->''The most dangerous thing in the world is a second lieutenant with a map and compass.''
-->-- '''Murphy's Laws of Combat Operations'''

->'''''Unteroffizier'' Manfred "Rollo" Rohleder:''' Is this your first time at the front?
->'''''Leutnant'' Hans von Witzland:''' ''(shrugs)'' Everyone must start somewhere.
-->--''{{Film/Stalingrad}}''

Sometimes, the NewMeat isn't a grunt. Sometimes, he's put in charge.

Ensign Newbie is a young officer, fresh out of the Academy, who is given command of TheSquad. Sometimes, he was top of his class, and as such was put in command of the best unit in the force, for whatever reason, or maybe he was a prankster, or dated TheGeneralsDaughter, and got saddled with a RagTagBunchOfMisfits nobody else wanted. Sometimes, he's both. What the British army calls, with despairing affection, a Rupert.

Much like the NewMeat, he has to learn the harsh realities of war the hard way, without losing his head in the process. On top of this, he has to work five times as hard to earn the respect of the squad (who will probably see him as TheNeidermeyer by default until proven otherwise), because he's gotta get them to listen to what he says.

Sometimes it may be that the ''whole platoon'', not only Ensign Newbie, consists of NewMeat. That is usually the case in the opening phase of any wars, when soldiers are still inexperienced and have not had their baptism of fire. Such a premise may lead into [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption situations]] best left [[WarIsHell undescribed]].

And [[UnwantedHarem heaven help him]] if the unit happens to be [[AmazonBrigade All-Female]]...

Usually they get an old reliable SergeantRock to help him learn the ropes, not only of field command in general, but also TheSquad and its little "quirks" in particular. If the Sergeant gets killed early on, expect things to get bad quickly for this inexperienced officer. This being fiction, we can all but [[MentorOccupationalHazard guarantee that happening]].

TruthInTelevision: In the US Army, new Butterbars (2nd Lieutenants) are occasionally referred to as highly paid privates by Noncoms (Corporals and Sergeants). Every experienced Lieutenant had to have been the raw newbie officer sometime in the past. Likewise in the other services: In the Navy, shrugging one's shoulders in confusion is referred to as "the Ensign Salute."

Compare RookieRedRanger, when this trope is invoked in a superhero setting.

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* The TropeNamer is Shiro Amada from ''MobileSuitGundamThe08thMSTeam'', who gets called this by his subordinate [[CommunicationsOfficer Eledore Massis]] in the English dub.
** Mashymre Cello from ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ'' is a villainous example.
** Natola Einus in the third generation of ''GundamAGE'' is ''Captain'' Newbie, and she knows it.
* Academy graduate Dana Sterling[=/=]Jeanne Francaix from ''{{Robotech}}'' (''SuperDimensionCavalrySouthernCross'') finds herself in command of the 15th ATAC hovertank squad when the former commander finds himself busted to private because of problems with TheGeneralsDaughter.
* Agent Jan Suk in ''Anime/{{Monster}}'' is a police-force version. Nobody seems to take the poor guy seriously, though he brings it upon himself sometimes.
** It probably also doesn't help his case that one of the biggest reasons for joining the force is his love of cop shows.
** And Officer Chouno from the same author's ''TwentiethCenturyBoys'', who has the added handicap of being compared to his legendary detective grandfather. Both are even introduced the same way, throwing up upon seeing a grisly murder scene.
* [[IrresponsibleCaptainTylor Justy Ueki Tylor]] is put in command of the ''Soyokaze'' a few days after joining the military. HilarityEnsues.
* Seina from ''TenchiMuyoGXP'' is a Fleet Captain yet he hasn't graduated from basic training until the end of the series.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comics]]
* A criticism some have concerning the recent move by Marvel to replace the original (white skinned) 616 NickFury with his son, Marcus Johnson, AKA Nick Fury Jr, an expy of the Ultimate/MCU (Creator/SamuelLJackson) Fury. While Johnson is a trained marine and has his father's immortality, there's no explanation why this makes him qualified to replace his father as the primary SHIELD agent to interact with the Marvel Universe, but despite this he's given a high rank among SHIELD.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film]]
* Lt. Gorman from ''Film/{{Aliens}}'':
-->'''Ripley:''' How many drops is this for you, Lieutenant?\\
'''Gorman:''' Thirty eight... simulated.\\
'''Vasquez:''' How many ''combat'' drops?\\
'''Gorman:''' Uh, two. Including this one.
* Lt. Wolfe from ''{{Platoon}}''. He basically has no clue and always depends on his trusty [=NCOs=] (Elias and Barnes). He did begun to [[TookALevelInBadass grow a pair]] but sadly died by the end of the movie.
** [[TruthInTelevision Well]], this does happen most of the time when an officer shows up, the experienced [=NCOs=] show the Lt. what's what before taking over command.
* In ''Film/StarTrek'' (2009), James T. Kirk is promoted [[spoiler: virtually straight from (disgraced) cadet.]]
* In ''Film/DownPeriscope'' the XO is rather young (for an XO), while the diving officer has, [[TheSquadette due to reasons]], never dived a boat before outside of simulators. The admiral assigning the crew was specifically choosing people poorly suited for their job to sabotage the commanding officer of the ''Stingray'', against whom the admiral holds a grudge.
* Bromhead in ''{{Zulu}}''.
** In RealLife both he and Lieutenant Chard were fairly experienced officers, however.
* Inverted in ''{{Generation Kill}}''; fresh-faced young Lieutenant Fick is actually smart, well-liked and competent. The same cannot be said for the two Captains, "Encino Man" and "Captain America"...
* Lieutenant von Witzland in ''{{Film/Stalingrad}}'', who even lampshades it (see page quote).
* Captain Shang in Disney's ''Disney/{{Mulan}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature]]
* George [=MacDonald=] Fraser's semiautobiographical ''Literature/McAuslan'' series is largely about this, from the point of view of the newbie officer.
--->''"Thirty total strangers are... wondering if he is a soft mark or a complete pig, or worse still, some kind of nut. When he realizes this he feels like telling them that he is, really, all right and on their side, but of course he can't. If he did, they would know for certain he was some kind of nut."''
* Lt. Blouse from ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'' is a straight example at first; he's even repeatedly called a "rupert". There turns out to be a twist -- he's spent years in a desk job dealing with logistics and administration, but that experience allows him to understand the enemy's codes and on several occasions he turns out to be right, over [[SergeantRock Jackrum's]] objections. He can't actually ''fight'', but he certainly has potential as a commander; the only reason he was sent to a field command at all is because the Borogravian army has no-one else to send.
** The Ephebian captain during the Tsortean War in ''Discworld/{{Eric}}'':
--->''The captain was eighteen and fresh from the academy, where he had passed with flying colors in such subjects as Classical Tactics, Valedictory Odes and Military Grammar. The sergeant was fifty-five, and instead of an education he had spent about forty years attacking or being attacked by harpies, humans, cyclopses, furies and horrible things on legs.''
* Lieutenant Hal Slater of the [=CoDominium Marines=], in Jerry Pournelle's SF novel ''West of Honor''.
* ''Major'' Major Major Major in ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo''.
* David Hackworth's memoir ''About Face'' lists his own speech to all his new lieutenants concerning why they should shut up and learn from their sergeants (Hackworth was a battlefield commission himself, so he'd been a sergeant AND a Lt).
-->'''Hackworth:''' Now son, when I was a boy, Sweeney here was leading a platoon in Italy. When you were a boy, Sweeney was leading a platoon in Korea. When you are a general.. what do you think you'll be doing Sweeney?\\
'''Sweeney:''' Be leading a platoon somewhere sir, can't think of anything else I'd rather do.\\
'''Hackworth:''' When you are ready to take over the platoon, Sweeney will tell you. Until then, keep your hands off.
* In ''Literature/GardensOfTheMoon'', the first book in ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'', Captain Ganoes Paran is introduced as being hopelessly clueless about the Bridgeburners' reputation for hostility towards poor officers. He gets better at his job. Quickly.
* Prescott "Scotty" Tremaine from the Literature/HonorHarrington series starts out as a freshly-minted ensign. With the help of Horace Harkness, his own personal SergeantRock, he grows out of it.
** Like all military tropes, this is everywhere in Harrington. At one point, "training Ensign Newbie" is described, only slightly satirically and in almost as many words, as the primary job of senior noncoms.
** ''Shadow of Saganami'' in particular is about four midshipmen, squeaky-new and fresh from the Academy, who are learning how to be ''ensigns''. In a mild divergence from trope the majority of their instruction comes from officers, such as Lt. Hearns, with the wise old senior [=NCOs=] only making cameos. Hearns herself also qualifies, as she's incredibly junior to be their Officer Candidate Training Officer, having only a couple of years on them.
*** There's also a novella, "Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington," which features the titular character's own larval stage as an officer. [[spoiler: At the climax, she briefly takes control of the ship after the senior staff are incapacitated.]]
*** "The Service of the Sword" has Abigail Hearns's middie cruise, with her giving orders to the Marine [=NCO=] under her command to prepare for contingencies that he thinks will never happen, and him thinking she's a bit of an idiot newbie... and then it turns out she's right. There's a reason she's Honor's protege.
* In Creator/SandyMitchell's ''Literature/CiaphasCain'' short story "Echoes of the Tomb", the lieutenant in charge of the military is young and insecure (in part because Cain screws with his self-confidence [[WhatTheHellHero to win a chess game]]). At one point it is hypothesized that he won't take suggestions -- much less ask for them -- from a far more experienced SpaceMarine sergeant. [[spoiler:Fortunately, he and the rest of the Mechanicus are dead before the Astartes arrive.]]
** Cain observes the monumental stupidity of this; a SpaceMarine will have at least a century of active service before he is even ''considered'' for the rank of sergeant.
*** That's not simply stupid, that's actually suicidal -- one can be very easily busted for the heresy (and insubordination) exhibiting such attitude, as the [[SuperSoldier battle brother]] (that is, SM ''private'') is commonly held equal to the at least [[ModernMajorGeneral Major General]] in the [[RedShirtArmy Guard]]. And to add insult to injury, some chapters require a century of service to induct the new members not into the Sergeant rank, but into the ''battle brothers''. Yep, you fight for an entire century as a ''recruit''.
* Commonly features in Creator/HarryTurtledove works; for example, in the [[{{Timeline-191}} TL-191]] series, Sergeant Michael Pound (a {{Tuckerization}} of fellow author SMStirling) repeatedly has to successively shepherd several inexperienced second lieutenants in command of a tank unit. He's quite bemused when he eventually gets one who's both gung-ho and competent to start with.
* In P.C. Hodgell's ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'' novel ''To Ride a Rathorn'', Jame is in this situation; as the officer cadet with perhaps the least military knowledge in the whole academy, she's made Master Ten of all 90-odd of her House's cadets because she's the Highlord's sister. She has a ''lot'' of learning to do, especially given how much of a loner she is, unused to having to think of others; to her credit, though, she refuses to just delegate the actual work to someone more experienced, but instead takes the responsibility seriously.
** Can't agree with the last point. A major side-plot in ''To Ride a Rathorn'' is her having to deal with a capable second-in-command with a big chip on his shoulder, who successfully shunts her out of the actual command of the barracks. She realises it's a problem, but lacks the experience to handle it and see how bad it becomes.
* In ''Literature/TeamYankee'', the new LT in the tank company is this in spades until the first shots of WorldWarIII are fired and he becomes competent under fire. One of his buddies from OCS shows up later and fails to follow his example- the men bet on how long he'll last and he's severely injured when his tank is hit by a "Hind"-launched anti-tank missile.
* Literature/VorkosiganSaga:
** In ''The Warrior's Apprentice'' Miles Vorkosigan toys with this trope. Yes he is a seventeen year old kid who ''washed out'' of his homeworld's military acadamy, but only one person aside from his original traveling companions (his [[PsychoSidekick bodyguard]] and [[UnluckyChildhoodFriend said bodyguard's daughter]]) even comes close to figuring the matter out when he surmises that he is a "Junior Officer in way over his head." The rest of what became the Dendarii Free Mercenary Company not only takes his line about being a representative of some hotshot PrivateMilitaryContractors to heart, but starts calling him [[FieldPromotion Admiral Naismith]].
** In ''The Vor Game'', after having graduated from the Imperial Military Academy and becoming an actual ensign, circumstances require Miles to once again don the mantle of Admiral Naismith. After having saved the Hegan Hub from a Cetagandan invasion, he spots another newly minted ensign supervising a work party installing some new equipment on the Barrayaran's new flag ship, and realizes that if he had just been able to follow orders, and do as he'd been told, that could have been him. He feels a little envious.
* Junior Commissar Nahum Ludd from ''Literature/GauntsGhosts''.
* Averted by the Federation in ''Literature/StarshipTroopers'', where all Mobile Infantry officer candidates are picked from soldiers already in the Mobile Infantry.
** Still worth noting, when Rico makes his first drop in command of a platoon (at which point he's made at least a dozen combat drops). His CO still assigns the company "field first" Sergeant as his platoon Sergeant (to keep an eye on him).
* Literature/PrinceRoger starts as TheLoad. Then he says he should probably be called "Colonel [=MacClintock=]" at military councils and the head of his bodyguard realizes he's Ensign Newbie instead.
* Ferraby and Lockhart in ''Literature/TheCruelSea''.
* Literature/{{Sharpe}} is often assigned Ensign Newbies in the hope that his insane levels of BadAss will rub off on them. [[RunningGag If they don't end up unceremoniously dying]] they usually do, with Jack Bullen, Robert Knowles, Harry Price and Peter D'Alembord all [[TookALevelInBadass taking levels in badass]]. However, Cornwall is not above subverting this - in ''Sharpe's Tiger'' we have Ensign Fitzgerald, already a BadAss and a FatherToHisMen, [[spoiler: who is then brutally murdered by Sergeant Hakeswill]]. ''Sharpe's Escape'' gives us the hopeless, alcoholic, braying, idiotic UpperClassTwit Cornelius Slingsby, who Sharpe hates and at one point even tries to murder. Then there's the Prince of Orange in ''Sharpe's Waterloo'', who is a (spectacularly useless) ''[[GeneralFailure General Newbie]].''
* Creator/DaleBrown plays with this through Hal Briggs who, although a Major that already has Army and Air Force background, is given command of [[SemperFi Marine]]-comprised commando unit Madcap Magician.
* Lt. di'Ka Jarret is this at the start of ''[[Literature/ConfederationOfValor Valor's Choice]]''. Thanks to having an experienced [[SergeantRock Staff Sergeant]] (the main character) helping him, he grows out of it by the end of the book.
* In ''[[Literature/TortallUniverse Lady Knight]]'' Kel is put in charge of an ''entire'' refugee camp despite being an eighteen-year-old who just won her shield. He commanding officer justifies this with two reasons; 1, that her training with commander of the King's Own means she actually has the skills to do it and 2, that she cares enough about the common people that she'll actually try to help them. Nonetheless, a lot of people, including herself, doubt her ability to lead for this reason.
* Theon is considered one of these by the crew of the ''Sea Bitch'' in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', somewhat unfairly as he ''does'' have experience commanding men for Robb Stark in the early battles of the War of the Five Kings.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': Wesley's only encounters with vampires thus far have been under "controlled circumstaces"; basically, he's in over his head from the get-go.
* [[CreatorsPet Wesley Crusher]] was put in charge of a science team in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', as part of his training to see if he was Starfleet Material. He gets some guff from one of the team members who seems to question Wesley's competence (albeit it's implied that he was instructed to do so as part of the training), but once Wes starts acting like he's in command things work smoothly.
** One early episode features the difficulty faced by those of low rank assuming command of the ship, when [=LaForge=], then merely a junior-grade Lieutenant and the ''helmsman'' (before his upgrade to badass engineer), has to take command of the ''Enterprise''. Cue all ''sorts'' of people thinking that they're better than he is, and how awful his decisions are, personified in the JerkAss Chief Engineer Logan.
* Lt. Jones from ''Series/BandOfBrothers''. Fresh from West Point and assigned to command 2nd platoon, Sgt Malarkey is his SergeantRock. Due to his inexperience, he joins the patrol as an observer with Sgt. Martin as the leader and another Rock.
** Not to mention Lt. Dyke who was putting in time just to get combat experience on his way up the ladder. Absolutely ineffectual commander. And of course, First Sergeant Lipton is his reluctant SergeantRock.
** Lt. Winters averted this because on DDay the entire company was still NewMeat with no combat experience. Some of the soldiers disrespect him at the beginning because he lost his rifle during the drop. They quickly change their tune when he leads the attack on the artillery position and proves himself to be a BadAss.
* Captain Parmeter from ''FTroop''.
* The ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Nightingale" had Ensign Harry Kim placed in charge of an alien spaceship. He acts like a micro-managing moron, despite the fact that he'd spent SEVEN YEARS in the Delta Quadrant and [[StaticCharacter should have been an experienced veteran]].
** The episode "Twisted" features a lieutenant asking ''Ensign'' Kim what they are going to do. SciFiDebris had a great time poking fun at that one.
* In an episode of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', [[RedShirt Red Squad]] was on a training mission using a ''Defiant''-class vessel when all the senior staff were killed. The ranking cadet takes command, as is expected of him. Out of what is more selfishness than inexperience, he decides he's better off just keeping the ship and its crew and continuing the mission on behalf of his dead captain who he never reports as dead (he gives a half-assed justification, but it's clear he's just enjoying the ride). He does fairly well for a Newbie at the start, but near the end it shows off just how bad this trope can go. His entire crew dies. The worst part is only two people actually get the hint that he was incompetent, and only one from the start.
* Crashdown from ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}''. When unexpectedly left in command of a ground team he tries to lead a disastrous, by-the-book attack on a Cylon installation. His death "[[UnfriendlyFire Leading the charge]]" allows the much more competent Chief Tyrol to take over.
* Captain America in ''GenerationKill'' is inexperienced and completely clueless, much to the dismay of the men he commands. The miniseries actually ''tones him down'' from both Evan Wright's original account and Nate Fick's book, for fear that an accurate portrayal would destroy viewers' WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief. His SergeantRock is Eric Kocher, but in a subversion, Kocher simply promises physical violence if he doesn't start using common sense.
* In ''McHalesNavy'', Ensign Charles Parker [[WelcomeEpisode joins the crew of the PT-73]], a RagTagBunchOfMisfits regarded by the base commander as a "bunch of pirates." He ends up as TheWoobie.
* In ''Series/{{JAG}}'', both Bud Roberts and Harriet Simms quite literally starts out as this.
* The relationship between newly-appointed Cabinet minister Jim Hacker and senior civil servant Sir {{Humphrey}} Appleby in early seasons of ''Series/YesMinister'' bears some strong parallels to this trope, even if it differs in many significant details.
* In the pilot of ''Series/StargateUniverse'', Colonel Young is incapacitated while coming aboard ''Destiny'', leaving Lieutenant Scott in command. Scott's not quite a rookie, but he's no more than two years out of the Academy, and he's never held any sort of command position before. He does well enough, and Young recovers anyway by the end of the pilot.
* 2nd Lt. Goldman is this at the start of ''Series/TourOfDuty''. He gains experience and maturity quickly over the course of the first season.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Tabletop RPGs]]
* ''TabletopRPG/{{Paranoia}}'' often runs on this. The fact nothing works as it should results in a lot of deaths, often putting the next highest ranking person in charge... in a society where a caste system determines rank instead of actual experience or expertise. It is therefore possible for a Yellow ranker to be put in command one his first day out when his superior dies, while the entire team of seasoned, experienced Infrared soldiers are forced to grit their teeth and go with it.
** On a meta level, the GM guide is always given to the person least familiar with the game. It's an actual rule.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Meta]]
* This trope is an important part of the relationship between newly appointed rulers and their [[EvilChancellor chancellors/viziers]] both historically and in fiction. How it plays out and is often central to whether the adviser is [[TheGoodChancellor Good]] or [[EvilChancellor Evil]] by the time the plot kicks off. This goes double when the new ruler was the SpareToTheThrone and was never seriously expected to rule (until he does).
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Videogames]]
* ''SakuraWars'' has our new recruit, Ichiro Ogami, put in charge of the [[AmazonBrigade Imperial Assault Force, Flower Division]]. Four games later, his nephew, Shinjiro Taiga, is shipped off to America to lead the New York Combat Revue, Star Division.
* The ''VideoGame/GalaxyAngel'' gameverse subverts this twice [[ShoutOut in reference to the above]]. In the first three games, Tact Meyers is put in charge of the Moon Angel Troupe, however he ''has'' been in service for a short while beforehand. GAII pulls the old bait and switch by having the NewMeat actually placed '''in''' the Rune Angel Troupe... However, he only leads the squad (and even then under Tact's direction) until LadyOfWar Lily arrives on scene.
* [[VideoGame/AceCombat04ShatteredSkies Mobius One]] and [[VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar the Wardogs]] of ''VideoGame/AceCombat'' fame all are this by the start of their respective games (As newbie fighter pilot), the latter especially, since they actually ''lost'' their older, war-hardened Captain and had to grow by themselves on the battlefield.
* Welkin Gunther of ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'', who earned his squad's respect by making good on a BadassBoast.
** Kurt Irving is a slightly more justifiable example: he's not so much given command as he is ReassignedToAntarctica. He is a [[TheAce top Lanseal graduate]], and [[TheConspiracy one thing and another]] lead him to being stuch with a bunch of CannonFodder known as [[ArmyOfThievesAndWhores The Nameless]].
* ''VideoGame/WingCommander Prophecy'' has Lance R. Casey, the player character. Fresh out of the Academy, he received the highest marks in his class (and the most demerits), guaranteeing him a spot as leader of Alpha Wing throughout the game. His friend "Maestro" takes up the [[TheGeneralsDaughter Consulate General's Daughter]] part.
** To a lesser extent, Christopher Blair qualifies for this trope, at the start of the series. Before your first mission you're told that it's standard policy to put the newbie in command of a mission, so they can gain experience with a more experienced pilot as their wingman.
* Similar to the 08th MS Team example above, the tactical shooter ''Zeonic Front'' has an ensign fresh from the academy not only join one of the most elite mobile suit units Zeon has, but also immediately take command over one of its three mobile suit teams. At least two other members of the unit (both the oldest guy on the team and another female Ensign who was passed over to lead the third team in favor of the new guy) don't like this at all.
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' combines this with a hefty dose of RookieRedRanger. The player character is given command of a starship at the rank of ''Ensign''.
** ''Acting'' command about 1/3rd through the tutorial. Official command comes at the end of said tutorial with a promotion to Lieutenant. The story starts you off as an ensign fresh out of the academy. Your FIRST ASSIGNMENT ends up sending you to the Vega Colony to deal with a Borg invasion. Your captain sends you (and you alone) off to another disabled ship to get it back up and running, only to return to find the Borg had assimilated EVERY LAST officer of higher ranking while you away. All that's left is a handful of other ensigns who this ALSO happens to be their first assignment out of the academy (technically leaving you the most field-experienced officer). After all is said and done, Starfleet Command gives you official command of your ship because they are desperate for any and all hands they can get to help keep peace in the already unstable Alpha Quadrant.
*** The game would later give players the option of skipping the tutorial and just starting the game right off at Starfleet Academy, where you just happened to score so damn well on your grades that the Academy Commandant recommends you for a bridge officer position right away. He tells you to go grab some gear out of the locker and get to work.
* In ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', Bastila is technically the leader of your party during the time between when she joins you and when you get to Dantooine. Her inexperience with command shows. Significantly. And is pointed out. Whenever she tries to give an order. Ad nauseum.
** ''StarWarsTheOldRepublic'' in the Trooper campaign, the Trooper was made the leader of the new Havoc squad, [[spoiler: after the previous Havoc squad defected to the Empire]].
* ''FinalFantasyVIII'': Squall leading his team of rookies (with some more experienced members not joining until later)? Okay. Squall becoming [[spoiler: leader of Balamb Garden when he still hasn't technically even completed his first mission]]? Um...
** Bonus points for Squall explicitly stating that he didn't want to be leader, everyone just ignores him on that (then again, in FFVIII wielding a gunblade gives you instant badass status).
* Thanks to daddy's influence, Snowe Vingerhut gets a squad of his own right after graduating the Gaien Marine Knights Academy in ''SuikodenIV''. At first this is just made up of [[TheHero Lazlo]] and his [[TrueCompanions fellow graduates]], but he's soon put in charge of an entire ship of much more experienced knights during an EscortMission. It doesn't end well.
* The main character of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' was a member of the Grey Wardens for a grand total of one day before they became the de-facto leader of the order in the country. Mostly because [[EverybodysDeadDave all but two members were brutally slaughtered]] immediately after the [[PlayerCharacter PC]] joined and the other guy, six months senior, doesn't like the idea of holding the responsibility of leadership. A {{DLC}} takes place in an AlternateUniverse where the other guy becomes leader. It ends badly.
* In ''{{Vindictus}}'', Ellis is a cadet leader straight out of the Royal Academy who reports directly to Gwynn. He's young and idealistic and has an unspoiled admiration for any heroic deed accomplished in the battle against the Fomors, and soon grows quite fond of your player character. [[spoiler: The poor kid is brutally murdered by Information Chief Kalis in the fourth mission of the third boat]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Webcomics]]
* Captain Rasho in ''TheWaterPhoenixKing'' fits this trope: he is extremely young (despite Gilgam's sneer, he is old enough to shave -- ''barely,'' which may be why he sports PermaStubble!) and it's implied that his parents purchased him a commission in the Bison Guards, not one of the better sorts of military units in his country. And while brave enough personally, he's inexperienced and completely inept at giving orders that will be obeyed, a situation not helped by the lackluster group of losers under him who all joined up for the money, or because they failed at school or business, or because they want an excuse to beat people up and found this the best-paying, most-legal way to do so. He's trying hard, but in ''way'' over his head.
* In ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' most officers in Tagon's Toughs are seasoned veterans (mercs, you know, tend to be ex-military). But there are a few who got their positions for non-combat reasons and when suddenly forced to command find themselves over their heads, particularly Lieutenant Bunnigus (medic), Lieutenant Reynstein (lawyer), and Commander Andreyason (munitions), as Bunnigus admits [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2011-04-18 here]]. Though in the alternate timeline the chaplain handled [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2004-12-02 his first command]] fairly well.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Originals]]
* Rhine Arcken from v3 of ''OpenBlue'' was basically an AdventurerArchaeologist with a naval commission, which she only got in order to gain access to government funding for her expeditions. [[GovernmentAgencyOfFiction ONI]] then gave her a ship, a crew, and an escort consisting of [[TheSquad an elite unit of hardass special forces]], along with a TykeBomb WarriorMonk packing a SinisterScythe for good measure.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ultimate Spider-Man}}'' plays with this trope. Spider-Man was chosen by Nick Fury to lead 4 heroes just like him, who have plenty of training with SHEILD. Spidey was put in charge because he has over a year of ''[[TaughtByExperience experience]]'' as a superhero.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life]]
* In Russia, many regular, civilian universities have military schools ("voennye kafedry/fakultety"). It is not mandatory for male students to study in these schools, but many people do, because, you know, there is conscription in Russia, and being a conscripted lieutenant is better than being a conscripted private. Of course, lieutenants from these military schools are the least competent sort of officers, derogatorily nicknamed "pidzhaki" ("jackets") by career servicemen. They are Ensigns Newbies par excellence.
** A more general Russian nickname for the rank and position is "Ванька-взводный" (''Vanka-vzvodny'' lit. "Johnny Platoon")
* A variation of this trope shows up in medicine, but replace "ensign" with "new resident" and the "NCO and the squad" with "nurses".
** Pick a medical practice. Any medical practice, veterinary or human. Rule number one for any freshly-graduated doc: The Nurses Know More Than You. If a nurse "suggests" you do X, what she is really saying is, "I know this patient better than you, and I have been working in (veterinary) medicine since you were in middle school, and if you don't do X, you are going to look like an idiot." The nurse is almost always right.
* The Royal Marines ''officially'' designate the first Troop Commander post as Phase Two of training. And they come as close to saying 'during Phase Two you will do what your Troop Sergeant tells you to do' as you can get within the confines of military etiquette.
* Subverted in the US Navy with Mustang officers (former enlisted men who are commissioned as officers). This often leads to "salty" sailors mistakenly thinking they can pull one over on the new ensign, particularly through e-mail and phone conversations, not so much in person as the newbie ensign's ribbons and warfare devices often reveal his past experience. Not to mention that such officers will inherently be much older than the typical ensign.
** Averting this trope has led to a uniform convention known commonly as the "Good Conduct security blanket". In day-to-day use, as opposed to more formal occasions, it's generally only required for officers and chief petty officers to wear a single row of ribbons on their service khakis, these usually being the top three they are entitled to. In the Navy, only enlisted personnel are awarded the Good Conduct medal, and so Mustang officers who have occasion to wear ribbons on their uniform will wear as many ribbons as it takes to get to the Good Conduct medal on the order of precedence in order to display his prior enlisted status. Also common is wearing an [=ESWS=] (enlisted surface warfare specialist) warfare device along with a [=SWO=] (surface warfare officer) pin, or their community-specific equivalents.
* Somewhat subverted in the Finnish armed forces. Reserve officers are conscripts as well, but they are selected only after the boot camp, and after the Reserve Officer Academy they are assigned as ''Officer Candidates'' with rank and tasks equivalent to a Sergeant. Those which pass the candidate period honourably are then promoted to Second Lieutenants (army) or Ensigns (navy). [Those who do not are left as Sergeants.]
* Creator/RoaldDahl was one of these in the then British colony of Tanganyika at the beginning of WorldWarII, as he narrates in the autobiographical ''Going Solo''.
* Non-military possibility: After four years of university, three years of Law School and completing the Bar Exam, a newly minted lawyer could tell you the finer points of the Rule Against Perpetuities and the Interstate Commerce Clause but when it comes to how to argue a routine discovery motion or how to set up a pretrial conference (y'know, the things new attorneys actually do.), they won't have a clue. Thank the Gods for paralegals.
* In some corners of the British Army, Ensign Newbie knows that he has gained his men's respect when they start calling him "Boss" instead of "Sir".
* In Estonia, where military service of at least 8 months is mandatory and is 11 months for NCO, military police, drivers, recon, snipers and most specialists, this happens as a rule. For the 11 months, the first 3 months is so called "green meat" time, but after that, soldiers are divided into [=NCOs=], drivers, and those in some kind of specialist field. In the following 3 months, those in the NCO course receive a crash course in everything, while those in a specialist field receive standard infantry training before devoting the next 5 months to the specialist field, and because they have no [=NCOs=] leading them, some more promising privates are promoted to corporals and put in charge of squads. By the time [=NCOs=] finish their crash course and are put in charge of specialist's squads, those privates and corporals have so much more actual experience in fighting in squads that it's hard for [=NCOs=] to earn respect from privates who view [=NCOs=] as totally incompetent newbies... which they actually are without the experience necessary. But over time, the [=NCOs=] gain enough experience and become competent enough to actually earn the respect of troops they are in charge of, boosted by the fact that they have more knowledge of operating on the field than promoted corporals who had to learn everything on the go during the infantry training.
** The military academy needs you to go through the mandatory training first.
* Can happen in internet forums and chats with someone who's relatively new to the group and happens to be a moderator. Especially when the admin gives the promotion simply because the person is a personal friend.
* Inevitable in any war with a high number of officer casualties: young officers are given command over veteran troops who are usually none too happy about the situation. For such officers, winning the hearts of their troops is usually less important than surviving the first few battles, and the odds aren't in the young lieutenant's favor.
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