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.
The lead ship and class are named in honor of former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., who served as chief of naval operations from 1970 to 1974.
According to the Navy, construction on the first Zumwalt is "more than 87 percent complete," with remaining work on the hull scheduled to be completed before delivery in late 2014.
So who will serve as Capt. Kirk's "Spock" on the Zumwalt? According to the Navy, it's Cmdr. Jeffrey W. Hickox, who was named prospective executive officer of the ship.