If you’ve ever flown Southwest Airlines, you know our Flight Crews like to joke around. They rap, they sing, they dance. So when one of our Pilots introduces himself as “Captain Kirk,” most people give a little chuckle. Little do they know we actually have three Captain Kirks in the Southwest Family–Captain David Kirk, Captain Steve Kirk, and Captain Scott Kirk.
When I discovered we had three Captain Kirks aboard the Southwest Enterprise, I decided I must call them to see if they have fun with the famous name of Star Trek fame. Boy, do they!
When Captain David Kirk comes on the communicator (sorry, PA), he says, “Welcome aboard the Starship Enterprise. From the bridge, this is Captain Kirk along with my First Officer Spock. We will be traveling at warp factor 9 to your destination!”
Captain Scott Kirk usually gives the traditional Vulcan sign as he pushes back from the gate (see photo) and signs his paperwork with “Live Long and Prosper.” Scott says that Vulcan greeting is a hit or miss with the younger generation, but the ones closer to his age seem to get a kick out of it!
Scott even used his celebrity name to get him the job at Southwest. “When I first applied for a Pilot position at Southwest, I sent a photograph of one of the Boeing 737 aircraft painted as the USS Enterprise,” said Scott. “At the bottom of the photo I wrote, “Hey Herb, beam me aboard will ya?” I was shocked when I received a personal letter from Mr. Kelleher himself wishing me luck in the interview and warm wishes to hopefully beam me aboard soon. From that moment on, I knew that I had chosen the right airline.”
They’ve all been kidded about the name for awhile, but Steve got it the worst when he was deployed to the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise while serving in the Navy. His call sign was “Captain Kirk,” and all the guys on the ship had a good time with the joke. Steve says he grew up watching Star Trek and loves all the witty wisecracks.
When David was promoted to Captain in the Air Force, his friends threw him a party where everyone dressed as characters from the movie. Below is a picture of David in a Captain Kirk costume!
It seems the Captain’s are passing the legacy on to their children. David has a son with the initials J. T. Kirk (for the famous Captain James Tiberius Kirk), and Steve’s two sons are both captains of their high school lacrosse team. All three Kirks plan to see the new Star Trek movie debuting today, May 8. David’s family even plans to sport their Trek outfits to see the new movie!
So to all you Trekkies out there, explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no man has gone before! Oh, and let me know how the movie is. I want to see it soon!