History of SFA

Beginnings: 1974-1988

"At the desk where I sit, I have learned one great truth. The answer for all our national problems - the answer for all the problems of the world - come to a single word. That word is "education." Lyndon B. Johnson

Since the beginning of Starfleet, even when it was still known as Starfleet Central, and later as Starfleet Command, the leadership of the organization recognized a need to educate the membership in the structure of the club. And the membership let know their desire for a fun semi-fictional expression of the Starfleet Academy they had heard about on the broadcasts of Star Trek. Hence our own Starfleet Academy was borne. Today that small expression of member desire has grown to one of the premiere aspects of Starfleet and its Commandant one of the seven members of Starfleet Executive Committee. It is now time to look at the history of the Academy, the highlight its past Commandants, and its successes in bringing the information and the fun to the membership of Starfleet.

The Office of Fleet Historian has enjoyed the opportunity to share with fleet, the lineages of specific chapters in fleet and those chapters that have set the standards for over two decades in fleet: the Eagle, Alaric, Jamestown, Discovery and Avenger. The Office has also shared with the membership our goals and aspirations, as well as the Deputy Director Commodore Jeff Higdon spending time to share techniques in writing regional and chapter histories.

But now we will present the history of Starfleet Academy in three parts: First from the beginning of Starfleet until the end of the Steve Smith administration (1974-1988). Later, the Maddox, Lerman and McGinnis administrations (1989-1996). And finally, the Mike Smith and Les Rickard administrations (1996-1997). There have been good times and bad, but the Academy has and will persevere and the membership will continue to enjoy all the hard work put in by the dedicated staff. So let us begin.

In the beginning there was Starfleet Central, and it was good, and it was pretty well just three chapters and a newsletter. The then head of the organization Commodore John Bradbury (yes Commodore!), was essentially running the whole organization out of his house, the STARFLEET Communications newsletter was run on a ditto-type machine at his high school, and his mom helped keep track of the membership. All very low-tech and small-scale compared to even what one of our newest shuttles does today. But it WAS a beginning.

In Volume I, Issue 2 of the STARFLEET Communications (Stardate 2566.0 - June 1st, 1975) it was announced that the Starfleet Headquarters was looking into starting the Starfleet Academy. And in Issue 3 (Stardate 2686.0 - September 29th, 1975) the layout of the Starfleet Academy was first revealed. "STARFLEET ACADEMY: Starfleet Academy is an attempt at fulfilling Starfleet's goal of bringing about a better understanding of Star Trek and its concepts by the public and enabling the public to see how Star Trek relates to the present. It is best described as an academic course on the subject of Star Trek."

"The fee to enroll in Starfleet Academy for the entire course will be, tentatively, $3.00. This fee is subject to change before opening date. The course will be given in a series of written lectures which are mailed to the cadet."

The write up continues and describes potentials courses such as the Constitution Class Starship, Star Trek Characters, and Writing Star Trek Stories.

The next mention of academy type information was in STARFLEET Communications #11, published around September of 1977. In that issue, a request for applications for a "Chief Examinations Officer, Personnel Division - - Duties: responsible for printing, mailing, and scoring promotion tests. Requirements: must have cheap access to copier (low-volume printing).

In the next issue, #12 (April, 1978), while Starfleet Central was changing the Commander Starfleet from Commodore (later Admiral and Fleet Admiral) John Bradbury to new Admiral Adeline Longshaw, the position of Examinations Officer was still unfilled.

By issue #13 (September, 1978) it was revealed that the USS Columbia NCC-1621 a courier ship had be re-outfitted as training ship for the cadets of Starfleet. At that time they had nine cadets in training, with a number of tests having been devised for commissioned officers. Requests were to be sent to Starfleet Central and would then be forwarded to the Academy.

The next issue #14 (late 1979) Starfleet now had an official Starfleet Academy under the command of Rear Admiral David C. Wilton. The bottom half of page 12 is devoted to his report. Here he explained that cadets would still go through training on the USS Columbia under the command of the Director of Training, Fleet Captain Mike Rathke. Afterwards members who wanted additional training and degrees in the various fields would report to the Director of Starfleet Academy's Post-Graduate School, Commodore Martin Halbert. The Academy had taken great leaps in the year between Issues 13 and 14, and the SFA Director himself was proud of earning a B.S. and Masters in Astronomy and was working on his Doctorates in Space Medicine.

Because of the confusion with the entire administration of Fleet Admiral John Wetsch our next mention of the Academy is two years later (November/December 1981), in the first Starfleet Communiqué (actually numbered Volume 1, Issue 3). Here the new Fleet Admiral Eric Stillwell introduces Vice Admiral David Wilton, still the Director of the Starfleet Academy, and new Commodore Mark Klein as Director of the Post Graduate School. However there are copies of Academy materials with John Wetsch's name on it, from the Longshaw era, so we know he was involved in developing the Academy and especially the PGS portion. In addition the first history of Starfleet written by Admiral Chris Smith in Communiqué #17 (October/November 1986) specifically mentioned Admiral Wetsch as being instrumental in the opening of the Academy itself.

We next jump to November 1984, and Communiqué #9. Starfleet has a new Fleet Admiral Fran Booth and also a new Academy Director has been appointed Admiral Bryan A. Ackermann. There are now three sets of courses: Cadet Training School, Post Graduate School, and the new Command Training School - whose purpose was to prepare Officer's to someday command their own ship, and consisted of practical tips and training. The one interesting point is that to attend the academy, your application form had to be first signed by your chapter's commanding officer.

The next issue #10 (May 1985), lists Rear Admiral Jason E. Genser as the Director of the renamed cadet school, now called the Officer Training School, or OTS, the name it still has today. It also listed a very young Commodore Alex Rosenzweig (yes Commodore) as the Director of the Post Graduate School: with Bachelors programs in Engineering Technology, Medical History, Medical Technology, Support Services Technology, Helm and Navigation Technology, and Command Studies; Masters programs in Advanced Engineering Technology, History of Space-Going Diseases, and Command Studies II; and Doctoral Level courses in The History of the UFP, Advanced Command Studies, and The Voyages of the Enterprise.

Following in Issue #11 (August 1985), Rear Admiral Bryan Ackermann was out on "reduced duty leave" due to his entrance into Michigan State University, replacing him at the Starfleet Academy was Rear Admiral Christopher J. Lotito. Admiral Lotito was also appointed to replace Admiral Genser at director of the Officer Training Program.

The final report of the Academy during the Fleet Admiral Booth Administration is in CQ #12 (November, 1985) with Rear Admiral Lotito apologizing for delays in grading and returning OTS scores. Life as a volunteer leader wasn't easy, even in the mid 1980's.

The following year brought a new administration when Admiral Steve Smith of the Communications Department moved up to the center seat as the new Commander, Starfleet and a promotion to Fleet Admiral. Chris Smith from the LaGrange became his Operations Chief and Chris Lotito remained head of the Academy. In the back of the first Smith CQ #13, was an Academy application, Command Training School had disappeared but a new school, the SFA College of Medicine was opened under the directorship of Melanie D. Grooms. Two of the new creations of the Smith Administration were the Staff Captaincy (now Admiral Chris Wallace was the first Staff Captain) and the enlisted rank structure. With this also came a push, for chapters to encourage their members to take OTS (to better understand the structure and workings of Starfleet) before granting them commissions. The Membership Handbook also stated that taking OTS was one way to automatically receive a commission in Starfleet.

Two issues later in CQ #15 (June, 1986) the Academy staff doubled. A new school, the Vulcan Academy of Science was established under the directorship of Captain Steven Allred, Commander Wayne Compton was in the process of developing the first SFA-Security School. Two new departments were created: The Senior Captain's Network, under Commodore Rob Lerman, and a then Lt. Commander Marlene Miller (yes OUR Admiral Marlene Miller) started the Academy Alumni Association. In addition the first OTS Honor Roll for scoring 100% was announced with six honorees: Alex Rosenzweig, Melanie D. Grooms, Sarah Jo Brafford, Carol D. Smith, Steve Stein, and Pamela DuPuy.

By the end of the year in December of 1986, CQ#18 has the Academy expanding yet again. Officer Training School now had a West Coast campus, under the leadership of Rob Lerman, and Sharon Ann Campbell was developing the Starfleet Academy Computer Education Program. The Vulcan Academy of Science also added three award programs: the first was "Star Status". For every degree program that a student completed with an average of 95 or higher, they would receive a "star status", Uni-Star, Bi-Star, Tri-Star, etc. The second new feature was the Vulcan Legion of Honor, awarded to a student who completed all possible degree programs at the Vulcan Academy of Science. The first four inductees into the Legion of Honor were Ted Tribby, Sherry Bowen, Kathleen McKown, and Joelle Riley. The final award program was the IDIC Pin Award. Awarded once every six to the student who achieved the most at the VAS. The first recipient was Ted Tribby. Also at this time, Melanie Grooms had to step down as SACOM Director, and Sherry Bowen, Region 2 Surgeon General succeeded her.

The next report to the membership came in CQ #20 (April, 1987). Our beloved Alex Rosenzweig had to step down from running the Post Graduate School, something about becoming Regional Coordinator for Region Seven, tsk tsk tsk. However, Captain Daniel J. Halloran stepped up to succeed him. Also in this issue Academy Director Admiral Chris Lotito had both an interview and bio on his role in and goals for the Academy. Chris had also asked the membership if they were willing to pay $2.00 for OTS, as he had been paying for all of the copying and mailing out of his own pocket, which had contributed to the delays fleet had been experiencing getting their OTS packets and results back. At that time, the OTS test booklet was a full 8.5 x 11 pamphlet thicker than the Membership Handbook itself and was very detailed and all encompassing.

In August of 1987 (CQ#22), Admiral Lotito and Rob Lerman were asking for help in copying and producing OTS packets, as the rush of applicants following the new Membership Handbook had turned into a torrent, and they could not by themselves keep up. What a problem to have, being so successful, that you had too many customers. By December of the same year (CQ#24), some additional changes had been made. PGS had been added to the west coast campus, and the regions were divided as to which should apply to which campus. It was also decided that the OTS Fee would be $2.50, and only $1.00 for those who do not need the OTS packet. It was also announced that the Computer Education Program was now a three-tier program, and that SACOM had been modified to be more like the Vulcan Academy of Science with multiple specialties and advanced classes after the initial M.D. course.

In the May/April 1988 Issue of the Communiqué (#26) the Academy spotlight was on the Academy Alumni Association, still led by now Commander Marlene Miller. The SFA-AA would provide for a $5.00 fee, a membership card and certificate, and four Academy Newsflash newsletters. In addition members would be eligible for the Starfleet Academy Alumni Association Honor Society for scores of 100% in any Academy program. In addition there was an Associate Membership to receive the Newsflash in exchange for four SASEs.

In the June/July 1988 Issue (#27) there were quite a few staff changes, Rear Admiral Rob Lerman had stepped up to be Deputy Director of Starfleet Academy, and the west coast campus responsibilities had been split between Rear Admiral Jack Fields taking over PGS-West, and Vice Admiral Timothy Dover taking over OTS-West. In addition Captain Eric Johnson succeeded Daniel Halloran in running PGS-East, and Captain Fran Costello succeeding Steve Allred in leading the Vulcan Academy of Science. Commander Marlene Miller reported that the Alumni Association was in full swing, and Rear Admiral Lerman sought non-paid pre-orders for an Academy Patch of the then current Academy logo.

The only changes in August 1988, concerned Fleet Captain Janice Moore taking over PGS-West as Rear Admiral Jack Fields moved over to Communications to become the new Communiqué Editor following the retirement of Buck Krause. Also Wayne Compton had to resign as Director of the Security School, and a search was begun for a replacement. The last changes in the Academy came at the end of 1988, with the Senior Captain's Network, getting more structure, Senior Captain's being assigned in most of the active regions, and a resolution to assign all new Captain's to a SCN mentor for nine months, to help them learn the ropes of being a Starfleet Chapter CO.

14 years, half of the history of Starfleet so far, and the Academy was there almost from the beginning, from John Bradbury and his family grading trivia tests about Trek and fleet, to a cross country team of over a dozen people, working in six different schools, two different campuses covering all the bases from the newest member to the newest chapter CO. From Medicine to Computers, Security to Helm & Navigation, and the whole gamut of the Vulcan Academy of Sciences and the Alumni Association. Starfleet had grown by leaps and bounds, and so had the Academy, and it had become not only a tool to teach the membership, what Starfleet was, but the most enjoyable interactive outlet for both students and instructors in the organization.

Beginnings: 1974-1988

Growth and Turmoil: 1989-1996

SFA Lives Long and Prospers: 1997-Present

 

 

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