Imperial Insignia: Officer Examples


Officer Cadet

Officer cadets have no rank cylinders because they are in training and are not assigned to any post. They do not need security access.


  • The illustration of Imperial Academy graduates in Heroes and Rogues from West End Games. Those new graduates wore no code cylinders.
    Image: [ Posing on a shuttle ramp.]



This is the lowest officer aboard a Navy vessel. A midshipman or ensign is a young officer who has just finished his academy studies and is taking experience on an active warship. Status as a working officer would require the possession of at least one rank cylinder. Distinguishing an ensign from the superior rank of Acting Sub-Lieutenant requires the possession of more than one cylinder.

In some contexts, the term ”midshipman” may also refer to an officer trainee in an academy, but such a person is never called an ”ensign”. The insignia of ensigns and the cadet type of midshipmen are traditionally the same.


  • Ensign Mithel, tractor beam operator aboard the Imperial star destroyer Chimaera at the time of the Siege of Ukio, during Grand Admiral Thrawn’s campaign against the New Republic.
  • The second officer working in control room of Docking Bay 327 aboard the Death Star. He took over supervision when Sub-Lieutenant Pol Treidum went to investigate a faulty stormtrooper comlink. The unfortunate midshipman was shot by Han Solo.
    Images: [Startled by a Wookiee, the midshipman draws his blaster.] [Midshipman, blasted by noisy smuggler.]

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Acting Sub-Lieutenant

A naval acting sub-lieutenat is equal in status to an army second lieutenant. Superior to a midshipman, but still quite junior in naval officer ranks. Verbally addressed as simply ”Sub-Lieutenant” without use of the ”Acting” prefix. Sometimes known as a ”Junior Lieutenant”.

Second Lieutenant

A second lieutenant is the lowest commissioned rank in the Imperial Army. Status as a working officer would require the possession of at least one rank cylinder. A second lieutenant is equal in status to a naval acting sublieutenant.


      Second Lieutenant Kyle Katarn, upon his graduation as a stormtrooper officer from the Cliffside Imperial Military Academy on Carida in

Dark Forces – Soldier for the Empire




A naval Sub-Lieutenant is the second-lowest commissioned rank in the Imperial Navy. The higher rank of Lieutenant is distinguished from the Sub-Lieutenant by the difference in number of rank cylinders. As with naval Captains and Commanders, the higher rank has the least cylinders.


  • Lieutenant Tanbris, the black-uniformed officer who reported the status of the Battle of Yavin to Lord Vader before the Dark Lord ordered his personal TIE squadron into action.
    Images: [seeking Lord Vader]
    Lieutenant Tanbris’ insignia:


  • Lieutenant Shann Childsen, the black-uniformed lieutenant who supervised detention block AA-23 in A New Hope.
    Images: [ ”Where are you taking this thing?” ] [2] [SWCCG card.]
    Insignia: identical to Lieutenant Tanbris’.
  • Daine Jir, the young black-uniformed officer whom Vader ordered to send out a fake distress signal from Tantive IV. An aide to Lord Vader. Insignia are identical to Lieutenant Tanbris’. (Despite the fact that he is obviously a sub-lieutenant, the SWCCG cards name him as a commander. We must assume that this is either an error, or else it reflects a promotion which he received after Devastator‘s capture of Tantive IV.)
    Images: [talking with Lord Vader] [*] [SWCCG card]
    Insignia: identical to Lieutenant Tanbris’.
  • Lieutenant Pol Treidum, the control officer for Docking Bay 327 on the first Death Star, knocked unconscious by a fist blow from Chewbacca.
    Images: [ ”TK421, why aren’t you at your post?” ] [2]
    Insignia: identical to Lieutenant Tanbris’.

Lieutenant [Army]

An Army Lieutenant commands a Platoon, which normally consists of four squads. Army Lieutenants are equal to a naval Sub-Lieutenant. For the sake of clarity, this kind of Lieutenant is sometimes called a First Lieutenant, in reference to a Second Lieutenant.



A naval Lieutenant is not of sufficient rank to command a capital ship but may supervise a section of a ship’s operations. The rank of Lieutenant is distinguished from the lower level of Sub-Lieutenant by the number of rank cylinders. The higher rank has fewer cylinders, as with the insignia of captains and commanders.


Captain [Army]

An Army captain commands a company, which usually consists of four platoons. Army captains are equal in status to a naval lieutenant.


  • Captain Bewil, an aide to Lord Vader on Bespin, who masterminded the enticement of Luke Skywalker into the carbonite foundry.
    Images: [ Reporting Skywalker’s arrival.]
    [ Bewil ]
  • Captain Beri Tulon, primarily served as an instructor in the Force Commander. His insignia must be disregarded; all officer insignia are the same in this game.
  • The cold assualt stormtrooper officer seen with General Veers at the Battle of Hoth appears to be a captain because his badge is equivalent to a naval lieutenant.
    Images: [ Taking orders from Veers.] [ SWCCG card.]


Lieutenant Commander

The naval rank of Lieutenant Commander is equivalent to the army rank of Major. The insignia for a lieutenant commander or army major is higher than a naval lieutenant and lower than a commander. When expressed in the standard form, the naval Lieutenant insignia is the highest possible rank with only two red squares. Therefore the standard-form Lieutenant Commander insignia must have three reds. To distinguish it from the higher rank levels of naval commander and captain, the number of rank cylinders must exceed two.


A Major commands a battalion.

The rank of Major is equivalent to the naval rank of Lieutenant Commander. Therefore the standardised insignia for these ranks must be the same. For this unfortunate and unavoidable reason the rank badge for major illustrated in The Imperial Sourcebook must be discarded. To adapt the major badge into a rational and self-consistent rank system the minimum necessary modification is the removal of one red square. More specific reasons for the configuration of the badge and rank cylinders are given in the section below which deals with the Lieutenant Commander insignia.

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A commander may command major sections of a capital starship’s operation, without being sufficiently senior to command the entire vessel. A commander may be given command of a warship of modest size, or a fixed facility like a naval depot or space station. The immediate subordinates and closest aides of a ship’s captain will be of Commander rank.


  • The AT-AT ”commander” on Endor in Return of the Jedi. This may be anomalous: a walker should be an Army vehicle, and there is no ”commander” rank in army terminology. Perhaps a naval officer was in command of this walker because the Endor deflector shield garrison was a Navy or joint-forces facility.
  • Commander Gherant, an officer aboard the Executor in The Empire Strikes Back, named in the SWCCG cards.
  • In the computer game Rebellion, Commanders Klev, Bane Nothos, Orok, and Pter Thanas are represented with the *RRR/BBB* insignia. Unfortunately there are characters of higher rank (Moff Jerjerrod, Commodore Zuggs, Captain Needa) who are inconsistently given the same insignia. But perhaps those exceptions can be rationalised as photos of the men at lower ranks, earlier in their respective careers?
  • Commander Praji, the black-uniformed stormtrooper officer who informed Lord Vader about the jettisonning of a lifeless escape pod from the Tantive IV to the Tatooine surface. Praji is an honours graduate from the Imperial Navy Academy on Carida, which was revealled in Jedi Academy Trilogy to be exclusively a stormtrooper training facility.
    Images: [outside the red computer room] [*]
    Commander Praji’s insignia:


  • ISB Commander Mar Barezz advised Army and Navy forces at the Battle of Picutorion in The Imperial Sourcebook (p.93). He also features in the sample adventure in the first edition of STAR WARS: The Roleplaying Game.

Lieutenant Colonel

A lieutenant colonel is of the same status as a naval commander and therefore must have equivalent insignia. An army regiment is commanded by a lieutenant colonel.


  • Lieutenant Colonel Johans, commander of the elite Hell’s Hammers elite armoured repulsortank regiment described in pp.132-135 of The Imperial Sourcebook.

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There are two types of Navy captain: a ship’s captain and a captain of the line. As the title suggests, a ship’s captain has command of an entire warship, though some officers of equal rank serve as aides to admirals or dignitaries like Lord Darth Vader. In general though, a staff position holds less prestige than command of a vessel, no matter how small or antiquated the ship may be.

The insignia of a captain is distinguished from that of a commander by the number of code cylinders. A captain has one rank cylinder, whilst a commander has two.


  • The most senior officer seen accompanying Lord Vader in Bespin’s Cloud City was either a naval captain or an army colonel. The SWCCG cards call him Commander Desanne, but this rank is difficult to reconcile with his obvious captain/colonel insignia.
    Images: [Awaiting Lord Vader’s command.]
  • Captain Needa in The Empire Strikes Back. The Ill-fated commander of the star destroyer Avenger; executed for allowing the Millenium Falcon to escape.
    Images: [Pondering the vanishing of his rebel quarry.] [After apologising to Lord Vader.]
  • Captain Piett in The Empire Strikes Back, who was later promoted to the rank of Fleet Admiral.
    Images: [Reporting the Hoth discovery (back to camera).] [Receiving Admiral Ozzel’s glare.] [Witnessing Ozzel’s demise.]
  • Captain Lennox, commander of the star destroyer Tyrant, which was struck by the rebel ion cannon during the Battle of Hoth.
    Images: [Lennox (right) with a lieutenant.] [SWCCG card.]
  • Captain Pellaeon, aged and loyal commander of the star destroyer Chimera in Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. After the fragmentation of the Empire and the breakdown of the Order of Battle Pellaeon accepted the a rank of Vice-Admiral in the forces of one faction, as portrayed in Darksaber.
  • The game Rebellion portrays Captains Brandei, Pellaeon and Dorja with the RRR/BBB* insignia, which is appropriate for their rank. Unfortunately Captain-Supervisor Grammel from Splinter of the Mind’s Eye is also given this kind of badge; that isn’t appropriate because Grammel is an Army officer. (He was offered promotion to Colonel-Supervisor, an army rank.) An army captain is the equal of a naval lieutenant.
  • Captain Oweg, commander of the Valiant on p.106 of The Imperial Sourcebook.


A colonel is exactly equivalent in rank to a naval Captain and therefore must have exactly the same insignia. This rank is immediately above Lieutenant Colonel, and immediately below High Colonel (which was introduced in The Imperial Sourcebook).

This is a point of difficulty in published references because The Imperial Sourcebook neatly contradicts itself, and subsequent books have blindly followed the sourcebook’s errors (if they take any position at all). The rank of Colonel is given an insignia illustration (which turns out to be impossible because it does not match a naval Captain), but the chapter describing the Order of Battle fails to mention this rank altogether. It describes the adjacent ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and High Colonel. The sourcebook should be ignored regarding the Colonel insignia, and it should be understood to be incomplete regarding the description of a Colonel’s role. Perhaps it should be theorised that in practice a Colonel takes the role of a senior Lieutenant Colonel or a junior High Colonel.


  • The most senior officer seen accompanying Lord Vader in Bespin’s Cloud City was either a naval captain or an army colonel. The SWCCG cards call him Commander Desanne, but this rank is difficult to reconcile with his obvious captain/colonel insignia.
    Images: [Awaiting Lord Vader’s command.]
  • Colonel Wullf Yularen, an officer of the Imperial Security Bureau who listened at the Death Star conference table in A New Hope.
    Images: [Yularen’s SWCCG card] [Left side view; no cylinders] [conference room, left of Admiral Motti] [*] [*] [*] [*] [*]
    Colonel Yularen’s rank badge:


  • Two ISB officers passed Solo, Skywalker and Chewbacca in the Death Star corridors on their way to recue Princess Leia Organa. The first man’s insignia seems equivalent to a colonel, although rank cylinders were absent. [NB. Before the ANH:SE videotape, unclear pictures caused me to mistake one red square for blue. This is now corrected.] The second officer has the same squares, but arranged in a reverse order. It is probable that ISB insignia does not always require security code cylinders in the same way as military personnel. The general nature of their duties makes this plausible.
    Images: [Badges clearly visible.] [2] [3] [Both in closeup.] [2] [SWCCG card.]
    Insignia of the front ISB officer:


    Insignia of the elder ISB officer:



Line Captain

This rank is marginally senior to that of an ordianry ship’s Captain. A Line Captain (or ”captain of the line”) commands a naval line. A line is the smallest Navy element consisting of more than one ship. The number of ships in a line is roughly dependent on the size and firepower of the ships. A line of light warships will generally have more ships than a line of heavy warships.


  • Captain Khurgee, the officer in charge of the investigation of the Millenium Falcon when it was captured by the first Death Star. It is mathematically impossible to rationalise his insignia as being equivalent to an ordinary naval Captain, but his insignia is compatible with the incrementally higher rank of Line Captain.
    Images: [Decipher’s SWCCG card.] [Reporting the situation to Lord Vader.]


High Colonel

A High Colonel commands a battlegroup, a unit which is equivalent to the Old Republic’s divisions. This kind of unit consists of several regiments. A high colonel is equal in rank to a naval ”Captain of the Line”.

Although the rank of High Colonel does not seem to exist in the forces of real-world anglophonic nations, something similar does exist in Sweden and some other European countries. There it an intermediate of Colonel and Major General, as expected. A High Colonel also should be junior to a Brigadier, which is a distinct rank with a particular meaning, more akin to a junior general than a senior colonel.


  • Colonel Kleyn Selid, commander of the forces guarding the Emperor’s secret storage facility at Mount Tantiss in The Last Command and The Last Command Sourcebook.
  • One of the officers on the periphery of the Death Star conference room scene in A New Hope is seen (in the cinematic release) to have the following badge. Number of rank cylinders was indistinct, and there is absolutely no evidence to tell us whether he is actually Army of Navy, so my placement of him here is highly provisional. This is just to remind me to take better observations when next I see A New Hope at the cinema. In any case, it is impossible for the officer to be higher than the standard Major General (or Rear Admiral) or as low as a Colonel (or naval Captain).




This is an inferred rank badge for a rank described in the eighth chapter of The Imperial Sourcebook. Note also that this sourcebook reversed the ranks of Commodore and Admiral. The entries at this web site correct the error. The higher rank of Rear Admiral (equivalent to an army Major General) is known to have one cylinder, therefore a commodore must have two or more cylinders. A commodore is in equal in status to an army brigadier.

A Commodore commands a squadron, which consists of several lines. Without direct orders from a Moff or higher authority, a squadron is usually the largest naval force to be stationed in a single system.


  • Commodore Bevven, commander of the Imperial Navy forces at the Battle of Picutorion, described on p.93 of The Imperial Sourcebook.
  • Admiral Motti in A New Hope may have been one of this type of Admiral. His rank badge is slightly different, with only two blue squares. The additional cylinder might make him marginally to the true commodore; but the system seems to have room for the rank of commodore to have 2-cylinder and 3-cylinder sub-levels.
    Images: [ready to observe the destruction of Alderaan] [conference room, right of Colonel Yularen] [*] [*] [*] [*] [*]
    Admiral Motti’s rank badge:



A brigadier is the Army counterpart to a naval Commodore, and he commands a brigade. At present, there don’t seem to have been any brigadiers named in filmed or unfilmed STAR WARS literature, but they almost certainly exist, at least for the sake of providing an Army equivalent of a Commodore. Brigades are not mentioned as a unit in The Imperial Sourcebook, but the book has many contradictions and omissions in its description of mid-level ranks and military units.

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A Rear-Admiral is equivalent in rank to a Major General in the Imperial Army. This rank is not assigned a particular level of naval force in the Order of Battle (at least according to the incomplete and imperfectly-reliable intelligence gathered by rebel spies). Under normal circumstances an officer in this intermediate rank will effectively act as a commodore, but with seniority over actual commodores.


  • Rear Admiral Michael Unther, who delivered a guest lecture on planetary assault tactics for a class in Fleet Tactics at the Duluur Sector Naval Academy sometime after the Battle of Hoth. Note:Unther is described as being the recipient of an honourary promotion from admiral to rear-admiral upon retirement. This is impossible because it would constitute a demotion. The mistake is probably due to the error in rebel information expressed in The Imperial Sourcebook, which accidentally transposes the ranks of Commodore and Admiral. Unther’s promotion must have been fromcommodore to rear-admiral.
    Images: [Delivering a lecture to naval academy students.]

Major General

A Major General commands a Corps, consisting of several battlegroups. In practice the Corps is one of the most important levels of organisation in the Imperial Army. Cooperation with the Navy is best at this level of command, and the Army’s standard transport ships are built to accomodate a Corps each. The Corps is also the lowest level at which Imperial Intelligence is represented in the command structure, with one Ubiqtorate representative.

The standard Imperial Army garrison is based upon the Corps Headquarters, although relatively few garrisons are equipped with a full Corps. Consequently, Corps HQ are more common than Corps themselves, and major generals are more abundant than their moderately high status would suggest. This is done so that garrisoned planets have a suitable command structure in place to coordinate Corps-level action in an emergency.


  • General Veers, commander of the ground forces of Lord Vader’s fleet in The Empire Strikes Back. Brilliant walker combat specialist and victorious leader of the Imperial Assault on Hoth.
    Images: [Facing Vader in the Dark Lord’s quarters.] [In his walker cockpit.] [2]
  • An officer who seems to be a major general led a squad to visit Chewbacca’s home in search of rebels on Kashyyyk, about a year after the Battle of Yavin.
    Images: [1] [2] [3] [4] [Contemplative stance.] [Surveying the Wookiee home.]
    Kashyyyk general’s rank badge:


  • Another major general was involved with public announcements in Chewbacca’s native area of Kashyyyk during the post-Yavin time when Lord Vader’s forces were activity concerned with rebel activity in the system. Coincidentally the same man was seen in an episode of Life on Tatooine, declaring a curfew in Mos Eisley. This most probably happened during the droid hunt immediately preceding the Death Star’s destruction; this officer seems to be attached to Lord Vader’s fleet. It is possible that he was eventually replaced by General Veers.
    Images: [Announcing the Mos Eisley curfew.] [2] [3] [Declaring the Kashyyyk blockade.]
    Insignia: identical to that of the Kashyyk search-party major general.
  • Chief Bast, the officer who sits beside General Tagge in the Death Star conference table in A New Hope may have been a senior variant of major general. (According to this system his insignia is that of a major general with somewhat improved status due to the theoretical standardised number of cylinders being negative one, rather than one. He must be immediately below the lieutenant general level.) The same man announced that analysis of the rebel attacks had uncovered a vulnerablity in the battle station. A chief of operations and one of the senior strategic officers responsible for the Death Star’s defenses, this officer shared Tagge’s intelligent and temperate disposition.
    Images: [Death Star overbridge] [conference room, right of Tagge] [with Lord Vader, after Yavin] [*] [*] [*] [SWCCG card]
    Chief Bast’s rank badge:


  • General Cass, named in the A New Hope novelisation as the officer who delivers the negative scout report from Dantooine to Tarkin. Although he is too distant and shadowed for clear determination of his insignia on videotape versions of the film, these features are partially visible in the cinema version of A New Hope. He has zero cylinders at his right shoulder, but the number at the left shoulder is unclear. Conventional aesthetics of rank cylinders suggests that he would have only one. (Otherwise he’d put a second cylinder at the right shoulder before putting further cylinders at the left.) With two less cylinders than Chief Bast, Cass is also higher than a Major-General, with a standardised theoretical equivalent of three gold squares in excess of the number of cylinders. Itentatively treat Cass as an Army officer because if he were Navy then he’d be senior to Admiral Motti, who supposedly was the highest naval officer aboard the station.
    Images: [Cass reports the findings from Dantooine.] [2] [3] [4]
    General Cass’ rank badge:




This is another intermediate rank, like that of rear admiral.


  • Vice-Admrial Pellaeon, who rose to this rank in the years following the defeat of Grand Admiral Thrawn. Pellaeon was Thrawn’s right-hand man and lent his prestige to support the attempts at Imperial reunification by Admiral Daala, as described in Darksaber.

Lieutenant General

A lieutant general is equivalent to the naval rank of vice-admiral.


  • General Mohc, overseer of the Darktrooper project [Dark Forces]. Here he is seen at an earlier stage in his career, apparently with only four columns on his rank plaque (or it could be an artistic error). [Sandblasted]



An Admiral commands a systems force and may also be referred to as a systems admiral. A systems force is responsible for maintaining control and securtiy over a region which contains dozens of inhabited star systems.


A General commands an Army. A standard Army consists of four Corps. At the height of the Galactic Empire Armies rarely saw combat as a single unit, although this preference naturally changed as the Galactic Civil War increased in ferocity. A naval Troop Squadron carries an entire Army.

By comparison with the naval rank of Fleet Admiral and the army ranks of Lieutenant General and Major General, the standardised badge for a General must have five red squares and fewer than four cylinders. I choose just one cylinder because this matches the illustration of General Drost in The Last Command Sourcebook.


  • General Freja Covell in Dark Force Rising and The Dark Force Rising Sourcebook, commander of the ground forces of Grand Admiral Thrawn’s fleet. Another picture of Covell in the gameRebellion shows him with only four columns of rank squares; this must be earlier in Covell’s career. Compounding the confusion, the game calls him a Major. As such he ought to have insignia matching a naval lieutenant-commander, which cannot be higher than a three-column badge. Of course, he must have held the rank of major prior to promotion through colonel and general ranks.
  • General Theol Drost in The Last Command; the officer in charge of the defence of the Imperial shipyards at Bilbringi. Pictured on p.34 and described on p.43 or The Last Command Sourcebook. Drost also commanded the Army forces at the Battle of Picutorion, described on p.93 of The Imperial Sourcebook.
  • General Nasda of the ISB wrote a document outlining recruitment priorities and processes for the Imperial armed forces, as shown in The Imperial Sourcebook, p.138. Strictly, Nasda might belong to any of the higher or lower ranks of general, and is only listed at this level provisionally.

[Air] Marshal

The rank of starfighter senior officer equivalent to a full navy admiral or army general. In terrestrial terms, the rank is ”air marshal”; in a space-based society it would be logical to drop the ”air” because of atmospheric connotations. Nevertheless, the one example seen in the literature to date uses the untruncated terrestrial form.


  • Air Marshal Von Asch, who was retreived from New Republic incarceration by Lando Calrissian for a special mission against a group of Asch’s former pilots who had turned pirate. [SW Tales #5: Lando’s Commandos: On Eagle’s Wings]


Fleet Admiral

A fleet admiral commands a Fleet and usually answers to no authority other than the appropriate Moff, Grand Moff or Grand Admiral. A fleet may see combat anywhere within a sector. The fleets of a particular Sector Group therefore have overlapping domains. This is the lowest level of command at which transfers between sectors can be made.


  • Admiral Ozzel, the proud and arrogant commander of Lord Vader’s fleet in The Empire Strikes Back. Ozzel was summarily executed by Lord Vader for serious errors of judgement including his dismissal of Captain Piett’s report of a rebel presence on Hoth and the clumsy handing of the naval deployment at Hoth.
    Images: [Admiral Ozzel in portrait.] [Glaring at Captain Piett.] [With Veers and Piett.] [Beside Piett, choking.]
  • Admiral Piett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Cautious officer who was suddenly promoted to command of Lord Vader’s fleet after the demise of his predecessor, Admiral Ozzel.
  • Admiral Gaen Drommel in Wanted by Cracken, an officer who deserted the defence of Imperial Core sectors after the Battle of Endor in order to carve out his own personal empire in his home region. Drommel commands the Executor-class command ship Guardian.
  • Admiral Daala in the Jedi Academy Trilogy shared this badge and appears to have been a Fleet Admiral. According to p.241 of Jedi Search:

    Daala wore her bright Admiral’s insignia proudly over her left breast: a row of six scarlet rectangles set above a row of six blue rectangles. To her knowledge she was the only woman ever to wear such a rank in the Imperial Navy.

    In most illustrations she is depicted with a different badge, matching that of Grand Moff Tarkin, though usually with half the number of code cylinders. The Grand Moff’s badge contains three gold rectangles. These illustrations are explicitly contradicted by the author’s own words. The only reasonable conclusion is that the illustrations are either wrong or they refer to some unknown time in the future, after Darksaber, when Daala might attain a rank of Grand Moff. The novel doesn’t specify the number of cylinders she wore. If it was three, she was equal to Ozzel and a Fleet Admiral. At the time of the game Rebellion she is portrayed with two cylinders, which (by the badge interpretation scheme presented in these pages) would make her a High Admiral.

High General

A High General commands a Systems Army and usually answers to no authority other than the appropriate Moff or Grand Moff. As a whole a Systems Army rarely sees action; rather it is an administrative unit existing for the sake of coordinating its constituent units amongst themselves and in cooperation with other military units of the same sector.


  • General Tagge, the conservative and intelligent officer in A New Hope who warned against the abilities of the Rebel Alliance and the perils of abolishing the Imperial Senate. Tagge seems to have been an old-guard officer, unimpressed with Palpatine’s radical and oppressive politics.
    Images: [conference room] [*]
    General Tagge’s insignia:



High Admiral

A High Admiral is the being who commands a Sector Group, the sum total of all naval forces available within a particular sector of the galaxy. In most sectors the Moff holds this title. Occassionally the High Admiral may be a separate individual, for a variety of possible miscellaneous reasons. Presumably the multiple Sector Groups under the command of a Grand Moff may each have a High Admiral.


  • This badge is the result of a reasonable interpolation between the known Fleet Admiral badge and the Grand Moff badge.
  • According to the scheme of elemental insignia interpretation presented in these documents, an officer with six red/blue columns and one or two cylinders would also be a High Admiral.
  • In the game Rebellion Admiral Piett is shown with such insignia. Perhaps this reflects a promotion between TESB and ROTJ? The Imperial warships at Endor were approximately the equivalent of a sector fleet (typically commanded by a High Admiral) as defined in the Imperial Sourcebook.

Surface Marshal

A Surface Marshall commands a Sector Army. The title is the Army equivalent of the High Admiral; it usually is held by the Moff of the particular sector but this role may be delegated to a subordinate officer. A Sector Army is transported by a naval Assault Fleet.

Note: The insignia of a Surface Marshall have never been seen, to my knowledge. The badge and rank cylinders given above are chosen on the very reasonable assumption that a Surface Marshall’s insignia should correspond to that of a High Admiral. Refer to the section above for a justification of the High Admiral insignia.



A Moff commands both the Army and Naval forces assigned to a Sector of space, in addition to acting as the political ruler of the sector. Moffs are appointed by the Emperor’s Imperial Advisors. They report to Military High Command in Imperial City on Coruscant, and to the Imperial Advisors. Connection to the Imperial Advisors is known to seriously entangle some Moffs as pawns to personal feuds within the Emperor’s Court.


  • The badge of a Moff has not yet been seen on film. The badge given above is a reasonable interpolation between those of Fleet Admiral and Grand Moff.
  • Moff Jerjerrod in Return of the Jedi, Death Star Commander. A capable administrator and technocrat who rose through the military in Supply & Logisitics, with little combat experience. Unfortunately the ”insignia blooper” which afflicted all Imperial officers in Return of the Jedi prevents us from knowing what his insignia was truly like.
  • Moff Harsh has a rank plaque that appears to consist of a row of blue and a row of yellow. Perhaps there are some red squares which are blurred in this transmission. [STAR WARS Tales #4: Three Against the Galaxy]
  • Moff Vensell mentioned on p.106 of The Imperial Sourcebook.


Grand Moff

A Grand Moff commands all of the military resources of an Oversector, which is a temporary territory comprising several adjacent Sectors which are troubled by serious cross-border criminal and/or rebel activity. A Grand Moff is appointed to deal with those problems which are too big or too far-spread for local Moffs to handle. Accordingly, a Grand Moff usually commands the equivalent of several Sector Armies and naval Sector Groups.

A Grand Moff answers directly to the Emperor and not to any other authority such as the intermediate Imperial Advisors or ministers. The Emperor made this arrangement in order to help counterbalance the influence of his Advisors, secure ultimate military and political power for himself and to enable Grand Moffs to operate without hassles from above.


  • Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope, Death Star Commander and governor of Oversector Outer which includes the Outer Rim Territories. Tarkin was an influential contributor to the development of Imperial doctrine.
    Images: [Conference Room] [In X-Wing computer game.]
  • Grand Moff Ardus Kaine in STAR WARS Adventure Journal #3, successor to Tarkin and joint founder of the Pentastar Alignment Imperial faction after the disintegration of the Galactic Empire.


Grand Admiral

There were twelve (or thirteen?) Grand Admirals at any time (though the total might be greater if we consider attrition and replacement). Each is directly appointed by the Emperor and directly responsible to him. There is no higher authority within the Imperial navy, and only a proxy from the Emperor, like Lord Vader, can command the Grand Admirals. Grand Admirals do not have any political territory; their sphere of duty is the Empire as a whole. It is reasonable to assume that most Grand Admirals are associated with High Command on Coruscant, or else patrol the whole galaxy as Lord Vader does. Grand Admiral Thrawn, the thirteenth person appointed to this rank, spends many years completing secret missions for the Emperor in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy. Grand Admiral Thrawn never wore code cylinders in any illustration seen to date. STAR WARS Essential Chronology accounts for the fates of most of Thrawn’s peers, but (interestingly) suggests that several Grand Admirals perished aboard the second Death Star as well.


  • Grand Admiral Thrawn who rallied the remnants of the Imperial Navy in Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. A profoundly cunning leader and tactician.
  • From Vision of the Future p.32, Wedge Antilles recounts:

    ”I was on an information raid once, back when we were trying to get data on Grand Admiral Makati out of the Boudolayz library…”

  • The traitorous and ambitious Zaarin who attempted a coup against the Emperor in TIE Fighter, wore a Grand Admiral’s uniform during his bid for power. Whether this was a legitimate promotion is unknown. [It should be noted that the flight-simulation computer games are somewhat unreliable when it come to ranks and uniforms: there have been times when Thrawn was depicted in Grand Admiral uniform before his elevation to that rank.]
  • Grand Admiral Tigellinus was a player in the intrigues of Emperor Palpatine’s court when Executor formally entered service and Thrawn was a lower rank of Admiral. [STAR WARS Adventure Journal #12]
  • Grand Admiral Synn was killed during the Liberation of Kashyyyk, in battle against Admiral Ackbar. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admirals Grunger and Pitta turned warlord and eliminated each other in battle over the Corellian sector. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admiral Takel was executed by Trioculus. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admiral Il-Raz was fanatical, and commited suicide by plunging his flagship into the heart of the Denarii Nova. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admiral Batch was assassinated by his second in command, and then his ships were moved to join with Warlord Harrsk. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]
  • Grand Admiral Grant was thought to be the last officer of his rank. He defected to the New Republic two years after the Battle of Endor, and under an amnesty he retired to Rathalay. [Star Wars Essential Chronology]

Grand General

The computer game Force Commander makes mention of an officer called Grand General Malcor Brashin. This is probably an Army equivalent of the Imperial Navy’s Grand Admiral rank. Online documentation for says that ”with numerous military victories to his credit, Brashin has become one of the most respected – and feared – generals in the Imperial Army.” He appears to be the final authority within the game. Unfortunately the game graphics show the same Veers-like uniform for all officers, regardless of rank and branch of service. (For instance Brenn Tantor is shown in the same uniform at every stage of promotion from lieutenant to general; and his brother Dellis Tantor wears an Army-style uniform despite being in Imperial Intelligence.) Therefore we can’t make any comparison between Brashin’s insignia and that of the Imperial Starfleet’s Grand Admirals.


  • Return to Imperial Military Insignia.
  • Return to Military Insignia.
  • Return to STAR WARS Technical Commentaries.
  • Return to Curtis Saxton home page.

    Original content is © copyright Dr Curtis Saxton 2000.
    Online since 1995.
    Last updated on 12 November 2000.
    This page is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by Lucasfilm Ltd.
    Photographic images linked from this page are copyright Lucasfilm Ltd. and are used here under Fair Useage terms of copyright law.
    This site is kindly hosted by TheForce.net.




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