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A Sea of Brass - Was: Re: Playing Army?....

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  • mmathews@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU
    (snip)] ... Me too. ... Some things just come easy to you John. ;-) Kidding! I ve never heard anything but appreciation for the role you play and what
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2000
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      >I have been reading the posting on Officers with great interest.

      Me too.

      >Being an Officer of a Corp made up entirely of Officers and par taking in the
      >reenactment scene in both Canada and the United States I must say that it
      >takes quite a "bit" of practice to be a "pompous ass" on the spur of the
      >moment so that the public at large can sense what the class difference was
      >really like in the British army of the time. Quite honestly not everyone can
      >pull this little feat off. No beard. No mustache. Prim and proper at all
      >times. Even your language has to be carefully chosen and of course there are
      >the ladies.

      Some things just come easy to you John. ;-) <VBG> Kidding! I've never
      heard anything but appreciation for the role you play and what you bring to
      an event. It does bring out the other side of it though. Knowing how to
      behave as an officer and the protocol is almost as important as the drill
      IMO. Without knowledge of drill, protocol and safety you just aren't a
      complete package.

      >I can remember an incident at Fort McHenry when I was in nominal command of
      >the British troops at Defenders Day program. The NPS had conveniently
      >attached a rather rowdy bunch of US militia to fill out the British line. I
      >had never worked with this group before and they knew me from a hole in the
      >ground. Needless to say, I spend a lot of time politely asking the sergeant
      >to move his troops here and there. Which he did. In the end all worked out
      >and the public was no worse for the ware.

      Reminds me of the pre-1999 Mississinewa. Once a year I play an officer of
      militia at Prairie du Chien. Some of the guys who I adopt each year into
      my group, (or do they adopt me?) said they would be at Mississinewa and if
      I wanted to take the field and "pretend" I was giving them orders that
      would be fine. ;-) Their sergeant would do the real leadership. In a
      back-handed way I think that was a sincere compliment. Or at least that's
      how I choose to take it. Instead I put on my OR coat that year and marched
      with Lord Selkirk's forces, and certainly had a better time of it.

      >I was a wreck! I spend all my time worrying about offending somebody and
      >ruining the program. Thank God for Ed and the Marines.

      Just goes to show your level of conscientiousness, and the value of the
      support of others.

      >I honestly go out of my way not to command troops. It is not because I cannot
      >(just ask the FM Guard). I chose not to command on these occasions because I
      >am sensitive to the units on the field and their internal leadership code. I
      >am always more than willing to assist Tim, Steve, Benton or whoever is in
      >command if they so desire. I like to think that they feel they can count on
      >me to be another set of eyes for them on the battle field in the "fog of war"
      >that exists even today during the reenactments we all love.

      I commonly get pushed into positions of leadership in the units I'm in,
      though I only wear officer's braid in one. In two others I'm a sergent,
      and I honestly find that this role "influences" my view of officers. Being
      totally serious I find myself not just "play-acting" some of my comments
      and thoughts regarding the officer corps I frequently have to work with.
      Relax all you Redcoats, I'm a sergent in two French units. My other two
      uniforms are just ORs, and I likely have more fun just banging my musket
      than in any of my "responsible" positions.

      Note there is a big differnce in my mind between fun and satisfaction.

      >I enjoy portraying an officer at events. All too often people will come up to
      >me and ask me if I am "The General." I have to laugh but it is an easy
      >opening to explain a little history and culture to them. Being and officer is
      >a different way of life from the ordinary ranks in an army. This was true for
      >both the American and British armies of 1812. What many people do not realize
      >is the officer core generally shared the miserable state of affairs with the
      >infantry. We just had to do it with a lot more class.

      At least no one has probably ever said to you, "hey dude, yer not
      Napoleon." My reaction was, at least he knew who Napoleon was. ;-)

      Best regards,

      Michael Mathews
      Interactive Television Specialist
      Winona State University - University Center Rochester
      507 285-7585 voice
      607 280-5568 fax
      "Hard work never killed anyone, but why give it a chance?"
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