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. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Correct - and, IIRC, it is nautical tradition that whoever is in command of a vessel is referred to on the deck as "Captain", irrespective of rank (at least, for anyone who holds a grade below an actual Captain). This was touched on in a very cursory fashion when all the bridge officers were addressing Saavik as "Captain" in the Kobayashi Maru simulator.
     
  2. bluepicard27

    bluepicard27 Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    in most navies today if the COs rank is lower than captain he is adressed as skipper (usally)
     
  3. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ Skipper's just a nickname. It's not proper to use it in normal military procedure, at least not by anyone other than a CO's most senior officers. Gebirg is right - the commanding officer of a ship is always called Captain, even if they're of lower rank like Commander (for example, Scott Glenn in The Hunt For Red October. His character had the rank of Commander, yet everyone on his sub called him captain, because that was his function).

    Fun fact: When training for that role, Scott Glenn took a cruise on a real submarine and (prompted by the sub's real CO) gave orders to its crew.
     
  4. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Then why does he have Admiral's strips when he is shuttling over to the Enterprise?
     
  5. Duncan MacLeod

    Duncan MacLeod Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    He hadn't had time to change yet. There was quite a flap on at the time. Something about this really powerful thing heading straight down their throats.
     
  6. Xhiandra

    Xhiandra Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Didn't Picard command the Stargazer at a lower rank, too?
     
  7. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Because he didn't change his uniform until after he boarded the Enterprise. Here's an image where he clearly has Captain's stripes.
     
  8. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    It's never been confirmed onscreen. He presumably wasn't a captain when he took command of the Stargazer after the ship's original CO was killed, but it's unknown whether or not Starfleet promoted him to the rank of captain afterward.
     
  9. mtblillie

    mtblillie Captain Captain

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    For what it's worth, in the Navy command grade is based on responsibility; smaller defensive vessels such as destroyers and attack subs generally have a Lt. Cmdr (surprisingly, often called Lieutenant rather than Commander) or Commander, whereas larger vessels that carry out more responsibility such as SLBM Subs or CVN Carriers will have a Captain due to the high responsibility and larger volume in the chain of command (on a CVN Carrier, for example, the Captain my have command, but his job REALLY is to oversee all the department heads that actually run the ship-watch commander, air boss, CAG, etc.) I think TOS and TNG tried to touch on that with the fact that they were given flagship status, meaning they had much responsibility within the fleet, but that is just my guess.

    Starfleet isn't the Navy, so it's just MHO.

    Also, IMHO, I have a hard time believing Kirk would demote to the rank of Captain just to advance up to Admiral again, and then again wish to be Captain again. It was clear that Kirk regretted his promotion, so I have a hard time seeing him doing it twice. More than likely the events of TMP were a classic attempt at military lore that if a person of different grade were to take a posting outside their grade, they would take on a temporary grade change for a special event or mission in order to still be within the confines of military doctrine, in this case, Kirk saw an opportunity to again take command of a ship, even temporarily, given the grave threat to earth. In reality, such things rarely happen. A person would either keep their grade and simply change their rank for the mission (a common misconception that officers change both rank and grade), or more than likely it would be inappropriate for that person to take over direct command, but would more use their authority to influence that command (more like the TNG episode the Pegasus).

    Again just my opinion.
     
  10. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But how much say would Kirk have in the end? He's an employee, a resource for Starfleet to utilize. He may simply be told "we want Admiral Kirk, and have no use for Captain Kirk - wanna this fancy star or these discharge papers?", and that's that. Starfleet did seem to keep him in a display case of sorts, using him as a prolific and profilic instructor (Academy Commandant?) and never sending him anywhere; clearly, he wasn't being asked what he wanted to do.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  11. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    I hadn't noticed that.

    I don't think that there'd be a situation where Kirk voluntarily accepted a demotion to Captain, just to be promoted again for Trek 2. Perhaps he had a temporary reduction to Captain for the time he stayed in command of the Enterprise, then later, when the Enterprise was assigned as a training ship in trek 2 and Spock took command, Kirk went back to his old job and went back to Admiral. After that he never officially had command of a ship again until Trek 5, by which time he was captain again.
     
  12. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    There's no reason to believe the Enterprise was meant to be Starfleet's flagship in TOS. The others obviously were, but the original 1701 could very well have been any other ship.

    And yes, I know many novels and even Trek XI have since retconned the original Enterprise as the flagship, but I really don't believe that was the intention in the 60s.
     
  13. mtblillie

    mtblillie Captain Captain

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    Fair enough, I don't truly believe the original was meant to be flagship either (it seems that in TOS flagships had higher ranking commanders). The 1701 like many others were however given "starship" status, which at the time of production seemed to be a big deal, but again this is all guestimation on my part.

    He seemed to have the choice to demote.
     
  14. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    You have to wonder what the content of the conversation in Nogura's office was.
     
  15. 137th Gebirg

    137th Gebirg Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    I was always curious about the presence of "Commodore" Decker on the Constellation. Even though the grade of Commodore is no longer used in today's Navy (having been replaced by the absurdly-named Rear Admiral Lower Half), IIRC that title was usually given to a battlegroup commander (Fleet Captains were also referred to in a similar fashion). Commodore Leslie in "The Ultimate Computer" fit this tradition much more accurately, having been the flag commander of a battlegroup of 4 Connies against the Enterprise. Decker was just floating around out there on his own, in what could arguably be a much older not-so-ship-of-the-line Connie or Connie variant (don't want to engage in a debate on registry numbers, though). I wonder if he was like Adama in NuBSG - too tied to the service to retire and Starfleet didn't want to completely embarrass him, so they sent him out to pasture in a broken down older ship in a region where (they thought) he wouldn't get into much trouble.
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Very interesting. I like it. :techman:

    (Note—For the record it's Commodore Bob Wesley in The Ultimate Computer [http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Robert_Wesley].)

    For comparison and further contrast, there's also Commodore Stocker from The Deadly Years, in Kirk's words, "a chair-bound paper-pusher," who temporarily assumed command of the Enterprise, with bad results [http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Stocker].
     
  17. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Registry numbers aside, I see no reason to assume the Constellation was older or less advance than other Constitution ships. While your idea about Decker being someone Starfleet simply shoved aside to let him finish his career on his terms is interesting, I think ultimately what it all comes down to is that for dramatic purposes, the episode needed a starship commander that Kirk couldn't pull rank on, and so a Commodore was chosen. I suppose we could assume that Constellation was the flagship of a task force of smaller ships which were either destroyed by the Machine (and not mentioned) or left behind at a starbase while Constellation checked out something which turned out to be more serious than they orignially believed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2012
  18. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Since neither option is even remotely suggested by anything in the episode, why would we assume this? Decker even refers to his command as the Constellation, as if all he were was a senior captain.
     
  19. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Sure, the Constellation may have been Decker's only command. If his higher rank needs to be explained at all (which, IMHO, it does not), we could go with the idea that Decker is about to retire and just wants that one command before he goes, or OTOH, he could have been awaiting more ships being assigned to his battle group later on. Either is likely.

    The Wormhole is exactly right, though, the reason Decker was a commodore in terms of production was so that he would unequivocally outrank Kirk.
     
  20. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah, that part makes sense.