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Real Captain James Kirk commands a US Navy destroyer

Captain Kirk is a real person and he's in charge of the US Navy's innovative ship the USS Zumwalt.

Captain James A. Kirk
Meet the real Captain Kirk.
US Navy

Yes, Virginia, there is a Captain James Kirk.

Most of the world knows the fictional Star Trek captain James Kirk, the intrepid leader of the USS Enterprise. There's also a very real James Kirk and he's the captain of the USS Zumwalt, one of the most advanced ships in the US Navy's fleet.

The ship's unusual chiseled design is meant to hide it from radar, but it also gives it a sleek, sci-fi look that would fit well into the Star Trek universe. According to the Associated Press, Admiral Harry Harris likens the high-tech destroyer to a warship worthy of Batman.

The Navy conducted a commissioning ceremony this month for the Zumwalt, which CBS News boards in the video below. It originally left dry dock in 2013 for testing.

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Star Trek's Captain Kirk was (will be?) born in Iowa. The real Kirk hails from Bethesda, Maryland. He bears little physical resemblance to William Shatner, who played Kirk in the original series, or Chris Pine, who handles the role in the reboot movies.

Here's another major difference: Star Trek's Captain Kirk sports the middle name "Tiberius." The Zumwalt's leader is Captain James A. Kirk.

The Navy's Kirk sounds like he shares Star Trek's ideal of a future world that embraces diversity. "To walk through the passageways of the mighty Zumwalt and see the diversity and richness of culture reflected in our ship's sailors affirms the ideal that inclusion strengthens our Navy as a warfighting force," Captain James A. Kirk writes in a post about the Zumwalt.

Captain James A. Kirk was named for his grandfather, but he has a sense of humor about his Star Trek connection. As the AP notes, he's not above telling reports to "live long and prosper."

The USS Zumwalt boldly going across the water.

Dennis Griggs/US Navy