As Copied/Quoted From: House Steiner Battletech Game Sourcebook, Copyright 1987, Fasa Corporation, pp. 108-118:
"The system of ranks used by the Lyran Commonwealth is an adaptation of that used in the Federal Republic of Germany during the 20th and 21st centuries. the Commonwealth ranks came about with the Brandenberg Edicts of 2413, handed down by Archon Katherine Steiner. These edicts abolished the ineffective Commonwealth Alliance Military and set about creating the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces (LCAF) as it exists today.
About fifteen million men and women are in active service in the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces, divided up among 25 ranks. There are ten ranks for enlisted men and noncommissioned officers, four ranks to denote warrant officers, and four ranks reserved for the junior officers. The remaining seven are used to rank the senior officers.
The insignia of all ranks (except for senior officers) are based on symbolic depictions of arrowheads, spearheads, and fletching. The origin of this system is obscure, but some historians believe it stems from the passion that pioneers on Tharkad had for hunting deer and boar using extremely primitive weapons.
The color black has long symbolized leadership in insignias of the Lyran Commonwealth, a tradition whose roots are in the reign of the first Steiner. In the struggle to defend the Commonwealth from a fierce invasion by House Kurita, Archon Alistair Marsden, Katherine Steiner's first husband, was killed. Years later, Katherine married Duke Deven Reynolds, only to lose him to the war too. Though she never expressed her grief publicly, Katherine Steiner wore black throughout the rest of her reign. Black was soon adopted into Commonwealth insignias to honor the determination she showed despite her double loss."
As Copied/Quoted From: Lyran Alliance Battletech Field Manual, Copyright 2000, FASA Corporation, p. 30.
"There are four broad groups in the LAAF: enlisted troops and NCOs, warrant officers, junior officers and senior officers.
Enlisted troops are those who began their military life as raw recruits and provide the muscle of the LAAF. A few enlisted personnel progress up the chain of command to become non-commissioned officers (NCOs), who oversee the day-to-day operation of small units.
Warrant officers are the LAAF's technical personnel. They form a distinct group in the military outside the normal chain of command. Though regarded as somewhere between enlisted troops and officers, their ranks only apply within their fields.
Junior officers are the LAAF's battlefield commanders, charged with many of the life-and-death decisions. Most officers attend a military academy and are taught the art of command, but a few are enlisted troops promoted from the ranks for exemplary actions and leadership.
Senior officers are the strategists and planners of the LAAF. A few may still see action on the battlefield, but the majority 'pilot a desk', spending more time on the political battlefield than the physical one."
The following minimumconfirmed multiplayer Kills or Time in Grade criteria shall be met for all Skye Ranger Mechwarriors seeking advancement to a higher Rank.
NOTE: To be considered for promotions to Officer Ranks (i.e. Leutnant and above), the Mechwarrior must demonstrate an ability and willingness to command other Mechwarriors. Otherwise, the Mechwarrior will be restricted by Skye Front Command to Non-Commissioned Ranks.
It is best to select BLACK as the background color and cut away the medal, leaving the descriptive text behind. Paste that smaller section with ONLY the medal and a black background to a new selection and then use the "magic wand" tool (fromPaintshop Pro) or a similar tool to "select" the background only. Then "Invert" the selection so that what remains (the medal itself) is selected. "Copy" that selection, and then you can paste it anywhere.
The Skye Brigade commander can and often does promote 'Mechwarriors for individual activity, heroism, and contributions. But in general, in order to be approved for promotion to a higher Rank grade, the Mechwarrior shall meet the following minimum criteria for Kills or ACTIVE Time in Grade:
The raw recruits, those volunteering for duty and those drafted on their 16th birthdays, begin military life as Privates (PRV). The symbol of their rank is called the Narrow Arrow (or, sometimes, the Blunt Point), represented by an arrow with a single black line dividing it. Privates through the rank of sergeant wear their insignia on the shoulder of the uniform. Narrow Arrows and other types of insignia stitched to uniforms are usually Steiner Blue against a black rectangle. the colors are reversed for dress uniforms.
After about six months, the young soldier is promoted to Private First Class (PFC). This signifies a degree of practical experience as well as the completion of any advanced training. The symbol of this rank is called a Half Hunter's Point.
The next rank up, and the beginning of a soldier's introduction to leadership, is Corporal (CP). The symbol is the full Hunter's Point, the razor-edge tip of the arrow that bow-hunters sometimes use in big game hunts.
The next advance in position is to the rank of Senior Corporal (SCP). With it comes increased responsibilities and the beginning of intensive leadership training under the tutelage of a veteran Sergeant (SG) who tries to teach the critical importance of quick reactions. The insignia of Senior Corporal is the Hunter's Point with a black triangle in its center.
The five grades of Sergeant (SG) form the backbone of the Commonwealth military. These are the noncommissioned officers, experienced in leading men and fighting battles. The unsung heroes of war, Sergeants are the glue that binds troops together and they also serve as the crucial link between officers and the common grunt. Academy trained Mechwarriors usually start their career as Sergeants. In the Steiner military, the rank symbol of Sergeant is the Hunter's Point with a single black circle in its center.
The next rank up is the Staff Sergeant (SSG). Staff Sergeants typically have at least five years' experience in the military. As a sign of his rank, he wears what is known as the Spear Point. A large, downward-pointing triangle, it contains two other triangles, one fitting inside the other. Both smaller triangles share a common edge along the upper side of the insignia. Staff Sergeant officers up through Hauptmann-Kommandant rank wear their insignia on the upper arms of their uniform and a blue stripe down the outside of their trouser pants leg.
The next rank up, a Sergeant Major (SGM), is the highest NCO normally found on the battlefield. Sergeant Majors form the bulk of instructors in the LAAF boot camps and oversee the first few weeks of training in many academies. The Sergeant Major wears a short horizontal bar added above his Spear Point insignia.
The Staff Sergeant Major's (SSGM) Spear Point has two horizontal bars added above his Spear Point. The Staff Sergeant Majors are battalion NCOs and usually have administrative rather than combative duties. They are charged with ensuring the smooth running of the battalion, maintaining both order and morale. They also serve as a conduit between the officers and enlisted troops, being respected by both groups for their experience.
Senior Sergeant Major (SenSGM) is the highest rank a noncommissioned officer can achieve in the Steiner military. Only those soldiers who make a career of the military can advance from Private up to the rank of Senior Sergeant Major. Most have at least 20 years of service with the military and are entitled to wear service braids on their dress uniform. There is usually one Senior Sergeant Major per regiment, and his responsibility is to ensure the discipline and well-being of all recruits and other noncommissioned officers. His rank insignia is known as the Tharkad Spear Point, and shows his special importance. This insignia is similar to the Staff Sergeant Major's, with two horizontal bars added above the spear point. It also includes an additional gold triangle across its center, which is the Tharkad Spear Point.
There are four grades of Warrant Officer in the LCAF. These ranks are reserved for scientific and mechanical specialists such as technicians, engineers, computer interfaces, and sail riggers. The Warrant Officer's insignia consists of a series of horizontal bars in blue and black patterns called Fletching.
A Warrant Officer wears one fletching bar on the collar or shoulder of his uniform. A Warrant Officer First Class wears two fletching bars. Senior Warrant Officers wears three fletching bars. Chief Warrant Officers, the highest rank among technical experts, wear four fletching bars. All Warrant Officers lie somewhere between commissioned officers and noncommissioned officers in rank and pay. A Warrant Officer's authority is confined to his field of expertise and does not extend to the command of soldiers in other situations such as combat.
Warrant Officer (WO) is the lowest technical grade in the LAAF, comprising the technicians, engineers and computer operators found in every unit. Their insignia is a blue and black Fletching bar.
Warrant Officer First Class (WO1) denotes a high degree of competence and seniority. Personnel with this rank often command work details. Their insignia is two Fletching bars.
Senior Warrant Officers (SWO) often command the technical detachments of a unit or a major noncombatant technical post. They are regarded as masters in their field, though much of their time is spent on administrative duties. A senior warrant officer wears three Fletching bars.
Chief Warrant Officers (CWO) are the most senior technical officers, often responsible for a major technical facility. Administrative tasks dominate their routine, though they are expected to remain current in their fields. Chief warrant officers wear four Fletching bars.
Junior officers assigned to fighting units are the battlefield leaders of an army. They are the ones who see all the wasteful uselessness of war, the ones daily acquainted with the best and worst that humanity has to offer. Often quite young, they are also the ones burdened with the majority of live-or-die decisions.
The grade of Leutnant (LT) is slightly different in the LCAF/LAAF than in other militaries. A LCAF/LAAF Leutnant has not yet won a commission, and is therefore not formally an officer. The rank provides a testing period, particularly in 'Mech units, during which the soldier's leadership and technical skills are judged. Graduates of Commonwealth military academies enter the LCAF at this rank.
Leutnants are often addressed according to their job ('MechWarrior, 'Pilot', Gunner', for example) instead of their rank. Many will remain at this level for the rest of their careers. The more ambitious or capable Leutnants are soon given temporary command of a lance or platoon to further test their leadership skills. The Leutnant wears a spear point similar to that of a Staff Sergeant, but with the smallest triangle blackened.
If the soldier shows the necessary leadership and tactical skills, he is then promoted to First Leutnant (LT1). First Leutnants receive a commission in the LAAF plus a permanent command of a lance or equivalent combat unit. The rise in rank is shown by a single horizontal blue bar above the Leutnant's spear point patch.
A Hauptmann (HPT), or Captain, as they are sometimes known to the public, is the commander of a company. He is the last officer that will consistently see battle on a day-to-day basis. As a result, he is accorded the greatest respect by enlisted and non-com officers. His insignia is similar to the First Leutnant's, except both interior triangles are blackened to show his increased importance.
Kommandants (KM) are usually chosen from among battalion commanders for their mental skills in such areas as tactics or logistics. They are accomplished tacticians and administrators, often with at least a decade of service in the military. The grade is represented by a Hauptmann's spear point with a single horizontal bar above it.
The rank of Hauptmann-Kommandant (HPT-KM) is usually reserved for the senior battalion commander in a regiment. This rank has no equivalent in other militaries. This officer's responsibilities are to ensure that the regiment fully understands the orders of his Colonel and that the Colonel and his staff are fully aware of the situation on the battlefield. Furthermore, they serve as an information conduit between the junior officers and the colonel, ensuring that the regimental commander has the information needed to make decisions. The Hauptmann-Kommandant wears an all-black spear point on his sleeves. This is the last rank that uses a sleeve insignia.
The remaining ranks form the senior officer grades. Charged with the weighty task of preventing any threats to the realm, senior officers must often make decisions that could result in the deaths of countless young men and women. Those senior officers not directly involved in combat must oversee equally important tasks such as ensuring the proper flow of supplies or coordinating the efforts of units light years distant.
Leutnant-Colonel (LT-COL) is the lowest rank among senior officers. As a regiment's second-in-command, he is in charge of the information-gathering as well as ensuring that the regiment is properly supplied and equipped. If the battle is particularly difficult, the Leutnant-Colonel will sometimes be given the command of certain crucial regimental units, freeing the colonel to oversee the entire engagement. The insignia of the Leutnant-Colonel is a single silver pip, an elongated diamond-shaped piece of metal worn on the collar of field uniforms.
As a commander of a regiment, the Colonel (COL) must be expert in both tactics and strategies, as well as seeing that his unit is fed, clothed and properly equipped. Some colonels may also find themselves commanding a planetary garrison, a provincial militia or a sub-element of a Regimental Combat Team (RCT). Colonels of a 'Mech regiment are often assigned command of a world's entire defense. Though these combat officers can win great glory and public admiration when successful, their defeats can sometimes mean the loss of an entire Commonwealth planet, and so they also have the most to lose. For many LAAF officers, the rank of colonel is the peak of their career. Higher ranks are political as much as military postings, and many officers choose not to move into such areas. Colonels wear two silver pips.
Leutnant-Generals (LT-GEN) act as aides to the commanders of the Commonwealth's four interior military districts and can serve in a wide range of posts. They are responsible for marshaling all support units as well as commanding reserve and garrison units on planets in the district. They can command Regimental Combat Teams (RCTs), act as deputy commanders for interior military regions or take command of an entire service branch. Leutnant-General is the lowest rank at which an officer can assume command of an entire service branch, such as Military Intelligence or the Rep-Dep Corps. A Leutnant-General wears an additional third pip placed point down beneath the other two pips, forming a "T" on the wearer's collar.
Hauptmann-Generals (HPT-GEN) command the five Kerngebiete (military districts) and are responsible for protecting the civil and military infrastructure on the worlds in their charge. They must juggle the needs of dozens of units and liaison with planetary governments to ensure operations continue smoothly. With military actions in their area of responsibility rare, hauptmann-generals must be as much diplomats as military commanders. Their duty is to ensure the protection of civilian, industrial and military targets against an enemy attack. It is also their responsibility to blunt enemy offensives long enough for the stronger Theater forces to regroup and counterattack. These officers wear four pips, forming what has come to be known as the First Steiner Cross.
Kommandant-Generals (KM-GEN) serve as aides to the commanders of a combat theater, overseeing many of the operations within the region. Indeed, with the general commanding the theater as much a military governor as LAAF commander, many of the day-to-day responsibilities fall to the kommandant-general. Most notably among these is ensuring that the units remain in fighting trim. Kommandant-Generals must see to it that all the units in the theater are well supplied. They also command reserve and garrison units of every planet within the theater. Kommandant-Generals wear the Second Steiner Cross, which differs from the first because of the addition of the Black Pearl.
LAAF Generals (GEN) wield immense power. They command the front-line military theaters and serve as the heads of the most important military branches. to allow them to react to enemy operations, the theater commanders are the only LAAF commanders allowed to instigate military operations without prior reference to the High Command, though they are subject to an after-action review. Furthermore, these Generals have the title of Margrave, but this is a political title relating to function in the Theater and not one permanently bestowed on the officer. They are de facto military governors of the all the worlds in their command. As such, they wield immense political power, but both the JAG Corps and LIC maintain a close watch on their activities to limit any abuses. Generals are usually the last officers that command specific combat units. They wear the Third Steiner Cross, which differs from the second by the addition of an 'orbit', a disc of silver, beneath the cross's center.
Except for the Archon, General of the Armies (GEN-A) is the highest rank in the LAAF. Unless overruled by the Archon, the General of the Armies has full command of the LAAF forces and is responsible for guiding and shaping its strategy. The current General of the Armies, Nondi Steiner, also serves as the Commander Pro Tem of the LAAF and regent in the Lyran Alliance. This rank is reserved for the core of the high command, who are the military's most senior and respected officers. Under the Archon's leadership, Generals of the Armies shape and guide the Commonwealth's military strategy. Their insignia is the Fourth Steiner Cross. This is formed by adding a second orbit, made from Tharkan obsidian, beneath the Cross's center.
The Archon (ARCN) is the Commander of the LAAF, and so usually plays an active part in the military and its actions. Most Archons have military experience and are thus qualified to head the military. Most Archons are well aware, too, that the army is as much a bureaucracy as it is a fighting force, which requires that they attend carefully to the politics within the LAAF. The command and rank of Archon is shown by the Final Steiner Cross. This insignia is made distinct from those of senior officers by dividing the four pips of the cross into halves, and filling the space between them with gold.
In some special circumstances, the Archon may not be able to make vital military decisions; in that case, the Pro Tem carries out the task. This is usually the General of the Armies, but it can be anyone of the Archon's choosing. However, not all Archons exercise this option. Many of the Lyran military's worst disasters can be traced to poor decisions by the Archon. As a mark of the highest trust, the Archon allows the Commander Pro Tem to wear the Final Steiner Cross on his uniform. That way, all who see the cross know that the wearer is in command and that his decisions are backed by the Archon's full support and power.