Starfleet Medal of Honor #1

Jan 02, 2021
My history with Vince doesn’t come close to a lot of others in Bravo Fleet, but I’ve had the honor of working with him for the past year and a half. I can confidently say, in my seven years as a member of this community, I haven’t met anyone who cares more about Bravo Fleet, nor have I met anyone with as much vision for the fleet’s future.

In 2019, Vince was given the insurmountable task of rebuilding Bravo Fleet after one of the lowest points in our organization’s history. He didn’t ask for the job, but with nobody else willing to step forward he returned to lead Bravo Fleet for the fourth time. Within days, he implemented a new system of governance, securing rights for each member of the community and creating safeguards to prevent the fleet from grinding to a halt once again. He, and the rest of the BFA, worked tirelessly to restore Bravo Fleet’s reputation as the leading online Star Trek community.

After a year of planning and rebuilding, Vince launched what is now known as Bravo Fleet’s new model – a format that radically changed the way we participate in our community. The term, however, is a bit of a misnomer. The fleet’s current offerings and structure is by no means a “new” idea. It originates from a BFA discussion in 2012, when Vince first proposed the model. The then-BFA thought his plans were crazy, and decided to stick with a format dating back to the fleet’s founding in 1997. Through Vince’s vision and leadership, Bravo Fleet now has opportunities unlike any other Star Trek community, offering a wide variety of activities that challenge over two decades of established “sim” culture.

Despite everything Vince has accomplished, it hasn’t always been easy. The position of Bravo Fleet Commanding Officer is often unforgiving, arguably facing the most challenges with the least rewards. Every decision made is carefully observed and sometimes criticized. The responsibility that falls on the BFCO is to look at what’s best for the fleet as a whole, and sometimes the best decisions for the fleet can’t please everyone. I’ve stood by Vince’s side for his current tenure, and I’ve seen the choices he’s often faced with as BFCO. I wouldn’t wish the job on anyone, but watching him masterfully navigate the pressures and responsibility, with the fleet’s best interests at heart, gives me great hope for the future of our organization.

On a personal note, I’d like to recognize Vince for his contributions to my skill and ability as a leader. Vince and I never crossed paths in Bravo Fleet before 2019; I only knew him by his reputation as a “dictator” and a “tyrant.” After I left the fleet in 2016, I saw Vince on a Discord server and reached out to better understand his position in our organization’s history. I was honestly surprised to see that he didn’t live up to his reputation. He genuinely cared about Bravo Fleet and its future. When he asked me to join him over a year ago, I was a bit hesitant at first because I was unsure of my ability and I didn’t know exactly where I fit into the “new” Bravo Fleet. Since then, Vince has been and continues to be my mentor, teaching me the intricacies of leading a community and helping to build my confidence. I’ve grown and learned a lot since my last time on the BFA, in great part due to Vince’s support and faith in me.

Vince has gone above and beyond the call to duty he answered in 2019. He continues to pour his time, money, and soul into our community to ensure the best experience for our members, and I’m happy to say it has paid off. Congratulations, Vince! Thank you for all of your hard work! ~ Emily, Bravo Fleet Executive Officer
Bravo Fleet has gone through many changes over the years. Our writing mediums have changed, our community communication platforms have changed, and the stories we tell have changed, but these changes were organic and gradual. They kept things fresh and relevant for existing Bravo Fleet members, but they did little, if anything, to expand our audience. To do that in the era of new Star Trek TV, social media, gaming, etc., Bravo Fleet needed something bold. How about a time jump to an actively developing Star Trek universe, plus contests, gaming, player fictions, and more? That would certainly be bold enough, right?

The numbers speak for themselves. Today, Bravo Fleet is thriving, active, and growing in a way we haven't seen for \many years. I attribute this in large part to the "new model" the Fleet rolled out this past year when it reset canon, time jumped to the Picard era, and launched a series of new engagement opportunities for the community. Many people played a role in bringing about this change, but at its core, it had one architect, one champion, one guy who had his concept shot down nearly a decade ago yet kept at it, refining, iterating and improving, until one day it became reality. The driver of this transformation was Vince.

But this isn't the only pivotal contribution Vince has made to the Bravo Fleet we have today. I'm going to share a brief story, one less known about Vince's impact. Back in early 2019, Bravo Fleet suffered a leadership crisis so fundamental that there were a couple weeks where Bravo Fleet looked to be over. Vince and I teamed up to save what we loved, and we rallied a group of other former BFCO/CC folks also committed to seeing the Fleet survive. We dissolved the old governance structures, set up a think tank to develop a new organizational model, and stewarded the transition. What you may not know is that the Fleet was so insistent on blowing itself up that there were multiple times where me and many of the others almost threw our hands up in the air and gave up. Vince was the one guy that would consistently talk us back from the ledge and urge us to press on. I know that in those moments, without Vince's dedication, persistence, and calm, there would be no Bravo Fleet today.

Whether you think of this medal as recognition for launching the new model this past year, or as something well past due for his role in stewarding the previous year's transition, I can think of no one, neither in loyalty to the Fleet nor in actions on its behalf, more deserving of the Medal of Honor than my dear friend Vince. ~ Jon, Bravo Fleet Conservator
I wish to rise in support of the issuance of the Fleet Medal of Honor to Vince aka FAdm Teylas Ramar. Vince has proven time and again, he cares deeply about the fleet, even going so far as stepping down as BFCO to keep the fleet from hazard several years ago. As the hazards have long since been nullified, Vince has remained a driving force in getting the website adapted to a better role-playing environment, in which every player can see their characters, bios, ranks, game assignments, etc., as a central hub.

At one point I stood in objection to many of these changes, as I felt they were too radical. I could not have been more wrong about it even if I tried. Seeing what strides have been made, in a relatively short period of time, has completely convinced me of the awesome functions the system provides to and benefits the members of the fleet.

As a twice served Bravo Fleet Commanding Officer, I truly believe Vince's contributions to the fleet over the years, including stepping down twice in the best interests of the fleet at the times, and his steadfast contributions to the fleet both financially and in spirit, should set Vince apart from his peers to be recognized with the fleet's highest award. Even when things seemed to be on a downward spiral, bringing the fleet to the brink of complete collapse, one person has always been willing to jump in and do what needed to be done to help prevent that fate. His courage, leadership, tenacity, ability to work with people to accomplish major goals for the benefit of the members of the fleet, should most definitely qualify him for such distinction.

I have known Vince ever since he joined the fleet. He was, in a sense, my protoge, and one I was proud to have around. He has always been keen on bettering the way we game, and has personally put his own footprint on how we game, in a most triumphant manner. It humbles me greatly to know I once stood in great opposition to these measures. One could only imagine where things might be today, if Vince's goals had been accomplished many years ago, without my objections. For that, I am deeply sorry to Vince, Kevin, Emily, any members of the BFA who served under me, and especially the fleet for my stubborn pride. I don't expect people to forgive me. I truly thought I was acting at the will of the BFA, but I was wrong. It took a few years of me staying quiet and out of the spotlight, so that Vince could push through with his ideas, and actually get to see them in working order. I am so thrilled for him, Kevin, Emily, the BFA and of course the members of the fleet to have such a bold person spearheading the efforts he wanted to accomplish long ago.

Finally, it is with the greatest of respect and admiration that I call upon the leadership and petition the Bravo Fleet Admiralty to nominate the fleet's highest honor, the Starfleet Medal of Honor, to Vince aka FAdm Teylas Ramar, for unwavering steadfastness in doing the right things in the best interest of the fleet, even when faced with great opposition. I can think of no better candidate for this award, and beseech you to accept the nomination. ~ Darian, Bravo Fleet Conservator
Knowing Vince for as long as I have known him, I think without a doubt he certainly deserves the recognition for the significant commitment he has made to Bravo Fleet. Not many people would agree to step up to be the Bravo Fleet Commanding Officer for a second time round, let alone a third and a fourth! It is not an easy job and the fact you’re a volunteer, you spend a lot of your own time having to manage and deal with a range of people all because you simply love being part of something that encourages others to enjoy the wonderful possibilities that exist from the Star Trek universe. Vince only wants the best for the group and is willing to put his time, effort and money into it to ensure it is a place worth being a part of.

It is no secret that Bravo Fleet has gone through its ups and downs over the last twenty odd years, a bulk of that is down to the passion and enthusiasm of its members. I got to know Vince back in the late 2000s (2006/7 - I think) when he joined Task Force 21 and was a member of the Bravo Fleet Romulan Connection! Without a doubt he was one of THE most enthusiastic and passionate players to write for and develop the Romulan presence in the group. Vince showed his dedication to the group becoming a game manager/commanding officer of one of a few Romulan simms/games and quickly rose through the positions to become a task force commanding officer himself. Alongside this I knew he was quite a fan of Bravo Fleet’s affiliates, especially the one that was called NEO (New Exploration Operations). Once again he was heavily involved in the leadership and development of that group, making it one of the finest that attracted many players to it who loved the whole motion picture era of Star Trek. Eventually Vince moved into a range of titles on the Bravo Fleet admiralty which led to him being its Overlord Chairperson.

Like so many of us BF veterans, he has come and gone a few times but deep down I reckon he has never truly lost his love for the group and what it meant to so many others. I have ‘simmed’ with Vince and his characters have always been fun to interact with. My favourite one all time would be his Romulan admiral, Tolak tr'Servek. There was just something in the way that Vince wrote Tolak that wanted you to want to read more and wonder if we truly got to know the real Tolak! If he ever has the chance to bring Tolak back, I for one would be an avid reader!

Without a doubt, Vince has a very witty side that makes him fun to be around. He’s a bit like a British invention called Marmite (please Google this if you do not know what I mean). You either love his dry sick sense of humour or not! I consider myself the former and rarely have I had a conversation with Vince where this repertoire of his is not present. I think this is one of his qualities that make him appropriate for the role of BFCO. You have to take the role with a pinch of salt sometimes, otherwise it can drag you down. Rarely have I seen this happen to Vince as his wit, humour and passion make him approachable.

Returning to BF in 2018, Vince was one of the first to welcome me back to the fold and within a few days of this he convinced me to become a game manager (again). I have to admit that was never my original intention, I had planned only to return to join a few of the games and write from there. Vince appeared to have other ideas and after a long discussion, I relented and agreed. He gave me full permission to revive the Star Trek: Enterprise-era for Bravo Fleet and has given me so much encouragement with it. Along with that he developed the idea of The Holodeck and I was honoured when he asked me to lead and manage it. Now I run two of our active historical games and write fiction not just for the Enterprise-era but for the mainstream BF era too. In fact it was Vince who insisted that Odyssey was given to me after he put the name into retirement.

Alongside the fun with the writing/gaming for BF, I have also witnessed first-hand how incredibly important it was to Vince to ensure that BF was sustainable and would survive in the long term. Being a former BFCO, he asked me to join the Conservatorship and all of us oldies (I consider myself the youngest one out of them all) were tasked with the simple task of looking after the real-world assets for Bravo Fleet. I was honoured to join this group of honoured statesmen and to be entrusted with protecting BF’s longevity. I look forward to the day when Vince becomes a BF Conservator as he would have left Bravo Fleet in the capable hands of his successor who will continue to usher new adventures that he helped set up and establish.

Finally, one thing I do truly admire about Vince is his upfront honesty and down to earth approach. He gets it that real life is priority one and I am grateful for his friendship when recently I needed some time away from BF to deal with personal matters. He kept in touch to make sure everything was sorted and I was okay. Thank you Vince, I truly appreciated it! On the other hand, I also enjoy how nerdy he can get over Star Trek especially when he admitted on the Discord channel that his favourite Trek episode was a Voyager one. From one Voyager fan to another who needs to completely accept his fandom for this series, I thank you mate!!!

So congratulations Vince and thank you for everything you have done to encourage and empower so many of our members in our little fan club! ~ MJ, Bravo Fleet Conservator
The Medal of Honour is BF's highest award, so I must be clear: I don't think Vince deserves it just for being the BFCO. But since he took the job, he's had a clear vision for BF's future and has worked tirelessly towards it: to transform the Fleet into something that will endure long after us. I wouldn't be here without this clarity of purpose, and I know our hard work will be worth it. He had the faith to select me as Chief of Staff, and not only was he endlessly patient laying out the job, but trusted me to shape it. He trusted me again to shape the Lore Office when I stepped up for a new challenge, giving advice and sanity checks where (often) needed. That's why I pour the work into the Fleet I do: there's a vision I think is worth it. It's a vision I seek to shape. But it's his vision. And in years to come I know it will be clear that nobody has impacted Bravo Fleet more than him. ~ Cath, Bravo Fleet Loremaster
One would think that coming back to stave off a group’s collapse would be enough work for any person. Apparently, Vince doesn’t think so. Since taking back the post of Bravo Fleet Commanding officer Vince has not just made sure the group stayed afloat, but instead he has put his focus on setting up Bravo Fleet to succeed in the years ahead. Outside of our walls that work has often been ridiculed, with people latching onto the idea that “Bravo Fleet is no longer a sim group” as a pejorative. But, the part that is overlooked is that Bravo Fleet is no longer JUST a sim group, but now has become so much more. The changes that he has instituted have brought a breadth of activity and opportunities for members that simply have never existed before within the confines of the fleet. And it’s all the more impressive that he has come back nearly a decade after first trying to bring some of those changes to the fleet to help the organization grow over the last year in ways that have become a need and no longer a want for the organization as a whole. Bravo Fleet has evolved and grown more over the past year than it has in the 20 years before, and at the heart of that change has been one person. As such, it gives my great pleasure to add my name to the list of recommendations for the Bravo Fleet Medal of Honor. ~ Kevin, Bravo Fleet Chief of Staff
Change is never an easy thing for an organization of our size and with our long history of strong, heartfelt opinions of how we should go about things often leading to acrimonious splits. I think it is remarkable that in just a year-and-a-half as BFCO (this time) what Vince has managed to deliver in terms of his vision and leadership for what our club could be, rather than subscribing to old ways of thinking, to attempt to draw new people into our hobby. The job of BFCO is difficult, requires long hours, and is rarely adequately rewarded, but despite this thankless work Vince has put in superhuman levels of energy to get us through this transformation, not just in terms of the structure of the club but also in a change of ethos. This level of vision and transformation has not been accomplished by any prior administrations of this club, and it has led to a model that will be sustainable far into the future, and for this dedication and service, Vince deserves the Medal of Honor. ~ David, Bravo Fleet Operations Officer
Bravo Fleet has survived for over 20 years because of its dedicated members. And, because it has constantly tried to ensure that it was dynamic - ever changing to ensure its continued survival. Vince embodies both these ideas: one of it's most dedicated (I would argue the most dedicated) members, and someone who was not afraid of change. Our new model was undoubtedly going to ruffle some feathers, but in the end I truly believe we will have to say thank you Vince and his leadership team for helping the Fleet survive and thrive in this new era of Trek.

Personally, I want to thank Vince for plucking me out of retirement to assist in this endeavor. It continues to be a fun and rewarding ride. He is certainly right when he says that Bravo Fleet is the land of 18 chances. Thank you Vince for your leadership, humor, wit, and grit for leading us into the future. ~ Chris, Bravo Fleet Communications Officer
Teylas Ramar, since joining the fleet, has always had the best intentions for the fleet, and has sacrificed quite a bit in his time. You may see some of the changes he's spearheaded, which go towards the future stability of the organization as a whole. There are some whom do not like the direction this has gone and have become detractors - in fact I guarantee they are all reading this and probably scoffing - but what they miss is that this fleet has gone in a radically different approach than they ever will, and it's for the best and longest chance of survival that this has happened. And yes, we have this member to thank for it. I used to be one of those detractors, and then I actually saw the meaning of the changes and what they did, and it's pretty much the only reason I'm around now. So congrats, you deserve this award. ~ Adam, Bravo Fleet Gaming Officer
Without the actions of Vince and a few others, it's safe to say that Bravo Fleet would not exist in its current form, if at all. When a leader was needed, and he reluctantly (read: was forced) to take the position, he immediately got to work to not only stabilize the Fleet, but make necessary changes to the way we've operated for so long. Due to Vince's leadership, we've grown, we've excelled, and engagement has never been better. I can think of no person in the Fleet more deserving of this award, and I look forward to what the future of the organization holds under his leadership. ~ Sean, Bravo Fleet Magistrate

Gar'rath wrote

This past year has been fraught with challenges for everyone in every sector of life, both the real and in the hobby world. Organizing a transition to a new way of operating an organization can be difficult even in the best of circumstances, and the year that was 2020 was anything but the best of circumstances. Despite this, Vince managed to introduce the new model, keeping it not only afloat but helped to make it a success even when the real world kept throwing curveballs at everyone involved in the process. Dedication to an ideal is something that a lot of us have spoken to, but it takes a great deal of patience and perseverance to actually see it through to fruition. It is for this, among other reasons, that I feel that this nomination is appropriate. ~ Mark, Task Force 72 Commanding Officer
Vince has proven to be a steady pair of hands; from leading Bravo Fleet through a particularly turbulent time through to its transformation from a traditional simming group into a fan club where Star Trek fans of varying disciplines (simming, fiction writing, gaming) can come together and enjoy Star Trek in a safe, welcoming environment. ~ Dave, Task Force 86 Commanding Officer

Imya Jori wrote

Vince has worked hard since he took over BFCO back in 2019, he had a vision of what Bravo Fleet could become. Because of his hard work and dedication along with the rest of the BFA, the new Bravo Fleet that launched back in April has been a huge success. Since my return to the fleet back in the beginning of April, I have seen his desire to see the fleet grow. There have been things that have worked, while other things didn’t quite pan out as planned but his willingness to change things that don’t into things that do have not gone unnoticed. Because of this dedication and strive to see the fleet grow and become a fun place to be, he deserves this award! ~ Shelley, Task Force 93 Commanding Officer