Commodore Kirk?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by CrazyMatt, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. CrazyMatt

    CrazyMatt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2013
    Location:
    Sitting in Kirk's command chair
    We've seen commodores commanding starships, and have theorized that under certain conditions, they would have overall command of multiple ships.

    Given Kirk's proficiency as a starship commander, do you think that he would have been promoted to commodore if Star Trek had went to a fourth season or beyond?
     
  2. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2016
    Location:
    Mississauga
    Why not? I think he might have liked it better than being Admiral Desk Jockey.

    That said, it would also complicate stories, lead to more redshirt deaths, and even take away a necessary plot truth for many good stories - that the Enterprise is all alone and has nobody to come to their aid.
     
  3. JonnyQuest037

    JonnyQuest037 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Parsippany, New Jersey, USA
    In a real Starfleet, possibly. On a TV show like Star Trek, no. "Captain Kirk" just rolls off the tongue better. :)
     
    Kor, Mr. Laser Beam and J.T.B. like this.
  4. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    Decker being a commodore was just so he could pull rank and set up a more dramatic conflict in the episode. There wouldn't be a need for that with Kirk within the series.
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    astral plane
    No.
     
    J.T.B. likes this.
  6. Desert Kris

    Desert Kris Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2008
    Location:
    Desert City
    Hmmm, actually, I think that would have been a good fit at some point. Most of the time while growing up, the movies were more accessible to me, so at some point in time I became more used to those uniforms, that version of the Enterprise...and Kirk as an admiral. There's the sense that some people interpret Kirk's punishment in The Voyage Home in rather bleak terms: he is demoted, given a crappy ship, and is generally not trusted by the brass, while giving a cheery outside appearance to hero-worship seeking media. It's a pretty bleak and cynical interpretation, from a fan base that talks up so much how optimistic ST's future is...kind of ironic.

    So, let's say for the sake of argument that Admiral is too high a rank. And busting him all the way back down to Captain (even though it has nostalgic appeal) is kind of too low a drop. Commodore is a happy medium in the sense that it allows him to sit in a captain's chair, very much in keeping with what has been shown before, but it also balances it out with Kirk's maturity, so to speak. It keeps the movies true to a thread of aging and being in a different place in life, from The Wrath of Khan. It allows Kirk to command the Enterprise, but as a mature, seasoned officer he is respected just enough that he doesn't have to put up with other captains or ambassadors trying to pull rank on him anymore (like we saw in the TV show, a few times too many). It gives him the opportunity occasionally to coordinate more than one Starship as well, if he has to, just as Picard has been shown to do on occasion (my dad was in the Navy, and he said at that point Picard might as well be a commodore).

    I will say though, Kirk as a commodore would be appropriate in the movie era. The show never got a fourth season. If the novels tried to introduce the possibility in that nebulous and unknowable narrative gap between the show and the movies, and think they can make it work, well, I think I would find it a little weird, but maybe I would try and keep an open mind.
     
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Orbiting Urectum
    I could understand it if Phase II had been made, with Commander Decker as his XO leading landing parties (and whatnot) to leave Commodore Kirk overseeing bigger picture matters.
     
  8. Ralphis

    Ralphis Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    Location:
    [Redacted]
    I've always been interested in the long gap between TMP and TWOK as the two are actually set over a decade apart. In TMP, you see Kirk take kind of a self-imposed pseudo demotion from Rear Admiral to Captain. But in TWOK he's back in the Admiralty. I always imagined that Kirk assumed permanent command of the Enterprise during this time, but as a Commodore or a Fleet Captain - a compromise between the ranks of Captain and Admiral (I prefer Fleet Captain, just so you can still call him Captain Kirk). When Kirk returns to Starfleet from his brief retirement in the early 2280's, he then officially returns to the Admiralty. And when he actually does get demoted to Captain in TVH, he's getting demoted two ranks and not just one, so it's a pretty significant demotion.

    But that's all just hypothetical. My own personal 'head canon' as I suppose the term is. ;)

    If there's ever some sort of and 'interquel' TV series or movie set between TMP and TWOK, I think it would be a good concept to explore. (I know, I know, such project will never happen.)
     
  9. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Location:
    On the USS Sovereign
    I thought he was punished by being demoted to Captain and staying with the Enterprise after the V'Ger incident.
     
  10. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2016
    Location:
    Mississauga
    "Punished" in name only. He loves being captain.
     
  11. JRoss

    JRoss Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2010
    Location:
    Stain'd-by-the-Sea
    In the current US navy "commodore" doesn't exist as a rank, but it is a position given to some captains. Commodores have command of multiple ships. Sisko would have been a commodore, and likely Picard as well, as he was seen overseeing the fleet battle in Redemption.
     
  12. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    Ferguson, Missouri, USA
    It's not uncommon for people to be promoted (or rather, appointed) from captain to rear admiral or above. As such, commodore is usually skipped by most captains going into the admiralty, IIRC. It may have been helpful at one time as a grade to distinguish seniority in a group of captains until someone realized that it could be just a position rather than an actual rank. I like to think that's the rationale why we didn't see any actual commodores from TNG onwards.
     
  13. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Location:
    USS Protostar
    I don't know why he would be punished for V'ger (other than demoting himself, Decker, insisting on commanding an untested refitted ship, leading to the deaths of two officers via transporter malfunction and the near-destruction of the ship...), since he saved Earth.

    He was "punished" after the Whale Probe incident, although that was mostly diplomatic to placate the Klingons.
     
  14. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2016
    Location:
    Mississauga
    Everybody wins - Kirk gets what he wants, the Klingons perceive it as a recognition of Kirk's dishonor (though some would like to see him die dishonorably), and the Starfleet hierarchy can defend their actions to anyone who isn't well acquainted with Kirk's preferred posting.
     
  15. Ensign Benson

    Ensign Benson Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    There are a couple of times where it would have been a good idea to promote/demote Kirk to Commodore. That would have been a cool way to start a new 5 year mission, had the series not been cancelled, for example.

    Also, it would have made a lot more sense to demote Admiral Kirk to Commodore Kirk after the events of Star Trek III and IV. It was an appropriate rank for a starship commander, and he would have outranked Spock and Scotty. Instead we get the bizarre situation of Star Trek V and VI where the Enterprise has three men holding the rank of Captain.

    That is a situation that actually happens in real life. Most US aircraft carriers are commanded by a Captain (06), the XO is also an 06, and the chief engineer often is as well. But an aircraft carrier has about 6,000 crew, not the 400-odd that the Enterprise had. And regardless of the fact that it happens in the real military, it makes for weird and confusing TV and movies.

    Side rant: Why the hell did they feel the need for that "temporary grade reduction" silliness for Kirk and Decker in STI? Pure nonsense.
     
  16. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    The "temporary grade reduction" thing was definately bogus.

    Frankly, the idea of having even one Naval Captain (O6) equivalent for a 400-person ship seems a bit peculiar to me. Personally, my 'head canon' assumes that there are two "Captain" grades and two to three "posts" at various points in Trek - "Fleet Captain" (O6 equivalent, three full stripes, held by Garth and Pike in TOS, Picard and Sisko in TNG-era), "Starship Captain" (Between O6 & O5, two and half stripes, held by Kirk, Spock, Styles etc during TOS, Janeway during TNG-era), commanders of lesser vessels may use the title of Captain (usually at O5, wears two stripes, otherwise Commander). Does that make any sense?

     
    Ensign Benson likes this.
  17. Ensign Benson

    Ensign Benson Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    That smacks very much of the 18th century British naval rank structure, and is a cool way of forcing it to make sense! Especially seeing how Rodenberry modeled Kirk on Horatio Hornblower.
     
  18. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2005
    We know that Kirk's rank is simply "captain," and we also know from "Tomorrow is Yesterday" that lieutenant in Starfleet is equivalent to captain USAF, so, counting the stripes, captain in Starfleet is pretty clearly equivalent to O-6, the same as today.

    There were two grades of captain in that system (sort of) but no lieutenant commanders or officers below lieutenant, so I'm not so sure that's a good parallel.
     
  19. Shamrock Holmes

    Shamrock Holmes Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    Actually, if you don't 'skip' braids (which the SF system doesn't) and count upwards from the known datapoint of "one braid" vis-a-vis USAF, then there is logically an extra rank compared to modern USN practice.

    As "one braid" = AF Captain & SF Lieutenant (v USN's two), then "one and a half" would be AF Major & SF Lt Cdr (v USN's 2.5), "two braids" would be USAF Lt Col & SF Cdr (v USN's three), "two and a half" would be USAF Col and SF (Starship) Captain (equals three and a half in USN, not used), "three braids" could therefore be Fleet Captain, which is canonical, but without established insignia (corresponds to four stripes in USN usage, but might more closely compare to British Army/Marine Brigadier, who are "field officers" (ie de facto "senior colonels") rather than "general officers" as Brigadier Generals (who rank with SF Commodores or Rear Admiral LH's depending on era) are).
     
    Ensign Benson likes this.
  20. Ensign Benson

    Ensign Benson Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    IIRC, they had 4 grades of lieutenant and two of Captain, then Commodore and three grades of Admiral, so it would translate as:
    O1 4th Lt / Ensign
    O2 3rd Lt / Lt jg
    O3 2nd Lt / Lt
    O4 1st Lt/ Lt. Commander
    O5 Post Captain/ Commander
    O6 Captain/ Captain
    Which seems to be just about right. Except we have to pretend that TOS had a Lt jg rank, which they never alluded to, but they never alluded to not having it, either. So it takes a little forcing, but it still works pretty well.