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

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Old October 30 2013, 05:43 PM   #61
CrazyMatt
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
CrazyMatt wrote: View Post
While we can speculate on what the 'dramatic' purpose was, the actual real life production purpose is that they wanted to make the Lexington's bridge look different than the Enterprise's... the same reason they changed the screen panels above the communications and science stations to make them different than the Enterprise's.
...which eventually doesn't make a lot of sense if the very next episode produced right after "The Ultimate Computer" features another scene on a starship bridge (i.e. Exeter). Why didn't they make Captain Tracey's command chair higher as well?
When they redressed the bridge set and during post-production, they did in fact make other changes to the "Exeter bridge" to distinguish it from the "Enterprise's."

First, check out the dedication plaque by the turbolift. While it's not readable, it's noticeably larger than the one on the Enterprise.

Second, all the overhead cam lighting is blue, where on the Enterprise it's a mix of colors.

Finally, the background sound on the bridge is different (it's the same that was used on the Enterprise bridge in the second pilot as well as for the Constellation's auxiliary control room) than the Enterprise's during the second season.

Thus, having already provided several noticeable differences from the Enterprise bridge, there was no reason to also use the high back chair for the Exeter--the contrast was already effectively made.

Interesting side point: We know that during its production, Star Trek was perpetually short of money, so they economized at every opportunity. Another great example: while they did produce a unique Exeter assignment patch, they only made them for Tracey and Carter... all of the other 'empty' uniforms on the ship are conveniently placed to avoid showing any assignment patches.

Of course, the ultimate example of this for "The Omega Glory" is the creation of a disease that allowed the producers to replace extras with a few bags of rock salt!
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Old October 31 2013, 11:48 PM   #62
BillJ
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

I was thinking this over and the only character we see wearing a Starfleet Command 'starburst' insignia and in command of a starship (in any capacity outside of Stocker's emergency command) is Wesley. We have Komack who is the apparent commander of Starfleet then Stone, Mendez and Stocker are all starbase commanders.

I still think that Wesley was involved from Starfleet's end with the development of the M-5 and was commanding the task force in that capacity. I don't think there's any evidence that he is the regular CO of the Lexington. He's apparently excited about it at the beginning of the episode and would be an easy explanation as to why he is the Governor of Mantillies (M-5's failure).

Interesting side note: Commodore Decker's insignia doesn't have a command symbol on it.
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Old November 1 2013, 02:26 AM   #63
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

BillJ wrote: View Post
Interesting side note: Commodore Decker's insignia doesn't have a command symbol on it.
Neither does the Antares "merchant" patch (instead it's some cross-like stitching, or perhaps a "twinkling star"). The absence of the star/ellipses/spiral division symbols is a detail gotten wrong in the commonly available illustrations of these patches on the web. It's like fans feel compelled to retcon those symbols into the patches.
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Old November 1 2013, 10:08 AM   #64
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
He retains command of his own ship, but to mark the transition from single-ship commodore to multi-ship commodore, he shifts from the starship badge (or whatever) to the Starbase/Starfleet Command badge. Maybe he's required to, or maybe he just has the option.
That's a fresh rationalization attempt which I really do like a lot. Assuming all hell breaks loose (as it did in "The Ultimate Computer") and there'd be multiple visual reports from the various starship captains and confusion just a quick glance at Wesley would abundantly make it clear that he is in charge.

@ BillJ

I was wondering about the absence of the command symbol in Decker's insignia myself. Had there been one I would have never assumed in the first place that the Wesley's "flower" could be the insignia of the Lexington.

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Old November 1 2013, 09:15 PM   #65
George Steinbrenner
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Assuming all hell breaks loose (as it did in "The Ultimate Computer") and there'd be multiple visual reports from the various starship captains and confusion just a quick glance at Wesley would abundantly make it clear that he is in charge.
But shouldn't everybody involved in the test already know who Wesley is and why he's in command of the mission?
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Old November 5 2013, 08:44 PM   #66
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

J.T.B. wrote: View Post

I still think the simplest explanation in-universe is that Wesley was CO of Lexington, like Decker and Constellation, but as he was acting in a higher capacity as task force commander he wore the badge associated with higher command.
That makes perfect sense to me.

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Robert Comsol wrote: View Post
Assuming all hell breaks loose (as it did in "The Ultimate Computer") and there'd be multiple visual reports from the various starship captains and confusion just a quick glance at Wesley would abundantly make it clear that he is in charge.
But shouldn't everybody involved in the test already know who Wesley is and why he's in command of the mission?
Sure, but then again, if you have four Starships and someone hollers "Captain" over the communicator, you might get four guys responding at once.

More seriously, in WW II, American submarines usually operated alone, but toward the end of the war, they formed wolf packs of two or more boats. One boat was usually designated the senior boat, but I think that was more or less just to keep from having to duplicate everything to everybody.

(OT in his book "War Fish" Submarine captain George Grider reports on an instance where he was commanding a junior boat in a wolf pack and his decoding team broke a coded order to return to base more quickly than the "senior" boat. Grider's boat got a head start back to the base and when the word came in "Where are you going?" the answer came back "You'll find out")

Anyway, the chain of command in Submarines was always less formal than in surface ships and much less formal than in the capital ships, which is what we are talking about here: the biggest and best in Star Fleet. Someone would be at least nominally in charge, but in this situation, it makes sense to me that there would be some sort of short hand way of making sure communications were as clear as possible. The Star Ships were supposed to be working together to make the threat as big as possible.
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Old November 10 2013, 07:40 PM   #67
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

J.T.B. wrote: View Post
I think Stocker was an exception due to an emergency situation, he had never commanded a ship and it is implied that is outside his normal career specialty.
Stocker taking command still irritates me. Despite his rank, he was in no way qualified to command a starship. And when he decided to take a "shortcut" through the Neutral Zone, he should have been certified batshit crazy. There were plenty of officers unaffected by the aging disease -- Sulu, Uhura, hell even Chekov -- who were better suited to take command. If Stocker were not focused on his own selfish needs, he could have recognized that and put one of them in command.

Side note: Decker would not be "master" of Constellation, that term applies to captains of merchant ships.
Perhaps that usage has changed by the 23rd century, though. After all, in his log at the beginning of TUC as commanding officer of the Excelsior, Sulu refers to himself as "master of this vessel."

That is correct. The relationship between an admiral and the captain of a flagship, in theory, is supposed to be the same as with any other captain of the command. The admiral and the staff live, eat and work apart from the ship's personnel, and the admiral gives the captain the courtesy of notifying him in advance if he wants to leave flag country and enter the rest of the ship. As you say, not great for dramatic interplay.
But that is, as you say, a "courtesy." If an admiral -- say an obsessed admiral like Kirk at the beginning of TMP, for example -- wanted to throw his weight around, is there any reason he couldn't just stroll onto the bridge and issue orders?
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Old November 11 2013, 02:08 AM   #68
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

CoveTom wrote: View Post
Stocker taking command still irritates me. Despite his rank, he was in no way qualified to command a starship. And when he decided to take a "shortcut" through the Neutral Zone, he should have been certified batshit crazy. There were plenty of officers unaffected by the aging disease -- Sulu, Uhura, hell even Chekov -- who were better suited to take command. If Stocker were not focused on his own selfish needs, he could have recognized that and put one of them in command.
It did stretch credulity that rank alone could give someone command despite having no applicable experience.

Perhaps that usage has changed by the 23rd century, though. After all, in his log at the beginning of TUC as commanding officer of the Excelsior, Sulu refers to himself as "master of this vessel."
Yeah, that was really grating. Maybe he has a more poetic log style? Still, I would avoid it.

But that is, as you say, a "courtesy." If an admiral -- say an obsessed admiral like Kirk at the beginning of TMP, for example -- wanted to throw his weight around, is there any reason he couldn't just stroll onto the bridge and issue orders?
I suppose so but it is almost unimaginable. For one thing, admirals really don't come to you, they summon you to them. Also, the admiral coming to the bridge and giving orders in front of everyone would be such a show of no confidence in the captain that some very serious stuff would probably go down in the aftermath. It would be contrary to all professional norms and the experience and expectations of all involved. There are channels for everything to go through that have worked for many years.

BUT, it is true that admirals can micromanage and meddle in the management of the flagship, because who is going to stop them? Some are worse than others. Ernest King turned down command of Saratoga and waited for Lexington because "Sara" would be the flagship and he didn't want an admiral breathing down his neck. And then he went on to become a fairly meddlesome admiral, himself.
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Old November 17 2013, 05:00 AM   #69
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

I just recently rewatched "The Doomsday Machine," and after following this thread on commodores, I paid a little closer attention to the episode. I noticed that in the exchange between Decker and Kirk after Kirk discovers Decker has taken command of the Enterprise, Decker reminds Kirk that he is speaking to a senior officer, not a superior officer. That may indicate that Decker may be more of a senior captain with the honorific rank or title of commodore. Just some speculation on my part.
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Old November 17 2013, 05:10 AM   #70
Creepy Critter
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

WisTrekFan wrote: View Post
I just recently rewatched "The Doomsday Machine," and after following this thread on commodores, I paid a little closer attention to the episode. I noticed that in the exchange between Decker and Kirk after Kirk discovers Decker has taken command of the Enterprise, Decker reminds Kirk that he is speaking to a senior officer, not a superior officer. That may indicate that Decker may be more of a senior captain with the honorific rank or title of commodore. Just some speculation on my part.
Very good observation. That had slipped by me, for some dumb reason. I was taking what Decker said as being synonymous with "superior officer."
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Old November 17 2013, 06:13 AM   #71
CrazyMatt
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

WisTrekFan wrote: View Post
I just recently rewatched "The Doomsday Machine," and after following this thread on commodores, I paid a little closer attention to the episode. I noticed that in the exchange between Decker and Kirk after Kirk discovers Decker has taken command of the Enterprise, Decker reminds Kirk that he is speaking to a senior officer, not a superior officer. That may indicate that Decker may be more of a senior captain with the honorific rank or title of commodore. Just some speculation on my part.
Well, a commodore does outrank a captain... and apparently (at least some) commodores have special prerogatives as well. Remember what Decker says when relieving Spock of command of the Enterprise:

DECKER: Mister Spock, I'm officially notifying you that I'm exercising my option under regulations as a Starfleet Commodore, and that I am assuming command of the Enterprise.

Notice he doesn't say:

DECKER: Mister Spock, I'm officially notifying you that I'm exercising my option under regulations as a Starship Captain, and that I am assuming command of the Enterprise.

So maybe commodores in command of starships do have some sort of command authorities over more than their own ship. Perhaps that's how Wesley exercises control over the other three starships in the attack force.
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Old November 17 2013, 05:30 PM   #72
Creepy Critter
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Re: Commodores in command of Starships?

According to Wikipedia:

Field officers, also called "field-grade officers" or "senior officers", are officers who typically command units that can be expected to operate independently for short periods of time

[...]

Naval and coast guard senior officer ranks include captain and commander. In some countries, the more senior rank of commodore is also included.
Perhaps another possibility besides the aforementioned ones is that they intended "senior officer" there to be synonymous with "flag officer"?
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