On January 30th, 2015 in Portland, Oregon, Webmaster Matt went to see Star Trek (2009) with the Oregon Symphony playing the soundtrack live and it was fantastic! But did you know that Star Trek was based on the US Air Force? And that Gene Roddenberry was both a police officer and has flown combat missions?
Here is a short clip from the end of the show.
Gene Roddenberry Was A U.S. Combat Pilot
“In 1941, he joined the United States Army Air Corps, which in the same year became the United States Army Air Force. He began training at Goodfellow Field (now Goodfellow Air Force Base) in San Angelo, Texas with other Civilian Pilot Training alums and graduated as a second lieutenant in September 1942, Class G. ”
“He flew combat missions in the Pacific Theatre with the “Bomber Barons” of the 394th Bomb Squadron, 5th Bombardment Group, of the Thirteenth Air Force and on August 2, 1943, Roddenberry was piloting a B-17E Flying Fortress named the “Yankee Doodle,” from Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides, when mechanical failure caused it to crash on take-off. In total, he flew eighty-nine missions for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal before being honorably discharged at the rank of captain in July 1945.” (Source: Wikipedia)
After his military service, he joined the Los Angeles Police Department (Feb. 1, 1949). He became a Police Officer in 1951 and made Sergeant in 1953. It is widely believed that his experience as a combat pilot and police officer molded his vision for the future where “The Federation of Planets” would be a combined exploration, military and police force and later doing diplomatic and scientific missions. He original sold the series as a “Wagon Train To The Stars.”
Rank Structures In Star Trek Based On United States Navy
“According to Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, Roddenberry’s original idea for the organization of the USS Enterprise was that the ship would be based on a merchant marine type organization with a Captain and various mates overseeing a large crew. In the pilot episode “The Cage”, the only ranks spoken of were Captain, Lieutenant, Chief and Crewman. All officers wore a single rank stripe and, according to Roddenberry, everyone aboard the Enterprise was a qualified astronaut making rank titles a formality since all crewmembers basically had the same type of training.
When the second pilot was being developed (TOS: “Where No Man Has Gone Before”), Roddenberry shifted focus from a merchant marine vessel to a military ship very clearly modeled after the United States Navy. The ranks of Lieutenant Commander and Commander were both spoken of and the Captain (James T. Kirk) wore a “two stripe” insignia to differentiate him from the rest of the crew. When Star Trek: The Original Series came into full production, Ensign and Lieutenant Junior Grade were both either seen or discussed and the concept of staff versus line officers was introduced, most predominately in “Court Martial” where an officer of the Judge Advocate General Corps is seen and Starfleet is referred to as “the service”.” (source: Ex Astris Scientia)
In the end, Star Trek may not have been completely based on the US Air Force, but we will never truly know. It is known that Gene’s Combat Pilot training and missions were a large factor in his choices of space combat in Star Trek shows. Also his knowledge of the US Military led to help with ship designs, ideas and naming conventions and the military structure of The Federation in the show.
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The Weapons School accomplishes its mission by providing graduate-level, instructor academic and flying courses to USAF Combat Air Forces (CAF). It conducts extensive technical off-station training and is a liaison with CAF units. It publishes the quarterly USAF Weapons Review with worldwide readership. All positions are selectively manned.
USAF Fighter Weapons School F-16 flying with a Constant PegMiG-21over the Nevada desert, about 1986
The USAF Weapons School traces its roots to the Aircraft Gunnery School established in 1949 at Las Vegas Air Force Base (which became Nellis Air Force Base in 1950). This organization brought together a cadre of World War II combat veterans dedicated to teaching the next generation of pilots. The Gunnery School converted to combat crew training to meet the needs of the Korean War. In January 1954, the school assumed the mission of training fighter instructors, and took on the title, “USAF Fighter Weapons School.” Students at Nellis trained in F-51 Mustang. F-80 Shooting Star. F-84 Thunderjet and all versions of the F-100 Super Sabre aircraft during this period. By 1960. the F-100 and the F-105 Thunderchief were left as the two primary aircraft flown at the Weapons School.
In 1965, the Fighter Weapons School added the F-4 Phantom II to its courses. As the roles of fighter aircraft expanded during the Vietnam War, the Fighter Weapons School began to have an impact across the larger Air Force. Many of the air-to-ground and air-to-air innovations of this period can be traced to the Weapons School. Assigned aircraft continued to change in concert with Air Force inventories. The Weapons School deactivated the F-100 and F-105 courses, and added the F-111 and A-7D Corsair II.
F-16 Division F-16C 86-0251 in experimental “Aggressor” motif
The Aggressors, flying the T-38 Talon and F-5E Tiger II were stood-up as part of the Weapons School in the early 1970s to improve air-to-air skills by providing accurate threat replication for dissimilar air combat training. The A-7D tenure in the school was a brief 3 years as the squadron transitioned from A-7s to F-5 Aggressors in 1975. Fighter modernization brought both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the F-15 Eagle into Weapons School operations in 1977.
The 1980s ushered in a time of significant change for the Weapons School. In 1981, the school underwent a complete reorganization as the squadrons became divisions. The Aggressor squadrons transferred to the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing. The F-1ll Division became a geographically separated detachment of the Nellis-based Weapons School. The newly formed F-16 Fighting Falcon Division graduated its first students in 1982. In 1984 the Weapons School expanded its courses beyond the traditional fighter aircrew, adding a course to train weapons controllers in the F-15 Division. A passing of the torch to the current Weapons School occurred when the last F-4 class graduated in 1985, ending 20 years of F-4 weapons officer training. The Air Weapons Controller Division, later known as the Command and Control Operations (CCO) Division activated as a separate unit in 1987. The school gained a Fighter Intelligence Officers Course in 1988 which became the graduate patch-awarding Intelligence Division in 1990. The F-15E Strike EagleDivision became part of the school in 1991.
With the stand-up of Air Combat Command in 1992, the school embarked on a dramatic shift from its 43-year focus exclusively on fighter aviation, dropping the “fighter” from its title and becoming the “Air Force Weapons School.” The change was much more than symbolic with the activation of the B-52 and B-1 Divisions that year. Rescue helicopters joined the school with the HH-60 Division in 1995 while the F-111 retired. That year also saw the addition of RC-135 RIVET JOINT and EC-130 COMPASS CALL courses to the CCO Division. To increase the graduate-level understanding of space and air integration for operators, the school added the Space Division in 1996.
With a growing need for weapons officers skilled at integrating all aspects of air and space power, the Weapons School has continued to expand. 2000 saw the addition of the E-8 JSTARS to the CCO Division. Special Operations Forces (SOF) also became part of the Weapons School in 2000,developing courses for the MH-53 and AC-130. Stealth joined the school in 2002 with the addition of the F-117 and B-2 Divisions. SOF added an MC-130 course that year as well. In 2003, all of the Weapons School divisions were re-designated (or initially activated) as squadrons, and the Intelligence Sensor Weapons Instructor Course was added to provide graduate-level training in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance integration. In 2006, the F-117 Weapons Instructor Course deactivated and the merger with the Mobility Weapons School added the C-130, KC-135, and C-17 Weapons Instructor Courses. In 2008, the F-22 joined the Weapons School and in 2009, the ICBM Weapons Instructor Course was added. Students of the ICBM and Space courses share a common Air Force Specialty code (AFSC) as well as a building on Nellis.
Today’s Weapons School encompasses 17 squadrons, teaching 22 combat specialties at 8 locations. Only 30% of today’s students come from the classic fighter specialties.
USAF Weapons School – McDonnell Douglas F-15C-34-MC Eagle 82-0038
The US Air Force has a lot of advantages in logistics, worldwide coverage, speed, missions and role types and this creates a creative insight into what is cool about being in the United States Air Force!
10. If I want Chinese Food, I will fly to China!
9. When the G-Forces pull back your face, you look and feel years younger!
8. One weekend a year, you get to take your jet home with you.
7. You’re looking at a guy with one million frequent flier miles.
6. At 20,000 feet you see lots of clouds that look more like bunnies and stuff!
5. Always fun watching the new guy try to parallel park a C-130 Hercules.
USAF Pararescue is the first of the line of arcade style games for the United States Air Force beginning with the men and women of the air forces! In Pararescue airman leap from their incredible CV-22 Osprey into the rice paddies of southeast Asia! Pararescue!
4. Seasickness is for losers — airsickness is the way to go!
Don’t get caught! Ever! In the modern day it might be an Osprey that grabs you and takes you to safety. Now for a great military Osprey Game try your hand!
3. Free headsets on transcontinental flights.
2. Whenever people ask where I’ve been, I can tell them “The Wild Blue Yonder“!
Meme War Friday at Vision-Strike-Wear where no holds barred, everyone can throw a throat punch and nothing is off limits. Meme War Friday at Vision-Strike-Wear is something anyone can share your funny military humor with all soldiers with a sense of humor
Can’t sit here.” – Airborne
Mmmm huh. I reckon I’d like some French fries and mash potatters.
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