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

Mark Simmons (
Sat, 6 Feb 1999 17:20:09 -0800

Dafydd replies,

>> 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.

  D'oh! That's what I meant.

>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.

  And I note that Federation academy grad Zabine Chareux had to serve
three years in the Federal Forces after completing his education. Either
he was in school for 18 months, or the standards are different in the
late UC era...

>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.

  Makes sense. Matsunaga's officer training was actually remedial - he
received a battlefield commission during the Battle of Ruum, to replace
his squadron leader, and was subsequently given the appropriate training.
If we can believe all the various depictions (always iffy), he underwent
this training after the Earth invasion (circa March 0079) and completed
it in July 0079 (as per the MG kit manual). Four months isn't much time,
but there was a war on...

  But this raises a question. The programs you cite are designed to give
enlisted men a college education, qualifying them for officer training
school. But Matsunaga presumably had a college education before he
enlisted - he was certainly old enough. Is it possible, in the modern
military, for a college graduate to join up as an enlisted man? And, if
he were subsequently to become an officer, could he just go straight to OTS?

  Conversely, what of people (like Ridden) who graduate college and
subsequently join the military as officers? Is a stint at officer
training all that's required?

It's actually rather surprising that the career arcs of so many Gundam
characters can actually be reconciled with real-world procedures. Then
again, the people we're discussing here are mostly MSV characters, who
were created by military buffs to begin with. ;-)

And one last Gundam-related point. I suspect that most of the members of
Zeon's pre-war training batallion - the one created in UC 0075 and
outfitted with Zaku I mobile suits - were enlisted men, not officers. The
Black Trinary were non-commissioned officers up until the war started.
Ranba Ral - another Zaku I pilot, and thus a contender for training
batallion membership (though I haven't seen this confirmed in print) -
had been in uniform for at least ten years without breaking ensign/2nd
lieutenant (in Gundam II, he mentions that he's received a two-rank
promotion for taking on the Garma vengeance mission).

  Based on these examples, it seems that Zeon's initial crew of pioneer
mobile suit pilots were grizzled veteran non-coms, who didn't get bumped
up to officer status until they'd performed all those heroic feats at the
start of the war. Rubbing shoulders with them were hotshots like Char and
Garma (academy grads) and Johnny Ridden (who began as an officer)...

-- Mark

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