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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old September 25 2012, 12:36 PM   #16
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

According to the novel Enterprise: The First Adventure, Kirk commanded the USS Lydia Sutherland during some disasterous incident at Ghioghe involving the Klingons immediately prior to commanding the Enteprise. Although I think Kirk was actually the first officer, and it was his heroic actions here once the captain was incapacitated that led to him being promoted to captain and given the USS Enterprise.

According to DC Comics' old continuity, Kirk commanded the Baton Rouge-class USS Saladin for 3 or five years prior to the Enterprise.
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Old September 25 2012, 01:10 PM   #17
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Warped9 wrote: View Post
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As far as onscreen material goes, there's no mention of Kirk commanding any other ship prior to the Enterprise.
Incorrect. In the character's bio reprinted in The Making Of Star Trek it says Kirk commanded a destroyer equivalent class starship.
But was this seen onscreen?

This is reinforced by a reference in WNMHGB when Elizabeth Dehner metioning Kirk having asked for Mitchell aboard his first command.

That's a nice touch of realism, there, suggesting Kirk had some command experience before being posted to one of Starfleet's frontline ships.
But if his first command was the Enterprise, it would still fit, because Mitchell was there too.

There's nothing canon that shows Kirk had a command prior to the Enterprise.
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Old September 25 2012, 02:26 PM   #18
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

What Dehner said to Kirk was, "Gary told me that you've been friends since he joined the service, that you asked for him aboard your first command." I think that would be a strange choice of words if she were referring to the ship Kirk was currently commanding; in that case she would've been far more likely to say "you asked for him aboard this ship." And the whole point of her statement is to call attention to how long Kirk and Mitchell have been close, so it's unlikely that "first command" is recent. But we know Kirk can't have been in command of the ship for too long prior to "Where No Man," given what we know about how long Spock served under Pike and other timeline factors.

So IMHO it's very, very improbable that Dehner is referring to the Enterprise itself when she says "your first command." She just would not have chosen her words that way if that had been her intention. By far the most probable interpretation is that, yes, Kirk commanded another ship before the Enterprise.
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Old September 25 2012, 02:49 PM   #19
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

^^^
I disagree because the point Dehner was making wasn't necessarily about the ship, but rather that Kirk asked specifically for Mitchell to serve aboard his ship. In such a case, any vessel could have been Kirk's first command, including the one they were currently on.
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Old September 25 2012, 03:42 PM   #20
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

^I don't think that changes anything. I never said she wasn't talking about Mitchell; obviously she was. But the gist of her sentence was about how long Kirk and Mitchell had been friends and colleagues. And yes, the E could've been Kirk's first command, but if that were the case, it wouldn't actually be relevant to the point she was making, so there'd be no reason for her to use such an incredibly awkward and convoluted way of referring to the ship they were both currently aboard. She just would not say it that way unless she were talking about an earlier ship at some point in the past.

And really, why resist that idea? What's wrong with the idea that Kirk had an earlier command, especially when we know for a fact that it's what the show's creators intended and have absolutely no evidence to refute it? It's by far the more probable interpretation of Dehner's line, and I see absolutely no reason to object to it. There was never any indication in TOS that Kirk was an inexperienced commander. On the contrary, he was portrayed as a respected, seasoned career officer despite his relative youth.
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Old September 25 2012, 04:01 PM   #21
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

^^^
My point--pure and simply--is that it really could go either way. There's more than one way to look at Dehner's comment.
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Old September 25 2012, 04:12 PM   #22
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Mr_Homn wrote: View Post
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JFK commanded the PT-109 as a Lieutenant jg.
I wonder how he managed that. I'm guessing family ties. Or is that sort of thing common? I wouldn't think it is but I don't know much about military history...

Anyway, it's not like we have to look outside of the Star Trek universe for a precedent on officers other than Captain commanding starships. Look at Sisko, he commanded the defiant as a Commander.
PT boats weren't big at all. They were basically the armed speedboats of WW2. They were around 70 feet long and has a crew of a 12-15 people. So yeah, not much more you'd need than a Lieutenant J.G.
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Old September 25 2012, 04:34 PM   #23
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

I think the Enterprise being Kirk's first command would be the kind of "WTF?!" moment that TOS, for the most part, successfully avoided. Ships of the Enterprise's class were Starfleet's top of the line, and there were only twelve of them. Competition for those twelve center seats must have been fierce. I'd be very surprised if a Constitution-class vessel was anybody's first command.
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Old September 25 2012, 04:45 PM   #24
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

I don't think it's unreasonable at all for Starfleet to assign a Constitution-class ship to one of its most capable up and coming officers, especially if that officer has proven himself/herself as a leader ever since graduating from the Academy. Kirk may have leapfrogged over some more experienced people, but such things happen in every occupation.
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Old September 25 2012, 04:58 PM   #25
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

I seem to remember a good comic suggesting the USS Saladin as his first command.
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Old September 25 2012, 05:04 PM   #26
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
I don't think it's unreasonable at all for Starfleet to assign a Constitution-class ship to one of its most capable up and coming officers, especially if that officer has proven himself/herself as a leader ever since graduating from the Academy. Kirk may have leapfrogged over some more experienced people, but such things happen in every occupation.
Depends on how early in Kirk's career you want to assume he started regularly saving the galaxy. Otherwise, one generally demonstrates one's ability to command by commanding. In TOS, I believe it was mentioned that Kirk was the youngest of the twelve Starship captains (or perhaps it was only in one of the behind-the-scenes books), but otherwise there was no indication that he was considered any kind of special wunderkind.

Could Kirk have been promoted to command of the Enterprise after having served exceptionally as executive officer on another ship? Perhaps. But remember, there are only twelve of those Constitution-class ships.

If you're thinking of the way Kirk "leapfrogged over some more experienced people" to get command of the Enterprise in the 2009 movie, that's totally unrealistic from a military prospective. And remember, many of the people who made TOS had actually served in the military and treated that aspect of the show much more realistically than did any of the spinoffs.
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Old September 25 2012, 05:25 PM   #27
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
^^^
My point--pure and simply--is that it really could go either way. There's more than one way to look at Dehner's comment.
Yes, of course there is, but the way you decide between differing possibilities is by weighing their relative probability. While theoretically it could go either way, in this case it is far more likely to go one way than the other. So the more probable interpretation is the preferable one. It's not just a coin flip; we can use our reason and judgment to decide which option works better, and in this case the choice is clear.


Jonas Grumby wrote: View Post
I think the Enterprise being Kirk's first command would be the kind of "WTF?!" moment that TOS, for the most part, successfully avoided. Ships of the Enterprise's class were Starfleet's top of the line, and there were only twelve of them. Competition for those twelve center seats must have been fierce. I'd be very surprised if a Constitution-class vessel was anybody's first command.
Excellent point. It's just not an interpretation that makes sense. The logical conclusion is that, yes, his first command was an earlier ship, and just because it wasn't discussed doesn't mean it didn't exist.
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Old September 25 2012, 06:20 PM   #28
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

But don't we know that Kirk held at least three non-command posts in his time in Starfleet? We know he was an instructor at the Academy, that he served aboard the U.S.S. Republic, and that he served aboard the U.S.S. Farragut. And we know he wasn't the captain of either of those ships. In the former case because Kirk filed a report and it was dealt with by someone higher up, in the second because we know he was a young officer and his captain commended him.

Now, if we accept the sources that say that Kirk took command of the Enterprise at age 31 and graduated from the Academy at age 21, that's only ten years in between. I don't know how long military assignments typically are, but 10 years seems to me an awfully short time frame in which to be an instructor, then join the Farragut, then join the Republic, then get your first command, and then finish that command duty and get the Enterprise. Or am I wrong in that perception?
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Old September 25 2012, 06:30 PM   #29
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

The Republic came before the Farragut; Kirk was an ensign aboard the former and a lieutenant aboard the latter. We know the Farragut lost its captain 11 years before "Obsession," or around 2256-7. Kirk was in command of the Enterprise by 2265. That's eight years to get from lieutenant on the Farragut to captain on the Enterprise, which doesn't seem too unreasonable considering that Kirk was supposed to be the youngest captain in Starfleet history (according to The Making of Star Trek, though never stated in canon). And it's consistent with other characters' Starfleet records; Will Riker was offered his first command only seven years out of the Academy.
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Old September 25 2012, 06:42 PM   #30
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Re: Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Christopher wrote: View Post
.....and just because it wasn't discussed doesn't mean it didn't exist.
Oh, Christopher. You were doing so well and then that final fragment made me think you're being an apologist for Enterprise!

OT - Finally got around to reading Watching the Clock and am enjoying it very much. Keep up the fine work!
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