Space force

Star Trek’s Captain Kirk calls out Space Force in ranking debate

William Shatner as Captain Kirk.


William Shatner, famous for his role as Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek, doesn’t want to see a future where the real Space Force has colonels in command of starships.

Shatner delivered an op-ed in Military Times on Wednesday titled “What’s Wrong With You, Space Force?” It’s even more fun if you imagine him reading it with his distinctive cadence and voice.

The Canadian-born actor suggests that Space Force should use a navy-style rank (captain) for ship commanders rather than air force or army nomenclature (where the equivalent rank is colonel) . In the missive, he brings up the long history of spaceship captains in science fiction. It even dates back to the seminal 1902 space film A Trip to the Moon, which featured a rocket captain.

Shatner first addressed the ranking issue last week on Twitter writing to Space Force: “I’m just one person here but I was wondering; is it true that the commander aboard a ‘Space Force’ ship is referred to as a colonel and not a captain?” He then offered to discuss the matter.

the The United States Navy responded to tweet with a snide remark: “We had the original USS Enterprise”, in reference to its long history of ships named “Enterprise”, including an aircraft carrier that was commissioned as USS Company in 1938.

Space Force unveiled its official flag in May 2020.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Shatner devotes time and emojis to disparaging various fictional characters with ranks of Major and Colonel while ignoring the exploits of the Stargate crew.

Space Force has not yet officially adopted a hierarchical structure.

In February, the branch issued a request for comment on how to call its members and how to handle ranks, saying it “takes a deliberate approach to ensure that the titles and ranks of Space Force members convey appropriate the nature of the new branch of the Armed Forces. and the area in which it operates.”

Maybe that’s up to Congress to decide. Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), a former Navy SEAL, introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2021 that would direct the Space Force to use Navy ranks.

Crenshaw responded to Shatner on Twitter on Wednesday, telling the actor “I got you covered.”

The ranks debate may not be settled for some time. The NDAA has passed the House, but has yet to make it through the Senate.

Space Force was the subject of jokes for its perceived adoption of Star Trek imagery, including its sigil and logo. In truth, the delta symbol was borrowed from the Air Force, which first used it in 1961, long before the launch of the original Star Trek TV show.

While Space Force has already participated in some rocket launches, there are no crewed spaceships walking around. Shatner just envisions a day when Space Force could have an actual space fleet.

Captain Kirk concluded his op-ed with a final powerful plea: “I’m going to say that if you want the public to believe in heroes, you should embrace the ranks of the Navy because those are the ranks the public uses the most to be heroes. “

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