Way of the Gun

Two stories of the pistol by Roninspoon : Utterly compelling stories about the Entry Control Point (more commonly known as a gate) of a patriot missile site in Saudi Arabia. Oddly enough, the conficts described here are not of attacking forces, but rather, internal ones. You see, its a general rule that the gate guard has absolute authority that exceeds the rank of anyone entering his area of responsibility. As usual, there are those who believe that the rules don't apply to them... (it made me laugh when I saw someone referred to as Tallman). Mr. Spoon has also written a few other military stories (Army stories, Sir! Now with %5 more fiction.), none of which are quite as gripping as his pistol stories, but worthy of a read nonetheless.

Along similar lines is an article critiquing the portrayal of naval operations in Star Trek: The Next Generation. The article is an interesting read, as ST:TNG was way off base on a number of issues, but the portion of the essay that deals with the distinction between line officers and staff officers is fascinating (as most people don't even know that the distinction exists). In the US Army, Line is infantry, armor, artillery, engineers, and helicopter pilots. Staff is medical, chaplains, quartermaster, transport, intelligence, etc...
If a Second Lieutenant of the infantry (a line officer) gives an order to a surgeon whose rank is full colonel (but nonetheless a staff officer), military courtesy demands that it be phrased as a "request", but military law firmly establishes that it has the force of an order, and if the surgeon refuses to carry it out, he risks court martial.
This concept is fascinating, and I suppose it applies to Roninspoon's stories above as well. If, for example, an Army engineer is clearing a minefield, I would assume he has rank over anyone on the field (excluding higher ranking engineers, etc.), just as 'Spoon had authority over anyone in the dead zone. Of course, ST:TNG got this completely wrong, having Counselor Troi and Dr. Crusher sometimes take command of the ship, when, in fact, any line officer, even an ensign, should be in charge.

Oh, and yeah, sorry about that whole not-updating-for-almost-a-month thing. I think I've got some cool stuff on the horizon, so I'll try and keep on top of it.