Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

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

  1. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    ^^^
    My point--pure and simply--is that it really could go either way. There's more than one way to look at Dehner's comment.
     
  2. R. Star

    R. Star Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Shangri-La
    PT boats weren't big at all. They were basically the armed speedboats of WW2. They were around 70 feet long and has a crew of a 12-15 people. So yeah, not much more you'd need than a Lieutenant J.G.
     
  3. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Location:
    Somewhere in the South Pacific
    I think the Enterprise being Kirk's first command would be the kind of "WTF?!" moment that TOS, for the most part, successfully avoided. Ships of the Enterprise's class were Starfleet's top of the line, and there were only twelve of them. Competition for those twelve center seats must have been fierce. I'd be very surprised if a Constitution-class vessel was anybody's first command.
     
  4. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    I don't think it's unreasonable at all for Starfleet to assign a Constitution-class ship to one of its most capable up and coming officers, especially if that officer has proven himself/herself as a leader ever since graduating from the Academy. Kirk may have leapfrogged over some more experienced people, but such things happen in every occupation.
     
  5. 22 Stars

    22 Stars Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2001
    I seem to remember a good comic suggesting the USS Saladin as his first command.
     
  6. Jonas Grumby

    Jonas Grumby Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Location:
    Somewhere in the South Pacific
    Depends on how early in Kirk's career you want to assume he started regularly saving the galaxy. Otherwise, one generally demonstrates one's ability to command by commanding. In TOS, I believe it was mentioned that Kirk was the youngest of the twelve Starship captains (or perhaps it was only in one of the behind-the-scenes books), but otherwise there was no indication that he was considered any kind of special wunderkind.

    Could Kirk have been promoted to command of the Enterprise after having served exceptionally as executive officer on another ship? Perhaps. But remember, there are only twelve of those Constitution-class ships.

    If you're thinking of the way Kirk "leapfrogged over some more experienced people" to get command of the Enterprise in the 2009 movie, that's totally unrealistic from a military prospective. And remember, many of the people who made TOS had actually served in the military and treated that aspect of the show much more realistically than did any of the spinoffs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Yes, of course there is, but the way you decide between differing possibilities is by weighing their relative probability. While theoretically it could go either way, in this case it is far more likely to go one way than the other. So the more probable interpretation is the preferable one. It's not just a coin flip; we can use our reason and judgment to decide which option works better, and in this case the choice is clear.


    Excellent point. It's just not an interpretation that makes sense. The logical conclusion is that, yes, his first command was an earlier ship, and just because it wasn't discussed doesn't mean it didn't exist.
     
  8. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    CoveTom
    But don't we know that Kirk held at least three non-command posts in his time in Starfleet? We know he was an instructor at the Academy, that he served aboard the U.S.S. Republic, and that he served aboard the U.S.S. Farragut. And we know he wasn't the captain of either of those ships. In the former case because Kirk filed a report and it was dealt with by someone higher up, in the second because we know he was a young officer and his captain commended him.

    Now, if we accept the sources that say that Kirk took command of the Enterprise at age 31 and graduated from the Academy at age 21, that's only ten years in between. I don't know how long military assignments typically are, but 10 years seems to me an awfully short time frame in which to be an instructor, then join the Farragut, then join the Republic, then get your first command, and then finish that command duty and get the Enterprise. Or am I wrong in that perception?
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    The Republic came before the Farragut; Kirk was an ensign aboard the former and a lieutenant aboard the latter. We know the Farragut lost its captain 11 years before "Obsession," or around 2256-7. Kirk was in command of the Enterprise by 2265. That's eight years to get from lieutenant on the Farragut to captain on the Enterprise, which doesn't seem too unreasonable considering that Kirk was supposed to be the youngest captain in Starfleet history (according to The Making of Star Trek, though never stated in canon). And it's consistent with other characters' Starfleet records; Will Riker was offered his first command only seven years out of the Academy.
     
  10. JohnChod

    JohnChod Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2001
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY (USA)
    Oh, Christopher. You were doing so well and then that final fragment made me think you're being an apologist for Enterprise! :lol:

    OT - Finally got around to reading Watching the Clock and am enjoying it very much. Keep up the fine work!
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    ^Enterprise doesn't need an "apology." In fact, I think it's owed several.
     
  12. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    CoveTom
    To get from lieutenant on the Farragut to captain of the Enterprise in eight years, if we accept that Kirk was the youngest captain in Starfleet history, does seem doable. But is it doable to insert another command of another ship in there? That's what I was discussing, whether he had time to have served a tour as captain of ANOTHER ship before getting the Enterprise.
     
  13. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    Actually, I think his youth in TOS does. Depending on what chronology you subscribe to, Kirk was at least thirty-one when he became captain. From cadet to captain in about a decade would seem to indicate someone who moved quickly up the chain of command in a short period of time. In comparison, most officers his age would still be lieutenants.
    Not at all. As long as the possibility remains--and indeed, it does by your own admission--then there's nothing clear about it whatsoever. It just comes down to whatever idea works for you in lieu of any inarguable fact.
    Conversely, there's nothing onscreen that absolutely refutes the Enterprise as his first command. That's a logical conclusion too.
     
  14. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    But where would he have proven himself a leader? What would he have commanded? There is a vast difference of responsibility between being a department head or even XO of a vessel and being the actual honcho. Unless he commanded some very important "ground" expedition or something I think it's fairly unlikely Kirk would have the applicable experience to get a cruiser as captain without a previous smaller vessel command.

    If Starfleet has vessels smaller than Enterprise it would make little sense to select commanders of bigger vessels from officers other than those who had commanded a smaller vessel. Especially a one-of-twelve, pride-of-the fleet type of command. If there are destroyers, scouts, frigates, corvettes or whatever you will, where are their former COs going if not on to larger commands? It would be a waste of experience. Such has been the pattern of naval command from the days of sail, with exceptions in the last half-century with the sharp reduction of captains' commands in warships.

    I admit I am making some assumptions, though. There is not much onscreen evidence for smaller Strafleet ships, and if they exist I suppose their numbers could be even fewer than the cruisers, which would change things.

    It doesn't happen too often in military organizations. You don't find many captain-grade warship COs in their first command, or brigade commanders who never commanded a battalion, or wing commanders who never commanded a squadron.

    I agree that there's nothing onscreen that confirms either way, but I think an educated guess weighs toward Kirk having commanded a vessel before Enterprise.

    Justin
     
  15. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2001
    Why in the world wouldn't he? It's eight whole years. Riker was a lieutenant in 2361 and a commander getting offered his first captaincy only three years later, and he served on at least two different ships in that three-year span, the Potemkin and the Hood.

    From what I can tell in a cursory Google search, in reality a typical military tour of duty at a single posting can be anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Heck, in real life a Navy captain would only command a ship for maybe 6-18 months before being rotated out and replaced with a new captain. The WWII-era USS Enterprise CV-6 was in active service for eight years, in which time it had twelve different captains, not counting the commander who was its CO during repairs at Pearl Harbor in July 1944. (That's right -- a ship in port can have a different commanding officer than it does when it's in service. After all, the captains would be needed elsewhere.)

    So eight years is, yes, absolutely, plenty of time for Kirk to rise from lieutenant to captain and have at least one command posting. (And TMoST said that Kirk was at commander's rank when he got his first starship command, a destroyer equivalent.)
     
  16. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, MO, USA
    As an officer aboard other ships, especially one that distinguishes himself by lots of commendations and even some medals.
    Landing parties, special assignments, and even bridge shifts aboard the vessels he served on. If several of them involved incidents of extreme significance or of importance to Starfleet/the Federation, that would bring attention to him as an officer with command capability. Enough of them strung together could also be looked at as command experience.
    But we do know that leapfrogging does happen in Starfleet.
    An educated guess could also be that Kirk was fairly young when he became a captain and that the Enterprise was his first command.

    I don't believe the possibility should just be dismissed as unlikely any more than I think the possibility that he did command an earlier ship should.
     
  17. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Location:
    New England
    Maybe this will help ...

    2249 - Age 17 - With the backing of Commodore Mallory, James T. Kirk, second son of the late Commander George Kirk, enters Starfleet Academy at the youngest age allowed.

    2253 - Age 21 - Kirk graduates from SFA, is commissioned an Ensign and posted to the USS Republic an older light cruiser commanded by Capt. Garrovick.

    2254 - Age 22 - Republic is damaged and sent back to Earth for repairs Capt Garrovick is transferred to the USS Farragut Constitution class heavy cruiser whose skipper was killed on a mission, he takes several officers with him as crew replacements including Kirk. Later Kirk is promoted to Lt. jg and acts as Garrovick’s aide at the Axanar Peace Mission.

    2255 - Age 23 - Farragut is attacked by the cloud creature at Tychos IV, half the crew, including Captain Garrovick, is killed, Kirk helps bring the crippled ship into port. Kirk is nominated to Command School and travels back to Earth to begin the curriculum.

    2256 - Age 24 - Kirk is re-united with an old friend: Gary Mitchell, an upperclassman in the history class he teaches. Kirk beats the Kobayashi Maru scenario, he is awarded a commendation for ‘original thinking’ and promoted to full Lt. He also becomes involved with Carol Marcus at this time.

    2257 - Age 25 - Kirk graduates from Command School with high honors, he is assigned as Navigation Officer aboard the USS El Dorado a light cruiser commanded by Capt. Stone.

    2259 - Age 27 - Kirk is promoted to Lt. Cmdr. and transferred to the heavy cruiser USS Constitution as Executive Officer under Capt. Rexar Vetra of Andor.

    2260 - Age 28 - Kirk takes command after the Captain is killed during an engagement with a Klingon cruiser and 3 destroyers, he evades then re-engages crippling 2 of the destroyers, damaging the cruiser and forcing a Klingon withdrawal. He is awarded the Medal of Honor, Karagite Order of Heroism and a Starfleet Combat Command Star. Upon his return to Earth Kirk is posted to his first command the older light destroyer USS Ariel, he requests Lt. jg Gary Mitchell as navigator.

    2261 - Age 29 – Kirk’s on again - off again romance with Carol Marcus results in a son. At Carol’s request Kirk distances himself from them.

    2262 - Age 30 - Kirk is promoted to Commander and posted to the heavy frigate USS Lydia Sutherland, here he first meets the irascible Lt. Leonard McCoy MD.

    2263 - Age 31 - Kirk and Lydia Sutherland protect the Arulia outpost from a Tholian swarm. Alone they hold on for 97 hours before reinforcements arrive. Kirk is awarded the Star of Valor and promoted to Captain.

    2264 - Age 32 - Kirk is assigned to command the USS Enterprise, the handpicked successor of Fleet Captain Christopher Pike. Undertakes mission to the galaxy’s edge.

    2265 - Age 33 – Kirk begins five-year mission of exploration aboard the Enterprise.

    The details, like ship names and so forth, can be argued. But it holds together fairly well.
     
  18. KirkusOveractus

    KirkusOveractus Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Ambler, PA
    It does hold together well, but how much of it was actually seen onscreen?
     
  19. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Location:
    California
    While I definitely agree with you about short tours of duty and transferring officers around, and I think that Star Trek officers should operate under the same general concepts, it's internally inconsistent with the show.

    When you have officers such as Picard who commands the Stargazer for 22 years, followed by a brief hiatus and then the Enterprise-D for 8 and the Enterprise-E for another 8+ years, its inconsistent to show young officers climbing the ranks so quickly.

    Every officer under Picard was shown to be unbelievably talented, and if their goals were Captaincy, they would have all been plucked. Instead, you've got characters like Riker who remains at the Commander rank for 15 years, or Data who remains at LtCmdr rank for nearly 20. La Forge is a quick-starter who is promoted to Lt Cmdr in 9 years, but remains at that rank for at least the next 14 years (canonically, at least).

    All of these characters who ascend to a certain rank and then stay put are essentially roadblocks in the careers of young officers who hope to rise rapidly.
     
  20. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Location:
    New England
    A fair amount actually. I'll add some comments.

    1.) Mallory helped Kirk into the academy (The Apple), Kirk entered the academy at 17, father dead (backstory from the Writer's Guide)

    2.) Kirk served on the Republic as an Ensign (Court Martial) Kirk served as a Lieutenant on the Farragut, Farragut was commanded by Garrovick, Garrovick was Kirk's CO from the day he left the Academy (Obsession) Deduction - Garrovick had also been CO of the Republic.

    3.) Kirk helped bring the Farragut in (Obsession) Most officers don't attend Command School until they have had a few years of active duty (real world practice)

    4.) Kirk taught as a Lieutenant at the Academy, Mitchell was one of his students (WNMHGB) Officers in command school frequently teach lowerclassmen as part of their duties. (real world practice) Mitchell set Kirk up with a girl that he almost married, presumed to be Carol Marcus (WNMHGB)

    5.) Kirk had been a navigator ten years ago (The Corbomite Manuever) Kirk and Commo Stone clearly knew each other, with Stone as the senior, Stone had been a starship captain (Court Martial)

    6.) Kirk had the Medal of Honor and Karagite Order of Heroism (Court Martial) Kirk's first command was a destroyer class spaceship (writer's guide) Asked for Mitchell in his first command (WNMHGB)

    7.) all established in TWOK

    8.) McCoy and Kirk had clearly known each other for a while and had probably served together before. This seemed like a good spot to add him.

    9.) Kirk had to do something spectacular to get command of one of the 12 so young. This is what I came up with. Could be swapped out with a better idea.

    10.) Every one of the Constitution class captains is going to be hand picked. These are the best of the best. Mission to galaxy's edge from WNMHGB.