Rare Military Careers

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mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,924
1,546
I met a fellow vet who'd been in the Army. I was in the Navy, and aboard a minesweeper as a radioman among several assignments. I was surprised to learn that this Army guy, who was retired from the service, had been the skipper of an Army tug boat! Who knew? That seemed like an unusual Army career indeed, apparently around ports handling Army supplies including provisions and ammo transported by ship and barges. Any unlikely service histories, either yours or others that you've heard of?

 
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alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
2,537
2,422
Alaska
I've heard of some serving as librarians, apparently the military has some pretty vast, and I'm sure interesting libraries.
We currently have an intern at our Engineering and Surveying Firm who is active duty Air Force working on a degree in Geomatics. He is flying drones, land surveying, 3D laser scanning, and even working with Ground Penetrating Radar. And also of course, making coffee runs :lol:

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,169
414
Lexington, KY
Oh yeah, the Air Force has some of those guys who do security patrol on some of the air bases that include coastline. If you go to the Air Force Enlisted Heritage museum at the former Gunter AFB, Alabama (now an annex of nearby Maxwell AFB), they have an Air Force sailor's uniform on display. Pretty trippy.
I have an unusual military gig right now, which is serving on active duty as a graduate student. Apparently the Air Force figured I needed to get a little more book learning, so I'm a full-time student at a civilian college while still drawing active duty pay. It's nice getting to grow a beard, and the co-eds certainly brighten up the atmosphere.

 

haparnold

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2018
1,169
414
Lexington, KY
Alaska, I think those are civilian jobs working for the military. Or at least, all the military librarians I've met are civilians, or just "base support" personnel detailed over to the library for a few months.

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
2,537
2,422
Alaska
Alaska, I think those are civilian jobs working for the military. Or at least, all the military librarians I've met are civilians, or just "base support" personnel detailed over to the library for a few months.
Yeah, the link I initially posted was, I realized that mistake and removed it. The reason I went there though, was in talking with our above mentioned intern about some guys that were active duty librarians, although they had a different name for it, which now escapes me.

 

elbert

Preferred Member
Mar 10, 2015
604
7
This thread could get interesting!
I recently finished reading Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Despite being science fiction, the core of the novel is really Military organization, rank, recruitment, training, etc. Probably a subject I wouldn't have delved as deeply into if it weren't dressed up in sci-fi, but actually fascinating.

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,609
37
A lot of jobs are contracted out these days for (I suppose) efficiency reasons. Verticality has a lot going for it and can deliver outstanding results, but economy isn't one of them.
I didn't have an unusual job, but a regular one in an unusual/unexpected place.
Most people think Marine Corps DI's can only be found at one of their two recruit depots. There are some at their correctional facilities, though. A fair number of Marines sentenced to the brig don't get booted with a BCD or Dishonorable after doing their time, but get sent back through an abbreviated bootcamp and are re-deployed. For about a year, processing "retreads" was my job. The full R. Lee Ermy business, delivered within the grounds of the brig. (How do you spell e-x-h-a-u-s-t-i-n-g? :lol: )

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,583
488
Ft. Eustis - Used to train hard-hat divers. The Army does a lot of marine salvage, both salt water and fresh water. Lots of bridges needed removing/rebuilding after WWII. Even today Army engineers use divers.
The Air Force has a small navy for off-loading fuel tankers and teaching water survival.

 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
2,537
2,422
Alaska
(If they screw up Dune, heads will roll...)
HAHAHA! Dune was screwed up LONG AGO my friend! The David Lynch version from the eighties is one of the most whacked out, glam-rockish, low budget looking, craptastic cinematic events ever made! One of those classic cult "so bad it's good" type of flicks.
It has already gone down in history as one of the sci-fi entertainment world's greatest botchings.
Just the trailer will give you all you need:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzUlXEyvJeA
Edit: I'm realizing now maybe you knew that and are being sarcastic? In which case, Lol.
Regardless, I sure wish someone would make a new version of Dune. With today's CGI it could really be an incredible film with the right director.

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,609
37
Regardless, I sure wish someone would make a new version of Dune. With today's CGI it could really be an incredible film with the right director.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dune_(2020_film)
For some reason (?) that link is screwed up and stays that way no matter how many times it's manually fixed.
Anyhow, here's a screenshot. You'll have to track it down manually:


 

alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
2,537
2,422
Alaska
SNAP! Sounds promising. Don't know much about the director, but it's got some A list talent in the cast. Good news is, it certainly can't get worse! hahaha.
Interesting reunion for Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem. Wonder if it will have more sand than the last movie they did together.....hahaha.
For some reason the link you posted cut off the film portion. It just goes to the wiki article on sand dunes, hahaha. Found the movie one though, tried to post it here and it did the same thing.

 

timelord

Member
Oct 30, 2017
195
46
Sydney, Australia
During WWII my dad was in the Far East with the RAF as ground crew. He had a few stories to tell (like being on one of the last planes out of Singapore when the Japanese invaded and then visiting Japan very soon after they surrendered) but in the context of the OP question:
Whilst operating out of Burma they had several elephants to help with heavy lifting. He said of all his wartime postings that was the easiest when doing engine exchanges - just call up a couple of Elephants with a sling hoist. They also used Elephants as tugs to move the planes on the ground.
OK, the Mahoots (Elephant drivers) were probably not on the official RAF payroll but they were paid so I guess could be counted as having a rather unusual military career.
On an equally bizarre note; the father of a university friend was in a Polish gunnery battalion during WWII. They were operating out of the Middle East where they adopted a bear cub as a mascot. They kept it with them and were then part of the invasion of Italy. Apparently the British wouldnt allow regimental mascots to travel on the transports. The Poles didn't want to abandon the bear who was now part of the team so there commanding officer made up an offical paybook for the bear and they then got the bear to help load shells onto the ship thus proving he was a working part of the gunnery crew... ...this was enough to convince the British to allow the bear to continue to Italy. There was a book published the bear (can't recall the name but I have a copy somewhere in my storage unit) which after the war retired to Edinburgh zoo. The bear picked up various habits from the soldiers -drinking, smoking cigarettes etc and for a while would try and cadge cigarettes from visitors to the zoo. It was also said it would get very excited when it heard visitors speaking Polish.
Unlike the Mahoots the bear had an official rank, number and was on the army payroll.

 

shayde

Senior Member
Oct 4, 2013
389
3
I’m a mortarman, it’s not really any sort of rare. Just an infantryman who can blow things up once they get out of rifle range.

 
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yuda

Member
Feb 28, 2017
134
247
I fix radios and mess around on the 3D printer. More of a glorified cubicle gopher than a Marine, but it could've been a lot worse.

 

madox07

Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2016
1,456
121
I’m a mortarman, it’s not really any sort of rare. Just an infantryman who can blow things up once they get out of rifle range.
I remember that tv show by Steven Spielbert, "The Pacific", do they really call you guys "stove chimney boys"?
AS far as op question, the Romanian Army during and a while after the communist times, had divisions of people that did odd undesirable jobs only. They called them "diribau", in slang it means disciplinary battalion, but in fact they contained more than misfits. They comprised of system outcasts, 18 year old teens from foster homes, unemployed, etc. etc. They used to dig ditches, sewers, dispose waste, and all sorts of stuff like that. I have a work colleague that grew up in a foster home, and he was forced to serve under such a company - he was given no choice when he turned 18 and was kicked out of the foster system. I don't think they have them anymore in the Romanian Professional Army, just you regular disciplinary units for guys that mess things up I guess.

 

pappymac

Preferred Member
Feb 26, 2015
1,842
31
I retired from the Coast Guard in a very small job speciality - Public Affairs Specialist was the official title but before the name change we were photo-journalist. Out of the approximately 30,000 active duty service members (enlisted and officer) there were 93 Public Affairs Specialist when I retired. I don't know how many they have these days or if the specialty even exists.
I met a young lady who is on active duty a few months ago and we were talking. When I told her what my specialty had been and my rank, she said I was a double-unicorn because seeing a public affairs specialist was so rare an I was one of the senior ones.
On another note, and speaking of rare job specialties, the Coast Guard have trained snipers who are taught how to shoot the engines in go-fast boats while flying in the back of helicopters. They are highly successful at their jobs.

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
14,607
2,785
Monterey Peninsula
I met a young lady who is on active duty a few months ago and we were talking. When I told her what my specialty had been and my rank, she said I was a double-unicorn because seeing a public affairs specialist was so rare an I was one of the senior ones.
Was the second part of the double unicorn that you're a pipe smoker?
On another note, and speaking of rare job specialties, the Coast Guard have trained snipers who are taught how to shoot the engines in go-fast boats while flying in the back of helicopters. They are highly successful at their jobs.
Sounds pretty useful in stopping a drug runner. A heat seeking missile might be overkill. Pun intended.

 

ssjones

Moderator
Staff member
May 11, 2011
14,382
487
Maryland
postimg.cc
My father was a military investigator in Post WWII Austria and Japan. He functioned similarly as from the movie "The Third Man", working with the British and Russian investigators that split the city of Linz into three quadrants. I found his 1946-1947 log book a few years ago, in relatively small city there were over 1,200 murders that year. It must have been like the Wild-Wild West.