Star Fleet Marines

Is it a different division’s uniform, though, or merely a different uniform for that circumstance? During the writing of the equipment chapter, I presumed that those uniforms were the 2370s version of the blast vest seen on some security personnel in the TOS movies (essentially, a garment designed to absorb or dissipate some of the energies used in phasers and disruptors), rather than presuming that there’s an entire separate branch of Starfleet that nobody ever talks about directly.

There aren’t many clear images of this uniform, as it basically only appears in one episode, but it looks more like something worn over the top of the rest of the uniform, not dissimilar to the away team vests seen in Discovery, the landing party jackets used in The Cage, or various similar garments that have come in and out of use over the centuries.

We do. But United Earth armed forces are not United Federation of Planets armed forces. Star Trek Beyond categorically states that MACO forces were demobilised and transferred into the new Federation Starfleet in the 2160s, after the Earth-Romulan War (that is, in fact, part of the villain’s motivation, and though mentioned in a Kelvinverse movie, the event it describes occurs prior to the point of temporal divergence in 2233).

As I see it, Starfleet Security is a big division, and covers a variety of roles under that broad heading. In addition to providing security for starships and starbases (and planets under Starfleet protection, such as Earth - we see this in DS9, when Sisko briefly becomes head of Starfleet Security), security personnel seem also to perform criminal investigations within Starfleet jurisdictions (Tuvok does this in Voyager, and Worf tries to do this in DS9 before being put in his place by Odo), as well as engaging in tactical and combat operations. While I expect a fairly broad level of competence from Starfleet personnel in general, individuals will specialise, so there’ll be some security personnel who are more focused on the investigative side, or the combat side, etc., and will receive appropriate postings, but they’re still Starfleet Security.


It only seems “logical” that Starfleet would have a ground combat arm, but the Great Bird of the Galaxy said they do not; Kirk states “We’re a combined service” in an episode I cannot recall right now (i THINK it was Tomorrow is Yesterday.) As tempting as it is to include MACOs or Marines, they do not exist beyond twenty-one sixty something. The various game materials, or novels are not canon. No matter how much you want them to be, they are not accepted as canon.

Having said that, I don’t think there is anything wrong with including such an organisation within Starfleet. I can see them used for defense only, until SF needed to take back property lost in a conflict or to save colonists/Federation citizens.

I’ve always handled the idea of Marines as being Star Fleet Security, as opposed to a separate branch within Star Fleet. Star Fleet’s primary mission has always been Exploration first, at least as far as I’ve always understood Star Trek, with the capacity to adjust to the needs of the Federation at large.

Just the Dept of Homeland Security has many departments, the Security section would have a variety of such subdivisions, some of which would be “hazard duty” specialists.

Having just watched Descent part 1, I’d say that GR’s strictures about the lack of a distinct infantry force is probably one of those things that a existential crisis tends to choose to ignore, just like it was deemed Hugh Borg’s rights as an individual should have been

While I’d love for the Marines to be Canon, Memory Alpha (The Wiki for Canon) has no record of them.

Memory Beta, the Non-Canon Wiki does have them: Memory Beta - Starfleet marines

Now Memory Alpha has MACOs: Memory Alpha - Military Assault Command Operations

Sorry, but ya know what? Make your game what you and your players want it to be.

What Roddenberry thought was or was not canon didn’t matter much past season one of TNG. Hell, a lot of it didn’t matter in 1977, either.
Every other GR proclamation of “doesn’t exist” also has gone the way of the dodo: currency; greed; enlisted in Starfleet; 0, 1, or 3 nacelle warp ships; circular warp ships (vulcans in Ent); starfleet dedicated warships (DS9); internal intelligence (Section 31 in TNG, DS9, and Disc)…

A ground forces division (comparable to Command, Ops, Sci) would still be a combined service (thus not contradicting Kirk), but could still have a discrete set of uniforms. (As Canada does.)

@reuwriting : The only reasons I’m running STA instead of Prime Directive 1E are (1) my players prefer Next Gen era, and (2) The store I run at prefers I run things that are available in dead tree.


These are great comments, everyone. Thank you! I look at the Star Trek universe from a realistic perspective (more in line with DS9) where there would obviously be a need for the UFP to have an Intelligence Agency as well as ground forces. Much more a Ron Moore style.

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I prefer Next Gen, myself. And… DS9 was my favorite and it’s the most non-Roddenberry of them all. Go have fun

It’s funny that I’ve seen multiple references to SF Marines not being canon according to Roddenberry, because I’ve also seen quotes from Roddenberry that there are most definitely SF Marines.

One thing to consider though, if using modern real world logic to provide conjecture for SF Marines, is that the typical grunt isn’t an officer, so wouldn’t go to the Academy, but the officer’s most likely would regardless of being Marine or “Navy” officers.

So enlisted Marines would probably be enlisted Starfleet personnel, sticking primarily to ground combat and engineering roles, while Officers would be trained in those same Operations Divisions specialties, and some Command Division training for leadership and shuttle piloting training.

That would pretty much cover everything a SF Marine would need to be a Marine. Combat skills for ground operations or shipboard boarding actions, technical skills to maintain communication and transporters as well as scanners, piloting of Hoppers for large scale troop deployments, and leadership skills for the officers.

And since the vast majority wouldn’t go to the Academy, you would just need a reserve force during peace time, with the ability to rapidly train large numbers of ground troops during war time.

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Where did you get your knowledge that Roddenberry said that there are Starfleet marines?
We never saw any marines in any Star Trek show except those MACOs in ENT, which were not part of Starfleet and were disbanded after the founding of the Federation.

The people we see in Star Trek V in the sweaters were called Marines in the script, and COL West was probably a Marine since there are no Colonels in Starfleet, but I’ve never seen a Roddenberry quote affirming Marines. Logically, they would exist in some form - even as a planetary guard or something - as security forces are a different animal from a soldier. Different focus, different training.

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This goes as far back as The Cage. The communications officer on the bridge is identified as CPO Garison, and has a distinctive braid on his sleeve that looks like a ladder, or filmstrip. He’s also the only landing party member to carry a backpack. Also- in Charlie X, we meet Yeoman 2nd Class Tina Lawton. That’s a classic Navy-style rate/rating. She’s a 2nd Class Petty Officer with a Yeoman rating. The computer center in The Menagerie is Chief Humbolt. In Mirror, Mirror Chekov was going to make his henchman a Chief, but Kirk could make him an officer. Roddenberry might have said something about all officers, but it went out the window before the production of the first pilot was complete.


But it was never said on screen. An the scene with Col. west was cut from the theatrical release.

All these ranks are naval ranks. There is not a single instance in which a Starfleet member has an army rank. Except Col.West but his scenes had been cut.
And the Robert Flechter’s detailed notes for the TWOK uniforms do not contain marines. The so-called marines with their blue markings and collars in TFF are just a costume error. These are security officers and thus their markings and collars should be green.

True, but when the Dominion conquers Betazed, who fought to liberate it? Logic dictates that the UFP would have some form of ground forces.

Well, we saw boots on the ground in DS9. Starfleet Boots. And combat on planetary level could also be done by an “Army of the United Federation of Planets” or a “UFP Ground Forces Division” or “United Militia of the Planets” or…

Logic does not dictate the UFP to have ground forces. But UFP having ground forces would be very reasonable.
But even in case the UFP had ground forces (which I am not willing to object), logic does not dictate them to bear the name “Starfleet Marines”.

Besides, you don’t need to have “Marines” as a designated special branch of services within your armed forces to have “complete” armed forces. So Starfleet without Marines could work out fine.

That does, however, not mean that you cannot have Marines in your games. You most definetly can. 'cause it’s your game, your canon.


Bingo. For my games, planets in the UFP are charged with their own ground defense. Starfleet covers orbital installations and ground to space weapons. Not every planet has a standing army, but some, like Andoria, do. Starfleet maintains a relatively small force of Marines peacetime. During the Dominion war, they scale it up dramatically.

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I’d disagree with this item.
With as many hostile entities that the Federation has encountered the United Federation of Planets would most definitely have ground forces.

Now for Starfleet, logic doesn’t not require or preclude having them. But with so many Starfleet traditions being human sourced, calling a organic Starfleet ground force Marines actually makes sense. Probably why the whole Marine topic keeps coming up.

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There is no compulsive argument that these forces have to be UFP-forces. They could also be militias of the respective planets. Also, orbital-based tactics/doctrines that require almost no ground forces at all are not out of bounds. Thus, the few boots on the ground actually needed could be drawn from Starfleet Security (as seen in DS9, by the way).

I uphold the statement that logic does not dictate (mind the emphasis) the existance of UFP ground forces.
I do not object that the UFP having ground forces would be quite likely.

Except that there is no human “tradition” in having Marines as an own branch of service. From my observance, that’s mostly an U.S. thing. Most NATO members that do have naval infantry forces to any extent allocate them to their navies and do not have a fourth branch of “Marines” next to Army/Navy/AirForce.

Besides, why always talk about “Marines” when infantry combat on planetary level could also be done by an Army? Sorry, I don’t buy the argument of “tradition” as compulsory for Marines.

Yes, having Starfleet Marines is completely plausible. But I can imagine a Star Trek Universe without Marines (that’s actually quite easy, 'cause that’s exactly what they show on screen), so logic does not dictate anything, here, thank you. :slight_smile:


Well, we know who the Vulcan is. lol