Finally! Captain Kirk weighs in on the Space Force rank conversation

| August 27, 2020

One of the niggling details of creating an all new branch of the military is “What do we call ourselves?” The last time we did this was after the 1947 realignment of the military. It took several years for the new Air Force to decide what their ranks and titles would be. There were some changes to the enlisted side, but the officer ranks remained unchanged (except for the five-star rank, which changed from “of the Army” to “of the Air Force”).

Some people, including those in Congress, want to suss out these details now. Navy veteran Rep Crenshaw (R-TX) introduced a rider, which was passed, to the 2021 defense spending bill that would order the Space Force to use Navy-style officer ranks.

Bill Shatner, who played the legendary Captain Kirk on the Star Trek series, had this to say;

“I’m just a nobody here but I was wondering; is it true that the commanding officer onboard a ‘Space Force’ ship is designated a Colonel & not a Captain?,” William Shatner, the actor who played Kirk on “Star Trek,” wrote to the service on Twitter. “Is this up for debate? I think I’d like to debate the issue.”

Now if we can only get all the other fictional space captain’s views.


Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Air Force, Space Force

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Slow Joe

Yes, but this is assuming future space ships will look more than naval ships than aircraft, as in science fiction.

We don’t know that.

More likely space ships will be small drones crewed by artificial intelligence or uploaded human minds. We don’t know.

Natural selection dictates that the smallest design capable of accomplishing the mission will be built.

Veritas Omnia Vincit

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to take Shatner seriously for well over 40 years now…after Lucy in the sky with Diamonds I didn’t think he could possibly be any more ridiculously pompous, and I was wrong….

I give you Shatner, and appropriately enough, and his interpretation of “Rocket Man” from 1978…

The Stranger

Yeah, I posted this years ago as well. Shatner is many things, a singer isn’t one of them. Ironically, he did an album with Leonard Nemoy titled, appropriately enough, “Spaced Out.” Also, Nimoy did a song titled “Highly Illogical”, playing off of his Spock persona. See below, not bad and very humorous!


Dennis - not chevy

It was good; but, “Amazon Women in the Mood” was much better. “I Dated a Robot” with its army of Lucy Liu’s was also better.


“You men are all lucky men. Soon, you’ll be fighting for your planet. Many of you will be dying for your planet. A few of you will be forced through a fine mesh screen for your planet. Those are the luckiest men of all!” – Zapp Branigan


“Ridiculously pompous” maybe; ridiculously rich, fer sure.

Pay me what he probably got paid for that and I’ll do it wearing a tutu.


Aye aye, Captain:

Green Thumb

I would like some of that….


I want to hear from Klaatu.


I believe his words were something along the lines of, “Klaatu barada nikto.” (smile)

And Shatner needs to go back to shilling for Priceline.


“Denny Crane!”



Old tanker

As a devotee of Sci Fi for many decades I have observed that every writer used a Naval approach to the system of star ships personnel. Given that the ship is actually sailing for an extended period of time, unlike the Air Force, the comparison seems pretty valid. In addition given the need to dock (or orbit) and also land ground troops it also easily follows the Marine tradition. The Air Force doesn’t have the same kind of mission history.




Ok you E3 swabbie pukes…get those red shirts on!

Hack Stone

Scraping barnacles from the underside of the spaceship. They were considering using the Marine rank structure, but there logistical problems on how they would get 25 junior enlisted Marines on line to pick up cigarette butts in zero gravity; and it would take too long for the supply ship to replenish the crayon supply.

Green Thumb

I would rather have Captain Kirk’s views than some others….

I would love to serve under him. Cruising to the furthest reaches of space, exploring strange unknowns, fighting aliens, drinking Romulan Ale and chasing green space pussy.

I cannot think of many things that sound more appealing.

Just saying.


And having a firble as a pet.

Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman




I got confused with the Friendly’s shake.


Okay, okay, okay! I already have this worked out. Had it in place for years. The USAF can just step aside on this.

It’s Spacefleet, period. NOT Space Force. And the Fleet carts Fleet Marines around to various and sundry locations, including war zones and on missions to rescue stupid civilians who think they can settle on a planet that hasn’t been surveyed, because they’re a stupid bunch of stupid Ecohippies who are escaping Earth in the middle of an ice age, because “Earth is burning up!!!”

After all, once we start taking short hops in point-to-point shuttlecraft, we won’t need airplanes any more, except for people who want to wax nostalgic at EAA airshows.

I worked this out a long time ago. Shatner’s a mope. All NASA has to do is stick with the Navy and the Marines for rank and file stuff, and remember that we still have two working Voyager satellites (although Vger I did shut off its battery to save power).

Spacefleet’s motto: We shoot the bad guys and deliver your pizza on time, or you don’t pay for it.


Can we have Mobile Infantry with hot babes and coed showers? (Not mix sci-fi universes, but… )

The Other Whitey

First, fuck that abortion of a movie. Rarely has a movie been so unworthy of its source material. Second, as I recall, the females in the coed shower scene were not the ones we really wanted to see. But judging by “Robocop” and “Total Recall,” that seems to be a signature for Paul Veerhoeven.


Well, true… the coed shower scene was the most the most noteworthy of the movie and that’s not even saying much. Veerhoeven royally jacked-up the book.


I hate to say this (because I grew up with Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury, and Frederick Pohl, but that movie had nothing to do with Heinlein’s story.The studio just borrowed character names, concept and general idea and ignored the real story.


Concur. “Inspired by,” perhaps, but not a quality adaptation of the book.

Hack Stone

Hack wants to see the criteria for qualifying on laser blasters. Those troops on the Death Star couldn’t hit the broad side of the Milky Way.


Hack should talk to Pfc Ferrell.

AW1 Rod

Set Phasers to “Maim!”




Mustang Major

E1 rank?
Airman = Spaceman

The Other Whitey

Go 40K style: Voidsman.


Naaah! E-1 is Recruit.

Spacefleet Recruit – E-1
Spacefleet Apprentice – E-2
Spacefleet Specialist – E-3, where you go off to designated school for training.

And the Fleet Marines are just like the 21st century Marines, except they aren’t Earthbound any more. But they do hang out in tawdry bars, and get into bodacious fights.


“where you go off to designated school for training”

And hopefully gravitate.

Green Thumb

They Commission at the Space Academy where they are Space Cadets for four years.


The E-4 Mafia will always be in charge of door gunnery so in the grand scheme of things it don’t matter. My personal opinion of Shatner is the Kirk Character was always a jerk, too stilted and shoulda stuck to his shakespearean acting, Spock shoulda went out and got laid more and Bones was a wuss. Ms Thang Sister Golden Haired Surprise, Lt. Uhura, and the gossamer clad waifs caught my attention, poor ol’ red shirt guy had it rough and we all know that Sulu was “confused.” Roddenberry mighta done better sticking to writing episodes of Paladin. And how many times did any of us see the Commander leave the ship and take his entire staff to investigate a trouble spot? Yeah, I know…it’s Hoolywierd.

Watched enough trekkie stuff to lust after Deeana, Beverly Crusher, 7 of 9 and my all time favorite, Jadzia Dax. I’d serve under her any time. She can assimilate me, there would be no resistance.

A step child of the Chair Farce using Navy Rank? As if things weren’t confusing enough. One thing that won’t change is…GO ARMY…BEAT NAVY!!!

MI Ranger

Maybe they should do like some European Countries do with their “Staff” ranks. You have a guy that get s O-6 pay, but is the equivalent of an Army Captain in rank. As NATO was coming in to Afghanistan I had to work with a few of these types, it confused the crap out of me. I was just figuring he was like a Reservist and just looked old, until my Dutch “drinking” buddies straightened me out. It was not like I was talking down to him, but he thought I should know I was talking to an O-6 not an O-3.

Maybe mix the rank names to denote whether you are ground based or Space based. If you are on the ground you use the Air Force/Army Ranks, if you Command a ship (or “fly” in one) you use the Navy ranks. So a Ground Base Commander would be a Colonel, but a Space Ship Commander would be a Captain!
Enlisted would have Privates/Airman, Sergeants, and Staff Sergeants, but Chiefs instead of Sergeant First Class, Master Sergeants, and Sergeant Majors.

Or maybe come up with something completely different to throw everyone for a loop!!
Technicians (E-1 through E4), Operators (E-5 through E-6), and Moffs (E-7 through E-9);
Warrants would be Inquisitors (WO-1), Lord Inquisitor (CW-2), Chief Inquisitor (CW-3), Grand Inquisitor (CW-4), High Inquisitor (CW-5);
Officers would be Knight (O-1), Knight Lord (O-2), Vice Lord (O-3), Lord (O-4), Vice Commander (O-5), Commander (O-6);
Flag Officers would be Emperor (O-7), Grand Emperor (O-8), Galactic Emperor (O-9), Emperor of the Universe (O-10), and just Most Exalted if they make (O-11)!!


They could have billet names for ranks but have their pay grade be separate. Mission Commander could be any grade, depending on the mission’s size and purpose.
Bases and facilities (on land or in space) could be classed as ships (like the British Royal Navy does). USSFS Columbia could be their headquarters or astronaut academy.
The ranks will probably be based on that of the Air Force, their parent service.
By the way: Moffs are from Star Wars; they’re like generals, warlords, or dukes. I’d love to see Steve Carrell in a Grand Moff uniform if they bring back that anti- Space Force infomercial he’s in.


Well, there is cartoon precedent:

The Other Whitey

Or this:

Subtitles are annoying, but hot Japanese females can make all kinds of things better!


You guys are overlooking the best part…
At the end of an officer’s name is the acronym for their arm of service. USA for Army, USAF for Air Force, USN for Navy, USMC for Marine Corps, and USCG for Coast Guard. Space Force officers would have SF (like “Science Fiction”) after their names…