Captain James Kirk left port today—for real—on the bridge of the brand-new U.S.S. Zumwalt, the first of a new class of starsh-… er… Navy destroyer. It’s true. Capt. James A. Kirk really is skipper of the Zumwalt, according to the Associate Press, which reported it without so much as a blink.
The Zumwalt, named after the admiral with the memorable eyebrows and serious credits as a reformer in the Navy, is a controversial, super-high-tech prototype of a new kind of destroyer, which has a hull design more suggestive of a vessel from the 1890s crossed with the Civil War era Merrimack. This design, with the bow extended forward and down to slice into the water, and a superstructure totally enclosed in a box, reportedly makes it more efficient in the water and stealthier when it comes to radar avoidance. It’s turbine-electric powered, and has the latest in long-range weaponry. It’s also hideously expensive, so much so that the Navy cut its initial order from 32 ships to 3. Proponents say it will serve as a valuable test platform for ships of the future. Skeptics call it a boondoggle. I call it a great reason for Capt. Kirk to get back into his game. (Even if this Capt. Kirk went to Annapolis rather than Star Fleet Academy.)
Time will bring us answers to those questions of usefulness, no doubt. But right now, what I want to know is, why didn’t Capt. Kirk’s parents have the foresight to give him Tiberius for a middle name?
I suppose they must have had their reasons. Meanwhile, congratulations on your new command, Cap’n Kirk!