Captain James Kirk To Take Command Of Newest Navy Destroyer


The USS Zumwalt, one of the first of an new class of advanced destroyers, will be commanded by someone with a familiar name:

The commander of the U.S. Navy’s sleek new guided-missile destroyer, which launched late last week in Maine, has a name to match its space-age look: Captain Kirk.

Captain James Kirk, the prospective commanding officer of USS Zumwalt, will lead the 610-foot vessel, the Navy’s largest destroyer and first of three new Zumwalt-class ships “designed for littoral operations and land attack,” the Navy said.

Kirk, a native of Bethesda, Md., was commissioned at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1990 and has served in a variety posts as a “surface warfare officer,” according to his online bio. “Ashore, Captain Kirk has served as Executive Assistant to the Navy’s Chief of Legislative Affairs and as an Action Officer on the Joint Staff.”

Kirk obtained a master’s degrees in national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College and U.S. Army War College, where he undoubtedly heard more than his share of “Star Trek” jokes.

The ship, which was moved from dry dock in Bath, Maine, to a pier on the Kennebec River on Friday, is loaded with new technologies, including “radar reflecting angles, a striking inward-sloping tumblehome hull” and advanced gun system.

No word on when they’ll be adding the shields, transporters, and photon torpedoes.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. John Peabody says:

    “The Making of Star Trek”, which was printed in the 60s during production of TOS, includes an anecdote of a CPT James Kirk who was serving in Viet Nam. He had an XO that looked kinda like Spock, but refused the ‘ear job’.

  2. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @John Peabody: I read the same book, and kinda had my doubts about the veracity of that story. But this guy… if he was commissioned in 1990, then he was probably born around 1968, so either his parents were first-generation Trekkies or completely ignorant of the show — it wasn’t that big a hit at the time.

  3. James Pearce says:

    And they call the medic Bones.

  4. Vast Variety says:

    No word on when they’ll be adding the shields, transporters, and photon torpedoes.

    Those will get added on Tuesday.

  5. Mu says:

    Doesn’t list the name of the chief engineer

  6. JohnMcC says:

    From that angle the Zumwalt reminds me to the Confederate ironclad that’s gone down in history as the ‘Merimac’ but was actually the Virginia.

    And — fair winds and following seas to the Zumy.

  7. Al says:

    It’s a little strange that these ships were built at all with the Zumwalt class being dead already. (The program was canceled when the Navy realized that providing ballistic missile defense was much more important than previously thought.)

    I realize that the rational was the same one that justified building those three Seawolf class boats but at least the Seawolfs are useful. Considering how useless the Zumwalts are I’d think it would have been cheaper in the long run to simply abandon construction.

  8. Rob in CT says:

    The USS Zumwalt

    Looks like the Bond Villain’s ship in one of the more recent (Pierce Broznan) movies.

  9. Neil Hudelson says:


    Well, that is an entirely logical position to take, but you forgot that there are JOBS in building ships for an already dead program.

    And because it’s in the defense program, ridiculous gov’t spending to create jobs is OK.

  10. Nikki says:

    It’s James Tiberius Kirk or I don’t care.

  11. Nikki says:

    @Rob in CT: That would be “Tomorrow Never Dies,” with Michelle Yeoh and Jonathan Pryce. Trek and Bond nerd here!

  12. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The Zumwalts had two strikes against them: they were the size and gunpower of a cruiser, not a destroyer, and they look distinctly French.

    Too damned expensive, but still a hell of a lot of ship there.

  13. CSK says:

    Can I get a good deal on a cruise with Priceline?

  14. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: That’s three strikes — “too damned expensive” is a strike all its own.

    You know a design is a failure when even the Navy agrees that it would be better to build a whole lot more of the previous generation (DDG-51 Arleigh Burke) ship.

  15. gVOR08 says:

    Did this work like Major Major in Catch 22? The IBM card sorter at the Pentagon read the name his father had given him as a drunk joke, hiccuped, and promoted draftee Major Major straight to Major. Does a James Kirk default to Captain?

  16. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @DrDaveT: You know a design is a failure when even the Navy agrees that it would be better to build a whole lot more of the previous generation (DDG-51 Arleigh Burke) ship.

    Not necessarily a failure, but an acknowledgement that they really got it right with the Burkes. And, more specifically, the Spruance-class destroyers, whose basic hull design was used for both the Burkes and the Ticonderoga-class cruisers.

    Every now and then the military gets it just right, and they come up with something that is so good that it’s hard to top. The M-1 Abrams tank and the F-15 Eagle also come to mind, as well as the B-52 — it’s literally older than the crews that fly it, and it’s still doing the job.

  17. sam says:

    @James Pearce:

    And they call the medic Bones.

    Actually, that’s an old Navy tradition. The Chief Medical Officer was called ‘Bones’; the radioman was called ‘Sparks’; the Chief Bosun’s Mate (Boatswain’s mate, senior enlisted aboard) was called ‘Boats’. The guys in the engine room were called ‘Snipes” (don”t know why); and don’t ask me what they called us Marines, there’s not enough space here….