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Old September 30 2012, 12:50 PM   #1
bluepicard27
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does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

because how come u never see commanders or admirals with the own ships (btw i now there is a few minor exceptions) like in navys in our time
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Old September 30 2012, 01:02 PM   #2
SilentP
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

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.
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Old September 30 2012, 01:21 PM   #3
MacLeod
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

also in DSN we saw a Lt. Cmdr. (I think) in command of a Nebula Class vessel in S2. Dax was in command of the Definat in DSN at the start of S6.
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Old September 30 2012, 01:24 PM   #4
The Wormhole
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

In the most Treks, not really. In DS9 a few attempts were made. Worf essentially was the Defiant's commanding officer, and he was a Lt. Commander. Dax was assigned command of the Defiant during the Dominion War, and they even adhered to tradition by calling her Captain despite her actual rank being Lt Commander. The USS Prometheus in Second Sight had a Lt. J.G. in command, though I think the intention was for him to be a Lt. Commander and Props/Costuming screwed up.

Admirals don't usually command ships. They command a task force, or carrier group or can be in command of a specific mission that a ship is on, but the ship would still have its own captain. 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.

So presumably, yes, officers of ranks lower than cpatain can command a starship, just like in actual navies of today.
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Old September 30 2012, 06:11 PM   #5
C.E. Evans
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

I think being a starship captain carries an enormous responsibility--at any given time, entire worlds and millions (if not sometimes billions) of lives could depend on the decisions he or she makes. So regardless of the size of the vessel, the billet for the commander of a frontline Starfleet vessel could indeed warrant a captain. The exception may be with small support craft or small starships assigned to a starbase (in the latter scenario, the ship would perhaps operate under the authority of the starbase CO, even if a lower-ranked officer was in the center seat).
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Old October 1 2012, 01:55 AM   #6
The Wormhole
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

For what it's worth, the novels also feature officers lower than captain commanding starships. Not very many, and I think it's only been in recent years that they began doing so. Hell, I'm trying to think of examples but all that comes to mind is the recent Voyager novels.
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Old October 1 2012, 03:18 AM   #7
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

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.
Thanks, Wormy! I thought I was the only fan who thought it made no sense. Kirk could have commanded the mission while Decker remained captain. It would not have changed the movie, but that point always bothered me.
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Old October 1 2012, 06:28 AM   #8
Timo
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Well, Kirk and Scotty did seem to agree that Kirk would have to part with an arm and a leg in order to get "his" ship back. Perhaps the price Admiral Nogura agreed to was Kirk giving up both the position of Chief of Starfleet Operations and the rank of Rear Admiral?

The USS Prometheus in Second Sight had a Lt. J.G. in command
So did the Enterprise-D on a number of occasions, including "Arsenal of Freedom".

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Old October 1 2012, 09:16 AM   #9
T'Girl
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Argument could be made that Kirk (with two solid cuff stripes) was a commander in WNMHGB. And that he obtained the rank of Captain prior to the next episode.

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Old October 1 2012, 09:18 AM   #10
CorporalCaptain
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Commodore Decker was in command of the Constellation.
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Old October 1 2012, 12:51 PM   #11
The Green Mushroom
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

C.E. Evans wrote: View Post
I think being a starship captain carries an enormous responsibility--at any given time, entire worlds and millions (if not sometimes billions) of lives could depend on the decisions he or she makes. So regardless of the size of the vessel, the billet for the commander of a frontline Starfleet vessel could indeed warrant a captain. The exception may be with small support craft or small starships assigned to a starbase (in the latter scenario, the ship would perhaps operate under the authority of the starbase CO, even if a lower-ranked officer was in the center seat).
I personally think this is the most likely scenario, both logically (why would you place the lives of a planet and its billion of inhabitants in the hands of a guy two years removed from the academy) and from what we have seen on screen. And by that I mean this, to the best of my knowledge absent wartime, or the captain being dead or otherwise out of the picture have we ever seen an onscreen ship commanded by someone of a lower rank than captain? (Please enlighten me if I am wrong)

In today's navies, to the best of my knowledge (and please correct me if I am wrong), no major combatant is commanded on a permanent basis by anyone of a lower rank than commander. And the most important ships, missile subs and carriers have full captains on board. A lieutenant can probably command a patrol ship very easily--especially if his XO is chief who's career started when the LT was in diapers--but that is a whole different ball game than trusting a mission to hunt down and sink another boat or ship, or a cruise missile or air strike to him.
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Old October 1 2012, 12:55 PM   #12
Tiberius
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

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.
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Old October 1 2012, 01:55 PM   #13
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
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.
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Old October 1 2012, 02:16 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

...We might decide he just liked to dress up as a Captain after winning back the center seat, and none of the heroes had the guts to call him on that. But we'd still have to explain why Kirk chose to demote Will Decker in rank when replacing him as the CO.

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?

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Old October 1 2012, 02:24 PM   #15
The Wormhole
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Re: does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Well, it is a mission to save Earth and probably the Federation itself. Even if only one ship is being sent, this might be considered extenuating circumstances and warrant the presence of a flag officer. Hell, it might not have been too far out of line for Nogura himself to tag along.
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