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Old October 1 2012, 02:43 PM   #16
Anwar
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

In the real Navy, you can command a vessel at the rank of Lt. Commander. It'll be a smaller, likely older vessel but it's still a command. It's the higher class of ship that require higher-ranks (Aircraft Carriers, for example).

It's probably the same with Trek. Smaller Cruisers/Destroyers/Frigates will likely have Commanders as COs with the Heavier Cruisers and the "Battleships" (Galaxy-Class and Sovereigns in the TNG era, Constitutions and Excelsiors in the TOS era) commanded by Captains.
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Old October 1 2012, 02:56 PM   #17
Neutral Zone
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Commodore Decker commanded the USS Constellation before its destructon in 'The Doomsday machine'. Then took temporary command of the Enterprise whist Kirk was busy on another ship.
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Old October 1 2012, 02:59 PM   #18
J.T.B.
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Actually, Kirk was an Admiral right up to the end of Trek 4.
No, he stepped down from Admiral to Captain in TMP and got re-promoted sometime before TWOK.
Well Kirk told Decker that his was a "temporary grade reduction" to commander, so most likely Kirk's was also. So he wouldn't have to be promoted again, he would just automatically go back up to admiral after his assignment on Enterprise was over.

It's an odd twist of events, but so is the idea of sending a Rear Admiral to command a single ship on a high-risk mission like this. How often does that sort of thing happen in real naval history?
Not very often, but there's no real reason it couldn't happen. What would not happen would be the odd rank reduction; there's no reason the admiral couldn't command the overall mission and the captain remain in command of the vessel. Which is what happened in the very next movie.

Justin
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Old October 1 2012, 03:00 PM   #19
CorporalCaptain
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Neutral Zone wrote: View Post
Commodore Decker commanded the USS Constellation before its destructon in 'The Doomsday machine'. Then took temporary command of the Enterprise whist Kirk was busy on another ship.
Yep.
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Old October 1 2012, 03:03 PM   #20
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Ti-BOO!-rius wrote: View Post
The Wormhole wrote: View Post
I never made sense to me that Kirk had to be demoted to Captain and Decker to Commander in TMP, but that's another discussion.
Actually, Kirk was an Admiral right up to the end of Trek 4.
Kirk was a captain in STTMP at least after he got the Enterprise back, he was an Admiral again when STTWOK came out.

What happened inbetween, who knows for sure?

Speculation is that he took the Enterprise on a new 5 year mission. After which he gave up command and got promoted to Admiral again.
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Old October 1 2012, 04:06 PM   #21
137th Gebirg
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Anwar wrote: View Post
In the real Navy, you can command a vessel at the rank of Lt. Commander. It'll be a smaller, likely older vessel but it's still a command. It's the higher class of ship that require higher-ranks (Aircraft Carriers, for example).
Correct - and, IIRC, it is nautical tradition that whoever is in command of a vessel is referred to on the deck as "Captain", irrespective of rank (at least, for anyone who holds a grade below an actual Captain). This was touched on in a very cursory fashion when all the bridge officers were addressing Saavik as "Captain" in the Kobayashi Maru simulator.
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Old October 1 2012, 08:06 PM   #22
bluepicard27
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

in most navies today if the COs rank is lower than captain he is adressed as skipper (usally)
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Old October 1 2012, 10:20 PM   #23
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

^ Skipper's just a nickname. It's not proper to use it in normal military procedure, at least not by anyone other than a CO's most senior officers. Gebirg is right - the commanding officer of a ship is always called Captain, even if they're of lower rank like Commander (for example, Scott Glenn in The Hunt For Red October. His character had the rank of Commander, yet everyone on his sub called him captain, because that was his function).

Fun fact: When training for that role, Scott Glenn took a cruise on a real submarine and (prompted by the sub's real CO) gave orders to its crew.
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Old October 2 2012, 01:31 AM   #24
Tiberius
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Ti-BOO!-rius wrote: View Post
The Wormhole wrote: View Post
I never made sense to me that Kirk had to be demoted to Captain and Decker to Commander in TMP, but that's another discussion.
Actually, Kirk was an Admiral right up to the end of Trek 4.
No, he stepped down from Admiral to Captain in TMP and got re-promoted sometime before TWOK.
Then why does he have Admiral's strips when he is shuttling over to the Enterprise?
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Old October 2 2012, 01:47 AM   #25
Duncan MacLeod
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

He hadn't had time to change yet. There was quite a flap on at the time. Something about this really powerful thing heading straight down their throats.
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Old October 2 2012, 02:06 AM   #26
Xhiandra
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Didn't Picard command the Stargazer at a lower rank, too?
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Old October 2 2012, 02:17 AM   #27
The Wormhole
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Ti-BOO!-rius wrote: View Post
The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Ti-BOO!-rius wrote: View Post

Actually, Kirk was an Admiral right up to the end of Trek 4.
No, he stepped down from Admiral to Captain in TMP and got re-promoted sometime before TWOK.
Then why does he have Admiral's strips when he is shuttling over to the Enterprise?
Because he didn't change his uniform until after he boarded the Enterprise. Here's an image where he clearly has Captain's stripes.
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Old October 2 2012, 02:28 AM   #28
C.E. Evans
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Xhiandra wrote: View Post
Didn't Picard command the Stargazer at a lower rank, too?
It's never been confirmed onscreen. He presumably wasn't a captain when he took command of the Stargazer after the ship's original CO was killed, but it's unknown whether or not Starfleet promoted him to the rank of captain afterward.
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Old October 2 2012, 04:03 AM   #29
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

For what it's worth, in the Navy command grade is based on responsibility; smaller defensive vessels such as destroyers and attack subs generally have a Lt. Cmdr (surprisingly, often called Lieutenant rather than Commander) or Commander, whereas larger vessels that carry out more responsibility such as SLBM Subs or CVN Carriers will have a Captain due to the high responsibility and larger volume in the chain of command (on a CVN Carrier, for example, the Captain my have command, but his job REALLY is to oversee all the department heads that actually run the ship-watch commander, air boss, CAG, etc.) I think TOS and TNG tried to touch on that with the fact that they were given flagship status, meaning they had much responsibility within the fleet, but that is just my guess.

Starfleet isn't the Navy, so it's just MHO.

Also, IMHO, I have a hard time believing Kirk would demote to the rank of Captain just to advance up to Admiral again, and then again wish to be Captain again. It was clear that Kirk regretted his promotion, so I have a hard time seeing him doing it twice. More than likely the events of TMP were a classic attempt at military lore that if a person of different grade were to take a posting outside their grade, they would take on a temporary grade change for a special event or mission in order to still be within the confines of military doctrine, in this case, Kirk saw an opportunity to again take command of a ship, even temporarily, given the grave threat to earth. In reality, such things rarely happen. A person would either keep their grade and simply change their rank for the mission (a common misconception that officers change both rank and grade), or more than likely it would be inappropriate for that person to take over direct command, but would more use their authority to influence that command (more like the TNG episode the Pegasus).

Again just my opinion.
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Old October 2 2012, 06:46 AM   #30
Timo
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

It was clear that Kirk regretted his promotion, so I have a hard time seeing him doing it twice.
But how much say would Kirk have in the end? He's an employee, a resource for Starfleet to utilize. He may simply be told "we want Admiral Kirk, and have no use for Captain Kirk - wanna this fancy star or these discharge papers?", and that's that. Starfleet did seem to keep him in a display case of sorts, using him as a prolific and profilic instructor (Academy Commandant?) and never sending him anywhere; clearly, he wasn't being asked what he wanted to do.

Timo Saloniemi
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