized “M”. Novels aren’t canon, but did go through (at the time) Paramount approvals, and several were not approved for various canon violations, so in the 80’s paramount controlled years, marines were tolerated. Note that they also approved marines in FASA Trek

The official fan club (which is also a non-profit volunteerism fraternal society), endorsed by CBS, has a marine branch - which said, if CBS wanted them to end the marine branch, it would be a matter of simply making them make the choice: no marines, or no license and no group at all; that is, however, a bit of a nuclear option. (There also is a klingon branch…)

Then there’s also the published reason FASA lost their license: They were only licensed for TOS/TAS, but did 2 TNG products… And the court held TNG was a separate IP. (noted in Nexus magazine, along side ADB’s having won Paramount v Task Force Games & Amarillo Design Bureau.)

We also have unquestionable Terran Starfleet Ground Forces in Ent… MACOs.

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I don’t think the canon status of Starfleet Marines is in question here. They are not canon, that’s a fact. However, there are some canon “building blocks” with which you can justify Starfleet Marines in your own setting.

Funny, Shran, but Paramount and CBS keep allowing them in licensed materials over time, and logic demands ground forces. Marines is probably not the term for them, but there must needs be ground forces, and we see ground forces in distinctive green uniforms with starfleet combadges in Siege of AR-558… (Noting that Mumy wears a standard operations uniform and is stated to be an engineer)

It’s kind of like saying there are no Starfleet enlisted personnel… until we hear Rozhenko go off about being a non-com. And later see Chief Obrien in clearly non-officer insignia.

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I use Memory Alpha’s definition of “canon”. And according to this, content from licensed materials is not considered canon.

Sorry, but I don’t think so. I don’t remember seeing a green Starfleet uniform. This would be mentioned on Memory Alpha.

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