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The Zephram Cochrane Medal of Excellence

July 22, 2022

As you can see, the torrent of awards that will wash over the fleet following the Sundered Wings Fleet Action has already started. I’ll keep this short, because there’s so much to see in the nominations themselves, but I’m writing to surprise our esteemed leader, Fleet Admiral Teylas Ramar, with the Zephram Cochrane Medal of Honor not just for this most recent fleet action but for the previous one, which have both occurred since his last recognition.

You can see in the write-up exactly what the numbers are on this, but it would absolutely not have been possible for us to build upon the success in the Raptor’s Wings Fleet Action without him. In terms of spreadsheets and organization alone, he was the beating heart of the fleet’s senior staff. He does all of this even after giving the fleet his vision, when he could very reasonably expect to be allowed to take some time off and ask others to do the hard work–not that we’d let him, though.

The BFCO’s position in the chain of command means they will structurally be under-awarded for their performance. This is not necessarily a design flaw, as the BFCO’s role is to allow others to shine. However, we feel that Vince has continued to go above and beyond, setting the bar so high for his eventual successor that he deserves additional recognition.

After consulting with Emily, my predecessor as BFXO, Dave, the Chief of Staff, and MJ, a former Chief of Staff and current Conservator, we decided to follow the precedent of Vince’s Medal of Honor and I asked each of the department heads to support me in this nomination, which has been approved by the Chief of Staff. I also consulted with Arden, the Deputy Chief of Staff, and I value the guidance he provided on history in a similar organization.

So, without further adieu, I’ll let the nominations speak for themselves:

From me, Admiral Liam Dahlgren:

The Bravo Fleet Commanding Officer is in a unique position in our organization’s hierarchy, as awards flow down in the chain of command and not up. As there is no one above them in the chain of command, this means that opportunities for the BFCO to receive recognition are few and far between. Indeed, that could also be said of anyone holding the rank of Fleet Admiral or the Starfleet Medal of Honor. Holding both, what more can be said of Fleet Admiral Teylas Ramar’s contributions to the fleet, or what could we even expect from him after such meritorious service to already receive these high honors? Vince is likely the last person to wish for further recognition, but his self-effacing nature is one of the reasons that the Department Heads and I have conspired to nominate him for the Zephram Cochrane Medal of Excellence (ZCMoE), the second-highest award in our system.


Nominated exclusively by the BFCO or BFXO, the OCS describes the awardees of the ZCMoE like this: “a member of the Fleet must have shown an impressive array of talents and qualities over a considerable length of time. Such a member will have been active personally throughout their career, continually striving for more; they will have shown leadership abilities over a wide range of positions throughout the Fleet; they will have been a mentor to numerous other members, helping them along their path; they will be a pillar of the Fleet. These are the recipients of the Zephram Cochrane Medal of Excellence.” These words describe Vince’s contributions to the fleet to a tee.


As evidenced by the attached recommendations from each of the Department Heads, Vince’s presence is felt in every single department of the fleet, where he is just as likely to be helping out in the trenches as he is to be providing executive-level vision. He is simply not the type of leader who gives instructions and expects others to do all the work.


Specifically, this award is intended to recognize Vince’s successful leadership through two successive Fleet Actions. During the Echoes of the T’Kon and Sundered Wings Fleet Actions, Vince was involved not just in the planning but in the meticulous, day-to-day recordkeeping necessary to keep track of 436 entries across 39 competitions during EoT and 463 entries across 37 competitions during SW. Including the event-wide winners, this is a staggering 120 Starfleet Stars for EoT and 114 for SW. Vince nominated all 120 of these for EoT and 83 of them for SW, representing many hours of work double-checking scores, avoiding “Excel vision,” and slaving away on the back end of the BFMS. Each participant and competition organizer also received a Challenge Coin, with 42 members receiving 475 of them in EoT and 48 members receiving 500 of them in SW. Vince’s recordkeeping enabled us to figure out who got which one and in what quantity, and nominated every single one of them himself for EoT.


From those challenge coins and competition medals, unit leaders within the fleet have been able to close to a hundred awards and promotions to individual members. Without his attention to detail (and management of deadlines for the BFSS!), neither Fleet Action would have been successful. Beyond this, Vince also organized multiple individual competitions in each Fleet Action alongside the BFSS, earning himself eight Echoes of the Tkon Challenge Coins and four Sundered Wings Challenge Coins for a total of 12 competitions. None of us on the BFSS would have batted an eye if he’d decided not to organize any competitions himself, given that he was also managing the whole event, so this is truly going above and beyond—and further evidence that Vince never asks us for a time commitment that he is not also prepared to meet or exceed himself.


 In the past nineteen months since his Starfleet Medal of Honor on January 2nd, 2021, Vince has also been active as a member, and not just as a leader, with his accumulation of two Action Medals with Star Clusters, twelve Service Ribbons, thirty-four Strategic Action Ribbons, and four Combat Action Ribbons, representing participation in all of Bravo Fleet’s core activities: writing, competitions, and gaming. When one takes on a fleet role of any level, it can be difficult time spent between administrative responsibilities and actually getting to do things in the fleet, but, remarkably, Vince has managed to remain an active member on top of his leadership.


Taken individually, one could boil down these contributions to managing a spreadsheet or supporting the department heads where necessary, but as a whole, they add up to something much more significant. Simply put, Vince has been the driving vision behind Bravo Fleet since he took over in 2019, and his leadership through these two Fleet Actions has been the core of our activity since his last recognition. His vision is what has enabled so many others to flourish and receive credit in the fleet, so it’s not hyperbolic to say that his success is reflected in all of our accomplishments and vice versa.


For outstanding service to Bravo Fleet over the past nineteen months, I am pleased to nominate Fleet Admiral Teylas Ramar for the Zephram Cochrane Medal of Excellence.


From our Loremaster, Vice Admiral Alexander Beckett:

Vince has always maintained a clarity of vision in what Bravo Fleet and its activities should look like. Creatively, the fleet strives to offer a framework around which members can build their own ideas; be guided in the bigger picture but have freedom in the day-to-day. That simple principle, which can be seen in policies such as the demarcation between ‘fleet canon’ and ‘member canon’, has stemmed from Vince since the earliest days of his leadership. The efforts of the Lore Office would not have been half so successful without him. It is from his trust, leadership, support, and encouragement that Bravo Fleet has been able to implement major new features over the last nineteen months like the fleet-wide storylines of our campaigns. This guidance is all-but impossible to quantify; it comes from always being there to listen to ideas, to give feedback, to give encouragement – to know when to hit the breaks and to know when to tell his staff to run free. It is always there, and it has always had an impact.


But there remain many specifics for which the Lore Office can credit him. In smaller things, Vince has been an active part of our Tech Team, working like any other member to shape and define how our ship and starship classes work as well as contributing multiple specifications articles. He made key contributions to the development of starbase avatar commands as policies and the associated specifications. Many of the fundamentals of the Bravo Fleet wiki’s layout and design – appearance, templates, etc – are from Vince’s work, ideas, or encouragement. The massively successful implementation of Raven-class avatar commands for junior officers, letting them start their own stories the moment they’ve planted their feet in Bravo Fleet, was Vince’s idea. It would be remiss of me to omit that I had been doubtful for months but am pleased to have been proven horribly wrong – the Ravens are unequivocally Vince’s victory. Another streamlining of entry and everyday participation in Bravo Fleet was Starbase Bravo, and he was integral to the concept’s earliest development.


Bravo Fleet has changed in more subtle ways this past eighteen months than the eighteen before that – but it is undeniable that the way we write together, experience canon together, and create together would not look the same without Vince, and so as Loremaster I am delighted to support this nomination.


From our Chief of Staff, Commodore Maxwell Stafford:

OCS is a department that has interactions with almost every other department and the learning curve when you take over as Chief of Staff is steep. Vince has been a patient mentor in my first few months, fielding any questions I might have and helping me get to grips with the diverse range of tasks that OCS deals with. Of course he isn’t just the BFCO, he also stepped into the role of Chief of Staff for 4 months last year during the Echoes of the Tkon fleet action. To run OCS on top of the FA is truly impressive and shows his dedication to Bravo Fleet and just how hard he’s worked to keep it running smoothly.


From our Operations Officer, Fleet Admiral Zack Marshall-Bennet:

Without a doubt, Vince eats, sleeps and lives Bravo Fleet. His hard work, effort and dedication goes above and beyond the expected. His vision of wanting to provide a great community for all members is properly embedded in all that we do. The past 19 months this has been shown, especially through the Ops department, by his determination to build up a strong, extended leadership and management team that are focussed on providing a high quality service to the members. It’s never easy leading such a large online group, but Vince’s commitment has never wavered in making the choices needed for the greater good.


On top of that he provides room for people to be encouraged and empowered to take responsibility for aspects of running parts of our community. He gave me the chance to step up into the role of Chief of Staff, a role he mentored me with, and most recently as Operations Officer. This is similar for many of our TFCOs and TFXOs (past and present). Giving so many people the opportunity is a great way to keep our community going! Thank you Vince!


From our Communications Officer, Rear Admiral Robert Dowd:

In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the Fleet has grown by leaps and bounds over the last year. In fact, we’ve opened up an entire new Task Force! Much of this success in membership growth is due to Vince and his support with putting up Facebook ads. Vince has personally organized 14 Facebook ad campaigns reaching over 142,000 eyeballs and thousands of engagements over the last year. He has collaborated with me on the creation of ad copy, ideas on graphics, and witty messages. The fleet’s growth to date can largely be linked back to the success of our ads, and Vince has played a huge part in that success.


From our Internet Officer, Fleet Admiral Ezel Virem:

Bravo Fleet’s digital infrastructure expanded significantly over the past nineteen months, thanks in no small part to Vince’s leadership and vision for a centralized fleet management system. Through the launch of BFMS 2.0, Vince’s innovative ideas helped us create a website where members can write, enter competitions, and keep records of their activity and achievements. Members see the product of Vince’s vision throughout every aspect of our user interface, from the join process and authentication with a Discord bot to everyday functions like writing stories, participating in competitions, and all of the behind-the-scenes tasks that BFMS handles. Vince worked closely with the Internet Office throughout BFMS’ entire development process to see his ideas come to fruition, often providing us with the framework for new projects or features that improve every member’s experience. 


From our Gaming Officer, Fleet Captain Rob Mackenzie:

Vince has been incredibly supportive of everything in Bravo Fleet. Gaming has benefited from this attention, as the recruiting drive has brought in several gamers, from locations abroad that I would never have thought of. I also get to see how much hard work Vince puts into this fleet, and knowing that, I am happy to support this nomination.