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Old September 30 2012, 11:34 PM   #154
J.T.B.'s Avatar
Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

I don't think any of that rules out the possibility, though. Sure, it's open to interpretation, but more than one way of looking at it is really my point.
That's fair enough.

Certainly the flagship of that task force or cruiser group or whatever you prefer. But I don't see how that extends to a flagship for the whole of Starfleet. Shirley that would involve a higher-ranking officer than a commodore, and the best evidence indicates that Starfleet's top officer is based in San Francisco, not aboard a starship somewhere.
Indeed, I don't think the idea of a "flagship for the whole of Starfleet" is even meaningful. A flagship is the command ship for a jointly operating group of ships, and most Starfleet vessels operate alone.
And even when they operate in groups it's been far from the whole service.

While some navies have historically concentrated almost their entire strength into one big fleet, wireless communications allowed the topmost military command to be located permanently near the nation's governmental leadership where it really needs to be. Plus the numbers of staff needed to run such complex organizations isn't limited by the number of bunks on a flagship. So while Jellicoe aboard Iron Duke or Yamamoto in Nagato or Yamato had great power and responsibility, the overall wartime strategy was being decided in London or Tokyo.

BTW, it could be said the US Navy did technically have a flagship during World War II: the little-known "gunboat" USS Dauntless (PG-61). A trim and pretty luxury yacht, she had been requisitioned by the Navy after Pearl Harbor and was snatched up by Admiral Ernest King. A somewhat self-important gentleman, his dual position as Commander-in-Chief US Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations allowed him a flagship (as CinC) and an official residence (as CNO) and he took both. So he visited his family at the Admiral's House (where the Vice President lives now) on weekends but slept most weeknights in his cabin aboard Dauntless pierside at the Washington Navy Yard, where she stayed for the duration of her wartime service:

And don't call me Surely.

Businesses have flagship stores, much bigger than their standard outlets, possessing greater stocks of inventory, and often found in prestigious shopping districts.

Auto manufacturers have flagship cars. Like the Chevy Corvette, an expensive signature vehicle with looks and power. when Chevy displays a company commercial, the Corvette is prominently featured.
What stores and automobile lines (and hotel chains and publishing companies and on and on) don't have is actual flag officers in actual ships playing important roles. Navies do, and Starfleet does. The possibility of confusion or at least imprecision seems obvious and undesirable.

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