Admiral of the Fleet Spencer "Skip" Banbridge is a character in the Wing Commander universe. He appears in the novel Action Stations as chief of the Confederation military, and may or may not be the same character who appears in chronologically later novels as Wayne Banbridge.
Early life and careerEdit
Skip Banbridge started his career as an enlisted spacehand in the Confederation Fleet, eventually proving to be of sufficient intelligence and capability to earn a sponsorship to the Academy on Earth. While at the Academy, he met and befriended Winston Turner, as well as his future wife Janet. (While their marriage was a happy one, he was ever aware that he was her second choice, after turner. They had several children, two of whom died in the first contact with the Kilrathi Empire).
He and Turner rose through the ranks together; for a portion of that time, he was under Turner's command on the elite Marine Commando Six special-operations team, along with Gunnery Sergeant Manuel Ulandi and future Landreich leader Johann Blucher. When Turner burnt out and took an Academy professorship, Banbridge continued rising, eventually becoming Admiral of the Fleet.
Having believed that such an exalted position would give him a freer hand in organizing and improving the Fleet, he discovered instead that he was more hamstrung than ever, having to deal with politicos less interested in national defense than pretty photo-ops. His temper more than once got him into hot water with senior senators, particularly Senator Jamison More, who was threatening to withhold support for the Fleet's fighter-upgrade programs unless the new factories were built on his homeworld.
Start of the Kilrathi WarEdit
In 2634, the Confederation declared war on the Kilrathi Empire. Over Banbridge's protests, the battle plan chosen was Orange Five, a limited-action plan pushing back Kilrathi incursions in the Facin sector. Fleet Intelligence reports of Kilrathi strength and cultural makeup had long been ignored by the government in favor of the considerably more pleasant Confederation Intelligence Services assessments, and seemed to be proven right during the war in Facin sector.
Distrustful of the Kilrathi response, Banbridge dispatched his old friend Turner, along with a young Geoffrey Tolwyn and Vance Richards, into the frontier regions between Terran and Kilrathi space, hoping that they would bring back firm proof of a full-scale Kilrathi invasion. They did so, but delays in their return, combined with Terran bureaucratic inertia and breakdowns in communications within the Fleet officer corps, resulted in news of a full-scale offensive arriving just before that offensive. The attack nearly shattered the Landreich and resulted in a third of the Confederation's outer systems being trapped behind Kilrathi lines, the main military base at McAuliffe being wrecked, and the loss of the majority of the Confederation battle fleet. Banbridge had been right, and now he had to pick up the pieces.
Action Stations ends with Banbridge frantically trying to reorganize the surviving Confederation forces.