What I've got is the new releases with the enhanced special effects - I'll comment on these as best I can, shame I haven't got the originals to compare and contrast, but such is life. I put up the "spoiler" just on the off chance that there's someone here that hasn't seen all these a million times - you never know, I suppose.

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Richard Willis said:

That's something I don't recall them addressing on these shows - how do the rank and file types join Starfleet?

In the military officers and enlisted all go through training. Sometimes this training will be in different units on the same base. They all could have gone to Star Fleet, just not all trained to become officers. Obviously a Transporter Chief has to have significant training.

The matter of enlisted ranks in Starfleet was never clearly addressed.  (For that matter, officer rank was often stumbled over, e.g., quite a few times, Spock was addressed as a "lieutenant commander".)


The Making of Star Trek, by Stephen E. Whitfield and Gene Roddenberry (Ballantine Books, 1968), was one of the first---if not the first---books on the series proper.  I owned a copy and read it many times (until I loaned it out and never got it back---lesson learnt!), so I recall clearly a couple of lines in which Roddenberry addressed the issue of enlisted people on board Enterprise.  Roddenberry stated that, just as the current U.S. space programme (then and now) takes its military astronauts from the officer ranks only, it was the same in Starfleet.  The folks manning a starship were essentially astronauts, and thus, they were all officers.


Roddenberry's comments in that book did not extend to the original show's refences to characters shown such as the transporter chief.  By extrapolation, one might interpret a reference to "the transporter chief" or "chief" as addressing the crewman by his positional title, rather than his actual rank.


There is some real-world basis for this assumption.  In the U.S. Navy, the First Lieutenant of a ship is not a rank, but a position.  He's a department head, in charge of all deck operations on board the vessel.  On larger ships, the first lieutenant will be a lieutenant commander or, for carriers, even a commander.  Yet, it is common to hear the fellow holding this job to be addressed as "First Lieutenant", rather than "Commander _______"


I'm not such a Star Trek fan that I recall every scene and every line of dialogue of the original series, but I've seen it often enough and I cannot recall any scene which would clearly contradict the above explanation.


However, the Star Trek films and the subsequent follow-on television series did unmistakably show that there were enlisted personnel in Starfleet.  Mr. Willis is quite correct---just as present-day enlisted in the U.S. military have accession programmes (i.e., basic training or boot camp), undoubtedly Starfleet has a similar institution.  It wouldn't be part of Starfleet Academy, but could very well be situated at the same installation as Starfleet Academy.


The clear addition of enlisted men to Enterprise creates a certain anomaly.  Given that the ship has enlisted crewmen, then any military veteran would notice an usual overbalance in the ratio of officers to enlisted.  In real life, enlisted personnel outnumber the officers on a Navy ship in ratios from ten (enlisted) to one (officer), for smaller vessels, to as much as twenty-five-to-one, for the big boys.


On the starship Enterprise, that ratio---based upon what we saw---if anything, was reversed.  It must have sucked to be an ensign on a Federation starship, because with so few enlisted, he probably got stuck with a great deal of the grunt work, like cleaning the spaces and polishing the bright work.



No wonder they threw themselves in front of phaser fire with such abandon.

Yet I do recall characters being addressed as "Crewman". That would imply some enlisted people. We wouldn't see them on the bridge or sickbay but probably in engineering, security or science support, e.i. maintainence.

So there should be non-officers aboard the Enterprise. We just don't know about them as the focus is on the top eight people on a ship of 430!

Philip Portelli said:

That would imply some enlisted people. We wouldn't see them on the bridge . . . .

That was the thing that always struck me about enlisted personnel on starship Enterprise, Philip---there should be enlisted watchstanders on the bridge.  On Navy vessels even to-day, the number of officers on the bridge at any given time is low, and fewer than the number of enlisted men.  (Unless there is a special evolution, like sea-and-anchor detail, in progress.)  During routine operations, the only officers usually present on the bridge are the officer-of-the-deck and the junior officer-of-the-deck.  The captain and the navigator will come up from time to time, to check on things, but otherwise, it's just the OOD and the JOOD.  Meanwhile, there are four to six enlisted men also standing watch on the bridge at the same time.


Of course, I didn't realise this until after I began my Navy career, but when I look at bridge scenes on Star Trek now, I can't help but think, where are all the enlisted guys?

("Ensign Chekov, get a swab and take care of that coffee spill over by the engineering station!")




Despite Gene Roddenberry's objections, Star Trek always had a military vibe about it, starting with the ranks and procedures. If Starfleet wasn't really wasn't a military force, then they were a police force, watching over the universe. In fact, in some regards, the Enterprise crew functioned like the GREEN LANTERN CORPS, safeguarding vulnerable worlds and preventing invasions.

This discussion of ranks on the Enterprise brings a couple of things to mind. The several Yeomen who appeared on the bridge were, as I understand it, like a company clerk in the Army, and would not be officers.

I am also reminded of the Warrant Officer ranks in the U.S. military. Like the enlisted Specialist ranks (now only one rank), they have an equivalent pay scale with Commissioned Officers and are being compensated for special skills and responsibilities. For example, helicopter pilots can be officers or warrant officers. Perhaps the transporter chief was like a warrant officer, though I don’t recall any rank insignia. As Henry said, it is a different organization in a different time and many things could be different.

The Gamesters of Triskelion:

Written by Margaret Armen

Directed by Gene Nelson


Synopsis: Kirk, Uhura and Chekov are abducted for gladiatorial-style games.



1)"Nobody's hurt, Captain - yet."  Koenig portrays Chekov's bravado well.


2)"'Hope'? I always thought that was a human failing, Mister Spock."  This is one of those episodes where I agree with Spock. McCoy gets a little too emotional, here - Scotty, too - to the point where Spock has to call them on it and ask them if they're contemplating mutiny.


3)"Doctor, I am chasing the Captain, Lieutenant Uhura and Ensign Chekov, not some wild aquatic fowl."  Spock's been in Starfleet for something like fifteen years, you'd think he'd be more accustomed to humans' odd turns of phrase. Of course, that could be just his way of cutting across McCoy.


4)They take a rest break during a punishment? Do the thralls have a union?


5)"Provider One bids three hundred quatloos for the newcomers!"  Who are the Providers buying the newcomers from? Who collects these quatloos? Galt?


6)"You now bear the mark of a fine herd."  At least they didn't brand them.


7)"You have made me feel strangely." Yeah, he gets that alot.


8)"Daniel, as I recall, had only his faith. But I welcome your company, Doctor." Big of Spock, considering how much jib McCoy was giving him earlier.


9)The Providers are vaguely reminiscent of the Brains of Morphoton.


10)Kirk definitely steps off of his color a couple of times during the fight.. I guess the combatants are given a certain amount of leeway.


Overall: This is not a particular favorite of mine. Kirk ought to see about getting Spock a big, fat raise, because if it had been up to McCoy and Scotty, then he, Uhura and Chekov would never have been found.

It may not have been a great episode but I always loved the title - "Gamesters of Triskelion". The Trek writers and producers were right up there with Stan Lee when it came to impressive story titles that just made you want to watch/read their stories.

I have deleted three posts discussing episodes beyond "Gamesters of Triskellion," just as I said I would.

You must be out of your mind.  Conversations cannot be directed that way.  This is a STAR TREK thread!

I think overly-specific threads narrow conversation potential far too much.  If people don't want to read my posts, they can skip them.

I notice you didn't complain when a cojuple of people totally derailed the thread for 2 pages of discussing "political correctness".

If you'd stop to read the first post of the thread, you'd see that this one IS a directed discussion. If you want to start your own "Henry's Star Trek Thread," I'd have no problem with it.

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