History of the USS Joshua

Commodore Gail Rushing
Chief Historian of the USS Joshua


In 1989 a group of Star Trek fans formed a club known as a Shuttle. They had split off an existing club - the USS Lone Star. This new Shuttle was named the "49 Eridani" and was affiliated with the International Star Trek organization known as Starfleet. Their CO was Bob Corbett who become the first USS Joshua captain with Shane Johnson her first XO.

In October 1989 the Shuttle Eridani was renamed the USS Joshua and commissioned as a full Starfleet Starship by Fleet Admiral Jeanette Maddox who was in attendance at the ceremony. The Joshua had a crew strength of 40 and her newsletter was called the Shofar, or "Ram's Horn."

The Joshua crew attended a Creation Con in Jan. 1990 featuring Patrick Stewart. Almost immediately thereafter the club's strength doubled and their meeting place at Uno's Pizzeria in Arlington became too small.

In Feb. 1990 Captain Bob Corbitt became Region 3 Coordinator and Elaine Fisher was elected by a narrow margin over Clayton Melanson as the second USS Joshua captain.

Members of the Joshua built their first bridge set and filmed the play Romulans, Ferengi & Borg, Oh My!, and launched their first shuttle - the Boyington later to be known as the Lancelot.

On November 17, 1990 the Joshua change of command took place and Bill Schwab took over as the third USS Joshua captain. On going projects included Adopt-A-Highway, the Genesis Project, the Mile of Pennies and support of Child Protective Services in Arlington. In December the Navigation Department sponsored an Adopt-A-Family for Christmas headed up by Karen Helmer.

In April 1991 the USS Lancelot commissioned under the command of Captain Clayton Melanson. Fleet Admiral Maddox was in town for the ceremony and informed the crew that the Joshua had been named Starfleet Rookie Ship of the Year. The USS Joshua was now acting as mothership to two other shuttles - the San Jacinto and the Sagittarius.

In June 1991 the Joshua helped out at the Soviet Space exhibit in Ft. Worth and presented the Russian visitors with USS Joshua t-shirts. In the fall of 1991 two Joshua members, Mary Gingenrich and Lance Oliver were married in a Next Gen style wedding and command of the USS Joshua was turned over to her new captain, John Bunton.

Captain Bunton's first report shows the Joshua hosting four shuttles which included the Intangible and the Starsong. Gene Roddenberry had passed away and the crew mourned his loss. The Joshua's first video project, Quantum Trek was near completion and Star Trek VI would have a December premier in Dallas with Nichelle Nichols in attendance. The Joshua newsletter was renamed "Engage, for ship's going places".

A painting of the USS Joshua by artist Chris Dawson was displayed at the premier of ST VI and the USS Intangible was commissioned in College Station. A bid was sent in to sponsor the Starfleet International Conference and the Commanche became a shuttle. The bridge set, created for the first play and used during these events, was eventually dismantled and lost.

As 1992 progressed, the Joshua's latest video/play venture "Silence of the Romulans" was going well and plans were underway for the first Region 3 Olympics. The shuttles Sagittarius and Gagarin (formally known as the Starsong) had commissioned and the San Jacinto was scheduled to commission at a Creation Con featuring Patrick Stewart. Region 3 members raised over $170 for the Patrick Stewart Starfleet scholarship and some members were able to go backstage to present Mr. Stewart with a galactic "check". The highlight of this visit was the pinning of Captain Jonathan Simmons with John Bunton's captain's bars by Patrick Stewart. The shuttle San Jacinto commissioned at the con as the USS Vindicator.

Elections for the new year were held and Sean Caughman took over as the fifth Joshua captain. The shuttle Commanche was commissioned as a starship in October 1992 and the Joshua's shuttle bays were empty for the first time in two years. John Bunton proposed and led a committee to refit the Joshua, and deck plans and a 3-D cutaway was created of the newly specified ship.

1993 was filled with activities including Tex Trek, the establishment of the first Joshua Hotline and the debut of a lot of new alien prosthetics by Chief of Science, John Bunton. The Joshua was involved in Fleet-wide projects such as Starship Earth, an effort to plant trees in our national forests in memory of Gene Roddenberry. Locally the Joshua was joined by members from the Lancelot and Sagittarius to entertain over 600 kids at a community center in Plano. 35 uniformed Fleet members performed the first, last and only Star Trek rap song. The Joshua once again was mother ship for two shuttles - the Tejas and the Kronos. The Engage published its first swimsuit edition.

Elections were held in September and Gail Rushing became captain. The Tejas was commissioned in November 1993 and the first USS Joshua calendars were created with the club picture taken by photographer Ron Taylor. The Joshua acquired its first out-of-state shuttle, the Chung Fu in Pensacola, FL. In Feb. 1994 the USS Kronos was commissioned at a Vulkon convention. In May, four Joshua members went on CruiseTrek and hosted a "Meet Starfleet" party on board. They also presented a bottle of Tuleberry wine to actor Max Grodenchik. At the Starfleet International Conference in Orlando, FL in June 1994 it was announced that the USS Joshua had won the Chapter of the Year award. The play "Married With Klingons" was performed at Galaxy Fair.

In October 1994 Captain Gail Rushing started her second term as Joshua CO. A new shuttle was launched called the Dallas. In January 1995 seventeen Joshua members traveled to Pensacola, FL for the commissioning of the Starship Chung Fu at the Naval Aviation Museum. Other spring activities included participating in a Star Trek fashion show for charity and assisting the DISD in their awards ceremony for an elementary school computer competition. June of 1995 saw the Joshua stage their first persona meeting where UFP delegates debated the burning question, "Should Starfleet be Disbanded". Joshua members were also working as volunteers at the Science Place museum and serving as consultants for the upcoming Star Trek Federation exhibit. Science Dept. member Brian Gansle created a web page for the USS Joshua. In September 1995 35 members of the USS Joshua, USS Lancelot, USS Tejas and the Shuttle Dallas worked as security, ushers, registration and coordination for "THE LEGACY OF STAR TREK" gala. This event was a fund raiser for the Science Place museum and was to feature all four Trek captains. In October three Joshua members in full Klingon and Romulan makeup and uniforms filmed a video that was used as part of an interactive tour through the Star Trek sets of the Studios of Las Colinas. The script had been written by John Bunton and the sets built by Steve Liptak, Bert Copeland and John Bunton.

In October 1996, through the un-tiring efforts of Gardner Pourcio, the USS Joshua hosted the arrival of Michael O'Hare who had volunteered his services for the Dallas AIDS Walk. Over $6,000 was raised from these efforts.

At the October meeting Bert Copeland was sworn in as the seventh USS Joshua captain.

Captain Bert Copeland's term started a new era for the Joshua. The decision to pull the Joshua out of Starfleet had been made and the chapter was now affiliated with the new Star Trek organization - the United Federation of Planets Internationale. The Joshua's handbook was updated and for the first time, civilians had a recognized place in our Star Trek universe. In July Joshua members traveled to Roswell, NM for the UFO Encounter '96. Our costumes, makeup and interaction with festival visitors gave the Joshua extensive news coverage throughout the Southwest as well as a blip on the CBS nightly news.

USS Joshua members were playing a big part in the running of UFPI and became the UFPI Flagship.

Captain Copeland ran and won a second term as Joshua captain for 1997. 1997 was to keep us in costume almost every weekend. The first three Star Wars movies had been enhanced and re-released to the theaters. The Joshua worked every showing possible proving we were at home in any galaxy. We had a second persona meeting spoofing Trek Conventions and who can forget our participation in Snack Trek.

One of the highlights of 1997 was the appearance of five of our members in full make up and costumes on the cover of American Way magazine. The USS Joshua was now truly international!

After two years Bert Copeland stepped down as C.O. and moved on to become Academy Commandant of UFPI. The first Civilian Administrator of the Joshua was placed in command: Joe Magee.

Joe's two consecutive terms were marked by great costume events, lots of humor and regular skits. These ranged from the outrageous and often hilarious antics of his "first family of Arkansas hillbilly Trekkers" known as the Bumpus to "Gilligan's Rock". The elaborate and detailed Star Wars efforts of the next two years were designed to take advantage of and enjoy what we had spent many years building - the finest club in the world.

Movie premieres, club luncheons and our yearly Halloween parties along with a frisky and playful attitude filled the ship as the new civilian roles led to an unlimited realm of possibilities for our members. The enormous popularity of Babylon Five and Science Fiction in general led us to expand our focus to include all aspects of the genre. The Joshua has always been able to stay in the public eye and assist our community. This trend continued with USS Joshua members, along with the USS Lancelot and USS Sagittarius, posing for the new American Red Cross poster and t-shirt. The theme was, "There's an easier way to give blood", and featured a mock up of a Trek convention with an outsider walking in wearing a very insulting Spock t-shirt.

In October 1999 John Coward took the oath of office and became the USS Joshua Captain for the new millennium. In attendance at that Change of Command ceremony was former USS Joshua Captain Bert Copeland now President and Commander in Chief of our parent organization, the United Federation of Planets International. To mark the end of 1999, a time capsule was buried, grass was burned and the USS Joshua came through Y2K intact and ready to face the next 10 years. Traditions continued as we gave blood, helped needy families and attended movie premiers. We saw the first of our shuttles, the USS Lancelot, make its final voyage and retire with the dignity that had marked its long and fruitful journey. We stopped to grieve and pay our last respects to a much beloved fellow crewmember. We also shared the joy at the marriage of John Coward and Rende Douglas and through everything, our Joshua family remained strong.

This fast overview of just a few of the highlights of the past 11 years brings us to the reason we are all here today - to install a new staff to this fine ship. The USS Joshua has never been "Just a Fan Club". If that were so, we would not have lasted 11 years.

I would like to acknowledge the vast and undiscovered future in which we shall continue to innovate and shine in a manner that has become synonymous with quality. I end this brief history with the words from the final report of one outgoing USS Joshua captain. "In closing this report I cannot express what a wonderful experience it has been to be CO of the USS Joshua. The work has, at times, been almost overwhelming but the pride, spirit and honor of this chapter has been the best reward. I can say, without a doubt, that the Starship USS Joshua is the premier ship in the entire Fleet organization. I have visited many other chapters and while a lot of them have a good group of members, there is an elusive quality that sets the Joshua apart. I can find that quality nowhere else."

Ladies and Gentlemen - you are the Starship USS Joshua. Please give yourselves a hand.

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