Change of insignia and pennant between TOS and TMP/TWOK

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Mario de Monti, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    Hello everyone,

    I´ve been pondering on this for a while now and would like some opinions.

    In TOS the insignia on the uniforms of the crew varies from starship to starship. On the Enterprise the crew wears the familiar delta shape, while on the Constellation and Exeter they are very much different. Probably each ship has its own unique insignia. Starbase personnel and flag officers wear still a different design.
    On the outer hull starships wear this pennant, which is different from the insignia worn by its crew.

    In TMP we don´t see a starship other than the Enterprise, but station personnel still wear their own insignia. The Enterprise itself however now shows a different pennant, which is the same as the insignia of the crew uniforms.
    Starting with TWOK not only the Enterprise crew but also those of other starships and starbases wear the Enterprise´s delta insignia and the pennants on other (probably all) Starfleet vessels are the same as the Enterprise´s:


    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/twokhd/twokhd0825.jpg
    http://movies.trekcore.com/gallery/albums/tsfshd/tsfshd0165.jpg
    http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/scans/other/oberth_model.jpg


    This carries on to TNG and beyond, with only the “background” behind the delta changing (circle, ellipse, etc).


    My question: Does anyone have a plausible in-universe explanation as to why these changes took place? Why would Starfleet

    a) Go away from individual crew insignias for each starship/installation to just one insignia for everyone?
    b) Choose an existing (the Enterprise´s) insignia for this, instead of designing a new one?
    c) Change the pennants on all of its ships to the delta shape, which was previously only worn by the Enterprise´s crew?

    I read somewhere, that the Enterprise is supposedly the only starship to complete its five-year-mission and thus has a somewhat special status in the fleet. But this in itself is a bit small a reason for every Starfleet asset “going Enterprise”, IMHO. I mean everyone in Starfleet and every starship is wearing the Enterprise insignia. You could almost say, Starfleet has become an “Enterprise Worshipping Organization” :devil:

    I´m interested in your thoughts.

    Mario

    PS: I have searched the forum, but couldn´t find a thread that dealt with this question in the past. If I missed it however, feel free to point me in the right direction :)
     
  2. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think there is an on screen reason given. You could just as easily say when Kirk was promoted to head of Starfleet Operations at the end of his five year mission. He decided to introduce a standard insignia and went with what he knew the Enterprise's Insignia.
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Way back in the 70's, Franz Jospeh postulated that the the different symbols stood for different branches of Starfleet and not individual starships - hence the Enterprise arrowhead appearing on Starbase 11 and the (pre-ENT-retcon) USS Defiant - in his Star Fleet Technical Manual. The arrowhead was the symbol of the Star Fleet Armed Forces.

    Then Starfleet seemingly got hyper militarized by the time of Wrath of Khan (Best of Trek #7 suggests war or revolution for the radical changes between TOS/TMP and TWoK), hence that symbol becoming the one and only.
    It appears the Enterprise was the only ship to go on a five-year mission. TMP and Voyager seem to suggest it, and the recent Into Darkness spells it out.

    The idea that five-year missions are standard, and that the Enterprise was the only survivor of the 13 Constitution-class starships, is (I think) originally from Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise by Shane Johnson.
     
  4. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I thought it was weird that other crews wore different insignia in TOS. Kinda goes against the grain of it being a uniform standard. I've never looked into the original design work, but at least according to Franz Joseph's STARFLEET TECHNICAL MANUAL the different insignia on board the Enterprise go hand-in-hand with the departmental colors: command, sciences, engineering and support. In other words, different departments aboard the Enterprise wore different insignia to go with their colors... so why didn't those other starships also have their own color scheme? The Halloween ship with black and orange. The Easter ship with pastels. The Vulcan ship with colors visible only in the infra-red or ultra-violet (whatever Vulcan's intense sun puts out more of), etc.
     
  5. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    Not at all. Naval vessels today have different symbols/patches.
     
  6. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    That would mean however, that the Enterprise was part of the Star Fleet Armed Forces, but Constellation and Exeter were not :wtf:

    I actually like the idea of each starship having its own insignia. Since each insignia is unique it might make it easier for the respective crews to identify with "their" ship. After all, they are living in it for considerable amounts of time.
    As for uniform standards, all Starfleet personnel does wear the same uniforms :)
     
  7. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ Mario de Monti

    I believe that would be the thread you are looking for: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=200788&page=2

    It's definitely worth reading, especially for the insightful anecdote (Bobby Justman going ballistic ;)) Maurice kindly provided.

    I shamelessly can't help to exploit the occasion to present my theory in a nutshell, i.e. that the pennants and insignia do commemorate the achievements of a previous starship and its crew:

    TOS hull pennant: commemorates achievement of a starship (USS Republic?) whose uniform insignia has been adopted as hull pennant, Starfleet uniform insignia (pre-Pike) and eventually became the arrowhead Starfleet insignia seen as a wall decoration in Starfleet's (admiral) TOS offices.

    USS Enterprise insignia: commemorates achievements of Enterprise under Captain Robert April, became Starfleet uniform insignia (harem scene in "The Cage"!) and remained Starfleet uniform insignia until "Court-Martial" and partially "The Menagerie" (receptionist in Mendez' office!)

    USS Lexington insignia:
    commemorates achievements of Lexington (under Bob Wesley?), is introduced for Starfleet uniforms at the time of "The Menagerie". USS Lexington is Starfleet's flagship at the time of "The Ultimate Computer" (notice Wesley's "big" command chair in contrast to chairs aboard Enterprise, Exeter and Defiant. Mirror Universe Enterprise could be flagship in this alternate reality). ;)

    TMP insignia and hull pennant: now commemorates the achievements of two starships, one of those is obviously the Enterprise and another one that has gone unmentioned but appears to have a circle as an insignia. This combined insignia has become the new pennant for starships and all Starfleet uniforms (e.g. Starfleet Admiral Kirk, Commander Sonak).

    TWOK insignia:
    now commemorates the achievements of the Enterprise under Captain Spock and another (unmentioned) starship whose original, individual (TOS) insignia is now also reflected.

    Of course, this is entirely conjectural but the nomenclature isn't too farfetched to be believable, IMHO.

    Bob
     
  8. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    But then how do you explain the departmental insignia on board the same ship? Do any of the badges from other ships show those same symbols? (Star for command, atom for sciences, curly thing for engineering.)
     
  9. Shawnster

    Shawnster Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I liked the idea, based upon TOS screen evidence, that the arrowhead of the Enterprise was really intended all along to be an arrowhead for Starfleet ship personnel. The arrowhead wasn't exclusively used for Enterprise crew in TOS.
     
  10. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Yes. Matt Decker and Ron Tracey both had the command star in their insignias and when we saw the Defiant uniforms on Enterprise, their insignia had the respective symbols within.
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, the senior medical officer of the Exeter wore the Science Division symbol: http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=207055

    Bob
     
  12. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The argument can be made that ALL Starfleet personel assigned to duty aboard a starship have the delta insignia, up through the rank of captain, and (during TOS) it was only those ranking fleet captain and above (and some members of their personal staff) who possessed a different insignia.

    By the time of the movies Starfleet had gotten rid of the practice of officers above captain having a different insignia.

    My two cents.

    :)
     
  13. BK613

    BK613 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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  14. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I read somewhere years ago that after the 5 year mission, Starfleet decided to honor the E by changing all ships' insignia to that of the Enterprise.

    Then again, I could have dreamed it.
     
  15. Belz...

    Belz... Commodore Commodore

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    I think it was in Mr. Scott's Guide. But it's non-cannon. Unless I read it in the Encyclopedia. I'm too lazy to check. :P
     
  16. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    True, but Kirk also wears the arrowhead before he's been assigned to Enterprise, as do spacedock personnel.

    It's a fairly long-standing tradition in militaries for personnel of different units or branches to wear different uniform trim, badges, patches etc. It contributes to morale and can be useful if people from multiple units are working together.

    It's pretty unlikely that Commodore Wesley is in command of all of Starfleet, seat back notwithstanding, as we see higher-ranking admirals elsewhere in TOS.

    I think Decker's badge may have been ret-conned to have a star in some publications, but in the episode it doesn't look like there's one there.

    But that wouldn't explain why Tracey and Kirk wore different badges.
     
  17. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    I was not aware that he commander of a flagship is automatically in command of all of Starfleet. However, Commodore Wesley is in command of one third of all the ships like the Enterprise in "The Ultimate Computer".

    And usually admirals do not command a flagship, they merely use it as a base of operations identified by their "flag" while leaving the operation of the vessel to its commander-in-chief.

    And last but not least, the rank of commodore is a "flag" officer's rank. The only other commodore in TOS I'm aware of who had actually served as / was meant to be the commander of a starship next to Wesley was Stone.

    This may give the term "flagship" a new meaning by the 23rd Century (commanded by a "flag" officer). ;)

    Bob
     
  18. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    A flag officer is in charge of whatever vessels are assigned to his/her command. Saying that Lexington is "Starfleet's flagship" implies that the flag officer aboard her has command of everything that falls under "Starfleet."
     
  19. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

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    Well that certainly was a lot if input to digest, especially when including the previous Starfleet Command Insignia thread, that I somehow managed to overlook (thanks for the link, Bob). Next time I´ll better not post something like that, before being absent from the TrekBBS for a whole weekend :)

    After going through everything you all said it really seems there is no definitive answer ... like with so many things we are discussing here. I guess CrazyMatt´s post #102 in the above thread pretty much sums up what happened production-wise.

    As to the in-universe explanations presented, they all seem to suffer from one flaw or other ... which makes me feel a little better, for not coming up with a good one myself ;)

    While I really don´t like this idea of pennants and insignia being merely chosen to commemorate past achievements, I have to admit this theory fits most of the facts, while leaving the least number of questions, as compared to other explanations. One problem remains, however (as CorporalCaptain pointed out in his post #94 of said thread): Once Starfleet had decided on the Enterprise´s delta insignia to be exclusively used as both the insignia on all uniforms and as hull pennant on all starships, there is no more change possible! No matter which ship would distinguish itself it would always wear the delta shape, so no matter which one Starfleet chose to honor and commemorate, they´d still be "stuck" with the same insignia.


    While writing this, I just had an alternative idea (if this was mentioned elsewhere before, I apologize for calling it "my" idea): What if there was some kind of poll going on in Starfleet? You know, different designs for insignia tried out on different ships/bases, without necessarily a strict rule behind who´s wearing which. Then, after a certain time or "test phase" all Starfleet personnel could cast their votes as to which design(s) they prefer to be the future one. After all, Starfleet is foremost an organization of exploration, not a military one (I know, many would like to have it differently ;)). So why couldn´t they have a "democratic" approach to such things?

    Just my 2 cents

    Mario
     
  20. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    @ Mario de Monti

    Yes, the new insignia we started to see from TWOK on, is difficult to rationalize (especially given the design similarity between the TMP insignia and the one from TNG, which rather seems to be an updated variation of the TMP version. Probably a Roddenberry stamp / trademark ;)).

    I'm not sure about a democratic poll. There'll be always somebody complaining their choice wasn't considered.

    Alternately and maybe, the circle (TMP) or the bar (TWOK) behind the Delta might represent / symbolize a scientific or technical achievement that had a major impact on the UFP?

    Bob
     

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