Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by RB_Kandy, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. RB_Kandy

    RB_Kandy Commander Red Shirt

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    I know the Enterprise 1701 had captains before Kirk, but did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?
     
  2. Timewalker

    Timewalker Cat-lovin', Star Trekkin' Time Lady Premium Member

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    I vaguely recall something about a ship he served on between the Farragut and Enterprise, but can't think of the name. It wouldn't have been mentioned on-screen, though, so maybe I'm thinking of something I read in The Making of Star Trek...? :confused:

    But I'm guessing that at one time he must surely have captained sailboats on Earth, or at least in his bathtub. :p
     
  3. Knight Templar

    Knight Templar Commodore

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    Some speculative fiction and novels have him commanding as many as three or four ships prior to Enterprise.

    Remember you don't have to have the rank of "captain" to be the commanding officer of a ship. In the U.S. Navy, nuclear missile submarines carrying literally hundreds of nuclear warheads are often "commanded" by officers with the rank of "Commander" and not "Captain".

    If Starfleet is remotely like Earth navies, you can command ships like destroyers, frigates, or support vessels with only the rank of "Commander".
     
  4. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    JFK commanded the PT-109 as a Lieutenant jg.
     
  5. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    As far as onscreen material goes, there's no mention of Kirk commanding any other ship prior to the Enterprise.
     
  6. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd like to think Kirk commanded *something* before the Enterprise. Even a destroyer for a year or two, even as a Lt.Cmdr. Something. I'll even take Kirk as a First Officer somewhere, somehow.

    Just some kind of command experience.
    I don't like to think, and I don't have the impression, that Kirk is that green to command with the Enterprise being his first ever.
     
  7. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    In "Where No Man Has Gone Before," Dr. Dehner said that Kirk requested Gary Mitchell for his first command, but we don't know whether that first command was the Enterprise (which he could have been commanding for a year or two, depending on what chronology you subscribe to) or some other vessel.
     
  8. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I wonder how he managed that. I'm guessing family ties. Or is that sort of thing common? I wouldn't think it is but I don't know much about military history...

    Anyway, it's not like we have to look outside of the Star Trek universe for a precedent on officers other than Captain commanding starships. Look at Sisko, he commanded the defiant as a Commander.
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Well, Kirk wore the two solid braid of Commander when commanding the Enterprise in "Where No Man Has Gone Before"!

    And before you yell "different systems!", let's remember that the Starfleet braid system was basically exactly the same as the later regular TOS one in two prequels: ENT (for those uniforms that had braid rather than pips), and STXI (for both the 2233 teaser and the 2258 main action scenes). Why should it change into something else for the duration of this episode, in in-universe terms?

    A torpedo boat is a tiny little thing: Kennedy had just a dozen underlings of whom only two were commissioned officers (Ensigns both). Junior Lieutenant was more or less standard fare for commanding that type of boat, except perhaps for the most prestigious formation-leading boats (some of which were equipped with radar and had larger crews).

    Papa Joe may have paved the way for John F. by helping him pass the medicals despite his well-known back problems, but AFAIK the assignment as such was not out of the line for a competent young officer in wartime.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Incorrect. In the character's bio reprinted in The Making Of Star Trek it says Kirk commanded a destroyer equivalent class starship. This is reinforced by a reference in WNMHGB when Elizabeth Dehner metioning Kirk having asked for Mitchell aboard his first command.

    That's a nice touch of realism, there, suggesting Kirk had some command experience before being posted to one of Starfleet's frontline ships.
     
  11. Robert Comsol

    Robert Comsol Commodore Commodore

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    Considering the amount of quotes from The Making of Star Trek from Stephen E. Whitfield I felt necessary to mention in various posts over the past weeks, I can only recommend to various BBS members to consider this great book for purchase and/or as a Thanksgiving gift.

    Anybody interested in the original producers' intentions doesn't have to guess - you can easily read it all there.

    Bob
     
  12. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    A good point. Back in the day this was a primo reference source. Today it often seems forgotten or overlooked, but it's still a good reference and relevant for many things. It certainly conveys a sense of flavour and atmosphere for when TOS was in production (it was published during TOS' second and third seasons).

    I still have a treasured copy in good condition on my bookshelf.
     
  13. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    Even if he had served on other ships, it wouldn't have been for very long. Kirk was Captain of the Enterprise at 31 (2264) and graduated the Academy in 2254. He was probably promoted to Captain to take on that role, but as others have said it doesn't preclude him from commanding other smaller ships at a lower rank prior to the Enterprise.
     
  14. Josan

    Josan Commodore Commodore

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    In "Court Martial", it said Ensign Kirk logged Finney's mistake while serving on the USS Republic. The Farragut, when he was a Lieutenant, was mentioned in "Obsession".
     
  15. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    That's incorrect. Or rather, it's your opinion given that there's no onscreen material to support it.

    For starters, it doesn't matter if it comes from a book if it doesn't make it onscreen (fans of various reference books written by people who worked on Trek know this very well). Secondly, Dehner's comment doesn't preclude that Kirk's first command was the Enterprise and that Kirk wanted Mitchell to be there with him. So it could go either way--either Kirk was captain of a ship prior to the Enterprise or he wasn't--as there is no way to prove either position from onscreen material.

    The only answer to the question in the OP is that there is no official answer, only our personal conjecture and opinions.
     
  16. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    According to the novel Enterprise: The First Adventure, Kirk commanded the USS Lydia Sutherland during some disasterous incident at Ghioghe involving the Klingons immediately prior to commanding the Enteprise. Although I think Kirk was actually the first officer, and it was his heroic actions here once the captain was incapacitated that led to him being promoted to captain and given the USS Enterprise.

    According to DC Comics' old continuity, Kirk commanded the Baton Rouge-class USS Saladin for 3 or five years prior to the Enterprise.
     
  17. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    But was this seen onscreen?

    But if his first command was the Enterprise, it would still fit, because Mitchell was there too.

    There's nothing canon that shows Kirk had a command prior to the Enterprise.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    What Dehner said to Kirk was, "Gary told me that you've been friends since he joined the service, that you asked for him aboard your first command." I think that would be a strange choice of words if she were referring to the ship Kirk was currently commanding; in that case she would've been far more likely to say "you asked for him aboard this ship." And the whole point of her statement is to call attention to how long Kirk and Mitchell have been close, so it's unlikely that "first command" is recent. But we know Kirk can't have been in command of the ship for too long prior to "Where No Man," given what we know about how long Spock served under Pike and other timeline factors.

    So IMHO it's very, very improbable that Dehner is referring to the Enterprise itself when she says "your first command." She just would not have chosen her words that way if that had been her intention. By far the most probable interpretation is that, yes, Kirk commanded another ship before the Enterprise.
     
  19. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    I disagree because the point Dehner was making wasn't necessarily about the ship, but rather that Kirk asked specifically for Mitchell to serve aboard his ship. In such a case, any vessel could have been Kirk's first command, including the one they were currently on.
     
  20. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^I don't think that changes anything. I never said she wasn't talking about Mitchell; obviously she was. But the gist of her sentence was about how long Kirk and Mitchell had been friends and colleagues. And yes, the E could've been Kirk's first command, but if that were the case, it wouldn't actually be relevant to the point she was making, so there'd be no reason for her to use such an incredibly awkward and convoluted way of referring to the ship they were both currently aboard. She just would not say it that way unless she were talking about an earlier ship at some point in the past.

    And really, why resist that idea? What's wrong with the idea that Kirk had an earlier command, especially when we know for a fact that it's what the show's creators intended and have absolutely no evidence to refute it? It's by far the more probable interpretation of Dehner's line, and I see absolutely no reason to object to it. There was never any indication in TOS that Kirk was an inexperienced commander. On the contrary, he was portrayed as a respected, seasoned career officer despite his relative youth.