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Old December 21 2009, 02:31 AM   #1
Wingsley
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Conjecture: StarFIREs

In TMP 6, THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY, Rene Auberjonois portrayed the character named West, who wore a Starfleet uniform but who held the rank of colonel. In ENT, the introduction of Earth MACOs seemed to echo the notion of some kind of "Marine detachment" aboard a starship.

I've occasionally rolled the idea around in my head, trying to think how it would've worked in the post-ENT Federation.

Here's the (admittedly vague) conjecture I came up with:

StarFIREs - Starfleet Itinerant Regiments and Expeditions. StarFIREs are a subsidiary of the Federation Starfleet. They are, in fact, Starfleet personnel. Starfleet Command's naval structure is the superior organization. StarFIREs exist as either as small units (ship's "Marine detachment") or as mission-specific "ground forces" (like "Sea Bees" or "ground troops", or other expeditionary forces. While is space, StarFIREs can function inside ordinary Starfleet naval protocol, with StarFIRE personnel acting as an on-board-ship/station detachments. Titles and ranks/ratings while in space may tilt toward naval conventions. Once in planetary orbit or upon making planetfall, StarFIRE personnel may switch to a more "army" or "air force" -like conventions. (A petty officer may be referred to as a "platoon sergeant".) Uniforms would be similar to Starfleet naval units, but there would be visible differences to distinguish them.

So why haven't we seen more of them? Well, it seems to me that ground operations in most TOS, TNG and VOY eps were about civilian colonists or Starfleet starbases. DS9 did give us a taste of what could have been StarFIREs in "The Seige of AR-558". But it was never made clear what those ground forces were. So maybe the abscence of evidence does not mean the evidence of abscence.

More to come.
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Old December 21 2009, 07:26 AM   #2
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

I thought the ground forces in DS9 are explicitly Starfleet officers? In AR-558 it's pretty clear they are under Starfleet control, with Stafleet officers commanding them. I suppose there's leeway if you like, and you aren't the first to propose some Federation marines.

For what it's worth, I've always seen "Colonel" West as something of a nickname. He's really an admiral, but everyone knows him as the Colonel because of his crusty, no-nonsense militarism.

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Old December 21 2009, 10:06 AM   #3
Mytran
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

Maybe "Colonel" is his first name, like the actor "Judge Reinhold"?
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Old December 21 2009, 11:59 AM   #4
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

Actually, if we keep systematic, the President of the UFP always addressed his underlings by their names - surnames or given names - and never by rank or position.

Thus, we are probably dealing with a guy named Cornell West here, rather than with a guy named West who carries the rank of Colonel...

In all of Star Trek so far, there's not been a hint of a separate ground force for the UFP military arm. Then again, there hasn't been much in the way of ground action, so it's difficult to say if such a separate force might exist somewhere in the deep shadows.

Note, however, that Starfleet really seems to do everything. Not just the sort of ground fighting that involves starships, or errands like disaster relief, but also 100% of known law enforcement work within the UFP. There probably are special divisions within the all-encompassing mother organization for these varied tasks, but there's no evidence that such divisions would carry special ranks, or wear special uniforms.

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Old December 21 2009, 01:58 PM   #5
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

Starfires? Really?

I have always hated the idea of Starfleet Marines. It just seems far too militaristic.

I assume each member world has its own ground forces, may they be just some sort of a militia or police force, or a full fledged army. Joint contingents from these armies might on occasion form a task force, a bit like UN Peacekeepers, or NATO forces.
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Old December 21 2009, 03:34 PM   #6
Wingsley
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

Ahem,

Who said they had to be explicitly militaristic "Marines"?

If you look at what I originally posted above, the StarFIREs concept says they would be part of Starfleet.
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Old December 21 2009, 08:06 PM   #7
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

Timo wrote: View Post
Thus, we are probably dealing with a guy named Cornell West here, rather than with a guy named West who carries the rank of Colonel...
Brother Cornel?

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Old December 21 2009, 08:21 PM   #8
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

'Deed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornel_West

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Old December 21 2009, 09:14 PM   #9
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs



Somehow, that just doesn't seem to be the right role for Rene Auberjonois...

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Old December 21 2009, 09:31 PM   #10
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

To clarify what I suggested earlier, and maybe to shed some light on how the StarFIREs concept could blend into the Federation, consider Kirk's stay on Neural, as well as McCoy's stay on Capella IV. During those times, it is readily assumed that both characters were Starfleet personnel, but it is not clear in what capacity they served. If memory serves, this would be before Lt. Kirk's encounter with the Tycho IV cloud creature.

So maybe Kirk was already serving as an officer aboard the Farragut, or maybe this was before that. The whole point of this concept is that Kirk (and McCoy) was given a ground assignment: to study the natives of a specific planet by living there for a certain period of time. It was a kind of exploratory mission. The notion of StarFIREs is that this is what the assignment is called, and how the personnel are organized. Clearly, missions like these are not your ordinary, garden-variety naval landing party. Kirk could've served in the StarFIREs briefly as his first expeditionary command before being assigned to the Farragut's bridge.
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Old December 22 2009, 08:22 AM   #11
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

Longinus wrote: View Post
Starfires? Really?

I have always hated the idea of Starfleet Marines. It just seems far too militaristic.
And loading torpedoes, blowing boatswain whistles, having court martials and waging wars doesn't seem militaristic?

THe one thing people miss when they talk about concepts being to militaristic is that the Federation is surrounded on all sides by beligerent powers.

I would expect the Federation to field something similar to a Marine Corps or for Starfleet to have their own special Navy Seals type guys. Heck, considering that one of Stafleet's main (never mentioned, but often seen) roles seems to be colonial support, having highly mobile ground dudes who know how to control a situation on the ground could prove highly beneficial durring peacetime as well.

I'd think of such a group of dudes as the guys who do all the dirty work so that the Starfleet guys aren't too busy to explore space and unleash ancient sealed evil in a can and other things those pesky spacers do.

One must keep in mind that as time goes on, military organizations take on more and more and more non-combat support roles. I wouldn't expect a Federation equivalent to Marines to actually resemble a modern Marine Corps unless war were declared.

Or something.

That probably made little sense.
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Old December 22 2009, 10:29 AM   #12
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

the Federation is surrounded on all sides by beligerent powers.
And is one itself, of course.

I would expect the Federation to field something similar to a Marine Corps or for Starfleet to have their own special Navy Seals type guys.
But "Marine Corps" is a needlessly separate organization for large scale ground fighting with an amphibious/space-to-planet attack bias, while Navy Seals is small potatoes, a special force. One might suspect there would exist a large ground fighting force that either isn't separate from Starfleet at all (merely a division of it, just like Medical or Sciences is), or is an entirely separate force and not a mere Corps within Starfleet.

In other words, the Federation might have an Army.

Plus all sorts of "Navy Seals", of course - but we've already seen that sort of concentration of special skills within Starfleet proper, without the need for a gung-ho special force with a catchy separate name.

Of course, it may be that an Army is an outdated idea in the 24th century, and that ground forces are just as useless then as cavalry is today. But while we can't really know one way or another, we do hear large numbers of troops moved around in the Dominion war - suggesting that they still have something worthwhile to do.

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Old December 22 2009, 07:16 PM   #13
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

Well, taking a planet by ground seems more beneficial than bombarding it into submission, since you'd capture it with infrastructure still intact and no damage to its habitable regions. Or something. Of course, you still have to use a ship to get there, which of course ties up somebody's ships. So, a ground force would either need to hitch a ride with Starfleet or have their own vessels. This is assuming either they're a seperate force or part of Starfleet.
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Old December 22 2009, 08:21 PM   #14
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

While I'm sure this is a very fine argument to have, this isn't really what this thread is about. The StarFIREs concept isn't really meant as strictly some kind of "Federation army". Rather, it is meant to show how Starfleet can deploy personnel on planetary assignments. There would be some similarities to the Sea Bees, and some to the Marines or Army, but this is not a separate "branch of the service".
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Old December 23 2009, 04:22 AM   #15
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Re: Conjecture: StarFIREs

In any case, StarFIREs is painfully cheesy name.
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