The Amazing Exploits of Captain Pierre Kirk

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by RookieBatman, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. RookieBatman

    RookieBatman Commodore Commodore

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    I just finished Star Trek Lives! which, while too droolingly fannish in some places, had some really interesting stuff in it. One of the things that caught my attention was a passing reference to a Captain Pierre Kirk, who I guess was an Army captain in the Vietnam war, and the authors said that he somehow used lines of dialogue from Star Trek to bluff his way past a VietCong patrol, or something like that (I don't have the book in front of me). They later said the full story was told in the preface of Blish's Star Trek 6 (the TV adaptations, not the movie). I was hoping I could just glance at it on Google Books, but no preview available. Has anyone seen this, and if so, is there anything to it, or is it just making a big deal out of nothing?
     
  2. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I remember reading this story years ago, and found it somewhat coincidental that your average Viet Cong soldier could speak English and were regular Trek viewers. :confused:


    Anyway, chalk up another victory for Corbomite!!!!
     
  3. WendellM

    WendellM Commodore Commodore

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    Here it is, RookieBatman:

    PREFACE

    The fan mail continues to pour in, listing favorite shows, making helpful suggestions and occasionally catching errors. (To reply to one persistent complaint, it was not I who made Kirk address McCoy as "Doc" instead of "Bones" in "Spock Must Die!" I know better than that; but there are several editorial hands laid on the manuscript after mine before it reaches the printer.) I am grateful for them all, including the pats on the back.

    One recent letter was so extraordinary, however, that I think it deserves passing on. With permission, I quote the important part of it:
    [RIGHT]JAMES BLISH
    [/RIGHT]
    By an interesting coincidence I happen to be Captain [Pierre D.] Kirk. This being the case, the men of my last command built a rather elaborate "organization within an organization" based on the series. My jeep was slightly altered so that its registration numbers appeared as NCC-1701. Our weapons were referred to as phasers and our radio communication procedures were patterned after those of the Star Fleet. Our call signs corresponded to the various sections and personalities of the crew of the Enterprise.

    My junior officers picked up the names of the more recognizable regular characters in the series. My executive officer made an excellent Spock in that he physically as well as temperamentally resembled the Vulcan. The men wanted him to get an "ear job" but he drew the line at this.

    As you can see, the men of the 363rd [Transportation Company, U.S. Army] went to some lengths to identify with the Star Trek series. This was quite an effective means to maintain morale in the present unpleasantness in Indochina.

    The series, by the way, is one of the most popular shown in the Republic of Viet Nam—a great favorite of both the American forces and the Viet-Namese people.

    Turning to the point of this letter—about eight months ago I was in command of an armed convoy en route from An Khe in the central highlands to Da Nang on the Northern coast. As we proceeded along route QL #1, which the late Bernard Fall referred to as "the Street without Joy," we were engaged by snipers, which usually served as the prelude to an ambush.

    Deciding to run through the suspected area, I signaled my gun trucks to cover our cargo vehicles, and then via my jeep radio I announced: "Attention Viet Cong. We are the Federation Starship Enterprise and you are now in deep trouble. Phaser banks—charge your phasers and fire on my order."

    This comment was directed at my gun trucks to serve to fire them up for what promised to be a tight situation, but to my surprise the radio exploded into a torrent of frantic jabbering in Viet-Namese and moments later the sniping ceased and we continued through without incident.

    The only thing I can assume is that the V. C. were monitoring our broadcast transmissions, had seen the show on television and thought that we were in fact the Enterprise.

    Under the circumstances I can readily understand this reluctance to engage us in a fight. Happily I can report that despite their initial sniper activity no casualties were suffered by the crew of the Enterprise.
    I had heard of other organizations patterned on the show, including an entire high school in Buffalo, N.Y., where disliked teachers are assigned to the Romulans or the Klingons; but this is the first time I have ever heard of a television series actually saving lives (on both sides, for that matter).

    Which only goes to show all over again that it pays to read the fan mail, even though I can't answer it.

    [RIGHT]JAMES BLISH
    [/RIGHT]
    Harpsden (Henley)
    Oxon., England
     
  4. RookieBatman

    RookieBatman Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks for the transcription, Wendell!

    As for the story itself, it's hard to take it as anything more credible than myth. If it had been somebody else telling the story of what Cap'n Kirk had done, it may have been a touch more believable, but as it is, I don't think I can take it as gospel. I'm not saying it couldn't have happened, but he seems to have a pretty low opinion of Vietnamese intelligence, thinking they would confuse a convoy of jeeps for a starship.

    Quite an amusing anecdote, though.
     
  5. Colonel Kirk

    Colonel Kirk Ensign Newbie

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    ==================================
    Not very surprising considering those monitoring our transmissions were most likely trained intel types. Also, remember that the average Vietnamese adult spoke passable French and at least rudimentary English in addition to his native language.
    As to the incident, it actually did happen. If one were doing formal research on this one would have to consider me as a primary source. If one were really serious one could research the official after-action report which details this incident.
    Colonel Pierre Kirk, ret.
     
  6. Colonel Kirk

    Colonel Kirk Ensign Newbie

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    ==============================

    A bit more than an anecdote. It actually happened as described.
    My opinion of the Vietnamese is quite different than that which you assume. They are an impressive people who enjoy a highly developed culture of great complexity. Their philosophy reflects the many influences which have affected that beautiful land, and 40 years ago the average adult was at least functionally tri-lingual.

    Colonel Pierre Kirk, ret
     
  7. RookieBatman

    RookieBatman Commodore Commodore

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    My apologies if my comments seemed disrespectful, but that still doesn't answer the question; why would such intelligent people mistake a convoy of jeeps for a starship that only exists on a fictional TV show (which takes place far in the future, no less)?

    I'm not trying to insult your intelligence or theirs, but it just seems like there must be a bit more to the story than what was described there.
     
  8. Char Aznable

    Char Aznable Lieutenant Commander

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    Yeah, I'm going to have to see proof that this actually happened. A link to the official report, etc.
     
  9. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    They made no such mistake. They just didn’t want to fire on fellow Trekkies.

    OK, that one was a little facetious, but there are other possible explanations. Note Kirk’s own words: “I can only assume.” His explanation is speculative, not a logically inescapable conclusion, even if we assume that his recollection of the facts is accurate.
     
  10. RookieBatman

    RookieBatman Commodore Commodore

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    I actually think that seems like a far more logical explanation. Who knows...
     
  11. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Premium Member

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    Or perhaps the VC thought the convoy was a bunch of loonies bucking for a Section 8 discharge!
     
  12. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Good to see you made it through the war, Colonel.
     
  13. Colonel Kirk

    Colonel Kirk Ensign Newbie

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    = ==================

    Thanks Captain, appreciate the good wishes. Two tours in RVN, a bit of Carribean, Latin American, and SA activity, and then round one of the Sand Box. Too old for deployment to round two. Now after my Army years I am stuck behind a desk lawyering for the Navy.
    How about you?
     
  14. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You prefer to have people shooting at you?
     
  15. Colonel Kirk

    Colonel Kirk Ensign Newbie

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    ==================================

    Your comment, while amusing, is rather lacking in civility not to mention suggestive of a curious lack of understanding of the reality of Viet Nam era procedures and record keeping.
    A link to the official report? Forty plus years ago reports were microfilmed and archived by the Office of the Adjutant General, HQDA after transfer from the paper files of the unit to which mine reported.
    Apparently you dispute the contents of a letter written by myself to the late Mr. Blish. I am not aware of anyone who welcomes being called a liar, and as a combat veteran who has had the privelege of commanding American soldiers I find your comment particularly offensive.
    It is perhaps fortunate that the traditional response to your ill mannered insult is no longer available. Pistols for two followed by coffee for one did offer an elegant solution, but then again such a solution required two gentlemen, a title to which you appear to be ineligible.
     
  16. Colonel Kirk

    Colonel Kirk Ensign Newbie

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    ==============================

    When my country is at war I figure people who have some experience in such matters ought to get out there and lead while teaching the trade to our young troopers. I would rather get my men home on a 'freedom bird' flight than in a rubber bag. I don't relish getting shot at, but we seem to be relearning lessons we paid dearly for. I learned them the hard way and I don't want the new kids to have to do it all over again without enough veterans to give them the benefit of our experience.
     
  17. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    Ooooooooh, this is going to be fun.... :devil:
     
  18. Colonel Kirk

    Colonel Kirk Ensign Newbie

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    ====================================

    Please re-read my original letter. The only jeep mentioned was my command vehicle. The cargo vehicles which we were escorting were five ton tractors pulling 12 ton s&p trailers carrying ammo, rations, and artillery projectiles. My security vehicles were hybred gun trucks, Cadillac-Gage V-100 armored MG carriers, and 3/4 ton trucks with pedestle mounted twin M-60s.
    As a bit of background there were two tv networks in RVN. AFVN was the English language net run by and for US Forces and the Viet Nam National net which broadcast in Viet Namese and French. Most programming was dubbed over American programs and Star Trek was the most popular series on both networks.
    Since air cover was often on call my assumption was that the folks monitoring our radio calls were pumped up in anticipation of a firefight and jumped to a conclusion they might not have made in less stressful condition s.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  19. Captrek

    Captrek Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You go, Zell Miller!
     
  20. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

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