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Old January 31 2013, 09:33 PM   #91
Wingsley
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

In the 1970 movie TORA! TORA! TORA!, which was about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the movie depicts (what starts out as) a peacetime U.S. Navy with Vice Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey (portrayed by James Whitmore) in command of one battle group centered around the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise, and one of his colleagues being Rear Adm. John H. Newton (portrayed by Ken Lynch, who also portrayed Chief Vanderberg in "Devil in the Dark") commanded the battlegroup centered around the carrier U.S.S. Lexington, while Admiral Husband Kimmel (Martin Balsam) served as CINC-Pac at Pearl.

Has anyone tracked the names and ranks of cannon Federation starship-of-the-line C.O.s seen in TOS? There seemed to be quite a few commodores assigned to Constitution-class vessels.

Off the top of my head, I can think of Wesley and Decker. It could be argued that Wesley was a taskforce CO, although he sat in the Lexington's center seat. I always supposed that Connies were commanded by captains and commodores because they were the Federation's most elite ships. (At least in TOS.)

Whether this arrangement had something to do with the commodore's Connie serving as the immediate flagship of a larger squardon or wing never occurred to me.

The term "commodore" as a U.S. naval rank was abolished in the 1980's. The O-7 naval rank for one-star admirals has since been re-labled "Rear Admiral, Lower Half". O-8 two -star admirals, originally called "Rear Admiral", are now called "Rear Admiral, Upper Half". All of which is silly, of course, just for rare one-star admirals to avoid be addressed with the name of a defunct brand of computer from that same era. You can review U.S. military ranks and insignia here.

FWIW, I prefer to regard the TOS arrowhead badges as signifying the First Fleet, the largest and most central unit in the Federation. Other badges, such as Decker's pretzel-shaped insignia, could be other units, such as the Fourth Fleet or whatever.
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Old January 31 2013, 10:30 PM   #92
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

^ I suspect that the reason we see so many Commodore-rank ship captains in TOS was to distinguish them from Captain Kirk. The audience would need to know who is the senior officer, and they couldn't (or wouldn't) take the time to think about it if they were the same rank. So for example, it's important to the plot that Decker (in "The Doomsday Machine") is senior to Kirk, so the writers made Decker a commodore so the audience would immediately realize it.
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Old January 31 2013, 11:20 PM   #93
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

^^^
Well, commodore was still in use as a title at the time of TOS too.
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Old January 31 2013, 11:39 PM   #94
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Can anyone provide a link (or links) to non-USA military rank pages similar to the Dept. of Defense link I provided upthread? I would not be surprised if "commodore" is still in use today by other powers.
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Old January 31 2013, 11:44 PM   #95
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Commodore is indeed still used in many countries. See Wikipedia article here.
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Old January 31 2013, 11:45 PM   #96
Wingsley
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

I found this article about commodores on Wikipedia.
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Old February 1 2013, 12:50 AM   #97
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

If you look at current-day small vessels and submarines in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, you'll find quite a few ships are skippered by full lieutenants, lieutenant-commanders, and of course I would assume larger submarines other similar small ships captained by full commanders.

This is going to sound silly and sentimental, but I wish that the TMP-era movies and TNG/DS9 series had carried over some of these little things instead of ignoring them (continuing to use the boomerang-style Starfleet pennant, using different badge insignia for Starfleet personnel of different units, some lesser Starfleet flag officers being referred to as "Comodore", etc. It wouldn't hurt to see Picard's Enterprise-D make a stopover at Starbase 11, either.
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Old February 1 2013, 04:28 AM   #98
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Wingsley wrote: View Post
If you look at current-day small vessels and submarines in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, you'll find quite a few ships are skippered by full lieutenants, lieutenant-commanders
In fact that is exactly how the rank of Lieutenant Commander came to exist. It's not a junior version of Commander - it's a more senior version of Lieutenant. Officers with Lieutenant grade were being put in command of smaller ships, and there needed to be a way to differentiate these Lieutenants from those who were not in command of any ship.

As for the rank of Commander itself, I always assumed this dated back to the old days when a ship's Captain was only the OWNER of the ship. They left the day-to-day running of ship operations to another officer. This was the actual 'commander' of the ship, thus the rank of Commander was born.

If this last bit is inaccurate, please feel free to correct me.
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Old February 1 2013, 06:15 AM   #99
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

SilentP wrote: View Post
Well Sisko did have command of the Defiant for Season 3, so we know it is possible for non-Captains to have command of ships.
Seems like I recall Picard having been Lt. Cmdr. when he had to step up in a pinch to command the Stargazer, after her captain was killed & the XO was injured, & then afterward was given command of her, & if he got a promotion, it would likely have only been to a full commander. So I just assume he too was a commander by rank when he first commander that ship

Admiral Riker has command of the Enterprise in All Good Things, as does Admiral Kirk until he got busted back to Captain, which seems a bit harsh in hindsight, because the rank of Commodore exists between admiral & captain & they too can command a ship

Then again,... Commodore Kirk just sounds kind of stupid
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Old February 1 2013, 12:23 PM   #100
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Seems like I recall Picard having been Lt. Cmdr. when he had to step up in a pinch to command the Stargazer
This was described in the MJ Friedman novels, but not in the actual episodes or movies. In those, Picard's rank at the various milestones of his career was never clarified, and we never even learned when he earned his fourth pip - save for us seeing him wear it during his last days of commanding the Stargazer, in the "The Battle" and "Violations" flashbacks.

We didn't learn whether Picard immediately got command of the ship after his brief heroics, either. Might be he humbly kept on serving aboard the ship until reaching the four-pip rank and finally qualifying for command.

he got busted back to Captain, which seems a bit harsh in hindsight
The harsher, the better - because this was supposed to be a punishment as much as it was supposed to be a reward. Starfleet would probably have wanted to bust Kirk back to Ensign or Spaceman 3rd Class, but public opinion demanded he be rewarded instead. Going down from Rear Admiral to Captain would sound reasonable, all things considered.

Whether you can command a ship in the TOS era while holding rank lower than Captain... Well, as already discussed, we saw two people in Commander braid (two solid braid) doing CO work: Kirk in "Where No Man" and Ramart in "Charlie X". And Pike wore just Lt braid in "The Cage". And in "Pirates of Orion", the Huron skipper wore no braid at all while his two underlings were Lieutenants...

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Old February 1 2013, 08:44 PM   #101
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Timo wrote: View Post
Seems like I recall Picard having been Lt. Cmdr. when he had to step up in a pinch to command the Stargazer
This was described in the MJ Friedman novels, but not in the actual episodes or movies. In those, Picard's rank at the various milestones of his career was never clarified, and we never even learned when he earned his fourth pip - save for us seeing him wear it during his last days of commanding the Stargazer, in the "The Battle" and "Violations" flashbacks.
Although Tapestry indicates Picard was not captain when he started serving aboard the Stargazer. When describing Picard's alternate life, Q said "this Picard never took command of the Stargazer's bridge when its captain was incapacitated." Likewise, Conspiracy implies Picard was young when he was promoted to captain, since Walker Keel claims Tryla Scott beat Picard's record for how fast it took to make Captain.

So, the circumstances depicted in the novels pretty much fits everything we know from the show.
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Old February 2 2013, 12:07 AM   #102
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

^ I always thought that Picard was a LCDR when he was promoted, and he just went straight to Captain. He skipped only one rank, not like nuKirk who skipped two.
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Old February 2 2013, 02:17 AM   #103
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

there have been a few admirals commanding starfleet,in all good things admiral riker had the Enterprise D as his flagship.
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Old February 2 2013, 09:00 PM   #104
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Wingsley wrote: View Post
In the 1970 movie TORA! TORA! TORA!, which was about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the movie depicts (what starts out as) a peacetime U.S. Navy with Vice Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey (portrayed by James Whitmore) in command of one battle group centered around the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Enterprise, and one of his colleagues being Rear Adm. John H. Newton (portrayed by Ken Lynch, who also portrayed Chief Vanderberg in "Devil in the Dark") commanded the battlegroup centered around the carrier U.S.S. Lexington, while Admiral Husband Kimmel (Martin Balsam) served as CINC-Pac at Pearl.
That movie did have excellent research and got that right. At that time, operating task forces were organized as needed under an available admiral; Newton's normal "type" command was a cruiser division. Lexington's carrier division commander was RAdm Aubrey Fitch, who was returning to Pearl in Saratoga after a refit. As the war got going, the task force organization became the standard for operating forces, and the "type" chain of command became strictly administrative and shore-based.

I don't know how much you want to get into the esoterica of fleet organization, but below is how the "big ships" of the Pacific Fleet were organized in late 1941. Note only one of the four full admirals is there, the others were the CNO in Washington and the Atlantic and Asiatic Fleet CinCs. But all three vice admirals were in the Pacific Fleet:



Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
As for the rank of Commander itself, I always assumed this dated back to the old days when a ship's Captain was only the OWNER of the ship. They left the day-to-day running of ship operations to another officer. This was the actual 'commander' of the ship, thus the rank of Commander was born.

If this last bit is inaccurate, please feel free to correct me.
In the English-speaking world, the rank of commander came about to distinguish captains of big ships from captains of small ships. Originally it was "captain (not taking post)" which implied that the officer was captain of a small vessel and was not entitled to be posted to the list of officers who would be promoted, by seniority, to rear admiral. By the late 1700s the rank had become "captain and master" and finally "master and commander," and differentiated the captain of a sloop from those of larger vessels. The title implied that the vessel was too small to have an assigned master (navigating officer), and the captain was expected to cover that duty himself. In the 1790s it was shortened to "commander." The US Navy had a similar rank of "master commandant." It too became just "commander" in the 1830s, but in practice the shorter title had been in use for some time.

Naval captains were never owners of vessels, they were originally military (army) officers who commanded the soldiers who "militarized" a merchant vessel. The owner was represented by the vessel's master, which is still the official term for a merchant captain.
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Old February 6 2013, 11:12 AM   #105
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Walker Keel claims Tryla Scott beat Picard's record for how fast it took to make Captain.
Another nitpick: Keel only implies Scott beat the record of somebody present; the choices available are Keel himself, Picard, and Rixx. And Keel sort of looks at Rixx when saying this.

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