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. 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."
Members of Task Force 51 have had varying degrees of presence on SBM since late 2013, with moderator and de facto representative HawkbitAlpha being the longest-lasting of all. A string of incidents in mid-to-late 2016 severely damaged relations between SBM and TF51, though they have been mostly neutral since, due to extensive restructuring of the staff in late 2016 and early 2017.
Task Force 51 maintains a high level of secrecy, and is operated by a complicated hierarchy, deliberately structured to reflect the federal government of the United States. Successfully joining the community is extremely difficult, as the only way of doing so is to be selected by a member, go through a very intensive screening process, and finally be approved by both the screening manager and the two commanding officers. In 2016, only two people out of eleven applicants passed this process and became members. Chief 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, HawkbitAlpha 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 HawkbitAlpha 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 ThePhantomJustice - challenged 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 a 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: HawkbitAlpha 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 neutral, 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 only 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)
- Turncoat Brigade (Active: 2017- | Tag: TB or 51TB | Founders: Staximus, LordEmir)
- Hounds of Tindalos (Active: 2016- | Tag: HoT | Founders: SantiXgoIV, FairchildHawker)
- Alpha Company (Active: 2011- | Tag: AC | Founders: Polecatz, HawkbitAlpha, 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 SantiXgoIV of Kattem, Norway.
- 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 Mardante11 of New York City.
- 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 TheGrandmaster, Headhunter, TaediaFortunata, HawkbitAlpha, and Annielectric.
- 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
- SantiXgoIV [RS/HoT] - Chief Officer
- Mardante11 [VR/GH] - First Officer
- A.Z.51 [GH] - Chief of Staff
- RecursiveStack [RS/TB] - Chief Justice
- TheGrandmaster [GH] - Associate Justice
- Headhunter [GH/CFH] - Associate Justice
- TaediaFortunata [CSG] - Associate Justice
- HawkbitAlpha [NW/AC/WF] - Associate Justice
- Annielectric [NW] - Associate Justice
- ThePhantomJustice [RS] - Staff Counsel
- Falkon [VR/F7] - Records Keeper
- Annoying Error [GH]
- Polecat124 [GH/AC/CFH]
- Sir Madcatter [GH/AC]
- Rangerscope [GH/AC/F7]
- FairchildHawker [GH/HoT]
- TwinWolf [RS]
- Vernondex [RS]
- WildOxen [GH/STAK/HoT]
- 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]
- Maximilian [RS]
- MrMetallkniv [RS]
- Razerstorer [RS]
- LordEmir [RS/TB]
- TheNorthmanAlex [CFH]
- ZachKinecht [CFH]
- ColtRogue [CSG]
- dynasteriaX274 [CSG]
- Vader_Freeman [CSG]
- anthrax12 [CSG]
- AdrianStrathairn [CSG]
- Deltaforce4355 [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
- HawkbitAlpha and Mardante11: October-November 2016
- HawkbitAlpha 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-December 2017
- SantiXgoIV and Mardante11: January 2018-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 HawkbitAlpha (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.