Honor Your Favorite Redshirt On Memorial Day With These Classics

Marking the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day is a holiday in the United States for honoring those who died serving in the Armed Forces. We don’t know if Starfleet has any such celebration, but it probably needs one – Memory Alpha exhaustively details the many, many Starfleet crew who died in the 22nd, 23rd, and 24th Centuries.

But until we have an official Starfleet Memorial Day, we’d like to recommend the following five episodes to watch this weekend to honor the fallen Redshirts among us.

5. The Changeling

Though done with a fraction of the budget of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Changeling tells the same story but much better – and in 1/18th the same amount of time. An ancient probe (Nomad) has mutated into a killbot and the Enterprise has to stop it. Of course the crew has to do it with four fewer crewmembers, whom Nomad destroys.

Only one of the Redshirts is even given a name, because – as Guy says on Galaxy Quest – the other three aren’t important enough to have one.

4. Skin of Evil

You could probably see this one coming. Tasha Yar exits the series the way most security officers do, dying at the hands of a powerful alien to prove the stakes to the other, more important characters. (Note also that with the uniform change in the 24th Century, this is when Redshirts became Goldshirts.) Sure a parallel version of Natasha would later get a chance for a death that “meant something,” but at least this one gets a memorial service.

Thank goodness no one besides the starring crew came to her funeral – would have been so embarrassing for them not to get a shout-out from her!

3.  Ashes to Ashes

This one’s an interesting twist where we meet a Redshirt only after she has come back from the dead. Lyndsey dies off-camera, has an entire backstory about being Harry Kim’s best friend retconned into the story, and then spends the rest of her days as a reanimated alien pseudo-zombie.

This episode would have been really powerful if they’d … y’know … introduced Lyndsey earlier and established her as a character we cared about. Also the B-story is a plot with Seven that overshadows the rest of the crew (imagine that). Oh well. #redshirtsgetnolove

2.  The Bonding

A very creative take on this recurring theme, The Bonding is all about what happens after the Redshirt (Marla Aster) dies. Our fallen crewmate leaves a son behind, who must cope with the loss of his mother. Worf, as Aster’s commanding officer, decides it is his responsibility to adopt and protect the orphaned boy … who is never heard from again.

This episode is remarkable for introducing to the franchise Ronald D. Moore, who later said that Gene Roddenberry had objected to the script because in the future humans will have evolved beyond the need for grief … which is kind of inhuman, if you think about it.

Honorable mention: Rocks and Shoals

One of the best DS9 episodes ever, Rocks and Shoals features a knock-down, drag-out fight to the death between the crew of the Defiant and a bunch of Jem Hadar stranded on an alien world together. Not everyone makes it off the rock alive!

1.  The Apple

Though tied with The Changeling for the TOS episode with the highest Redshirt count (4), I’m giving the award to The Apple because as Memory Alpha says, “This is the episode in which the redshirt phenomenon comes to the fore. Every red-shirted male in the landing party dies horribly. Hendorff is killed by the plant’s poisoned darts, Kaplan by the lightning, Mallory is blown up by an exploding rock, and Marple is killed by a blow to the head.”

And through the whole episode, Chekov’s main concern is trying to get with Yeoman Landon – the only Redshirt to survive the away team!


Not enough time for all those? Just check out this Redshirt montage:

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Absent friends… w/ poor fashion sense…

The still picture at the start of the last video clip/redshirt montage is Edie Paskey: redshirt who comeback from the dead (excluding Scotty of course ;^).


Eddie P.


You forgot in THE CHANGELING, NOMAD killed one other redhsirt, Mr. Scott. The fact that he later resurrected him shoudn’t take the kill away from this episode’s highest redshirt fatalities statistic.

How about Lt. Hawk from “First Contact”? He goes with Worf and Picard onto the deflector dish, gets assimilated, tries to kill Picard, and finally Worf blasts him into space.

Actually, a lot of redshirts were assimilated during the movie and eventually died by the end.

Another redshirt, Lt, Remmick from “Conspiracy”. Picard and Riker blow his head up after he was taken over by an alien parasite queen.

Yes, indeed, Mr Scott was killed by the NOMAD and then miraculously brought back to life again. We accept this as part of the TOS Star Trek landscape.

Yet, there is so much anger vented by many here (it always seems that way to me) because a dead young James Kirk is brought back to life by using a man’s special blood with enormous regenerative factors. What’s more, Kirk was not so quickly or magically brought back to life as Scotty was in this well-loved TOS episode.

If it is OK in the Changeling episode, then it is certainly OK in STID!

As a veteran myself, I find this to be poorly thought-out, pathetically bad taste, and showing an incredible lack of judgment. Those veterans who paid the ultimate price to defend our nation and our freedoms should not be the subject to such a disrespectful stunt. Real men and women DIED for our nation! Show some respect!

My favorite red shirt is one who lived, Ensign Garrovick (although the idiots killed him off in a really lousy trek novel about a quarter century back.)

How a callous and unprofessional. I post my objection, as a veteran, pointing out that the sacrifice of brave men and women in real life are not to be filed under “humor”, and the admin for this site DELETES my posting. That’s pretty low and uncalled for,I think. Have you no honor or shame? You’ll no doubt delete this one as well which only demonstrates you can’t take criticism. Honor the service and sacrifice of the brave military service members who are memorialized by Memorial Day.

So, now all of a sudden my original posting miraculously reappears!

Censorship is wrong and reflects poorly on this site and those running it. It also goes against everything that those we honor on Memorial Day fought for and gave their lives. Stop censoring postings.

Given that “The Changeling” was compared to TMP, it stimulated a question: given the absence of color in those late 70s uniforms, how would a hostile alien identify the redshirts whom s/he could kill with impunity? Is that why they took the redshirts away? What about TWOK onward? They’re all redshirts then. Do the aliens just go by the color of the turtleneck? So many deep questions.

Hee! This is a creative idea for an article.

I’m not quite sure how you get “The Changeling” to be one-eighteenth as long as TMP. “The Changeling,” like all TOS episodes, is 51 minutes long. Eighteen times that is 918 minutes, which is more than fifteen hours! I know that TMP drags, but … :-)

The far left red shirted crew member has a command insignia on his
sleeve and a profile quite similar to William Shatner as Kirk.

Naah. Why go there?

Why not come up with a 1970s themed article entitled “The Women of Star Trek” ?

Realizing it’s not a “Red Shirt” themed episode, maybe one of the most appropriate episodes for Memorial day is the one with the worst title ever of any Voyager outing, “Memorial”. (Worst title ever simply because it is an enormous spoiler.)

It still amzes me that no one involved in the production of TMP knew, noticed, or cared that it was a rehash of The Changeling. Heck, you could argue it was the same machine planets that rebuilt Nomad had rebuilt V’ger (and were maybe even Borg).


In my opinion, one of the most memorable redshirt deaths is that of Haskell, killed by Nagilum in “Where Silence Has Lease”…

So kind of off topic but it has just been announced that Aaron Eisenberg (Nog) will be reprising his role as Nog in upcoming content for Star Trek Online.


He is joining a growing list of veteran Trek actors who have now worked for the game. Other recent additions are Robert Duncan McNeil (Tom Paris) and Lisa LoCicero (the adult Miral Paris in Voyager’s final episode).

Censorship is one of the things that those who sacrificed their lives fought against. Yet here on this site censorship is routinely utilized if the Admins disagree with your comments. I simply pointed-out that this Red Shirt topic, “filed under humor”, is inappropriate for Memorial Day. My posts are removed as soon as I post them. Dissent and differences of opinion were hallmarks from the Roddenberry universe, yet the vile practice of censorship and restricting opposing views appears to be a hallmark of this site and the administrators who manage it. How disappointing.

# 11. soonerdave – May 23, 2015

” Heck, you could argue it was the same machine planets that rebuilt Nomad had rebuilt V’ger (and were maybe even Borg).” — soonerdave

I don’t see how. In the episode, Spock’s mind meld establishes that the two probes NOMAD and Tan-Ru repaired each other — no machine planet was involved.

What puzzles me about the episode, is the ship’s computer must perform the function of identifying and classifying vessels that its sensors detect. We know Kirk learned of the NOMAD probe and Roykirk at the Academy. This information had to be in the computer. The NOMAD part might not have been fully functional but what was should have caused the computer to have identified it before Kirk.

And what’s the ship’s protocol when encountering old probes? One assumes, it would have been to establish a communication’s link, try to evaluate the probe’s status, repair and update old software code, and then d/l the data. In TMP, it is established that these routines are so primal to V’ger that it knows that if it receives it, it will transmit the data and end its mission before it meets its creator, which it wants to do face to face.

In the series’ actual first episode, WHERE NO MAN HAS GONE BEFORE, they establish that they regularly beam aboard probes and d/l their contents. How is it that the ship’s computer failed to identify an apparently damaged NOMAD while it was hanging around the transporter room? What would have happened if NOMAD’s primal routines had corrected his software faults in communicating with the ship’s computer and restored his prime directive?

Many might assume a boring episode, but Asimov did some compelling tales on robot guilt and what it might drive such a sentience to do.

On this date in 1994, TNG aired its last episode “All Good Things.” Fans and critics praised this episode and felt it was a wonderful way to end the series. Favorite moment from “All Good Things?”


Evolved beyond the need to grieve? Roddenberry did talk twaddle at times, didn’t he.

Hey “Captain America,” the real Steve Rogers didn’t come back from being frozen and demand to be put on a pedestal and garlanded with laurel leaves like some sort of Imperial Roman general, or this year’s victor from the Hunger Games.

As someone who fought in WWII (and in fact fought *to* get the chance to fight), Cap probably saw true horrors. He had comrades die in action, and from people *I* know who have served, they sure have a dark sense of humour about things, and just try to live a normal life afterwards, if they can.

The people that are most thin-skinned about “disrespecting the military” are people who never served; the people who make a lot of public show of their patriotism, with yellow ribbons permanently stuck to their bumpers and who trade in simplistic slogans, instead of actually dealing in critical thinking.

And certainly, it’s politically useful for certain people to brand anyone who are even vaguely critical of the military (and their insanely huge budget) as unpatriotic. We could build the USS Vengeance 10 times over every year; while bridges fall apart, people go without healthcare, and we twiddle our thumbs on climate change, but if you dare mention that fact, you’re some sort of pinko commie.

I don’t think Cap would be so proud of that. It’s true, people fought and died for freedom — and that includes the freedom of other people to say and do things we ourselves may find offensive. Like finding a bit of black humor in the quintessential Star Trek trope, the redshirt.

I think, like Eisenhower, Cap would have spurned the military-industrial complex, and he certainly would have recoiled at our modern-day attempts to put soldiers on pedestals and shield them from any criticism whatsoever.

Soldiers are people, not gods; just like ER doctors, firefighters, teachers, nurses, bus drivers and any member of many thankless professions, they deserve our praise, but not our worship.

I mean, remember every time Starfleet brass turned out to be aliens, or tried to enact some sort of military coup? Not so honorable then…

This post is in very poor taste. Being a retired veteran, this seems a bit insensitive. I know it’s meant to be cute or funny, but Memorial Day is about reverently remembering the dead who gave their lives protecting the USA. Things like this are almost sacrilege to families of those lost their lives serving in the Armed Forces.

Captain America…

Another thing those of us who have served learned is to respect the judgment of the chain of command. While we may not agree with every rule or order, we realize it is our duty to respect the decisions that those in charge make and carry out those orders to the best of our ability.

You’ve made no less that three posts bemoaning “censorship” on this site; and yet, you’ve obviously done so without taking one moment to read the information on the “Comments and Moderation” page, which states the following:

“If your comment disappears within seconds of posting it.

Understand that it has not been deleted, it means the comment system has flagged it for moderation.

From your perspective you appeared to successfully post a comment, however it is being held. Once it is approved the comment will go back to the position it was in. For example: if your comment was going to be comment #209, when it is submitted the timestamp is recorded, so when a moderator approves your comment it will go back to being comment #209, bumping other comments made in the meantime to new numbers.

If you think your comment might have been deleted, wait – give the staff here some time to come through and approve comments, then look to see if it has been approved. If it was approved, it will be back where it was originally in the chain of comments, not at the bottom.

** Do not assume that because you do not see your comment in the most recent few comments that it has been deleted, look back to where it would have been originally.**”

In other words, you were never censored. An AUTOMATED system, put in place by those who take their own, free time to create this site, simply did its job and flagged your post for moderation. It was then approved and put back exactly where it would have been… hence the “So, now all of a sudden my original posting miraculously reappears!” follow-up.

You may disagree with the need for such a system. But, in their wisdom, those that run this site put it in place to prevent the abuses we all know can come from a completely unmoderated forum.

Those that fought to protect your freedom to speak as you wish also fought to protect the freedoms exercised by those who give of themselves to give us a site to post on. If they wish to create a moderated forum, and are fair in the application of the rules, then they are free to do so! The right to create and maintain a place for civil discourse is just as important, and was just as vigorously defended, as any right to post.

As a veteran myself, and the son and grandson of veterans, I find nothing to be offended of in this article. While the loss of our real heroes, in real conflicts must be remembered and honored, we must not become so thin skinned that we cannot find some humor in looking at the “redshirt” phenomenon in a work of fiction.

You may still disagree, and I will respect your right to do so! I would even defend your right to make your original post to express your opinion. However, when you start attacking those that run this site; their patriotism and judgment; without so much as educating yourself to the policies of the very site you use to attack them, you belittle us all.

All that said… I thank you on this, and every, day for your service to our country. In closing, I’ll leave you with the prophetic words of Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

They missed the biggest example of a redshirt. As soon as every starfleet officer was given red shirts, Spock died. Coincidence?

I think of all the redshirt deaths, the one that always chilled me the most was that of Yeoman Thompson in “By Any Other Name.”

It’s one thing to be killed while having a fighting chance (or at least some chance) to fight back. But to be reduced to a cube and then crushed into powder… being snuffed out as if someone was crushing a giant Sweet Tart? Ugh!

And it was just so random, too…

Son of Captain Garth…

Great question about TMP uniforms! I had to go back and look at some pictures from the movie to remember… but if you look closely, you’ll see that department assignments for each member of Starfleet was indicated on the arrowhead insignia badge. Behind the arrowhead was a circle, and the color of the circle indicated your department:

WHITE – Command
ORANGE – Sciences
GREEN – Medical
RED – Engineering
GOLD – Communications, Helm, and Navigation
GREY – Security

So the baddies could still pick out the “less important” people to kill, they just had to look a little harder! Maybe Starfleet thought this would slow them down enough to keep a couple of guys alive.

And given that security went from red to grey, I guess you would now call them, what? Greyshirts? Greybadges? Plot Devices?

And you’re right about TWOK and later. You could tell each member’s department by the color of the turtleneck, the over-the-shoulder strap that bore the rank insignia (and fastened the flap in place,) and the stripe around the left arm. Of course, they changed the color scheme yet again… maybe a further attempt to keep the security guys alive?

This is in scandalously bad taste. Equivocating the sacrifice made by real men and women with fictional characters whose deaths are now considered a punch line. Unbelievable.

Well, seeing as how movie chains see the Memorial Day long weekend as as a chance to boost profits, and that most folks see it as a day to goof off, you can’t really single this thread out for being in bad taste.

Though perhaps a thread devoted to more serious war-themed episodes like “The Siege Of AR-588” would be appropiate.

# 28. Superman – May 24, 2015

” This is in scandalously bad taste.” — Superman

I have to admit the thought of taste had crossed my mind. Then I recalled all those times my father (deceased), a veteran who actually saw action in war and other veterans that I knew, honored the Day (and D-Day, VE-Day, VJ-Day, Pearl Harbor, Veteran’s Day etc.) by watching John Wayne, who never served a day in any of the services in his life, “win” all those real wars where real people gave their lives and I thought “perspective”.

And even weirder it is when I realized that all these fictional red shirt “deaths” ostensibly take place in the future and so haven’t happened yet.

FWIW I suppose the serious wearing down of my offensibility, for one who had the grim reaper visit those around me more times than I care to count, in these things began with the In Memoriums on THE TALKING DEAD.

One thing I have learned by this stage of my life, is that grief is personal and very individualistic. It is not for me to say how some else should go through it.

And so, if I saw a bunch of red-shirt uniformed people gathered around a grave at the Veteran’s Cemetery this Memorial Day my knee-jerk reaction might be one of being appalled but then I’d get the better of that notion when I realized how much Trek was a part of many servicemen lives and I’d forgive myself and Dad for watching John Wayne.

I’m afraid I have to agree with Captain America, in this case: the article is tacky, witless and in very poor taste. Everything in life isn’t just fodder for fantasy.

As someone who has also served, I disagree that this is in poor taste. I moreso agree with Disinvited (#30) — war and death in war has long been part of the entertainment landscape. I know many veterans who prefer to think more lightheartedly on Memorial Day. I lost an uncle in Vietnam and a almost all of my male relatives have served, so I think that marking this as tacky or callous is just not in the right spirit.

We can all agree to disagree. As for my posts being censored – When all of them disappeared several hours after my posting them while other posts, many that appeared AFTER mine remained, I smelled censorship. Regardless, my point that this whole topic is, in my opinion, lacking in respect and forgets the true purpose of Memorial Day. Citing Hollywood as an excuse for this lack of respect is a straw man argument that does not resonate. Yes indeed, I most certainly can and will point out the bad taste of this “file under humor” article. And I never felt anything John Wayne did in his movies about war and the military to be in bad taste.

As I stated, we can agree to disagree and I concur 100% that free speech means allowing everyone to have a say and I always believed in defending anyone’s view, regardless of my own. This is and never was about me or my service. You can thank me on Veterans Day if you want. On Memorial Day we honor the fallen. This tradition seems tainted to me by the whole purpose of this feature. I am pleased to see that I am no alone in that opinion, but those of you who disagree, well, fill your boots.

My late dad watched ST with me in the 60s and 70s, and I took him to see TUC in 1991 (his last) and he loved it. He died in 1992 due to a decades-long illness gotten as a result of his service in WWII. Wife and I visited his and mom’s graves at the veteran’s cemetery yesterday. Life goes on…

#32. Captain America – May 24, 2015

I hear you. And this article could do with some balance. Perhaps mentioning some of the actors who were men of service even though obviously none died in war? Though technically I personally would include those who lost appendages in war as I count that as a piece of them dying but that is a debate for another time.

I believe in the concept, obviously, that such a Day of reverence for war dead, who died in the service of my country, should exist. But being a child born in The South I am fully aware of this holiday’s checkered past and that it originated not in the noble cause of honoring the soldiers who died defending this great nation of united states but rather those who did so in the service of the CSA.

It wasn’t officially established by Congress as Memorial Day, as such, until 1967 and then shortly after they introduced this bit of folly:


Which I believed then as I do now, served to greatly undermine what it was supposed to originally represent, when they actually enacted that 3 day holiday twaddle in 1971.

And I supported Senator Inouye’s many attempts to undo it:


I mean how are we to get others to take it seriously when the politicos who officially created it clearly saw it as merely an expedience to have another 3 day holiday weekend?

I’m not sure what the solution is as things stand now. I merely offer this as my historical perspective on it.

This post is in very bad taste, and it made me cringe. You want to do a post about the dead redshirts, fine. But Memorial Day is about actual people who died — most of them tragically at very young ages — while defending their country. These were very real people, with very real loved ones who suffer indescribable grief for having lost them. Please do not treat the single day that commemorates this in a flippant or lighthearted manner.

#32. Patrick – May 24, 2015

Thanks for letting me know that I was getting that across.

Agreed. Bad taste. These people are fictional and Star Trek is a story. Memorial Day is for real Men and Women who died in service of this country. Any country who honors their dead should have a day for commemoration. I love Star Trek but I know when to acknowledge fantasy over reality.

Captain America, and to all who serve us, thank you.

You all know where I stand on this, I’m sure. Capt. America makes a very good point. Well meaning people are clueless enough when they wish me a “Happy Memorial Day”. I am just a veteran. Come see me on November 11th, or, better yet, wish me a Happy Marine Corps Birthday on November 10.

I understand this is a ST fan site, and I get the whole redshirt thing.


We owe it to our countrymen to remind them of what is truly important. Not everything is fodder for humor. Not all things are ironic. Many thousands of young men left their homes, kissed their moms, shook hands with their dads, and then gave their lives. The least we can do is treat that sacrifice with some measure of respect.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture — Where Nomad Has Gone Before

I wish I’d thought that up.

Memorial Day

I started today in remembrance of my family’s only military member to have died in war. To that end, I talked to the youngest member of my family able to comprehend the enormity of that relative’s decision to enlist and ignorant of his service, its ultimate cost and the ostensible reason for this day of remembrance. I told of Pearl Harbor, our relative entering into the Marines, being stationed on the Philippines, the Japanese invading, MacArthur’s “I shall return!”, The Bataan March, our relative’s beheading, his being buried there, the body never being ship back home and the family lore surrounding him.

Now I feel that in service to my Father, another military man of service to his country who did not die in war but is nevertheless gone, and his railing against the absurdities of the politicians and politicos who made him sign a loyalty oath while the enemy’s bullets were whizzing by during his war, that I should address the topic of humor.

My Father instilled in me, his son, respect for those fallen in battle in the service of this country, but this notion that Memorial Day, itself, with the day’s many absurdities and buffooneries of the politicians and politicos in getting it declared this particular day in this particular way should be off-limits as a topic of humor, would be appalling to him. Especially given, as you can imagine, he thought those selfsame politicians and politicos and their (often lack of) thinking deserved to be skewered every which way they can. And maybe my sensibilities in this aren’t so easy to rankle being tempered by his careful tutelage that “funerals are for the living.”

That our fallen should be respected and treated in appreciation in our hearts and minds, I support one hundred percent and think opportunities, like this article presents, should be taken, as many have, to cause our fellow citizens to reflect on the price paid for the liberties we all enjoy. That making fun of the absurdities associated with the Day itself unequivocably equates to disrespect of those men and women, I just don’t see it that way, as ultimately the Day itself like the fiction of STAR TREK is a mere artifice.

It’s what’s in our hearts and minds that is real.

P.S. I suppose my allegiances lies against being offended and PRO reminding.

The Where Nomad Has Gone Before quip has been around forever.

My first reaction, as a retired US Coast Guard member, was, “Wow! This is almost as bad as hearing ‘Happy Memorial Day’!”

My next thoughts, though, were of how many people I knew in the military who watched and loved Trek, how many (including me) joined up because of Trek’s ideals, and how many had a great sense of humor, and also what is called “a sense of ‘graveyard humor’.”

For some, Memorial Day holds great and immediate heartache and sadness. For some it occasions anger relaring to the losses of good people in wars that have taken plaace for reasons we consider valid or not valid, depending on our point of view.

In many senses Memorial Day should be held sacred as should the life of every soldier, sailor and airman who has sacrificed his or her life in the line of duty.

But it also occasions thoughts of what the dead might wish for us … liberty, health, happiness … and humor is part of happiness.

At a wake, in remembrance of the dead, we bot only recall their sterling qualities; we’ll recall their favorite jokes or goofy things they did.

So as a Coastie, I salute those who sacrificed their lives, I salute those who stood and stand in service who live still, and salute those who soberly, fondly, or humorously remember their comrades in service.

33 Captain America, you may not feel John Wayne never did anything in poor taste, but I feel quite the opposite regarding his war films. Kinda like I feel about a certain V.P. taking five deferments during Viet Nam yet whipping up support for a war in the Middle East a generation later.

6 Keachick, agreed. We fans of all Trek must keep in mind that for some folks, everything that happened in TOS is perfectly fine, but nothing that happened in NuTrek is okay.

*eye roll*

41 Dis, I salute your Dad and agree with you. The hypocrisy of so many politicians regarding the military sickens me. “Support Our Troops” but propose turning the VA into a voucher system. “Support Our Troops” but deny them support, medical and psychological, when they get home. Hypocrisy at its “finest.”

22 Fred T, Bravo sir, well said.

@ #39- Semper Fidelis to you and to Gene L. Coon.

@#45 – How inappropriate that you now bring politics into the discussion. Your political agenda doesn’t honor anyone. But that’s just my opinion, just like my thoughts on John Wayne.

44 C.A., And many loved ones have fought and died for our rights to express our political, and other, views. You may feel it’s inappropriate of me, while I feel the opposite.

Welcome to America! And thank god for it.

Captain America, most of the folks on this site never served. Draft dodgers, CO’s or 4F’s. So you probably won’t receive much sympathy or understanding from them.