By Admiral Jeffery Higdon, Admiral Chris Wallace, Lieutenant General Scott Akers, Admiral Christopher L. Smith and Vice Admiral Jon Lane
It’s More Like a Saga
Filled with triumph and tragedy, highs and lows, political intrigue and strife, perseverance, and overcoming the odds again and again to emerge stronger and better, the long history of STARFLEET is as exciting and engrossing as anything you’re likely to find in a television mini-series or New York Times bestseller.
The following archive pulls no punches and hides no skeletons. After 35 years, STARFLEET has seen both the best and worst of what Star Trek fans are capable of. This wasn’t an idyllic journey where only good things happened. Like most enduring organizations, STARFLEET has had to deal with adversity and conflict from outside and from within. But endure we have, struggling back from the abyss on multiple occasions. But at each crossroad, STARFLEET emerged stronger and, hopefully, wiser.
We invite you to relive our journey, our trek, with us. You’ll find that we aren’t perfect, but in our imperfection, STARFLEET shines as uniquely…human.
In The Beginning
The roots of STARFLEET begin in 1973 when John Bradbury and a group of TexasStar Trek fans formed the USS Enterprise. Under Bradbury’s leadership, the group did much the same as most current STARFLEET chapters. There were fundraisers, parties, and most importantly, an ambition to grow.
And grow they did! The group became so popular that members began to spread out across the state, and these other groups of fans wanted to start their own clubs based from the same central USS Enterprise. The command staff of the Enterprise met to discuss what the future held for the organization.
1974: STARFLEET Is Founded
On May 23, 1974, the first issue of the organization’s newsletter (then called STARFLEET Communications) announced that “The USS Enterprisehas been reorganized, effective Stardate 2538.0. It will henceforth be known as STARFLEET, due to directives determined during reorganization.”
This began the process of setting up the paramilitary structure of the organization. And though that system has evolved over the years, it has indeed proven to be an effective and fun way to make things work.
The first chapter of STARFLEET was commissioned as the USS Enterpriseunder the command of Captain Jay Wallace in Lufkin, Texas, which also became the location of STARFLEET Headquarters. Two more chapters were quickly commissioned: the USS Constellation in Memphis, TN, and the USS Constitutionin Coppel, TX.
As the organization began to grow by leaps and bounds, STARFLEET soon reached the end of their first year of operations. John Bradbury (holding the rank of Commodore) continued to command the organization and, at the end of the first year, proudly stated that STARFLEET was doing so well that Fleet Command had never had to dip into their own pocket books to cover operation costs and the treasury was well into the black. By the end of 1975, there were 14 chapters across the country.
STARFLEET was very alive and healthy!
Not to be forgotten, STARFLEET Communications continued to improve in volume and quality. The newsletter gave up to date information on the latest Star Trek happenings such as the new proposed television series (which later became Star Trek: the Motion Picture). There was also information on the happenings of the other chapters and the organization as a whole. Information on science fiction books and films also appeared periodically including the announcement of a little movie called Star Wars. There was some information on rank structure and vessel positions, and there were usually convention listings.
1977: STARFLEET’s First Leadership Change
In the fall of 1977, Fleet Admiral Bradbury retired from active duty and was replaced by Fleet Admiral Adeline Longshaw. It was during her administration that STARFLEET’s organizational structure began to solidify even more. There were a large number of STARFLEET divisions to help operate the club, such as Chief of Fleet Recruiting, Chief of Logistics, and the Alien Relations Board, just to name a few. A very important part of keeping things “tight” was a division run by an officer named Admiral Brandt Heatherington, who served as the Command Assistance Coordinator.
Heatherington put out a monthly publication called CAC (Command Assistance Coordinator) Bulletin. This later developed into General Ordersas a news bulletin for command level officers, containing info on current active chapters, changes in command, and even where to obtain authentic Starfleet uniforms for you and your crew. The CAC also put out a complete, informative manual filled with guidelines on how to operate a successful chapter, and even went into more detail on STARFLEET regulations that concern on command personnel.
During the Longshaw Administration, STARFLEET operated with 16 active starships and 35 planetary outposts (essentially chapters-in-training). Recruiting continued at a fast rate. In October of 1979, STARFLEET stood at 700 members.
1979: STARFLEET Changes Commanders–Twice
Sometime in February of 1979, STARFLEET began to see its first problems in the administration. Delays in the usual communications and distribution of materials began to occur in STARFLEET HQ. It turned that that Admiral Longshaw was having to put STARFLEET matters aside to deal with serious hospitalizing illnesses in her family. Admiral Longshaw stepped down as the Commanding Admiral of STARFLEET, and Admiral Brandt Heatherington became STARFLEET’s first interim Commander, STARFLEET. A few short months later, Admiral John Wetsch became the 3rd Commander, STARFLEET.
Wetsch’s administration improved even more on the organizational structure of the fleet. The STARFLEET Officer’s Handbook (now the Membership Handbook) was greatly improved upon. The problem of the delayed membership packets were being investigated and, supposedly, taken care of. One of Wetsch’s key officers in helping get the organization back on its was a young Vice Chief of Personnel named Eric Stillwell.
Wetsch had indeed taken a bull by the horns. When his administration took office, STARFLEET was putting out very few newsletters (certainly not as many as promised) and membership packets were backed up for months and months. He and his staff struggled with the problems in hopes that it could be corrected before the membership began to drop. Fleet Admiral Wetsch was very determined to make things work.
1981: STARFLEET Faces Its First Major Crisis
Despite the best intentions of Fleet Admiral Wetsch, things were beginning to break down in STARFLEET, marked by a failure of communication between and among staff members, the general membership, and Fleet Admiral Wetsch himself. Correspondences were not being responded to, and membership applications and renewals were not being filled.
The problem grew worse when the fabled ‘Star Trek Welcommittee’ blacklisted STARFLEET. This did not sit well with Vice Chief of Personnel Vice Admiral Eric Stillwell. Stillwell began a personal crusade to improve STARFLEET under a program called “Mandate for Change”.
Early in his Mandate, Admiral Stillwell praised Fleet Admiral Wetsch for his accomplishments, but it soon became a political power struggle between Admiral Stillwell and his views on what direction the organization should take, and Fleet Admiral Wetsch’s vision of STARFLEET.
An important element in this power struggle was the STARFLEET Communiqué, which had become the Fleet’s quarterly newsletter. In 1981, due to delays in publication of the Communiqué, Admiral Stillwell began publication of his own supplemental STARFLEET newsletter, which became the regular STARFLEET magazine. It was long believed that that while Admiral Stillwell was serving as Vice Chief of Personnel, that he was also serving as the Chief of Communications under the pseudonym of ‘Vice Admiral T. Wxyn’. However, documents recently discovered revealed evidence that Vice Admiral T. Wxyn was in fact Vice Admiral Anthony Wynn, the Chief of Communications at the time in question. Both men shared the same address at the time.
A blow came to the Wetsch Administration with the resignation of Vice Chief of Staff, Admiral John Lunt. Then the power struggle ended in Admiral Stillwell’s favor with the resignation of Fleet Admiral Wetsch in September, 1981. Thus, Eric Stillwell became the 4th Commander, STARFLEET.
1982: STARFLEET Back on Track…Sort Of
Fleet Admiral Stillwell began by restructuring the command staff, beginning by having the name of the President of STARFLEET (up until that time called Chief of Staff) changed to the Commanding Admiral, which was later changed to Commander, STARFLEET. Also the name of the organization, which had varied between Starfleet Command, Starfleet Headquarters, Starfleet Central or just plain Starfleet, was officially made STARFLEET.
Also after a series of correspondence with the leadership of the Star TrekWelcommittee, Fleet Admiral Stillwell was able to have the ‘new’ STARFLEET officially recognized and removed from the fan club blacklist.
Another important factor of the Stillwell Administration was the large amount of publicity and attention STARFLEET received from the media. Paid advertisements and a small article in Starlog magazine along with attention from powerful Trekpeople such as Susan Sackett and Bjo Trimble helped STARFLEET in the greatest growth it had ever seen. Within a few short months, the organization had grown to over 3,000 members across the world and close to 200 chapters in more than half a dozen countries. STARFLEET was alive and well and living on the planet Earth!!
Unfortunately, toward the end of the Stillwell Administration, the high cost of producing quality membership packets and an international newsletter, coupled with continual turnover of key fleet personnel, affected HQ efficiency and many members and chapters began leaving STARFLEET. Perhaps most damaging was a new organization, Trek International, that was started and run by several members of Fleet Admiral Stillwell’s own Executive Committee, which tried to undermine STARFLEET through the recruitment of Fleet’s own members and chapters. (It should be stated for the record that those individuals who founded Trek International are long gone, and STARFLEET has no current animosity toward this other fine fan organization. The above paragraph is simply a part of the facts of our shared history.)
1984: STARFLEET Is Crippled – Can It Survive?
The impressive, vast membership that had grown through so much hard work, was dropping in numbers of hundreds every week. In addition to that, entire chapters were going under or pulling out of the fleet to start their own organizations or to join one of the STARFLEET copies. Soon, STARFLEET was taking so many steps backward, it seemed as if we would regress back to the womb and the organization would die. It would become one of the many “horror stories” of fandom that circulate around the convention circuit.
Finally, the inevitable happened. On January 2, 1984, Fleet Admiral Eric A. Stillwell officially resigned as the Commanding Admiral of STARFLEET. (As an amusing side note, Eric Stillwell would go on to Hollywood to work as a Production Assistant on Star Trek: The Next Generation.)
What he left behind was more or less a great big mess. However, Stillwell did have the forethought to leave some of his staff to administrate an election for a new president. A vote would be taken of whomever was left to vote.
In the meantime, the strongest chapters are actually the ones to be commended for holding things together. By keeping in constant communication, the Fleet had some sort of stability. Though it certainly didn’t have a distribution of membership packages and/or the international newsletter. Members held onto their chapters as if dangling by a thread.
Two candidates emerged from the subsequent election process for a new Commander, STARFLEET, and Captain Fran Booth of the USS Antares in Texas emerged as the winner. Booth became the Fleet Admiral and 5th Commander, STARFLEET on March 27, 1984.
She took command of a much-depleted STARFLEET. Over the previous two years, membership had dropped from nearly 4,000 to 1,000 and chapters had decreased from close to 200 to fewer than 30.
The Booth Administration began immediately to rebuild the Fleet, almost from scratch. Inexpensive membership materials were developed. Captain Steven Smith was appointed the new Chief of Communications and quickly brought the Communications Department back on-line. Within a month, information to STARFLEET members was back with the production of an informative but inexpensive Communiqué.
Admiral Brian Ackermann reopened STARFLEET Academy, which had been closed under Fleet Admiral Stillwell. Admiral Ackermann is credited with developing STARFLEET Academy into what it is known as today. The STARFLEET Shuttlecraft Program was developed to both recruit new members and chapters and to train their leaders in how to run successful chapters. But the toll of rebuilding the Fleet weighed heavily on Fleet Admiral Booth, and at the end of her two-year term, she announced her intention not to run for reelection.
1987: STARFLEET Overcomes and Moves Forward
Again, two candidates emerged: Admiral Steven Smith and Vice Commander, STARFLEET, Admiral Mary Helm. Apparently, Admiral Helm chose mainly to run so those STARFLEET members would a choice in who to vote for. Even before the ballots were distributed, it became clear from the nominations received from the Admiralty Board and Starship Commanders who STARFLEET favored for nearly 100% nominated Admiral Smith. Shortly thereafter, Admiral Helm threw her support behind Admiral Smith and, by concession, Steven Smith became the 6th Commander, STARFLEET, on December 28, 1986.
The Steve Smith Administration saw another explosion in the size and scope of STARFLEET. The Academy continued to grow, and the pocket-sized Communiqué went COLOR. However this led to many problems according to the reports of the time. The costs of publishing the Communiqué became outrageously expensive and other aspects of Fleet-based services began to slow down.
Because of this and other problems facing the organization, Region 1 Vice Regional Coordinator, Commodore Jeannette Maddox, decided to run for Commander, STARFLEET. After a relatively mild campaign, Commodore Maddox succeeded and became the 7th Commander, STARFLEET, in January 1989.
Another point to the 1988 election is that Maddox was elected unopposed. Fleet Admiral Steve Smith, who was a candidate, withdrew from the election, citing the promise of a new job. However the job fell through and Smith tried get back into the race. It was decided that once a candidate withdraws from the race for Commander, STARFLEET, he or she cannot enter the race again. This item was later incorporated in to the STARFLEET Constitution.
The Maddox Administration can be credited for bringing STARFLEET out of our parents’ basements and into the mainstream of respectability. To stabilize the finances, STARFLEET went back to black and white Communiqués. Only after STARFLEET could afford it did the organization went to a larger, colored magazine format to bring more information to the membership.
The Scholarship program got off the ground, and almost every other month it seems another scholarship was added. During Fleet Admiral Maddox’s first term, STARFLEET was once again was in the black, membership was growing, and the Shuttle Program started under Fleet Admiral Fran Booth was fine-tuned as a useful tool to expand the organization.
Another highlight was the authorization of the Starfleet Marine Corps as a recognized appending body of STARFLEET. In addition, both Shuttle Operations Command and Computer Operations became Executive Committee level positions. All in all, Fleet Admiral Maddox went into the election for her second term riding high, and STARFLEET was right there with her.
Fleet Admiral Maddox’s second term was just as successful as the first. She was able to convince Fleet to raise the dues from 10 to 15 dollars a year. And she also was able to begin the process to incorporate STARFLEET as a Not-For-Profit organization. However this in itself led to some controversy. The incorporation was done secretly and without membership input or consent.
STARFLEET Academy continued to provide new courses, more and more chapters came on line, and the Communiqué came out in a regular and timely manner every other month. The biggest accomplishment Fleet Admiral Maddox achieved, though, was continuity. Though Executive Committee members would come and go, the Maddox Administration endured. For four FULL years, Fleet Admiral Maddox served the fleet and was able to hand over the reigns of a sound STARFLEET.
1993: New Problems for STARFLEET
The next election was less than amiable. An assortment of controversy occurred when the nominee hand-chosen by Fleet Admiral Maddox, Region 12 Coordinator Vice Admiral Daniel McGinnis, began to receive some bad publicity about alleged mishandling of regional finances. While the charges were discounted, Admiral McGinnis lost the election. However, the election returns were immediately challenged on the grounds the Election Coordinator, Fleet Admiral Maddox, may have been biased, as she was on one of the opposing teams. However, since she was on one of the losing teams, this appeal was disallowed, and Admiral Rob Lerman became the 8th Fleet Admiral and Commander, STARFLEET, in January 1993.
At this point, the secret incorporation of STARFLEET was revealed, and also the fact that, while the Maddox Administration had danced through the government hoops to achieve Incorporation as a Not-For-Profit organization, she neglected to file the necessary tax returns. This opened up STARFLEET to massive tax penalties–penalties that Fleet Admiral Lerman and his legal advisor, Captain Gary Decker, spent the next two years battling in order to keep STARFLEET from being pulled under by its very own attempt to reach out and help people. (These tax penalties, along with others caused by the McGinnis Administration, were only worked out with the IRS near the end of 1998.)
The Lerman Administration , according to some members of STARFLEET, was not a particularly impressive period for STARFLEET. Political infighting between the regions was increasing. And while most of Headquarters’ attention was focused on resolving the IRS issues dealing with the incorporation, the Communiqué once again began to fall behind schedule.
On the other hand, STARFLEET Academy continued to grow, and Regional Summits became popular, allowing STARFLEET members even more reasons to get together and socialize.
1995: STARFLEET’s Darkest Hour
The next election was to be even more contentious then the last. Admiral McGinnis was again running for the position of Commander, STARFLEET. With a new slate of backers, Fleet Admiral Lerman ran for reelection, and Rear Admiral Janis Moore entered the fray. This time Admiral McGinnis would win the plurality of votes, thus being elected the 9th Commander, STARFLEET. However the outgoing Executive Committee refused to seat him due to the continuing financial scandal, taking the unprecedented step of revoking his membership. The Executive Committee did, however, swear in the Vice-Commander, STARFLEET-Elect, Admiral Deborah Nelson.
Nelson’s first act as interim Commander, STARFLEET was to restore Admiral McGinnis to STARFLEET. Then Nelson named him her Vice-Commander, then resigned as Commander, STARFLEET. Consequently, in the end (and in less then a day after his dismissal from STARFLEET), Dan McGinnis became Fleet Admiral and the Commander, STARFLEET. Fleet Admiral McGinnis then appointed Admiral Nelson Vice-Commander, STARFLEET.
With such a rocky start, it should come as no surprise that strife and disagreement were hallmarks the Administration of Fleet Admiral Dan McGinnis. The ‘Questar Debacle’, which actually broke a few months into his administration, haunted Fleet Admiral McGinnis throughout his tenure. This arose from Admiral McGinnis’ alleged failure to pay Star Trek: The Next GenerationStar Wil “Wesley Crusher” Wheaton for appearing at conventions hosted by Questar, a company owned by Fleet Admiral McGinnis. The public ill will from a Star Trekcast member toward McGinnis was also directed at STARFLEET, and many members were not happy about this situation.
Although some STARFLEET members tried to work with the new administration, others were less cooperative and more vocal. There were several members who, throughout the first few months of 1995, called for Fleet Admiral McGinnis to resign. The most vocal of these members were former McGinnis Vice-Chief of Staff, Fleet Captain ‘Ranger’ Michael D. Smith, Region 15 Coordinator; Rear Admiral Alan Ravitch; and former candidate for the CS position, Rear Admiral Janis Moore, who at the time was serving as Region 4 Coordinator. The most vocal and scathing of these voices belonged to Fleet Captain ‘Wild Bill’ Herrmann, CO of the USS Rutledge.
These attacks on Fleet Admiral McGinnis came to a head during the 1995 STARFLEET International Conference in Atlanta when charges of ‘Conduct Unbecoming an Officer’ and ‘Violation of the Officer Code of Conduct’ were brought against Ravitch and Moore. Admiral Moore was accused of releasing materials (given to her by what appeared to be the Wheaton people) that Fleet Admiral McGinnis felt were a personal problem best handle privately by the courts. Admiral Ravitch was very vocal over the unofficial STARFLEET Listserve. The consequences of these actions would lead to their dismissal as Regional Coordinators.
A year later, during the 1996 International Conference (IC06) in Oklahoma City, Fleet Captain Herrmann was brought up on the same charges for his outspokenness over the STARFLEET Listserve, which lead to his being reduced in rank to Captain, and dismissed as CO of the Rutledge. The Officers and Crew of the Rutledge refused to recognize the dismissal, standing by Captain Herrmann as their CO.
During this time of conflict within STARFLEET, many Regions and Chapters chose to concentrate on their local and regional functions. But some chapters and members decided to withdraw from STARFLEET, several of whom would form another Star Trek Fan Organization: the United Federation of Planets Internationale (UFPI). Many saw this organization as an alternative to STARFLEET, others saw it as trying to split, break up, or even destroy STARFLEET. The number of chapters withdrawing to the UFPI hit Region 4 especially hard.
The IRS issue was still on the burner. Fleet Admiral McGinnis revealed that STARFLEET still owed back taxes, but that he was filing the appropriate forms to make sure that STARFLEET would owe no more. However, no evidence has been found to substantiate that Fleet Admiral McGinnis had done this.
But problems with the McGinnis Administration started to come to a climax shortly before the 1996 International Conference in Oklahoma City when the Vice-Commander, STARFLEET, Admiral Deborah Nelson-Maestu, resigned. Rear Admiral Paula ‘Coyote’ Schaff was appointed Vice-Commander, STARFLEET, while still retaining her position as Region 12 Coordinator. But within a month, Admiral Schaff resigned abruptly, citing a lack of communication and cooperation with Fleet Admiral McGinnis and STARFLEET HQ.
With Schaff’s resignation, Fleet Admiral McGinnis announced at the end of October, 1996 that he would resign the position of Commander, STARFLEET, as well as his own STARFLEET membership, effective on November 14. As McGinnis had yet to appoint a new Vice-Commander, STARFLEET, Commodore James Herring, STARFLEET Chief of Operations and next in the line of succession, became the 3rd Interim Commander, STARFLEET. Commodore Herring refused to take a promotion to the rank of Fleet Admiral, citing the length of time he would be in office, but was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral.
It was only after Admiral Herring had to personally ‘retrieve’ records, files, and other materials from Fleet Admiral McGinnis that the truth came out. STARFLEET was in serious trouble both financially and physically. The only trace of funds belonging to STARFLEET that were found were those belonging to the Scholarship funds. Funds belonging to STARFLEET and other charitable programs administered by STARFLEET were not found at that time.
In response to this unprecedented appearance of duplicity and circumvention by the former Commander, STARFLEET, Admiral Herring, acting with the powers of the Fleet Admiral’s office and with the approval of the STARFLEET Executive Committee, stripped Fleet Admiral McGinnis of his lifetime membership, which is granted to any former Commander, STARFLEET, as well as taking the unparalleled step of demoting Fleet Admiral McGinnis to the rank of Captain. This demotion was mostly superfluous, as McGinnis was no longer a STARFLEET member, but it was a symbolic action providing a sense of closure to many aggrieved STARFLEET members.
1997: The Long Climb Out of the Wreckage
It was during this time the word was sent out to those who had membership renewals due before the end the year to delay their renewals until the next administration assumed power. It was also found that hundreds of membership forms had not been processed. This took until mid-1997 before all these membership forms, as well as the membership forms for those who waited until 1997 to send them in, to be full processed.
Meanwhile, attempts to hold the elections of for Commander, STARFLEET, were well underway, despite Captain McGinnis’ disinterest and obstruction. Three candidates appeared, Captain John Maestu, Admiral Schaff, and Fleet Captain Michael D. Smith. The voting was delayed because of Captain McGinnis’ lack of cooperation before his resignation came into effect. Nevertheless, thanks to efforts by the Chief of Communications, Rear Admiral Doug Glenn, the election was held. On January 3, 1998, Admiral Glenn announced that Michael D. Smith was elected the 10th Commander, STARFLEET.
The first step of the new Michael D. Smith Administration was to reverse the demotion of Captain Bill Herrmann and restore his rank of Fleet Captain. Then Smith issued a statement of apology to Admirals Alan Ravitch and Janis Moore, symbolically rescinding the removal order, noting that although he could not restore them to their previous positions (as new Regional Coordinators were serving in their old positions), he could restore some dignity to them.
Fleet Admiral Smith also declared that all forms of communication, in particular electronic or e-mail communications, could and would be considered an official way to communicate with STARFLEET, even though the old way, postal mail, was still acceptable. The McGinnis Administration declared electronic forms of communication, especially e-mail, unofficial and thus not to be used during his term of office.
The need for real reform was seen as necessary, so Fleet Admiral Smith appointed a new committee to fashion a new Constitution for STARFLEET. The committee actively sought out the help and advice of all STARFLEET members, keeping the membership updated periodically. Thus, the REFORM of STARFLEET became a hallmark of the Fleet Admiral Michael D. Smith Administration.
This new Constitution would make the Commander, STARFLEET more accountable to the membership, separate the Executive Committee and the Admiralty Board, and would guarantee Chapter autonomy and Member rights. The new Constitution was completed and voted on at the end of 1998. It was ratified by a wide margin and put into effect in January of 1999.
However, it was reported at the time that the lack of funds inherited from the McGinnis Administration put STARFLEET in the red by more than $5,000. However, a more recent report from Admiral Chuck Freas revealed that it was actually $18,000 of debt that was inherited from the McGinnis Administration. (There were some rumors that said that the totals came closer to $50,000, but this was unsubstantiated).
A novel way was conceived to raise the much needed capital. An Internet auction, organized and led by the Region 3 Command Staff, injected hundreds of needed dollars in STARFLEET, and went to help pay this rather large debt. Later these monies were used to infuse the Scholarship funds. Also the Communiqué was converted from a magazine format into a small newspaper in order to save money in printing.
The biggest news of the Smith Administration concerned the IRS situation and came almost a year later. Admiral Freas, Vice-Commander, STARFLEET, as well as being a tax lawyer, negotiated with the IRS on behalf of STARFLEET. In the end, the IRS forgave STARFLEET all back taxes and penalties incurred. This included a sizeable refund of all penalties paid to the IRS. This enabled STARFLEET to pay all outstanding debts as well as placing the organization back in the black financially.
When Fleet Admiral Smith took office, he also stated that any former members and chapters that wished to rejoin STARFLEET might do so unfettered of possible retribution. In order to facilitate this, a new department, the Existing Fan Club Program, was instituted to allow those chapters that had withdrawn from STARFLEET to efficiently rejoin. It also allowed other existing fan clubs that had no attachment to STARFLEET previously to also join STARFLEET without going through the Shuttle Program. The first Director of the EFCP was Commander Dennis Rayburn, who had helped in the creation of the UFPI the year before.
The 1997 International Conference, held in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and the 1998 IC, held in Lubbock, Texas, were a celebration of Trekdom and STARFLEET. The Lubbock IC was capped off with the surprise attendance of Fleet Admiral John Bradbury, the 1st Commander, STARFLEET. STARFLEET had truly come full circle with Bradbury’s presence at IC98.
When it came time for the 1998 election, there were a couple of dozen members who had received nominations, but only one person obtained the necessary 5 nominations in order to qualify as a candidate for Commander, STARFLEET: Fleet Admiral Michael D. Smith. Thus, the 1998 election became a Vote of Confidence for the Smith Administration.
STARFLEET celebrated its greatest moment as the 1999 International Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, was held. STARFLEET celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 1999 and patted itself on the back. The organization had come from almost near collapse to say it was again at the forefront of Star Trek fandom. It was, to that point, the most attended International Conference ever.
2000 and Beyond: The Undiscovered Century
The year 2000 (also affectionately known as Y2K) started off with the resignation of the Vice-Commander, STARFLEET, Admiral Chuck Freas. Fleet Admiral Smith then appointed Admiral Gordon Goldberg, who was serving as Chief of Communications, to fill the remainder of the term of the Vice-Commander.
In the summer of 2000, the first elections under the new constitution commenced. On July 16th, 2000 Election Coordinator, Admiral Allyson Dyar, announced that Lieutenant General Edwin L. “Les” Rickard (SFMC), and Vice Admiral Robert Westfall were to vie for the position of succeeding Fleet Admiral Smith as Commander, STARFLEET in 2001. On November 17 th, Admiral Dyar announced that General Rickard was to become the 11th Commander, STARFLEET, assuming the rank of Fleet Admiral, on January 1st, 2001.
STARFLEET had started as the Starship USS Enterprise Fan Club in 1974, and now with the new millennium about to start, STARFLEET membership was close to 5,000 members and more than 300 chapters world-wide.
The 2000 International Conference was held in Burlington, Vermont during the weekend of July 28-30, with the 2001 International Conference returning to Kansas City, Missouri (where one of the first ICs had been held back in 1992). The 2002 IC was held in San Jose, California.
At present, this is as far as the Starfleet Historian has written into this article. As a brief summary of 2002 through today, the Les Rickard administration was followed by the 12th Commander, STARFLEET, Fleet Admiral Michael Malotte, who took office on January 1st, 2003. The Malotte administration was followed by the election of Fleet Admiral Mandi Livingston as CS starting in 2005. However, accusations of an election scandal resulted in an investigation into the events of the 2004 election. While the results of the investigation did not directly implicate Fleet Admiral Livingston into any wrong doing, two members of her team were punished by a suspension (ultimately, the Admiralty Board reviewed the case on appeal, and the two punished were cleared of the charges brought, and were reinstated). Fleet Admiral Livingston resigning about 16 months into her three year term, due to the impending birth of her first son, to be replaced by the ascension of General Les Rickard once again to the position of Commander, STARFLEET. While completing the remainder of Mandi Livingston’s term, Rickard (a soldier in the U.S. military) was shipped out to the Middle East. While Rickard remained connected to STARFLEET through e-mail and phone contacts, is Vice-Commander, STARFLEET, General Mark H. Anbinder, stepped in to become Acting Commander, STARFLEET until the end of Rickard’s term. Les Rickard is now back safely from his tour of duty.
During the Livingston/Rickard administration, the STARFLEET Constitution was amended to give the Commander, STARFLEET a 3-year term instead of the previous 2-year term. Also, it was further amended that a Commander, STARFLEET could not serve two consecutive terms in office.
In the latter half of 2007, STARFLEET held its most recent election, and for the first time in our history, four candidates ran for the office. The winner was a former Executive Committee member who served in multiple previous administrations: Sal Lizard. Taking office on January 1st, 2008, Fleet Admiral Lizard is the 15th individual to hold the elected position of Commander, STARFLEET.
Despite cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise and lack of any new Star Trek television show or movie for nearly five years, STARFLEET has endured well. Still strong with over 3,500 members in over 200 chapters on four different continents, STARFLEET continues the proud tradition started over 35 years ago by a small group of Star Trek fans in Texas.
Last updated in January, 2009.