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Off-duty interaction across ranks

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  • Off-duty interaction across ranks

    I apologise for arriving I this forum with silly questions, but I’m hoping to find someone with a little spare time and a soft spot for silly questions . You see, I’m writing a fantasy book and I’m trying to get a handle on how to portray off-duty interactions between people of different ranks in a military environment.

    For example, say you went to school with Bob Smith. He went into the army as a career choice and you did something else. You stayed somewhat in contact. Ten years later, you decide to join up. The coincidence fairy strikes and you end up serving directly under the now Major Robert Smith. When you’re both out of uniform, do you still call him ‘sir’ or ‘Major’? Would you carry on inviting him to your poker games? How much difference would it make if you were enlisted or an officer yourself? How about if you weren’t in his chain-of-command, simply stationed together?

    I assume most services would not allow family members to report directly to each other (Starship Troopers [the book, not the movie] notwithstanding), but when stationed together how much distance is expected? If you’re in uniform but, say, eating lunch, could you call your father ‘Dad’? How about your old family friend ‘Uncle Bobby’? If you pop into your wife’s office to tell her you won’t be able to pick up the kids are you still expected to maintain the military courtesies appropriate to your different ranks?

    Obviously, I can make up any customs and regulations I want, but I’d like them to be realistic none-the-less. I’d really appreciate any information about how people handle situations like this in real life.

    Thanks again,
    Rambling

  • #2
    Re: Off-duty interaction across ranks

    Are you British? Go rent Forrest Gump and Glory. Good examples.

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    • #3
      Re: Off-duty interaction across ranks

      Originally posted by fmcityslicker View Post
      Are you British? Go rent Forrest Gump and Glory. Good examples.
      But LT Dan you aint got no legsss!

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      • #4
        Re: Off-duty interaction across ranks

        Originally posted by fmcityslicker View Post
        Are you British?
        I currently live in England - I was wondering if you were psychic or whether I'd said something particularly 'British', until I realised I hadn't even gotten two words in before encountering a spelling difference . Well spotted!

        Go rent Forrest Gump and Glory. Good examples.
        Thanks! Interesting to know those have realistic portrayals of the matter. I haven't seen 'Glory' before, but I'm sure I can track it down.

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        • #5
          Re: Off-duty interaction across ranks

          Yes, your realised vs our realized is an easy catch. Also, the mods will know by your IP address.

          I will say this on personal experience, that National Guard (militia) interaction may vary compared to active duty. Yes, fraternization rules apply to all but the Guard is less formal with one another. Did you see the movie First Blood and how the National Guard was? lol. See that movie and then Black Hawk Down. Usually those are the differences on how we act. When I was in the Guard, I will say about .5 percent to null that I will see a soldier stand at parade rest (except if that soldier just reported to that unit from AIT) when address a NCO or senior. Active duty, that better be the first position before you told to relax. But in the war zone; rules are much laxed for obvious reasons.

          I even see it here in Afghanistan. You can easily distinguish a Guard soldier from an Active one. Not just by the unit patches but by the mannerisms; especially if a Guard soldier never served on active duty before outside of BCT/AIT. Different animal.

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          • #6
            Re: Off-duty interaction across ranks

            Thanks, fmcityslicker, I've got quite a watching list for me now .

            I was hoping that National Guard would have more experience with knowing the same people in both civilian and military life, but it's interesting that the mannerisms are different across the board. I'll remember that!

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