Captain James T. Kirk was the commander of the Starfleet vessels USS Enterprise and USS Enterprise-A and one of the chief defenders of the United Federation of Planets during his time in the service. He and his crew were responsible on many occasions for saving not just the planet Earth but sometimes the entire galaxy -- or even the universe -- itself.
Born to George Samuel Kirk and Winona Kirk, James Kirk spent his early life living in Iowa before joining Starfleet Academy as a teenager. He quickly proved himself to be an ambitious student, as when he became the first person to ever defeat the legendary Kobayashi Maru test. His unique approach to that challenge -- rewriting the computer program of the test -- was an early indication of Kirk’s outside-the-box thinking which would bring him such success over the years.
After several years and a variety of assignments on ships such as the USS Republic and the USS Farragut, Kirk was promoted to the rank of captain and became the third master in the history of the Enterprise, undertaking his first -- and most famous -- five-year mission on that vessel to explore new worlds and to seek out new life and new civilizations.
Eventually he was promoted to the rank of admiral and returned to Starfleet headquarters on Earth for a desk job, but he yearned for a return to space and after some time was demoted back to captain and returned to the Enterprise.
During the maiden voyage of the Enterprise-B, Kirk was transported in time and space to whereabouts unknown via a cosmic phenomenon called the Nexus. He was presumed dead, but was in fact saved from the Nexus some 70 years later by Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Together the two helped to save the planet Veridian III from the villain Tolian Soran, though Kirk died in the process. He is remembered as one of the greatest Starfleet captains to have ever lived.