Re: Rank & File (Was: [gundam] More help for the contest)


-Z- (Z@gundam.com)
Sat, 06 Feb 1999 16:29:37 -0800


At 01:45 2/6/99 -0800, you wrote:
>Dafydd writes,
>>Well, first of all, don't confuse the <Service> Academy with Officer
>>Training School -- they're not the same.
>
> Gotcha. If I'm parsing your detailed explanation correctly, then, we
>can assume that people like Char and Kou who went straight from high
>school into the military, yet begin as officers, went to their respective
>military academies _instead_ of high school.

College, actually, but essentially correct. In RL, at least here in
America, Academy students must be sponsored by a Congressman or Senator.
They're educated at government expense -- call it a 100% scholarship --
with the understanding that they owe a minimum of two years military
service for every year of Academy education. Eight years, as you'll
recall, puts them on the track to fulfill company-grade (O-1 to O-3) and
maybe even Below-The-Zone to field-grade (O-4 to O-6).

Almost all military-sponsored education (i.e., academic schooling not
related to PME) comes with this 2-for-1 string attached. When the Army
says it'll give you an education, it's saying that your 4- to 6-year
enlistment earns you a 2- to 4-year 50% to 75% college scholarship....

Alternatively, you can get the same education with much less prestige by
going to a civilian university and enrolling in Reserve Officer Training
Corps (ROTC) to earn a degree and get the requisite PME to qualify for a
commission. Your term of service is set by the terms of the commission,
but it's usually eight years, again to put you on track for the
company-grade/field-grade breakpoint.

> Then we have graduates of civilian colleges, like Johnny Ridden and
>Shin Matsunaga, who later undergo officer training. Ridden, who joins the
>Zeon military in 0078 and begins the war as an officer, might be assumed
>to have undergone officer training before the war starts. Matsunaga, who
>starts the war as an enlisted man, goes to officer training school in
>mid-war. Sound reasonable?

Just so. When I enlisted, there were two enlisted-to-officer programs,
both of which were cancelled while I was still in Basic Training.
(Bummer!) Bootstrap was program whereby you could go to college part-time,
earn your baccalaureate and go to OTS, all on active-duty. Bootstrap dates
back to WW2 and sounds very much like Matsunaga's route to commission. The
other program was the Airman's Education & Commissioning Program (AECP).
Here, qualified applicants were promoted to Staff Sergeant (E-5) and
enrolled in an accelerated 4-year degree program at a civilian university,
thence to commission and OTS, with the usual 2-for-1 payback.

> It's always hazardous to assess Gundam military stuff by real-world
>standards, but in this particular the correspondence seems pretty good.

Well, the military isn't a job, it's a way of life that's been around for
most of recorded history and the rules have always been pretty much the
same. It's always been a reflection of the class system, too -- "officer
and gentleman" is not hyperbole, but a statement of what used to be fact.
One of the shortcuts to the upper class was a solid, steady military
career, ending in entitlement.

A lot of this ended with the fall of the British Empire and the end of the
regimental system, wherein military members wewre assigned to one
organization for their entire careers (barring catastrophic losses). It's
a problem for today's military, because almost all of the ceremonials are
steeped in that tradition and have become all but meaningless in the modern
milieu.

>>If I were handing out patents, Yuri would qualify as the Duke of Caucasia,
>>for the Caucasus Mountains that span the Black and Caspian Seas. You could
>>also call him the Duke of the Ukraine or the Duke of Anatolia.>
>>
>>Again, the territory covers more than one state or province, so it's de
>>facto a Dukedom. Lord Cranberry, Duke of Sierra.
>>
>>As noted earlier, the Duke of Appalachia.
>>
>>The Duke of Oceania.
>>
>>Lord Bitter, Duke of Sahara.
>
> How splendidly poetic! :-)

It just occurred to me that Kerane could be titled Duke of Ural (pronounced
"Earl").... (-_-);

-Z-



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