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The History of
The International Star Trek Fan Association, Inc.

Original Introductions

S. Smith
M. Smith
Rickard (1)
Rickard (2)

The Brief History

SFMC History
Commandants, SFMC

Commanders, STARFLEET
International Conferences
Admiralty Board
STARFLEET Historians


Chapter Five
Eric Stillwell

A blow came to the Wetsch Administration with the resignation of Vice Chief of Staff, Admiral John Lunt. Then the power struggle ended in Admiral Stillwell's favor with the resignation of Fleet Admiral Wetsch in September, 1981. Admiral Stillwell then succeeded in having himself named as the new Chief of Staff. Though he had lost STARFLEET, Admiral Wetsch went on to found STARFLEET Command in June of 1983 to continue his own vision of Star Trek fandom.

Fleet Admiral Stillwell began by restructuring the command staff, beginning by having the name of the President of STARFLEET, up until that time called 'Chief of Staff'', changed to the Commanding Admiral, which was later changed to Commander, STARFLEET. Also the name of the organization, which had varied between Starfleet Command, Starfleet Headquarters, Starfleet Central or just plain Starfleet, was officially made STARFLEET.

Also after a few correspondences with the leadership of the Star Trek Welcommittee, Fleet Admiral Stillwell was able to have a 'new' STARFLEET officially recognized and removed from the blacklist.

At the start of 1982, Fleet Admiral Stillwell did some major changes in the HQ Staff, replacing Wetsch appointees with his own and reducing the number of positions. Admiral Dave Posey became the new Vice Commanding Admiral, Admiral Bryan Jackson became Chief of Communications, Admiral Tony Wynn became Chief of Operations, and Admiral Terri Clark was named Chief of Cultural Affairs, a new office created by Fleet Admiral Stillwell to handle production of Captain’s Log: Supplemental, which was to be STARFLEET’s new fanzine.

The 1981 Constitution stated that the Admiralty Board could amend the Constitution at will. Therefore, in 1983, they voted a new Constitution into effect. This new Constitution replaced the Admiralty Board with an "Executive Committee" to run the organization, consisting of the Commanding Admiral, the Vice Commanding Admiral, the Chief of Operations, and two Members at Large. It also created the geographic Regions and then grouped these Regions into five Sectors. The EC appointed both the Regional Coordinators and the Sector Chiefs.

Fleet Admiral Stillwell also decentralized and demilitarized STARFLEET’s structure through a new STARFLEET Constitution and various policy directives. All STARFLEET outposts were elevated to chapter status and assigned a name from Franz Joseph’s Star Fleet Technical Manual. Five "Special Assignment" chapters were also created for members: the USS Columbia (Cadet Training), the USS Hathor (Officer Training), the USS Altair (Command Assistance), the USS Etzel (Engineering), and the USS Quintillus (Science).

The Stillwell Administration prided itself on the production of high quality Communiqué’s and membership materials. The Administration also promoted the club in mainstream media. A paid advertisement and article in Starlog magazine, a mass-mailing of flyers to every Star Trek group and member in the Fandom Computer Directory and a call for each member to distribute fifty flyers at each showing of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan when it opened on June 4, 1982 were done to raise awareness of STARFLEET. All this and positive attention from author Bjo Trimble (considered the "Mother of Trek Fandom") and Susan Sackett, who served as Gene Roddenberry’s Personal Assistant, helped boost STARFLEET’s membership to enormous heights. The Starlog article alone is credited with adding 1400 members and soon STARFLEET held close to 2200 members at its height. Admiral Stillwell continued to use media exposure to help STARFLEET grow, by offering free memberships to Star Trek cast and personalities, including Gene Roddenberry himself. Great Britain hosted eight chapters in Region Eight under Flagship USS Hood and STARFLEET had chapters in Italy, France, West Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Unfortunately, membership fees also rose, now to $10.00 for one year as of January 1, 1983.

In the summer of 1982, a major crisis developed -- and one that is not very widely known to STARFLEET members. At one time, STARFLEET had its own product distribution office, where several items of Star Trek nature were sold to members to raise sorely needed funds. STARFLEET also used Paramount-copyrighted fonts and typefaces, as well as images and logos, in all of their publications. For months, the senior officers of STARFLEET feared that should Paramount pursue legal action, they themselves might become liable for damages.

Paramount Pictures and it's parent company Gulf and Western, contacted STARFLEET HQ, concerning the possible violation of the copyrights and patents held by Paramount by selling unlicensed items and for using the calligraphic font in the name title of the organization. The situation dragged on into the winter and many of STARFLEET's top officers began to fear that, should Paramount take legal action, many of them would be held responsible. Once again, Admiral Stillwell looked to the "stars", in this case Susan Sackett, and Paramount came to see that these practices actually increased the demand for licensed Star Trek products and helped Paramount’s bottom line more than it hurt it. Paramount dropped its legal inquiries and would go on,. with the help of many in STARFLEET, to start its own "Official" Star Trek fan club.

This good news was balanced by the fact that by 1983 STARFLEET was seriously hemorrhaging cash. While the Communiqué and other membership materials were of the best quality STARFLEET had ever seen, they cost an incredible amount of money to produce. The strain of administering such a large organization also caused many key officers to resign, with their replacements quickly suffering the same. As such, HQ efficiency began to suffer and many of the members and chapters that Stillwell had recruited in his first year in office started to leave STARFLEET. Soon the bleeding began in earnest, with hundreds of members leaving and scores of chapters folding every month.

A critical blow to the Stillwell Administration was the revelation that a number of Admiral Stillwell’s own Executive Committee members had secretly created a new fan club, called Trek International, and were actively recruiting members and chapters of STARFLEET to their new club. Faced with what was becoming a larger and larger mess, Fleet Admiral Stillwell resigned as Commanding Admiral on January 2, 1984.

Chapter Six: Fran Booth