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Old October 10 2012, 04:28 PM   #79
J.T.B.'s Avatar
Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

I'd think a movie and a TV show would be fundamentally different in the above respect. A movie doesn't need a followership - people come to see it once and won't get their money back even if they can't figure out who outranks whom. But if a TV show is too weird for the audience, it won't develop a following, except on those rare occasions where Dada is the word and things like consistency or story logic would ruin the charm of the concept.
OTOH, the TV show will have much more time to clarify or explain the relationships between the characters, if they need explaining. But who outranks whom should be pretty obvious based on character interactions, regardless of titles.

During WWII, Admirals did command ships, but they were always flagships of battle groups and task forces - it's probably considered a purely wartime TDY posting, as it appears to be in Trek. I don't know if they still do it today with our carrier fleets. I'm inclined to say it is a super-rarity, if it's even done at all any more.
It's definitely still done and not uncommon, but to be clear, the admiral does not command a ship. The admiral commands a group of ships (carrier or expeditionary strike group now, task group/force in WW2, battle squadron in WW1 etc.) The ships each have their own captain, and even though the admiral lives and works on one of the ships, his relationship with that captain is in theory supposed to be no different from the captains of the other ships.

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