Sovereign Class Starship
21 Years a Commissioned Starship in STARFLEET
With a year passing on the
original name change a decision need to be made on the class.
No work had been done on the rejected Black Hawk Starship
Developmental Project in over a year. The Commanding Officer
then decided it was time to move on to the next sage of the 2
step project. On January 4th, 2001, Fleet Captain Higdon asked
for a showing on whether we should become a Sovereign Class
Starship. After a majority of the ship's company responded in
the affirmative, the Fleet Captain sent a message to Admiral
Alex Rosenzweig, Director, Department of Technical Services,
STARFLEET, to request a change in class and the assigning of a
new NCC number.
On January 10th, 2001, Fleet Captain Higdon received this communiqué from Admiral Rosenzweig:
By order of Starfleet Command, Department of Technical Services, CA 74683 Black Hawk is directed to return to Spacedock at Starbase 12. At that time, the crew shall transfer to the following starship:
Name: U.S.S. Black Hawk
Vessel Class/Type: Sovereign-Class Heavy Cruiser
Upon completion of transfer, you will confirm new assignment orders and proceed to deploy CA 75004 Black Hawk. In the interim, please take the time to familiarize yourself with all design specifications and operating parameters for U.S.S. Black Hawk, in order to assure a smooth deployment when the time comes. All best to you and your crew.
In Service to the Fleet
Admiral Alex Rosenzweig
Director, Department of Technical Services
Director, Office of Technical Information
Fleet Captain Higdon replied with the following:
Orders are confirmed. CA 74683 Black Hawk arrived Starbase 12 11:52 Hours Ship's Time, on Stardate 54001.10. Relieved of Command 11:55 Hours, Ship's Time, by order of Admiral Alex Rosenzweig. CH 74683 Black Hawk is decommissioned thereafter.
Transferred by transporter to CH 75004 Black Hawk with command crew and families. Arrival time 11:58 Ship's Time, Stardate 54001.10.
Transferred command codes to Fleet Captain Jeffery E. Higdon, Security Clearance Higdon-Alpha-One-Seven-Enable, 11:59:00 Ships' Time.
Ship formally commissioned on Stardate 54001.10 as USS Black Hawk, NCC-75004 by Admiral Rosenzweig.
Will depart Starbase 12 for Illinois Sector at earliest.
Honored to serve the Fleet,
Fleet Captain J.E. Higdon
Commanding, USS Black Hawk, NCC-75004
Along with the new starship class the Black Hawk Logo changed to reflect the new NCC Number.
On March, 2001, the Fleet Captain receive an urgent communiqué from Captain John Russell, Commanding the USS Bradbury out of St. Charles, Illinois. The Bradbury, threatened with decommissioning from STARFLEET, declared itself to be an Independent club and withdrew from STARFLEET. The Bradbury crew would still meet as a club but not under the auspices of STARFLEET.
After Fleet Captain Higdon contacted Captain Russell, it was decided to offer membership aboard the USS Black Hawk to those STARFLEET members still aboard the Bradbury. Five STARFLEET members transferred, including Captain Russell and his wife, Captain Princilla Russell, to the Black Hawk to form Away Team Bradbury.
On July 29, 2001, the Captain's Yacht (or personal automobile) left Rockford and arrived at the 2001 STARFLEET International Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. Accompanying the Fleet Captain were Captain Karen Higdon, Black Hawk Executive Officer, and their children, Captain Chris Higdon and Ensign Emily Higdon.
During their three day, two night stay, Emily was promoted to Lieutenant, j.g., by Fleet Admiral Les Rickard himself. The Black Hawk contingent met many people which they had corresponded with either through the Internet or snail mail. The Higdons also met several new friends including the family of Captain Erik Johnson, the commanding officer of the USS Windspirit out of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
During the General Session on Saturday morning it was announced that the Website that was hosted by the USS Black Hawk, and overseen by the Fleet Captain, won the 2001 STARFLEET Information Website of the Year Award. The Official STARFLEET History Website - http://www.interplanetary.net/blackhawk/SFIHistory/ (now inactive) won the award although the STARFLEET Historian's Website was announced as the winner. This was partially cleared up when the URL that was judge was revealed not the Historian's site but the History site. STARFLEET Historian Scott Akers, whom the Fleet Captain assisted in a forum on the research of the history, accepted on behalf of the Fleet Captain.
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the world was shocked when Terrorists seized four commercial aircraft enroute to California. Loaded down with aviation fuel, two of these aircraft slammed into the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City, which collapsed, killing over 3,000 souls (including on the aircraft). Another slammed into the side of the Pentagon, the headquarters for the United States Defense Department, across the river from Washington, DC, the seat of Government of the United States. This act claimed almost 200 people. The fourth aircraft, believed to be heading to Camp David, the US Presidential Retreat in Maryland, or to Washington with intended targets being either the US Capitol or the White House, when it crashed in a field in southwestern Pennsylvania. It is believed that some of the passengers challenged the terrorist and caused the aircraft to crash, preventing it from being used as a weapon of mass destruction as the other three planes were used as.
On Saturday, September 15, the Officers and Crew of the USS Black Hawk, with the shadow of this dreaded event looming only days past, held it's first Recruiting Day at Tomorrow Is Yesterday, 5600 N. 2nd Street in Loves Park. The plans for this day was made months in advance and many members of STARFLEET from across Region 12 were scheduled to attend to help the crew of the Black Hawk in this effort. Because of the events in New York City and Washington, consideration was given to canceling the event. The R12 Recruiting Team cancelled their participation because of this as did others who had committed to assist. Despite the lack of help from outside the Rockford area, the Executive Committee of the USS Black Hawk decided to go on with the event, citing US President George W. Bush's call to carry on as best we can. Second Officer Janie Wilson-Cook summed it up by saying that "if we don't hold the event, the b*****ds (meaning the terrorists) would win!" The other members of the Executive Committee agreed with this assessment wholeheartedly!
The Recruiting Day began at 10:00 AM with the Fleet Captain and his daughter, LTjg Emily Higdon, setting up the booth and handling questions as they came. They were later joined by Commander Frank Waxman, complete with a Klingon headpiece, and the newly appointed Security Officer, Nick Milano, who also brought newly recruited members from the city of Niles, a suburb of Chicago. Second Officer Janie Wilson-Cook, along with her son, Engineering Cadet Patrick Cook, joined the proceeding later, bring a TV-VCR and several of Star Trek Movies. All together there were three people who signed up for our e-mailing list.
Because of a stated interest by some potential members who visited the recruiting table, the Fleet Captain re-activated the 263rd Marine Strike Group aboard the Black Hawk. Designating it a 'reserve' unit of the STARFLEET Marine Corps, it's MOS is Special Operations. Brigadier Higdon serves as Officer-in-Charge and Colonel (r) Chris Higdon serves as the DOIC.
Also because of their participation in the recruiting day, all member of the USS Black Hawk who attended and participated were recommended for the Region 12 Commendation Awards. Although the Regional Coordinator at the time announced that the awards were approved, the awards were never received by those crew members.
An emergency communiqué was received by the commanding officer of the USS Andromeda, a Starfleet Command affiliate chapter, out of Madison, Wisconsin. The Andromeda heads the effort to hold a local convention, MadCon, formerly the Madison Sci-Fi Writers convention. A flu epidemic had hit the organizers and those who were to assist and they needed bodies. The Andromeda captain, Commander George Krivkovich, contacted each member individually by e-mail, explaining the extra ordinary situation, on which the Fleet Captain approved and asked not only members of the Black Hawk for help, but also other Sector Illinois members to help. However only the Fleet Captain (as Brigadier Higdon) traveled to Madison on Friday, October 26, 2001, to assist and to inquire on what the Black Hawk can do to assist, seeing that we are only 50 miles away from Madison. Because of this, Brigadier Higdon received several awards from the STARFLEET Marine Corps.
Word was received that the USS Black Hawk was among five chapters nominated for 2002 Ship of the Year for Region 12. The other four were the USS A.M. Valsalva, the USS BortaS, the USS Atlas and the USS Thunderbird. The award was announced during the 15th Annual Region 12 Summit held in Oklahoma City, May 16-18. The Black Hawk won the Ship of the Year Award and Gunnery Sergeant Glenn Hicks won Enlisted Person of the Year. The excitement aboard our humble chapter was heightened when a trophies awarded to the 2002 Region 12 Ship of the Year and the 2002 Enlisted Person of the Year arrived at the CO's home in early September. The trophies were photographed and the 2002 Enlisted Person's trophy was then sent off to the newly promoted First Sergeant Hicks.
Because of this honor bestowed by the region members to the chapter, the officers and crew of the USS Black Hawk decided to recommend to the STARFLEET Executive Committee, acting as the STARFLEET Promotion Board, that Commodore Higdon be promoted within the association honorary promotion guidelines. On October 26, 2003, Commodore Higdon was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral. With this his SFMC Reserve rank becomes Major General (and he is the "...very model of a modern Major General!"). The promotion was posted in the Dec-Jan 2003-2004 Edition of the STARFLEET Communiqué.
During the month of January, Admiral Higdon was contacted by Fleet Captain John Dubose, formerly commanding officer of the USS Bexar in Texas. After a conversation, Captain Dubose indicated that he had moved to Kansas and was in the process of establish a shuttle in the area. After more discussion Admiral Higdon agreed to allow the Black Hawk act as the sponsor (or mothership) for the shuttle to be located out of Oswego, Kansas. This shuttle, the DragonStrike, would be the first and only shuttle launched by the Black Hawk and would have the registry number of NCC-75004/01 until the chapter's commissioning as a ship-of-the-line. During the 2005 Regional Summit, the Shuttlecraft DragonStrike was formally commissioned as the USS DragonStrike, completing their tour as a chapter-in-training. This was a proud moment for both the newly commissioned crew of the DragonStrike and their mothership.
As plans for the Ninth Anniversary party are underway, the Command Staff of the USS Black Hawk received word from the Region 12 Vice Coordinator, Brigadier Christopher Rossman, that the chapter, under new guidelines established within 2003, was nominated as the 2003 Ship of the Year. However, Admiral Higdon, citing the tradition that the previous year's winner excuse themselves from the award, declined the nomination on behalf of the Officers and Crew of the Black Hawk.
Meanwhile two other members of the Black Hawk were nominated for three Regional Awards. Ensign Patrick Cook was nominated for Cadet of the Year (Captain Christopher Higdon had won the STARFLEET Cadet of the Year in 1996) and Admiral Higdon was nominated for both Officer of the Year and Member of the Year. Although others won the awards, both members were honored to just be nominated.
With the change of the chapter-in-training program from Shuttle Operations to Shakedown Operations, several chapters who were shuttles became ships-of-the-line with the NX suffix instead of NCC, which they would be granted upon the completion of their training. Also their COs would only hold the rank of Commander however would be allowed to be address as 'Captain'. In fact the Black Hawk would become the Support (or Mother) Ship of a chapter within Region 5, named the USS Aurora, which is homported out of Seattle, Washington. The Aurora successfully launched earlier in the 2009.