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Thread: What Rank Are You?

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    200

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    Hope it didn't sound from my post that I have any problem with officers. Officers are a necessary and authentic part of our hobby...Even the "bad" ones. They had incompetent officers then too. I agree with Mr.Swart....Be willing to portray what the event calls for, and what you are capable of. I also agree with Indguard that guys who refuse to portray either side when needed are much more an annoyance. IMHO, guys who are too proud to get out of their comfort zone, whether it be officer or enlisted man, CS or US detract from the hobby as a whole. But hey, it's a hobby and people are people huh??

    I'm not too proud to wear rank....just maybe too lazy to do it except under duress. I enjoy portraying an enlisted infantryman. Not always a shirker or malcontent, just an average man of the time period. I do from time to time portray a somewhat deficient NCO or junior officer....when required.

    I stand by my previous post though...Any" intellectual" who annoints himself a , quote, "expert", while denouncing "amatuer" living historians or, "Civil War reenactors" as buffoons, is an "^$$%^&*".

    I need to go back to reading more and posting less. Better for avoiding foot in mouth disease.

    D.W. Scalf

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    118

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    I never served in the military, so I can only go by what I've seen at reenactments. I've portrayed a Private with a 1st Sgt. jacket on because I had no coat to wear. I've portrayed a 1st Sgt. without stripes on my sleeves because it was needed. Could I be Captain or Major or Colonel if needed? I'd give it my best shot. I wouldn't be perfect, but I'd get by for the weekend. Will I ever be Captain or Major or Colonel? Probably not, because I won't be asked, and its not something I'll "seek out".

    I've fought next to a retired Army Colonel, who wanted nothing more than be a Private at events because he "knew better". I've fought next to a 1st Sgt. who would never portray anything lower because "once you attain a rank, you never give it up". Everyone has their reasons for trying to get a higher rank or for trying to stay a Private. And while I have certainly fought under officers who I don't think ever read a manual, I know of some who I wish would take a higher rank but never will.

    I think there are some that take it alittle too far, and as the old saying goes, it only takes 1 bad apple to spoil the bunch.

    Low Private Barnes
    Rear Rank Mess
    Mike Barnes
    44th VA / 25th OH

    Blanket Collector (hoarder)

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    437

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    A good general rule of thumb: increased rank = less fun.

    I've noticed over the years that units will sometimes elect a commander to a certain rank, not commensurate with the numbers to be commanded, but with the other commanders he'll have to deal with. For example, a unit I was associated with back in the '80's elected a commander, who logically could have been a lieutenant, and realistically should have been a 1st Sgt. We made him a major, because we wanted him to be on equal footing with all the stray majors and colonels running loose. The only time he wore the major's rank was when he was meeting with other units. In the field he usually acted as a private. When it began to go to his head, we elected someone else.
    Frank Brower

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    California People's Republic
    Posts
    228

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    I am an Army Reserve officer, and just got off another round active duty. My perspective of rank and reenacting is a little different, but I started reenacting several years before enlisting in the "real Yankee army" and the leadership skills I developed as a reenactor NCO have served me well. Reenactors are volunteers who can quit at any time and do not have to obey "orders" from play officers in a play army. Figuring out the subtleties required to convince volunteers to want to willingly follow and obey my orders is, IMO, as valuable a leadership lesson as anything the Army taught me in OCS.

    And I am very, very happy being 1st Sergeant of my reenacting unit. I scrupulously salute every single stinking reenactor officer I see, especially if they are holding something in their hands, with a crisp and loud "Good morning, sir!" But we are all simply acting a part.

    I don't want to be a reenactor officer. Too much work. I don't want to spend my time planning scenarios, going to officers call, and dealing with all the administrative crap that goes along with it. For my part in the hobby, I am here to burn powder. It takes a certain kind of person to be a reenactor colonel, who is willing to spend a lot of personal free time in between events, on the phone and hammering out emails, etc. More power to them. I certainly do not want my reenactor rank following me off the reenactment battlefield. God forbid follow me to my stinking funeral and obituaries...
    Brett Gibbons
    3rd Regt. C.S. Engineers, Co. E
    www.hartsengineers.com

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    off the bottom of the scale
    Posts
    852

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett
    And I am very, very happy being 1st Sergeant of my reenacting unit. I scrupulously salute every single stinking reenactor officer I see, especially if they are holding something in their hands, with a crisp and loud "Good morning, sir!" But we are all simply acting a part.
    One of my favorite lines from Gilham is this one :

    Courtesy among military men is indispensable to discipline. Respect to superiors will not be confined to obedience on duty, but will be extended to all occasions. It is always the duty of the inferior to accost or to offer first the customary salutation, and of the superior to return such complimentary notice.
    Gilham, para. 731, Honors To Be Paid By The Troops at http://books.google.com/books?id=xmw...render&f=false

    It's the word, accost, which caught my eye. I've not noticed this word used in this manner in any other period manual. I enjoy accosting my superiors in rank, too.
    - Silas Tackitt

    "I consider him a humbug, a man of small capacity, very obstinate, not at all chivalrous, exceedingly conceited, and totally selfish." - - Lafayette McLaws about James Longstreet.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Frankfort, NY
    Posts
    12

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    I have been approached at several events and asked "Who is the officer on this gun" I then have to explain there are no officers on artillery pieces, that the lowly Sgt. is in command. I believe my gun is the only one I've seen with no officers. I was told at a recent meeting that there had to be an officer on each gun it's in the SOP's and Bylaws. Sorry but historically there were no officers serving on an artillery piece. They should be battery commanders. Just a quick funny story, at Cedar Creek one year a General rode between our piece and limber. A 70 Sgt Maj. (who serveed in two wars and actually held that rank) began to explain to General that what he did was unsafe, the General said "Do you see my rank" The Sgt Maj. responed "Give me 5 minutes to get to sutler row and I'll be a general too."


    Sgt M Gregory
    Commander Essex Artillery
    Sgt. Mitchell Gregory

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Philadelphia
    Posts
    339

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    The issue of rank is a tricky one in reenacting. I've been elected to be the commander of the Mifflin Guard. Technically that makes me a 'colonel', but I've never had any problem dressing down if our numbers demand it. And I never -ever-allow myself to think that I'm a real colonel. I won't use the title anywhere except on the reenactment field, while I'm wearing the uniform. I sort of cringe when people send me e-mails or letters addressed to 'Colonel Washburn'. I know it's usually just a gesture of respect but I'll never sign any return correspondence with anything other than my name. And I refuse to abuse my position. At events I set up my own tent and haul my own gear. I've seen commanders who arrive at an event to find their camp already set up for them and when the last battle is over they hop into their car and drive away, leaving the tear-down and pack-up to others. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose, but it's not for me.

    And yeah, I've been the commander of the Guard for a long time. They keep electing me. I tell myself that it is because I'm the best man for the job and not because they don't want to hurt my feelings or because I have some sort of political 'machine' ensuring my perpetual re-election. I hope I'm not fooling myself. But I've already announced that even if they do keep reelecting me, 2015 will be my last year as commander of the Guard. It will be time for a change--for everyone.
    Scott Washburn
    Mifflin Guard
    www.paperterrain.com

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Central Kentucky
    Posts
    810

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    Served 22+ Years in the Army Reserve, from PV2 to CPT. Have 14 years reenacting, and other than an occaissional, doctor, have never been an officer. I do not want to be the HMFIC, just want to play.
    Fritz Jacobs
    CPT, QM, USAR (Ret)
    VP Kentucky Soldiers Aide Society
    CPTFritz@aol.com

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    347

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    My personal policy is that rank within the world of reenacting is only as relevant as the willingness of other people to server under your command... Within my unit, I'm elected as Captain; however, during the course of the last year, I've attended events with every rank between private and Major. First and foremost, I try to be a reenactor. Rank is irrelevant.
    Simon Taylor
    Comp E, 28th NY
    Rochester, NY

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Streetsboro ohio
    Posts
    224

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    I am blessed to be associated with a company and battalion whre I respect all the NCOs and officers, and believe they ALL have earned the rank they wear as they know their duties, work hard at learning them, and do them well. I mostly portray a private, and sometimes a civilian, but I have been called on to fill in for the Bttn adjutant as a lieutenant, and I will freely admit I did lobby for it at first, to see if I could do the job. Having done so ( mediocrely ), I have more respect for those who hold rank every week, and yes, it does mean more work and less fun.

    BTW, not that it matters, but I could have worn 1st LT bars, but I chose to be a 2nd Lt because I didn't want to be on a level with the line officers, a job I know I can't do.
    John E Rys
    5th Texas Co A - NE Ohio
    Medich Battalion
    1ST NC Lt Arty - Reilly's Battery
    Ohio Living History Society

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