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Rare Military Careers

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  1. mso489

    mso489

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    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?

    Posted 1 month ago #
  2. alaskanpiper

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    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

    "We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us." ---Hank

    "Yeah, well, you know that's just like, uh, your opinion, man..." --- The Dude
    Posted 1 month ago #
  3. haparnold

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    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.

    De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum
    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. haparnold

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. alaskanpiper

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. elbert

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    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.

    "An thou hast them, smoketh them!" -An Old Philosopher
    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. alaskanpiper

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    I recently finished reading Starship Troopers

    Just wait until you see the movie..........it is HORRIBLE

    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. georged

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    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? )

    Dogs live such short lives... and spend most it waiting for us to come home
    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. warren

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    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.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. elbert

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    Just wait until you see the movie..........it is HORRIBLE

    Ha! Good to know, I'll skip it. (If they screw up Dune, heads will roll...)

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. alaskanpiper

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    (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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. georged

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    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:

    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. alaskanpiper

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. timelord

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  15. shayde

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    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 have some friends, some honest friends, and honest friends are few; My pipe of briar, my open fire, A book that's not too new." -Robert W. Service
    Posted 1 month ago #
  16. yuda

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    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.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  17. madox07

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    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.

    Sea Wolf Pipers

    "Like the mariners of old, a loner is acceptable but a pipe is best enjoyed in a pack"
    Posted 1 month ago #
  18. pappymac

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    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.

    I am glad we have a good admin and responsible moderators.

    Heave to you dark colored ship under sail! Prepare to be boarded!
    Posted 1 month ago #
  19. jpmcwjr

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    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.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 1 month ago #
  20. ssjones

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    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.

    Al

    Posted 1 month ago #
  21. mso489

    mso489

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    shadyde, a mortarman? I just have to mention, the all-wood-hull minesweeper I was on (MSO 489) had a mortar as a main battery. Does this sound as crazy to you as it seemed to me? A trajectory weapon on a round-bottomed ship that continually rolled, pitched, and yawed, always unpredictably. As I was reassigned off the ship, they were installing a twin barreled machine gun emplacement, but the mortar should have never been there at all. What do you think. It (the mortar) had a rare military career. All we ever used in the combat zone was 50 cal. fired off an upper deck, to warn down junks suspected of running weapons. Of course, grandma and grandpa's junk was left behind to tie us up, and the guns went on in the faster boats, maybe. Probably. All the minesweepers, scores of them, have now been replaced by Littoral Combat Ships, but that's a whole discussion. Nifty but perhaps too high concept, now getting shaken down to usable formats. One big concept is a multitasking crew, but that was true on our old wooden ship too, Admiral.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  22. danimalia

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    Just wait until you see the movie..........it is HORRIBLE

    Wait, what?! That movie rules. In regards to Dune, a few years ago, a documentary came out called Jodorowski's Dune, which is about how Alejandro Jodorowski almost made Dune, and what it would have been like. I haven't seen it, but heard it's interesting. Jodorowski is famous for Santa Sangre, which is a pretty amazing spectacle, and the last film to get an X rating, I believe, before the NC-17 rating took over.

    As forthe original topic, a military librarian would be just the type of military job for me.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  23. chilllucky

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    The most esoteric skillset welder I ever met did a stint on nuclear subs. Some of the alloys in that reactor chamber aren't even in the books because their compositions are military secrets.

    I get claustrophobic under even my nice auto-darkening helmet. I can imagine what welding in a full rad suit might be like.

    Fun story about that guy: if you ever come across an old (actually nickel) US five cent piece where Jefferson has a mole on his cheek, that's a drop of weld bead. That used to be his every morning warm-up.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  24. alaskanpiper

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    Wait, what?! That movie rules. In regards to Dune, a few years ago, a documentary came out called Jodorowski's Dune, which is about how Alejandro Jodorowski almost made Dune, and what it would have been like. I haven't seen it, but heard it's interesting. Jodorowski is famous for Santa Sangre, which is a pretty amazing spectacle, and the last film to get an X rating, I believe, before the NC-17 rating took over.

    As forthe original topic, a military librarian would be just the type of military job for me.

    Hahaha, I liked it when it came out. Because I was 11 years old and there were boobs and guns. I watch a lot of movies today for similar reasons. I just appreciate it when the movie itself is good as well, hahaha. Sounds like an interesting doc, I'll check it out.

    Agreed on the librarianship. I could spend the rest of my life in a library if I had a couple pipes and a few cases of scotch.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  25. pappymac

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    Was the second part of the double unicorn that you're a pipe smoker?

    It was not only my specialty but the fact that I was a Senior Chief Petty Officer in the specialty. I was one of two and was slated to be the next Master Chief when I retired.

    Sounds pretty useful in stopping a drug runner. A heat seeking missile might be overkill. Pun intended.

    I saw some video of one of the snipers in action. The way I see it, if you can hit a movie target the size of an outboard motor that's moving over 40 mph and bouncing up and down from the seas and you are sitting in the open door of a helicopter being buffeted by wind and rotor wash, I don't want to piss you off.

    Posted 1 month ago #
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    headhunter

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    Platoon Leader and Commanding Officer of a rifle company in Vietnam, not too interesting and not a lot of fun but it was my job.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  27. shanez

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    I have a friend from high school who was a ship diesel mechanic for the Army.

    He started tech school to be a mechanic after high school, then joined the Navy where he became a ship diesel mechanic. After his time in the Navy he met a girl, got married, and then joined the Army thinking he could avoid spending time on ships away from his wife. As soon as the Army found out his background they said "We have ships too!" That landed him right back where he was.

    During his first time at sea his wife pawned his TV and stereo equipment and disappeared. It's okay though because I never that she was all that great to begin with. His new wife takes care of him and treats him well so he's in a better place. It just took many more years to get there.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  28. shanez

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    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.

    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.

    You'd be surprised at the number of retired military people that are re-hired as civilians after their retirement. Same exact job, same benefits, and most likely better pay. Although these are usually jobs that require a college degree.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  29. mso489

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    I really admired the military families who could make it intact. After I saw what my life was like in the Navy, I didn't even think of getting married. A relationship to me needs perpetual attention like a garden or a farm. It's like, you can't play in a band if you're not there. But some people do it ably and with success, usually if both extended families live in one place and can be there for the partner and any kids when the military person is away. My parents started their marriage in WWII when my dad was a naval officer, and I'm not sure it was the best arrangement, though the families pitched in and my folks had my older sister soon after they were married, and my mom traveled cross country, with the baby, to be with my dad before he went overseas. But both families were in proximity back home and ready to help.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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