In 2268, Commodore Wesley commanded the USS Lexington and was assigned command of the battle group in the disastrous M-5 war games problems. During that tactical exercise, the M-5 computer installed aboard the USS Enterprise malfunctioned and inflicted heavy damage and loss of life to the battle group, including fifty-three dead on board the Lexington alone. Following the destruction of the USS Excalibur, the Enterprise was deemed out-of-control, and Wesley requested permission to destroy her with his remaining battle force in order to end the threat that the rogue ship posed. His request was approved. However, fortunately, the Enterprise was able to deactivate the M-5 computer and drop her shields. For his part, although communication with the drifting ship was impossible at that point, Wesley successfully gambled that Kirk had gotten the situation under control and held his fire to confirm that conjecture. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")
Wesley retired from Starfleet to become governor of Mantilles, the most remote inhabited planet in the Federation. (By that time, he had also changed his hair color from gray to brown.) The planet was threatened by a cosmic cloud in 2269, but Governor Wesley remained calm and prevented panic from spreading on the planet. He evacuated 5,000 children from Mantilles, in an attempt to spare their lives. Their ships were later recalled, following the diversion of the cosmic cloud. (TAS: "One of Our Planets Is Missing")
The first draft of "The Ultimate Computer" script described Wesley as being "a flight officer, slightly older than Kirk." Alan Dean Foster's novelization of "One of Our Planets Is Missing" (in Star Trek Log 1) also refers to Robert Wesley as "only slightly older than Kirk."
In a memo from D.C. Fontana to Gene Roddenberry, dated 24 September 1973, reviewing errors she observed in the aired episode, she pointed out that "Governor Wesley of the planet Mantilles is incorrectly shown garbed in Star Fleet Uniform (and the wrong color uniform at that!) when he should have been dressed in civilian clothes."
Commodore Wesley was only called "Bob" on-screen; use of his full given name "Robert" appears in Star Trek Log 1 and the Star Trek Encyclopedia. The name "Robert Wesley" was originally the pen name Gene Roddenberry used when getting his start as a professional writer, while still an officer of the LAPD. (Star Trek Encyclopedia (3rd ed., p. 559))
Wesley was born in Limerick, Ireland in 2216. He had a wife, Fiona, and three sons, Robert Jr., Bruce, and Roger, all of whom lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His interests included team sports, water skiing, xenozoology, and jazz piano.
Wesley graduated from the Starfleet Academy class of 2238, and had since earned fourteen citations for bravery, 2238-50; the Grankite Order of Tactics (Class of Excellence), 2242; Preantares Ribbon of Commendation, 2243; Karagite Order of Heroism, 2247; Palm Leaf of Lyceus, 2251; Silver Palm With Cluster, 2254; Medal of Valor, 2258.
Wesley's previous assignments included:
- 2238-41: USS Glasgow, under the command of Captain Hart, where he served as junior tactical officer.
- 2241-45: USS Sulaco, under the command of Captain Hicks, where he served as chief tactical officer. Participated in the Battle of Donatu V in 2242, and later was promoted to lieutenant commander and second officer following the loss of several crewmembers during the battle.
- 2245-50: USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain Robert April, where he served as first officer.
- 2251-62: Promoted to captain of the USS Beowulf.
- 2263-68: Promoted to commodore and given the command of the USS Constitution.
- 2268: Transferred to command of the USS Lexington for war-games exercise.
Wesley also appeared in the anthology Seven Deadly Sins as the captain of the USS Lexington which crossed the Romulan Neutral Zone in order to rescue a derelict Federation ship. His mirror universe counterpart appeared in the novel The Sorrows of Empire.