-Z- (Z@Gundam.Com)
Fri, 08 Oct 1999 20:25:48 -0700

At 19:16 10/8/1999 +1300, you wrote:
>Sorry, I didn't think you would be so interested, so omiited the less commonly
>known in between ranks not used in Gundam, but here is the rest...

I have a professional interest, having served 20 years in the Air Force as
a non-commissioned officer for all but the first 18 months. You almost
never see the enlisted ranks used in popular fiction and rarely see them
used properly. In the Gundam novelizations, Tomino had young Amuro down as
a Chief Petty Officer!

>Shin-pei is Recruit so it's E-1
>Hei-sotsu is your E-2
>Jo-to-hei is Private First Class so it's E-3
>Go-cho-kin-mu-jo-tou-hei is Lance Corporal so it is E-3 equivalent

This would make a great set of tables on a Web page....

>> >Also 'Kan-cho' is not a rank but a term used to address a warship's
>> This is the equivalent of "Skipper" in American parlance. It distiguishes
>> Captain as a position from Captain as a rank and title.
>To elaborate a little further...
>This 'Kan-cho' is a military form of address for the person in command of a
>military vessel. Civilian equivalent is 'Sen-cho'.
>There are other homophones which use different Japanese/Chinese characters
>mean super-intendant/director among other things.

I'd heard "Kan-cho" used in that context before, but assumed they used
different kanji and were entirely different words. There's also a term
"Han-cho" that means "squad leader" and is the root for the American slang
"honcho" (although everybody seems to think it's from Mexican Spanish,
probably because many of the American servicemen who brought the term home
with them were from Texas)....

There's a third class of military ranks, little seen in the American
military since WW2, called Warrant Officer. A commission is handed down
from Congress (in a democracy) or the Crown (in a monarchy), while a
warrant is handed down from the service itself. Warrant officers rank
below commissioned officers but above non-commisioned officers, who are
enlisted persons with administrative powers. There are four Warrant ranks,
which are the same for all services:

W-1 = Warrant Officer

W-2 = Chief Warrant Officer

W-3 = Chief Warrant Officer

W-4 = Chief Warrant Officer

As you can see, the distinction among these ranks is chiefly one of
paygrade, as there's really only one slot to fill between the highest
non-com and the lowest commissioned officer. It's the same slot filled by
the cadet or midshipman, but with a veteran, usually former enlisted or
non-com, instead of a novice.

The insignia are different, even if the ranks are otherwise the same. In
the Navy, W-1 is two blue squares on a gold bar, W-2 is three blue on gold,
W-3 is two blue on silver and W-4 is three blue on silver. The Marines use
the same basic design, but use red squares instead of blue. The Army uses
silver bars with one, two, three and four red squares. The Air Force
doesn't grants warrants, but if it did it would use the Army system with
blue squares.

If Tomino had rated Amuro as a Chief Warrant Officer, I could've bought it
-- a warrant can be issued for merit to anyone above the rank of E-2. One
doesn't get to be a Chief Petty Officer in less than a decade, however....


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