Task Force 51
The Task Force 51 Collective Operations Community (not to be confused with Alpha Company) is an online "gated community" and aggregated gamers' team officially founded in February 2005 as the CAG-51st "Goldenhawks" on Battlefield Vietnam by friends TheGrandmaster, Headhunter, Annoying Error, and M.R.171, with its roots found earlier in the summer of 2004. In September 2014, facing a clan war, it was joined by key staff members SantiXgoIV and CarolusJohanneus, both of whom have since resigned from their posts. It has been described by its own members as "a highly-exclusive and small, yet tight-knit, circle of friends brought together through gaming" and "a gaming group that puts community interaction and friendship development first, and gaming second."
The community, as it is known now, is not one single entity, but rather a conglomerate of multiple different outfits. Aside from the original Battlefield 2 squadron, the CAG-51st, this merged collective includes the VFA-137th "Red Saints", the VFA-588th "Night Witches", and the VT-274th "Cobra Squadron", as well as numerous other "personal groups", most notably Alpha Company. As of April 2016, all of these separated sects are now united as one under the Task Force 51 moniker, and headed by two officials who are elected to four-month-long terms.
Fronted on many websites by Wedge Hawkins, its lead representative, Task Force 51 has had varying degrees of presence in SBM since late 2013, with more members progressively joining the site throughout its shared timeline. Although uninterested in Spongebob discussion for the most part, different members have integrated themselves into the community, bringing with them the typical sense of camaraderie felt within TF51 itself.
Task Force 51, having been engaged in a prolonged cyber-war, is known for its great level of secrecy and complicated hierarchy, directly set up to reflect the federal government of the US. Successfully joining the community is rare and extremely difficult, as the only way of doing so is to be selected by a member and go through a very intensive screening process, and finally be approved by both the screening group and the two commanding officers. In 2016, only two people out of eleven applicants passed this process and became members. Former Commanding Officer SantiXgoIV says of this unusual procedure that "Task Force 51 is, in essence, your everyday forum/gaming clan with the registration process and privacy insistence of the FBI."
Role on SBM
Originally, Wedge Hawkins and Polecatz were the only two who had intended to join SBM. However, during August-September 2013, with the arrival of StormAllenBryat, the two united Alpha Company on the forums to attempt to attack him in the chat, with strength in numbers. This eventually worked, but soon got out of control as the four began to ridicule anyone they felt deserved it. Due to the extreme length of said fight, high-ranking members of TF51 (most importantly, then-head TheGrandmaster) joined SBM primarily to keep them under control.
Despite never actively discussing Spongebob on the forums, many members of Task Force 51 are at least familiar with the show, and some of its members (especially those in Team Awesome) are known to make references and/or jokes to the show regularly. A few, namely Alpha Company members Wedge Hawkins and Polecatz, are reputed for doing so around the forum.
Under wartime administration (2015-2016)
In October 2015, TF51 and all of its members (excluding Sir Madcatter, who remained merely as an overseer) were officially ordered to cease and withdraw from SBM by then-executive officer TheGrandmaster. Driven by WildOxen, TGM ordered a full withdrawal from SBM, in which all active members were ordered to leave, and no new members were allowed to register. A month later, in November 2015, he explained his reasoning for ordering the withdrawal. He cited his rival admin, SBM co-founder ssj4gogita4, as the main cause for the order, openly criticizing ssj's admin practices.
However, in mid-December 2015, the other two staff members at the time - executive officer SantiXgoIV and commanding officer CarolusJohanneus - rethought TGM's decision, eventually coming to criticize him for acting on his own initiative without the consent of the entire staff team. In response, on December 21st, SantiXgoIV set up a team-wide poll on whether or not to lift the ban order. Out of the team's overall 27 members, 23 voted, and 4 abstained. The votes to lift the ban came in the majority, with the polls tallying 16 against 7. As a result, TGM's order of withdrawal has been overridden, allowing every willing member to return to SBM.
In late September 2016, executive officer Headhunter was banned from SBM as the result of a string of increasingly-aggressive attacks on the admin team. Although chief team diplomat CarolusJohanneus attempted to organize a peace meeting between ssj and TheGrandmaster, the meeting was ultimately foiled, due in part to disagreements on both ends, when ssj assigned Mr. Dr. Professor Patrick, the site technician of SBC, to show at the meeting and act as him. This event, which was seen as an unbelievable betrayal of trust by both the team staff and members, not only resulted in TGM himself being banned for continuing Headhunter's streak of aggression, but also caused nearly the entire team to vote and declare SBM as an "inactive threat," citing the failed meeting as the "last straw" in their relationship. As a provision of this vote, as well as a side effect of being marked with the status of team enemy, the staff team's previous verdict of cancelling TGM's first withdrawal order was overturned.
Under elected administrations (October 2016-present)
During the above events, the Task Force 51 community as a whole was in the process of conducting its first formal election of staff members, as both TheGrandmaster and Headhunter were stepping down. The election boiled down to two pairs of running mates: Wedge Hawkins and Mardante11 versus VFA-51 founding members M.R.171 and Annoying Error. Despite their long history of serving the group, the latter pair lost the election in what was considered the upset of the year, as Hawk and Mardante carried the team's at-large vote by a wide margin of 12 votes to 6. After being sworn in, one of Hawk's first moves was to state to SBM (in a thread originally slated to announce the previous withdrawal) that he would uphold the withdrawal order for a time, but also work towards fixing the relationship between TF51 and SBM in hopes of reversing it in the future. Near the end of his term, Hawk finally overturned the withdrawal.
Following administrations have largely taken a hands-off stance towards SBM, beginning with the term of Hawk's successor, Mattaphobia. Though the site embargo has been reverted, its influence still remains, and most members of TF51 now avoid SBM, on the pretense that their presence is superfluous and would cause more problems. However, a few members (aside from Hawk) remain. Two notable members are former Chief Officer Annielectric, who joined SBM in February 2017 during her term as First Officer under Mattaphobia; and current Chief Officer Polecatz, who has been on the site since March 2013, and has a pre-existing reputation as the former "leader" of Alpha Company.
In addition to the four main squadrons that comprise Task Force 51 - the CAG-51st, VFA-137th, VFA-588th, and VT-274th - the community is broken down even further into individual sub-outfits. It also consists of a host of "personal groups" such as Alpha Company, consisting of only a few people, and meant solely for casual play/talk with no set guidelines.
The many different groups are listed below.
- CAG-51st "Goldenhawks" (Active: 2005- | Tag: GH, 51, CAG-51 | Founders: TheGrandmaster, Headhunter, M.R.171, Annoying Error)
- VFA-137th "Red Saints" (Active: 2013- | Tag: RS, 137, VT-137 | Founders: Firebird190, Maximilian, BallisticTactix)
- VFA-588th "Night Witches" (Active: 2012- | Tag: NW, VFA-588, 588 | Founders: Annielectric, AllistaV, AdolfHipster)
- VT-274th "Cobra Squadron" (Active: 2011- | Tag: CSG, VT-274, 274 | Founders: ColtRogue, dynasteriaX274)
Sub-squads & personal groups
- RCMP Fireteam 7 (Active: 2014- | Tag: F7 or RCMP | Founders: Rangerscope, Falkon, M.R.171)
- Sydney Tactical Assault Kings (Active: 2014- | Tag: STAK | Founders: Annoying Error, Archangel990)
- Valkyria Raiders (Active: 2010- | Tag: VR | Founders: Phoenixon, KingVector)
- Hounds of Tindalos (Active: 2016- | Tag: HoT | Founders: SantiXgoIV, FairchildHawker)
- Alpha Company (Active: 2011- | Tag: AC | Founders: Polecatz, Wedge Hawkins, Sir Madcatter, Rangerscope)
- Cowboys From Hell (Active: 2009- | Tag: CFH | Founders: Headhunter, Polecatz)
The staff organization of Task Force 51, as previously mentioned, is designed to incorporate elements of the United States federal government, alluding to the whole community's foundation as a mainly-conservative American group. The community's hierarchy is listed below in order of importance.
- Chief Officer: The leading administrator of the group, responsible for duties including, but not limited to: selecting and/or approving applicant members (alongside the First Officer), setting the community's general rules, issuing declarations of war, and directing all of the clan's gaming activities. As of January 2017, both the Chief and First Officers are elected by the community every four months. The current Chief Officer is Polecatz of New Orleans, Louisiana.
- First Officer: The second-in-command of the community, the First Officer is responsible for overseeing the group's at-large sessions, and also assumes the role of the Chief Officer when they are offline or otherwise unavailable. Along with the Chief Officer, First Officers are elected by the community members every four months. The current First Officer is Annoying Error of Newcastle, Australia.
- Community Judiciary: The primary rule enforcers of the community. The Judiciary is made up of six individuals - one Chief Justice, and five Associate Justices - and holds hearings regarding members who have broken the rules, deciding what their penalty will be. The Chief Justice is capable of discharging a member, though this decision can be reversed by the Chief Officer. The Judiciary's justices are appointed by the Chief Officer, and serve in the capacity until they resign or are fired. The Judiciary is currently comprised of Chief Justice PhantomJohann, as well as Associate Justices SantiXgoIV, TheGrandmaster, Mardante11, Annielectric, and Wedge Hawkins.
- Community-At-Large: If ten or more non-staff members are willing, they can call the community into a special chat session dedicated to debating and voting on particular issues in the community. Such sessions entail voting in staff elections, approving declarations of war, proposing new rules, or changing the relative status with another community.
- Clerk/Record Keeper: The Clerk is responsible for overseeing the staff's documentation/logging system and carrying out votes in at-large chat sessions. Like the Judiciary's justices, the Clerk is appointed by the Chief Officer, and serves in this role indefinitely. The current Clerk is Falkon, appointed in December 2014.
Full member list
- Polecat124 [GH/AC/CFH] - Chief Officer
- Annoying Error [GH/STAK] - First Officer
- PhantomJohann [RS] - Chief Justice & Negotiator
- SantiXgoIV [RS/HoT] - Lead Developer, Associate Justice
- TheGrandmaster [GH] - Founder, Associate Justice
- Mardante11 [VR/GH] - Associate Justice
- Wedge Hawkins [NW/AC/WF] - Associate Justice, Lead Representative
- Annielectric [NW] - Associate Justice
- A.Z.51 [GH] - Co-Founder, Deputy Developer, Staff Spokesperson
- Falkon [VR/F7] - Community Clerk/Record Keeper
- Headhunter [GH/CFH] - Co-Founder
- Sir Madcatter [GH/AC]
- Rangerscope [GH/AC/F7]
- FairchildHawker [GH/HoT/WF]
- TwinWolf [RS/WF]
- Vernondex [RS/WF]
- WildOxen [GH/STAK/HoT/WF]
- KnightOfCerebus [RS/VR/HoT]
- KingVector [VR/HoT]
- Archangel990 [GH/STAK/HoT]
- AllistaV [NW]
- AdolfHipster [NW]
- Mattaphobia [NW/HoT]
- TheBFGFreak [NW]
- TaediaFortunata [NW]
- Dragonaut117 [VR]
- Maverick [RS/GHRW]
- Maximilian [RS/GHRW]
- MrMetallkniv [RS]
- Razerstorer [RS]
- TheNorthmanAlex [CFH]
- ZachKinecht [CFH]
- Buggs_Brenner [CFH]
- Yotelex [CFH]
- TrazanLP [CFH]
- ColtRogue [CSG]
- dynasteriaX274 [CSG]
- Vader_Freeman [CSG]
- anthrax12 [CSG]
- AdrianStrathairn [CSG]
- Deltaforce4355 [CSG]
- RustedRoot [CSG]
- Kartoffelkage [CSG]
- Captaincessil [CSG]
List of main staff
Commanding & Executive Officers (2005-2016):
- TheGrandmaster and Headhunter: 2005-2009
- Headhunter and Annoying Error: 2009-2013
- TheGrandmaster and Headhunter: 2013-2014
- PhantomJohann and TheGrandmaster/SantiXgoIV: 2014-2016
- SantiXgoIV and TheGrandmaster: April-July 2016
- TheGrandmaster and Headhunter: July-October 2016
- Wedge Hawkins and Mardante11: October-November 2016
- Wedge Hawkins and TheBFGFreak: November-December 2016
Chief & First Officers (2017-):
- Mattaphobia and Annielectric: January-April 2017
- Annielectric and Polecatz: April-August 2017
- Polecatz and Annoying Error: September 2017-Present
NOTES: Command of the community throughout its existence has generally been held by TheGrandmaster, Headhunter, and A.Z.51. In October 2016, the community began to hold triannual staff elections, with running mates Wedge Hawkins (CO) and Mardante11 (XO) winning the first. Also, beginning with Mattaphobia's term, the Commanding and Executive Officer posts were renamed to Chief and First Officer, accompanied by significant role changes due to the creation of the Judiciary.