Commanding Officer

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A Commanding Officer (abbrev. CO) is an officer who commands a naval ship, group of ships, or a military unit.

Nicknames and customs

Aboard naval ships, the CO may be informally referred to as the "skipper" by members of the ship's crew. Crew members may also address their CO as "skipper," but this is considered a familiar usage for when one is on friendly terms with the CO.

Additionally, ships' crew members sometimes refer to their Commanding Officer as "the Old Man" (if the CO is male) or "the Old Lady" (if the CO is female), but the CO is never addressed in this way.

In the Royal Manticoran Navy, commanding officers of hyper-capable warships have the privilege of wearing a white beret, distinguishing them from their crew members who wear black berets.

Usage in TRMN

All TRMN chapters have a commanding officer, who serves as president of the chapter. A chapter CO is responsible for submitting bi-monthly reports to the organization, as well as promotions of qualifying crew members up to E-6. Chapter COs are also authorized to award the Navy Achievement Medal to deserving members of their crews.

Required rank

Commanding officers have a minimum required rank based on the size of their ship:

Code Hull Type Minimum crew Minimum CO rank
LAC Light Attack Craft 3 Lieutenant Senior Grade
DD Destroyer 6 Lieutenant Commander
CL Light Cruiser 8 Commander
CA Heavy Cruiser 10 Captain Junior Grade
BC Battlecruiser 12 Captain Junior Grade
DN Dreadnought 16 Captain Junior Grade
SD Superdreadnought 20 Captain Junior Grade
CLAC Carrier, LAC 15 Captain Junior Grade

Command Triad

Each chapter has a "command triad" consisting of the commanding officer assisted by the Executive Officer (XO)[1] and the Bosun (senior enlisted member).

Fleet Commanding Officer

The regional fleets of TRMN are each lead by a Fleet Commanding Officer (FCO, sometimes referred to as "Fleet Commander") with a minimum rank of Rear Admiral. The FCO is the head of a command triad assisted by the Deputy Fleet Commanding Officer (or "Deputy Fleet Commander") and a Fleet Senior Master Chief Petty Officer (FSMCPO).


Civilian ships, such as those of the Royal Manticoran Merchant Marine are commanded by the "Ship's Master," with qualification for the position being regulated by training and licensing.

Historically, larger Royal Manticoran Navy ships had a separate position of "Sailing Master" who was in charge of the ship's maneuvering, but this position was phased out of usage early in Honor Harrington's career, so that ships' commanding officers were "Master and Commander."


  1. Except Light Attack Craft, which do not have an XO.