Naval Capt. James Kirk doesn’t mind ‘Star Trek’ jokes

Captain Kirk’s futuristic-looking vessel sports cutting-edge technology, new propulsion and powerful armaments, but this ship isn’t the Starship Enterprise.

BATH, Maine — Captain Kirk’s futuristic-looking vessel sports cutting-edge technology, new propulsion and powerful armaments, but this ship isn’t the Starship Enterprise.

The skipper of the stealthy Zumwalt is Navy Capt. James Kirk, and yes, he’s used to the jokes about the name he shares with the TV starship commander played by actor William Shatner.

Kirk takes it in stride.

“I don’t take any offence,” he told The Associated Press in an interview. “If it’s a helpful moniker that brings attention to help us to do what we need to do to get the ship into the fleet and into combat operations, then that’s fine.”

While it’s no starship, the technology-laden Zumwalt taking shape at Maine’s Bath Iron Works is unlike any other U.S. warship.

The Navy’s largest destroyer will feature a composite deckhouse with hidden radar and sensors and an angular shape that minimizes its radar signature. Its unusual wave-piercing hull will reduce the ship’s wake.

It’s the first U.S. surface warship to use electric propulsion, and its power plant is capable of producing enough electricity to light up a small city and to power future weapons like the electromagnetic rail gun.

Inside, it’s just as unique. The number of sailors needed to stand watch will be reduced through the use of cameras and video monitors that show what’s going on outside. The bridge will indeed look like something from “Star Trek” with two chairs surrounded by nearly 360 degrees of video monitors.

A handful of reporters accompanying Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday got a first look at the ship’s interior while it’s under construction. It’s due to be christened in the spring.

The 610-foot-long ship has the highest level of automation on a U.S. surface warship, with systems in place to combat flooding and to put out fires, among other things. Because of automation and technology, the number of sailors needed to run it will be nearly half the current Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

All this whiz-bam technology comes at a price that sailors couldn’t have imagined in the early 1960s, when the first episodes of “Star Trek” aired on television. The first-in-class Zumwalt will cost northward of $3.5 billion, a price tag so high that the Navy was forced to reduce the number of ships in the series to just three.

The “Star Trek” comparisons were inevitable even before “Star Trek” actor George Takei used his popular Facebook page to point out the similarities of Kirk’s name.

Kirk, a Bethesda, Md., native and 1990 Naval Academy graduate, said the jokes about his name began early in his career, with colleagues telling him that they couldn’t wait for him to reach the rank of captain.

The Navy skipper points out that his name is actually James A. Kirk, while the fictional Starship Enterprise captain was James “Jim” T. Kirk. But that didn’t stop him from earning the call sign “Tiberius” — the fictional Kirk’s middle name — while working with an aircraft carrier strike group. That was later shortened to just “T.”

While he doesn’t mind the Starfleet jokes, Kirk said that people sometimes focus too much on the technology incorporated in the futuristic-looking Zumwalt.

“Yes, we’re going to talk about all of the wonderful technology, but it still requires the sailors who are going to bring her to life,” he said.

Just Posted

Red Deer council sets police review goals

Review will look at alternatives to RCMP-led police force and their effectiveness

Three-year deal ratified for Red Deer CUPE workers

CUPE workers to get four per cent over three years

A Red Deer single mom with MS goes to Disney World with autistic son thanks to Make-A-Wish

The first vacation for the Red Deer family brings spark back to life

UPDATED: Jury selection underway for Red Deer murder trial

Trial looking at a 2015 stabbing death outside the Village Mall

Wednesday is McDonald’s United Way Day in Red Deer

$1 from every Big Mac, Happy Meal and Egg McMuffin will be donated

Updated: Red Deer RCMP introduce downtown policing unit

A four-member downtown Red Deer RCMP unit hit the beat on Thursday… Continue reading

McGill students vote overwhelmingly for change to Redmen team nickname

MONTREAL — Students at McGill University have voted by a large majority… Continue reading

Mira Sorvino urges #MeToo to do more than ‘name and shame’

NEW YORK — Mira Sorvino believes the key to eradicating sexual misconduct… Continue reading

Stan Lee hoped to make Canadian-set series about Indigenous cop, says producer

TORONTO — Stan Lee struggled in his final years to get broadcasters… Continue reading

Holding out slim hope as crews search for more fire dead

PARADISE, Calif. — More than a dozen coroner search and recovery teams… Continue reading

Comic book genius Stan Lee, Spider-Man creator, dies at 95

LOS ANGELES — Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic… Continue reading

Canada intelligence officials have heard audio of Khashoggi murder, Trudeau says

PARIS — Justin Trudeau says Canadian intelligence officials have listened to a… Continue reading

Canada hoping to solve U.S. tariff dispute by G20 meetings at month’s end: PM

WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s hopeful that Canada can… Continue reading

Bishops will delay votes on steps to combat sex abuse crisis

BALTIMORE — In an abrupt change of plans, the president of the… Continue reading

Most Read