Due to family and personal obligations, Fleet Admiral Les Rickard
announced his intention not to run for a second term. His term, although marked with
its share of problems, ended as it began, with a satisfaction that the goals of STARFLEET
On January 1st, 2003, Rickard's successor, SFMC General Michael Malotte took the oath of
office, and like Rickard, assumed the position of Commander, STARFLEET,
and with it, the rank of Fleet Admiral. The twelfth in the line that started with Fleet
Admiral John Bradbury, Malotte took his oath and responsibility very seriously. This was
shown by the people whom were chosen to fill the key positions within the fleet hierarchy.
There were a few firsts for the Malotte Administration. Fleet Admiral Malotte was the
first sitting Vice Commander to succeed to the Commander's seat. The Malotte
Administration was also the first to have an international member to serve on his Executive
SFMC Colonel Joost Ueffing of Canning, Nova Scotia, Canada, was named the first
International member to serve on the Executive Committee as Chief of Operations. Ueffing,
who had served Trek Fandom as the Chair of the International Fandom Council in 1997,
helped in the creation of the USS Magellan, the first chapter in the newly
re-established Region 14 and served as it's Vice Regional Coordinator until his assention
as Chief of Operation. He also served as Commander of FORCECOM on the SFMC General Staff.
Other members of the Malotte Administration included the new Vice Commander, STARFLEET,
former Chief of Computer Operations, STARFLEET, Rear Admiral Mark
Anbinder; Vice Admiral Greg Trotter, who continued as the Chief of Communications from the
Rickard Administration; STARFLEET Historian, General Scott Akers taking
the reigns of STARFLEET Academy; Commodore Jerry Tien becoming the new
Chief of Shuttle Operations after serving as the Vice Chief; Commodore Tammy Wilcox as the
newly established Chief Financial Officer; and Brigadier Sandy Berenberg moving up from
Vice Chief in charge of Membership Processing to Chief of Computer Operations.
In October 2002 the new online database went live. Fleet Captain Berenberg rolled out the
database in three phases. The first in October was for senior staff only to test the
database and add membership information like Academy course completions, ranks, and other
data. The second phase gave access to the Chapter CO's and XO's to the online database.
The final phase of the roll out took place in early 2003, allowing all members access to
the database. The database allowed all members to access their personal information, renew
online, sign up new members and see current fleet strength. Chapter CO's could submit MSRs
from within the database, and Operations Staff could manually add them for the rest of the
chapters. The database was permissions driven so different staff had different tools they
could use. Later in 2003, the current CQ was added so that all members could view the new
CQ after it was published. The Online Database also allowed for Membership Processing to
be performed in multiple locations and thus divide up the work from one person to many.
The database was originally located at www.thedaystrominstitute.org and then renamed
http://database.sfi.org. It is currently at http://db.sfi.org. Dino Gravato was the
primary engineer and creator of the database. Later Robin Smith joined the team and
eventually took over the database maintenance. In November 2003, Sanford Berenberg stepped
down as Chief of Computer Operations due to personal issues.
Also the official STARFLEET Website, at http://www.sfi.org, also changed
dramatically. SFI Webmaster Commodore Mike Wilkerson, a hold-over from the Rickard
Administration, introduced the new STARFLEET web-presence on January
15, 2003, which allowed the General Membership to have the ability to 'log-on' to
member-only features of the new website. Although some member asked what was this website,
it met with the general approval of those members who accessed it for their information on
Academy Commandant Scott Akers announced that the annual STARFLEET
Academy Director of the Year award had been renamed the Marlene Miller Award. This was
done to honor the out-going Academy Commandant's 20-plus years of continuous service to the
Academy. Akers also announce that she would continue to serve the Academy as the Director
of Officer's Command College (OCC).
On the morning of February 1st, 2003, tragedy struck the world yet again as the Space
Shuttle Columbia returned from it's 16 day mission. High over East Texas, Columbia, with it's
five men, two women crew, suffered a fatal mishap causing it to break up. This hit hard for the
American people as it came within a week where NASA observed the anniversary of two other
space tragedies - the 36th Anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire, which took the lives of
Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, and the Challenger Disaster, which
happened 17 years prior on January 26, 1986, which took the lives of seven brave souls,
including the first 'teacher in space', Christa McAuliffe.
As STARFLEET and it's members supported the space program through various
projects and special community projects, the membership felt particular sorrow over the
loss of the oldest shuttle of the fleet. Condolences and tributes poured from the various
chapters and members on the various mailing list. Various displays of sorrow were
performed, including placing a black ribbon over communicator badges as a sign of
mourning, as well as performing on-line memorial services on IRC, such as the
one conducted jointly by the STARFLEET FDP Chaplain/Counselors and Moral
Departments, on February 5, 2003. Web guru Mike Wilkerson made a very large contribution
by making available banners and buttons which could be displayed on chapter websites as a
sign of support and mourning for the Columbia crew.
On April 20, 2003, the membership received word of the passing of Rear Admiral Alan
Ravitch after a long illness the day before. Ravitch, the founding Region 15 Coordinator
and longtime supporter of fandom, had been in the forefront in the opposition of former
Commander, STARFLEET, Captain Dan McGinnis, and had paid the price by
being removed from his position as Region Coordinator. Although his removal was
symbolically rescinded later by Fleet Admiral Michael D. Smith, his vigor and resiliency
has always been remembered.
A memorial service was held on the STARFLEET Chaplain & Counselor IRC
Channel on April 21, led by Chaplain/Counselors FDP Chief Dennis Rayburn and Colonel Adam
Bernay. Many members of the association were moved by Admiral Ravitch's death and showed
it through posts of remembrance a tribute in honor of the Admiral over the STARFLEET
Most of the rest of the year had announcements from various
members that were to run for the posiiton of Commander, STARFLEET.
There were constitutional amendments to be voted on including one that would change
the term of the CS from a two year term to a three year term. This would include a
limit of one term per CS with a maximum number of years one can serve as CS to six
years. Malotte announced he would not run for a second term. This next
election would be interesting as former STARFLEET Academy Commandant
Mandi Hermann Livingston announced her intention of becoming the next CS. Former CS
Les Rickard also announced his intentions to run as well.
The ammendment making the Commander, STARFLEET a three year term
passed and initiated with the winner of the election. In one of the closest
elections since the Second Lerman/McGinnis election, which was won by McGinnis by only 50
votes, the same number of votes separated the runner-up and the winner in this election. It would also contribute to what can certainly be called one of the most
interesting three years STARFLEET would encounter.
Chapter Fifteen: Mandi Livingston