HISTORY OF THE USS ANGELES
The history of the USS Angeles, one of the most active chapters of STARFLEET, began with Janice Willcocks. The Palos Verdes Estates fan, who had previously belonged to the USS Roddenberry, was at Shuttle Con in Visalia, to see John de Lancie, aka Q. That’s where Janice met Max Mejias of the USS Gallant in Fresno and Arlene Harris and Dennis Cherry, both with the Los Angeles-based USS Alliance. Janice joined the Alliance, commanded by Jennifer Cole, and STARFLEET that day. While she enjoyed being in the Alliance, Janice found she was looking for something else.
“The Alliance crew were mostly fiction writers and were pretty centered around the TOS (the original series) and TOS-movie era characters,” Janice recalled. “I wanted to be involved with all of ‘Star Trek,’ including the TNG (the ‘Next Generation’) cast. I also wanted to visit places around town where the show had been filmed and go to various conventions, plays, book signings, concerts, etc. that were related to ‘Trek’ or the ‘Trek’ actors. So, since Los Angeles is a big city, I thought another ship with a different focus would be a good thing.”
That’s when she decided to start in the USS Angeles. She wrote Janis Moore, then Region 4 coordinator of STARFLEET, and arranged to begin the Angeles as a STARFLEET shuttle in 1995. We later became a commissioned ship both in the United Federation of Planets, International (as a charter chapter) and STARFLEET. Arlene from the Alliance became the First Officer, and Susan Fox was the Second Officer. Other original members were Eric Stillwell, Richard Ortega and Dave Mason.
The first big Angeles gathering took place in fall 1995 at Janice’s home in Palos Verdes Estates. Special guests were “Star Trek” fans visiting from France and members of San Diego ships USS Cometwatcher and USS Palavra.
Since then, the Angeles has visited sacred “Star Trek” filming sites such as Vasquez Rocks (Kirk fought the Gorn there!), Griffith Park, Franklin Canyon Lake, Griffith Observatory, the Japanese Garden, CSUN and even El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
The Angeles also served as docents at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. And we hosted the 2005 Region 4 conference with banquet speakers Jim Van Over, Larry Nemecek and Max Cervantes. The ship won Region 4’s Chapter of the Year award twice.
In addition to our activities, the USS Angeles has succeeded in media projects, varying from our award-winning newsletter to our movie “USS Angeles: Price of Duty,” filmed in 1998-99 and involving several locations. The film inspired our video series, “Voyages of the USS Angeles,” which set the stage for the nationally acclaimed “Hidden Frontier” franchise. We also produced an audio episode. And we launched a successful website.
In addition, USS Angeles members have been featured on KCOP-TV news segments promoting “Star Trek.”
And “Trek” celebrities have visited us. We’ve met everyone from authors to Dominic Keating of “Star Trek: Enterprise” to Tim Russ of “Star Trek: Voyager.” George Takei, the original Mr. Sulu, met with us at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum.
The USS Angeles has gone to many “Star Trek” conventions and was part of the start of Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas. We came up with names for the menu items at Quark’s Bar and Grill. Our club went to The Experience annually.
We also were in the bleachers at the Hollywood premiere of the 2009 “Star Trek” movie. And Cirroc Lofton, aka Jake Sisko on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” has hosted us several times at his Cafe Cirroc in Culver City.
Today, you’ll find us anywhere from Disneyland to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Sea World to the Magic Castle. And we have succeeded in community service projects ranging from AIDS Walk to packages for overseas troops.
The USS Angeles remains proud of its past and is looking forward to an interstellar future.