Did Kirk captain any ship before Enterprise?

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

  1. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Indeed, I don't think the idea of a "flagship for the whole of Starfleet" is even meaningful. A flagship is the command ship for a jointly operating group of ships, and most Starfleet vessels operate alone. Too many fans -- and unfortunately too many Trek writers -- confuse the vernacular usage of "flagship" to mean the most prestigious or important member of a group (like the way Voyager was UPN's flagship program) with its formal naval usages.

    And don't call me Surely. ;)
     
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think the Enterprise Dee was a flagship because it was a command ship, or carried a Admiral, rather it was the "Flagship of the Federation" because it was a showpiece, a emblem of the Federation's prestige and a demonstration of it's abilities.

    Businesses have flagship stores, much bigger than their standard outlets, possessing greater stocks of inventory, and often found in prestigious shopping districts.

    Auto manufacturers have flagship cars. Like the Chevy Corvette, an expensive signature vehicle with looks and power. when Chevy displays a company commercial, the Corvette is prominently featured.

    The Enterprise Dee as the "Flagship of the Federation" is like those flagship stores and vehicles, large, powerful, and expensive. Starfleet, with the same materials and assets, could have built two or three medium sized starships that could have individually carried out most of the Enterprise Dee's missions, instead they built a "flying starbase."

    Somebody had to do it.

    :)
     
  3. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    ^But that's just it -- I don't buy that Starfleet actually would use "flagship" in that vernacular, civilian sense when there's already a more proper naval usage for the term.

    Also, I don't like the idea of the Enterprise being some super-special ship that's treated as superior to everything else in Starfleet. It's too fannish, insisting that people within the universe perceive it the same way we viewers do. Realistically, the Enterprise would just be one ship out of many, and no doubt there are other ships and crews who are out there doing equally heroic and extraordinary things; we just don't get to see them. And if Starfleet touted just one of its ships and crews as being the best around, wouldn't that be rather insulting to everyone else in the Fleet? Not to mention, wouldn't it make more sense for Starfleet to spread the best and the brightest throughout the whole fleet rather than concentrating them all on a single crew? The Enterprise shouldn't be the greatest ship around bar none. It should be one of many great ships and crews, at most first among equals.

    Also, the E-D was just one of multiple Galaxy-Class ships, so it doesn't make sense to say it was built exceptionally large for the prestige or something. If that had been the case, wouldn't the class have been called the Enterprise Class instead?
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    In universe, the Enterprise became special the moment they started tacking letters onto the registry. Everyone wanted to serve on it.
     
  5. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But isn't that exactly what we see happening? And the Enteprise isn't being referred to as the Flagship of Starfleet, uh uh. It's the Flagship of the Federation.

    It's the flagship of the civilian organization, not the military one.

    :)
     
  6. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But what does that even mean? It's a bizarre and sloppy usage of the word.
     
  7. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That it not a flagship in the naval usage of the term, but rather in another way of using of the term, the civilian "version."

    The Federation selected one of their most advanced and sizable ships, gave it a historically proud name, installed a scholarly commander with above average diplomatic skills and sent it forth to
    be the emblem of the Federation.

    :)
     
  8. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    But since it actually is a naval vessel, that's rather confusing. And I still say it's too fannish to force the in-universe characters to revere a particular ship above all others just because it's the ship that we fans get to follow on TV.
     
  9. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    First off, the Enterprise is not a naval vessel. It is a Starfleet vessel. Regardless of some of the similarities, Starfleet is not the modern military. They could certainly use terms differently in the 24th century.

    Second, the on-screen evidence (there's that word again!) suggests that it is not being used in the traditional naval sense but, in fact, is being used in the "civilian" sense. And the on-screen evidence also points to the Enterprise being considered a legendary and super-prestigious ship.

    Now, that wasn't the case throughout TOS, I'll grant you. But I believe we are to look to TOS as being the reason the Enterprise became legendary. Throughout TNG, the ship is several times referred to as "the flagship of the Federation," even though it is clearly not in the naval sense. There are no flag officers on board. The ship is usually off on missions by itself. It is not leading groups of ships. No, clearly the meaning used is that is the most prestigious ship, a ship of special distinction, which stands as a symbol of the Federation.

    I can't find any canon evidence that would suggest that when Picard calls the Enterprise the flagship, that he is using it in the naval sense.

    ADDENDUM: Also, the Enterprise is not the only hero ship we follow. We follow the Defiant and Voyager too. And the Defiant, in fact, gets to be the lead ship of entire battle fleets. Yet never once do we hear either of this ships referred to as "flagships."
     
  10. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The naval term would be "the pride of the fleet" or "the pride of the navy". The ship that wins all the awards for excellence and has for many years. I believe HMS Hood was considered the pride of the Royal Navy throughout the 20s and 30s.

    The closest we got to this in TOS was in "The Immunity Syndrome" when Spock called the Enterprise the finest starship in the fleet.
     
  11. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Yes, they could, but this is a case where I wish they wouldn't. I'm not saying it's impossible, since clearly canon shows that it is used that way. I'm saying it was a bad idea on the part of those writers who chose to incorporate the concept. The whole "Enterprise as flagship" notion is one of those things that started in fandom and then got injected into later productions, and I don't think it should've been, partly because it's too fannish and partly because it's an awkward use of the word "flagship."
     
  12. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^ That's probably a fair assessment. But, as you say, canon has shown us that Starfleet did start using the term that way, so I think we're stuck with it.

    Now, interestingly, I'm not sure we ever heard the term "flagship" applied to any version of the Enterprise other than the D. It certainly was never used in TOS or even the TOS movies that I recall. When a new ship was christened the Enterprise-A was, I believe, the point at which it seems that there began to be a special reverence attached. But I don't recall any others but the D actually being called that.

    Which makes me wonder if Starfleet considered the B, or the C, or the E to be their flagship?
     
  13. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Actually, Pike did call the Enterprise "our newest flagship" in the 2009 movie. Then again, this was the same guy who called the Federation an armada...

    Also, the Mirror Universe NX-01 was called "the Terran flagship" in "In a Mirror, Darkly." Archer subsequently called the captured Defiant "my flagship," but he was thinking of himself as an emperor-to-be at that point. That implies that both conflicting uses of "flagship" were in use there. Although I think the mirror NX-01 was seen as part of larger battle groups here and there, and it was engaged in an active war, so maybe it was the "Terran flagship" in the sense that it was the command ship of the armada in joint operations.

    First Contact has comm chatter referring to a ship other than the E-E as the flagship, but that's during the battle with the Borg cube so it's probably being used in the sense of the command ship of the battle group.
     
  14. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    That's fair enough.

    And even when they operate in groups it's been far from the whole service.

    While some navies have historically concentrated almost their entire strength into one big fleet, wireless communications allowed the topmost military command to be located permanently near the nation's governmental leadership where it really needs to be. Plus the numbers of staff needed to run such complex organizations isn't limited by the number of bunks on a flagship. So while Jellicoe aboard Iron Duke or Yamamoto in Nagato or Yamato had great power and responsibility, the overall wartime strategy was being decided in London or Tokyo.

    BTW, it could be said the US Navy did technically have a flagship during World War II: the little-known "gunboat" USS Dauntless (PG-61). A trim and pretty luxury yacht, she had been requisitioned by the Navy after Pearl Harbor and was snatched up by Admiral Ernest King. A somewhat self-important gentleman, his dual position as Commander-in-Chief US Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations allowed him a flagship (as CinC) and an official residence (as CNO) and he took both. So he visited his family at the Admiral's House (where the Vice President lives now) on weekends but slept most weeknights in his cabin aboard Dauntless pierside at the Washington Navy Yard, where she stayed for the duration of her wartime service:

    [​IMG]

    :techman:

    What stores and automobile lines (and hotel chains and publishing companies and on and on) don't have is actual flag officers in actual ships playing important roles. Navies do, and Starfleet does. The possibility of confusion or at least imprecision seems obvious and undesirable.

    Justin
     
  15. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I might be misremembering, but i don't think he said that. The closest the TOS Enterprise ever came to being the best of anything was when Kirk remarked that Spock was considered the best first officer in the fleet.

    Far from being the "finest starship in the fleet," a lot of times the Enterprise seemed to be getting the little shit jobs. yes they did some first contacts, but they also checked up on one, two or six person science missions, hailed around a bride, and other grunt work.

    Of all the hero ships of the five series, the TOS Enterprise was the only one that wasn't newly launched, I really think that it was more of a "old workhorse."

    When was any Starfleet Admiral referred to as a "flag officer?"

    I don't believe Starfleet uses that term.

    :)
     
  16. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Como. George Stocker, "The Deadly Years": "Mr. Spock, I do not like what I'm about to say, but regulations demand it. And as a Starfleet flag officer, I must follow regulations."

    Lt. Saavik, The Wrath of Khan: "General Order Fifteen, 'No flag officer shall beam into a hazardous area without armed escort.'"

    Justin
     
  17. A beaker full of death

    A beaker full of death Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, that quote is not from the navy. In naval parlance, there is no such thing as a flagship of the navy. A flagship of a particular fleet or group is whatever ship the flag officer uses as his HQ.
    One might justifiably argue that such terminology will change in the future. On the other hand, navies and their men tend to be extremely traditional.
    Let's face it, the usage in modern Trek stems from the ignorance of the writers.
     
  18. CoveTom

    CoveTom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Or, as has been discussed here, from the deliberate choice of the writers to use the commonly used civilian connotation of the term as a way of indicating that the Enterprise was the best of the best, on the basis that Starfleet is not our navy or any navy and that by the 24th century, things change. Things the writers do differently from the way we would do them do not have to flow from ignorance. They can simply be choices.
     
  19. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    The Canadian Coast Guard uses the term flagship in the "civilian" sense. Check it out. Also, this. And this press release about the Coast Guard's plans for a new flag ship.
     
  20. EmperorTiberius

    EmperorTiberius Captain Captain

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    Kirk is just too seasoned for it to be his first command, but it is possible. I think writer's bible is pretty powerful evidence since Gene is the creator of the show, it's his show, his universe.
    On the other hand, if you discount that, I can stil see Enterprise as Kirk's first command. You're talking about a freaking medal of honor recepient and a few other high awards (if he got them before Court Martial). If he has shown tremendous aptitude, why hold him back? Also, Kirk loves Enterprise a little too much. You don't get the impression that he would ever leave her, he's the loyal type - but if some destoroyer was his first command, why did he leave? More oportunities?

    I tend to lean towards him heaving a command earlier, but it was so insignificant, that Enterprise is his first real command. He might have done a patrol or two before getting the new assignment. It was like an internship.

    BTW, according to background info, Kirk was an ensign while at the academy, and as soon as he graduated, he was promoted to LT.