Commodores in command of Starships?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Lance, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Location:
    Trying to focus....
    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.
     
  2. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Location:
    Heidelberg, Germany
    My thoughts as well. But Robert Comsol was looking for an in-universe explanation and that to me seems to be a lot more difficult.
     
  3. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    More likely someone in the wardrobe dept. remembered that previous commodores (or four out of five, anyway) wore the Starbase/Starfleet Command badge so they went with that and gave it no more thought.

    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.
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    alt.nerd.obsessive.pic
    That actually seems more convoluted than he was a flag officer commanding the task force.
     
  5. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I don't think so; it accounts for Decker's situation, the difference in badges, Wesley giving helm orders and the absence of another captain for Lexington.
     
  6. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Location:
    Regina, SK, Canada
    Well, a Commodore is the same thing as a Rear Admiral, Lower Class. Most likely between TOS and TMP they just got rid of the Commodore designation and renamed it Rear Admiral, Lower Rank (just calling it Rear Admiral though).

    I always figured Kirk was a Lower Rear Admiral (that's a heckuva name, lol) in TMP. The equivalent of a 1-Star Brigadier, since it'd only been two years since his mission with the Enterprise ended.

    It's believable that there would be Commodores/1-Star Admiral in command of important Starship missions or Flotillas. Decker may have had other ships under his command but was on his own with the Constellation for whatever reason.

    "Fleet Captain" I figured was an honorary/temporary rank made for Senior Captains who hadn't gotten a full-on promotion to Commodore/Rear Admiral yet.
     
  7. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Location:
    Trying to focus....
    Need a Navy guy/gal to confirm this, but I think you mean "Rear Admiral, Lower Half."
     
  8. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    The US Navy titles, according to 10 USC 535, are "rear admiral" (two star) and "rear admiral (lower half)" (one star).

    There would probably be a mutiny of admirals if anyone proposed a rank with "lower class" in the title.
     
  9. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Location:
    New England
    On the other hand Rear Admiral (senior grade) 2-stars, and Rear Admiral (junior grade) 1-star might be more acceptable since they're already doing that for Lieutenants.

    Personally I'd prefer using Fleet Commodore for the 1-star rank. The real problem is that all those 1-star officers want to be admirals and will bitch to high heaven if they aren't.
     
  10. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2001
    Location:
    alt.nerd.obsessive.pic
    I don't think the "junior grade" description would work for a rank that high up the chain of command.
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    ...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?

    Where the distinction explanation undoubtedly works is the very first time we see the bridge of another starship in TOS, i.e. the ISS Enterprise from "Mirror, Mirror".

    Since three starship bridges with three starship captains commanding (Enterprise, Exeter, Defiant) featured the short command chairs, we have inevitably to conclude IMHO that either only starship bridges where a Commodore is the commander feature the high chair (we never saw the Constellation's bridge ;)) - this would leave Wesley to be the commander of the Lexington - or the chair is made higher once a flag officer assumes (temporarily) command of such a starship (however, doesn't work for Commodore Stocker in "The Deadly Years").

    As a thought experiment, consider this: Had Wesley decided to conduct the M-5 war games aboard the Enterprise, what would have happened to Captain Kirk?

    Would he have just relieved Sulu and take over his place for the duration of the mission? Frankly, I find myself having a hard time imagining this for Kirk - or a supposed original captain of the Lexington.

    Bob
     
  12. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    The captain of the Lexington, assuming that there had recently been one besides Commodore Wesley, could have just retired or gotten promoted. Heck, he could even have died, either naturally or in the line of duty. There just aren't any facts to go on.

    Also, there is no evidence I'm aware of supporting the idea that the high-backed command chair denotes a flag ship. I'd be interested, if Harvey, Maurice, or someone is aware of any production notes on why it was done.

    As for why they didn't make the Exeter's chair a high chair, the answer could be very simple: if there's variety in the chairs, why should every chair be alike except Kirk's. In other words, the fact that three chairs are alike (Enterprise, Exeter, Defiant), whereas one is different (Lexington), proves nothing, when only a third, or less, of the command chairs in ships of that class have been sampled.
     
  13. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    USS Berlin
    We are talking about the captain's chair of a starship, the most prestigious one in the Starfleet (and possibly just one out of 12).

    Any vacancy would be immediately filled (with plenty of candidates for such an esteemed job) and I lack the imagination that Starfleet just waited for this vacancy and then rescheduled all the other 4 starships to take part in the M-5 war games.

    I would love to learn more myself. But the fact remains that the Lexington was the lead ship in the M-5 war games and with a flag officer in command which could very well qualify as a flagship.

    And there are not that many flag officers commanding TOS starships:

    Commodore Matthew Decker - USS Constellation
    Commodore Robert Wesley - USS Lexington
    Captain Chandra - USS ?
    Captain Harris - USS Excalibur
    Captain James T. Kirk - USS Enterprise
    Captain Krasnovsky - USS ?
    Captain Ronald Tracey - USS Exeter
    Captain ? - USS Defiant

    I don't know if that's something we may have forgotten but IIRC the bigger chair used to identify the "boss" at any conference table. Considering your Star Wars comments in the other thread just check out Governor Tarkin's chair at the Death Star conference. His is the biggest because he is in charge and Admiral Motti and General Taggi and Darth Vader (!) will do as he says...;)

    Bob
     
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    "Who are you?"
    In the absence of any production notes that indicate to the contrary, your pet theory is unfounded speculation. With no information to decide, the question of what the high back means is another one of the unanswerable questions raised by the fact that the artists put so much effort into making the depicted universe seem real.
     
  15. DCR

    DCR Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2013
    Location:
    Wentworth Hall, Tellus of Sol
    Lots of people are drawing from the contemporary USN, but I think a better idea might be to look at the RN. The key here is that in the Royal Navy, commodore is not traditionally a flag rank even though it's equivalent in grade to a one-star rear admiral. You see it in the army, too, where the UK brigadier is an 0-6 field-grade officer, not a general officer.

    If you look at it historically, commodore is the highest rank that could command a ship. Flag officers always worked through a captain, while commodores would sometimes command both their own ship and the squadron.

    So yes, a commodore makes complete sense as the commanding officer of a starship, while none of the admiral ranks do.
     
  16. Mario de Monti

    Mario de Monti Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2013
    Location:
    Heidelberg, Germany
    Personally I´m not convinced the high chair is reserved for flag officers but neither do I find it necessary to strictly oppose this idea. We just don´t know enough, it could be either way. But my questions from post #39 still remain unanswered: What possible advantage can this high back have and why deprive the regular captains of such an advantage (they spend a lot more time in the chair than flag officers)?


    @ Robert Comsol

    Your Star Wars comparison pulled me a lot closer to your point of view ;)

    Mario
     
  17. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    We know commodores in TOS can (a) command a single ship and (b) command more than one ship. It is reasonable to assume that (a) and (b) are both the same officers, but they rarely act as (b) because starships normally work independently on detached patrol or exploration missions.

    So a commodore is minding his own business and commanding his own vessel, when he gets a space-gram from Starfleet Command: Rendezvous at such-and-such location with starships X, Y and Z, to form task force under your command for duration of mission, and so on.

    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. But it doesn't seem too far out an explanation to me. If you want to throw the high-back chair in there along with the badge, that's fine with me; I personally don't give too much weight to furniture as a rank indicator.

    Yes but according to Stocker in "The Deadly Years" a commodore is a flag officer.
     
  18. DCR

    DCR Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2013
    Location:
    Wentworth Hall, Tellus of Sol
    Fair enough that a Starfleet commodore is a flag officer, but I still think that the best parallel for how the rank is used in the series appears to be the Royal Navy example.
     
  19. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    I agree and mentioned it myself back on the first page. ETA: It was common in the early US Navy, as well.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  20. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Location:
    Houston, we have a problem...
    Absolutely - That is the way I always saw it. In essence, a Commodore straddles the line between a regular officer and a flag officer.