Ship names....Why no USS Kirk, etc?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by TrickyDickie, Jul 19, 2018.

  1. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Especially after Generations, why no USS James T Kirk in canon?

    There are also none of these mentioned:

    USS Garrovick
    USS Gary Mitchell
    USS Matthew Decker
    USS Willard Decker

    Etc

    It seems odd, considering the long-standing tradition of naming ships after those who died, especially in the line of duty.
     
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  2. Jetboogieman

    Jetboogieman Commander Red Shirt

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    USS Katherine Pulaski anyone?
     
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  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Apparently, Starfleet simply has no tradition of applying the names of its veterans on starships.

    Several vessels bear the names of pseudohistorical figures, such as Surak or Gorkon, but none are unambiguously the names of Starfleet personnel. There's an Archer, but English nouns aren't necessarily English proper names. There's also a Chekov, but the far more famous Anton is at least equally likely to be the namesake as our Pavel (the exact transliteration from Cyrillic to Latin is optional at best).

    Shuttlecraft for their part carry esoteric names - they are apparently named on the whim of the CO or the deckmaster. Even there, though, we at most have a Pike, and that's probably ol' Zebulon rather than Chris anyway.

    A Kirk would feel quite out of place there. I mean, old soldiers are apparently fine - the people John Eaves named the latest DSC ships after feature their share of professional serial killers, so Starfleet doesn't mind that part (hey, they named a ship after a Klingon!). But they need to be old, from before 2161 at least.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  4. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    From FASA's 1988 Next Generation Officer's Manual:
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Grendelsbayne

    Grendelsbayne Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Kirk is an interesting question. Also Georgiou, Pike, Matt Decker and likely several others.

    But even if SF was cool with naming ships after former SF officers, they wouldn't be naming them after every random officer who ever died in the service.

    Gary Mitchell was just one officer on a ship of hundreds, who died from weird space phenomena, just like hundreds (probably thousands) of others have done on that ship and many others. Will Decker's career ended pretty much before it started. Garrovick I could see going either way. I don't recall any specific mention of him being in any way significant or memorable beyond being Kirk's first captain.
     
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  6. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Disco had the USS Shran at the Battle of the Binary Stars. There was also a USS Edison, which was probably named for Thomas but we can all pretend it was Balthazaar if we want.
     
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  7. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    The USS James T. Kirk appears briefly as an Akira-class starship in the novel Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire.
     
  8. Tomalak

    Tomalak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hilarious. Imagine being assigned to the USS J.T. Esteban or the Peter Preston. If Starfleet named ships for every cadet or ensign killed in the line of duty they'd need a bigger fleet.

    Starfleet also doesn't give ships full names like that as far as I can recall. They tend to have names more like the Royal Navy than the USN.
     
  9. Tim Thomason

    Tim Thomason Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Interestingly, none of those are USS James T. Kirk (although fellow Enterprise Captains April, Pike, and Decker are on there). I think the implication was that all these figures were dead before the commissioning, but FASA didn't want to make such a statement of Kirk or Spock (although Sulu, Scotty, and Uhura are fine, I guess).

    The Novelverse finally introduced a USS James T. Kirk during the Typhon Pact series, and STO has a USS Kirk (and corresponding ISS Kirk) as one of its main ships in the storyline.

    But until 2010, Kirk was completely ignored as a ship name by all Star Trek licensees.
     
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  10. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    I definitely think there was a USS James T. Kirk by the 24th-Century, but giving a ship a notable name doesn't necessarily mean that ship will be notable herself, IMO. And given how big the Galaxy is, the Kirk could be simply deployed somewhere she couldn't be name-checked onscreen.
     
  11. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's an interesting question. Does Starfleet name ships after living people? In USN precedent, this is now prominently true: Carl Vinson was alive to see the launch of "his" carrier, and George Bush the elder didn't even cut it close with "his".

    Of course, in RN, Queen Elizabeth is still going strong after the launch of "her" respective carrier, even though it can be argued (and is) that the ship, like her immediate name-predecessor, was named in honor of Elizabeth I rather than II. Everything can be made vague like that, even if it isn't intended to be: perhaps a putative USS Picard in 2378 honors that other naval figure from the Trafalgar days, perhaps USS Kirk in 2278 is named after George, etc.

    Conversely, though, we would have to invent Trek people in order to establish they were alive when ships were named after them. We know Surak and Gorkon were dead long before starships with registries in the five digits would have been a thing; indeed, them being dead is what made them eligible for Starfleet fame in the first place. But an officer from the Archer family (well, not necessarily the "same" family) was alive in the 2250s of the Kelvin timeline - is a living Archer the namesake of the vessel named in ST:NEM? Nothing to tell either way. So we only lack solid proof of living namesakes; we don't have solid proof against such, even through absence.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  12. at Quark's

    at Quark's Commodore Commodore

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    But it probably wouldn't do to have a larger ship named to a less significant figure in Starfleet history, so probably the USS James T. Kirk wouldn't be a small Starfleet garbage freighter , but sooner one of the "better" ships they have on offer ....
     
  13. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    Wait, are you actually equating soldiers with serial killers?
     
  14. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Starfleet might well do, what with themselves waging wars on stun and all.

    But no, the recent examples (plus multiple honorings of past combat vessels, even if not directly past soldiers) prove this is not the case. That is, there's nothing wrong with these guys and gals murdering a lot in the name of whatever.

    Would one of those have greater odds of making history than one of the midgets? Kirk's own ship doesn't appear particularly large in the context of her time, and definitely isn't cutting edge; Janeway's vessel was far from large, and even calling her midrange would be generous. On the other hand, Archer is remembered from the 2150s while nobody else is, and exactly because Archer commanded the best of the best.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  15. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    That whole exchange reminds me of a very old George Carlin bit, about Muhammad Ali being allowed to box again after a period when the Government denied him a license.
    Or something to that effect.
     
  16. nightwind1

    nightwind1 Commodore Commodore

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    C'mon, Timo... Answer the question: are you equating soldiers with serial killers?
     
  17. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    the USS Random Communications Officer Guy proudly but vaguely served in the Tzenkethi conflict. It's wreckage is parked in a place of honor beside the SS Buckaroo Banzai
     
  18. TrickyDickie

    TrickyDickie Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    "Samara" Uhura ?

    Where did they get that from?

    All I ever heard was the Nyota and Penda argument and then they seem to have just put them together as Nyota Penda Uhura.
     
  19. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Penda/Upenda was a fan name, and although Nyota was first coined in 1982 didn't become canon until 2009.

    Plus, the Next Generation Officer's Manual was released without going through the proper approvals process. It was thus FASA's last Trek product.
     
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  20. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    No one said anything about the Kirk being a small freighter, but not every ship in the fleet--regardless of size or type--can be famous or simply in the vicinity of our heroes to be mentioned.