does a starfleet ship always have a CO with the rank of captain?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by bluepicard27, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. bluepicard27

    bluepicard27 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    because how come u never see commanders or admirals with the own ships (btw i now there is a few minor exceptions) like in navys in our time
     
  2. SilentP

    SilentP Commodore Commodore

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    Well Sisko did have command of the Defiant for Season 3, so we know it is possible for non-Captains to have command of ships.
     
  3. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    also in DSN we saw a Lt. Cmdr. (I think) in command of a Nebula Class vessel in S2. Dax was in command of the Definat in DSN at the start of S6.
     
  4. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    In the most Treks, not really. In DS9 a few attempts were made. Worf essentially was the Defiant's commanding officer, and he was a Lt. Commander. Dax was assigned command of the Defiant during the Dominion War, and they even adhered to tradition by calling her Captain despite her actual rank being Lt Commander. The USS Prometheus in Second Sight had a Lt. J.G. in command, though I think the intention was for him to be a Lt. Commander and Props/Costuming screwed up.

    Admirals don't usually command ships. They command a task force, or carrier group or can be in command of a specific mission that a ship is on, but the ship would still have its own captain. I never made sense to me that Kirk had to be demoted to Captain and Decker to Commander in TMP, but that's another discussion.

    So presumably, yes, officers of ranks lower than cpatain can command a starship, just like in actual navies of today.
     
  5. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I think being a starship captain carries an enormous responsibility--at any given time, entire worlds and millions (if not sometimes billions) of lives could depend on the decisions he or she makes. So regardless of the size of the vessel, the billet for the commander of a frontline Starfleet vessel could indeed warrant a captain. The exception may be with small support craft or small starships assigned to a starbase (in the latter scenario, the ship would perhaps operate under the authority of the starbase CO, even if a lower-ranked officer was in the center seat).
     
  6. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    For what it's worth, the novels also feature officers lower than captain commanding starships. Not very many, and I think it's only been in recent years that they began doing so. Hell, I'm trying to think of examples but all that comes to mind is the recent Voyager novels.
     
  7. Sector 7

    Sector 7 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Thanks, Wormy! I thought I was the only fan who thought it made no sense. Kirk could have commanded the mission while Decker remained captain. It would not have changed the movie, but that point always bothered me.:techman:
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Well, Kirk and Scotty did seem to agree that Kirk would have to part with an arm and a leg in order to get "his" ship back. Perhaps the price Admiral Nogura agreed to was Kirk giving up both the position of Chief of Starfleet Operations and the rank of Rear Admiral?

    So did the Enterprise-D on a number of occasions, including "Arsenal of Freedom".

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Argument could be made that Kirk (with two solid cuff stripes) was a commander in WNMHGB. And that he obtained the rank of Captain prior to the next episode.

    :)
     
  10. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Commodore Decker was in command of the Constellation.
     
  11. The Green Mushroom

    The Green Mushroom Commander Red Shirt

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    I personally think this is the most likely scenario, both logically (why would you place the lives of a planet and its billion of inhabitants in the hands of a guy two years removed from the academy) and from what we have seen on screen. And by that I mean this, to the best of my knowledge absent wartime, or the captain being dead or otherwise out of the picture have we ever seen an onscreen ship commanded by someone of a lower rank than captain? (Please enlighten me if I am wrong)

    In today's navies, to the best of my knowledge (and please correct me if I am wrong), no major combatant is commanded on a permanent basis by anyone of a lower rank than commander. And the most important ships, missile subs and carriers have full captains on board. A lieutenant can probably command a patrol ship very easily--especially if his XO is chief who's career started when the LT was in diapers--but that is a whole different ball game than trusting a mission to hunt down and sink another boat or ship, or a cruise missile or air strike to him.
     
  12. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Actually, Kirk was an Admiral right up to the end of Trek 4.
     
  13. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    No, he stepped down from Admiral to Captain in TMP and got re-promoted sometime before TWOK.
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ...We might decide he just liked to dress up as a Captain after winning back the center seat, and none of the heroes had the guts to call him on that. But we'd still have to explain why Kirk chose to demote Will Decker in rank when replacing him as the CO.

    It's an odd twist of events, but so is the idea of sending a Rear Admiral to command a single ship on a high-risk mission like this. How often does that sort of thing happen in real naval history?

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Well, it is a mission to save Earth and probably the Federation itself. Even if only one ship is being sent, this might be considered extenuating circumstances and warrant the presence of a flag officer. Hell, it might not have been too far out of line for Nogura himself to tag along.
     
  16. Anwar

    Anwar Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the real Navy, you can command a vessel at the rank of Lt. Commander. It'll be a smaller, likely older vessel but it's still a command. It's the higher class of ship that require higher-ranks (Aircraft Carriers, for example).

    It's probably the same with Trek. Smaller Cruisers/Destroyers/Frigates will likely have Commanders as COs with the Heavier Cruisers and the "Battleships" (Galaxy-Class and Sovereigns in the TNG era, Constitutions and Excelsiors in the TOS era) commanded by Captains.
     
  17. Neutral Zone

    Neutral Zone Captain Captain

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    Commodore Decker commanded the USS Constellation before its destructon in 'The Doomsday machine'. Then took temporary command of the Enterprise whist Kirk was busy on another ship.
     
  18. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Well Kirk told Decker that his was a "temporary grade reduction" to commander, so most likely Kirk's was also. So he wouldn't have to be promoted again, he would just automatically go back up to admiral after his assignment on Enterprise was over.

    Not very often, but there's no real reason it couldn't happen. What would not happen would be the odd rank reduction; there's no reason the admiral couldn't command the overall mission and the captain remain in command of the vessel. Which is what happened in the very next movie.

    Justin
     
  19. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yep. :)
     
  20. Deathlok

    Deathlok Ensign Red Shirt

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    Kirk was a captain in STTMP at least after he got the Enterprise back, he was an Admiral again when STTWOK came out.

    What happened inbetween, who knows for sure?

    Speculation is that he took the Enterprise on a new 5 year mission. After which he gave up command and got promoted to Admiral again.