THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED if you’re reblogging.
Dear Avengers and Iron Man movieverse fandom,
I’ve noticed there’s fanfic in which poor Rhodey has been demoted three whole ranks. Here are some facts that may prove helpful when writing:
1) He is
Lieutenant COLONEL James Rhodes. [IM3 promotes him to full-bird Colonel, so no longer a Lieutenant Colonel.]
2) He is addressed as “Colonel”
or “Lieutenant Colonel” in conversation.
3) His pay grade is
O-5. [Now O-6.]
4) Lieutenant Colonel is ranked above a Major (O-4) and below a full-bird Colonel (O-6). [Now ranked above a Lieutenant Colonel (O-5) and below a Brigadier General (O-7).]
Steve would salute Rhodey and Rhodey would return the salute, not the other way around. A Captain (O-3) is two ranks below a Lt Col. I’ve since been corrected. Since Steve’s no longer in the military, no saluting is required.
5a) But Rhodey MAY salute Steve first, out of respect.
6) Rhodey is NOT a Lieutenant, which is one of the two LOWEST commissioned officer ranks in the Air Force, 2nd LT (O-1) and 1st LT (O-2). [Thankfully I don’t really see this mistake any more.]
7) His insignia is
a silver oak leaf (or a black oak leaf if wearing desert cammo). [A SILVER EAGLE. Or black on desert cammo.]
8) Based on his rank, he’s served approximately
10 to 16 years ETA: 16 to 22 years in the Air Force. (I remembered this wrong, sorry.)
9) He was Air Force ROTC at MIT. (MIT is implied, since Tony talks about them going on Spring Break together.)
Update to original post:
- I edited #8 a while back, but people keep reblogging the original, incorrect version of this post. As of IM3, Rhodey is a full-bird Colonel and has served approximately 22 years in the USAF.
- Steve Rogers can no longer be addressed as “Captain Rogers”. Since he is no longer in the military, you’d simply call him “Mr. Rogers”. (Steve and Fred Rogers could very well have been distant relations, I’m just sayin’.)
- Carol Danvers in the comics is definitely in her mid-40s or later. She’s retired USAF, which means she was approximately 44-years-old when she took the NASA job.
- antiquecompass has a couple of great posts on Sam’s background as Pararescue. My only nitpick was that Sam would have been discharged from the military; he’s way too young to have retired.
My only addendum to this is to the last bit, which is if Sam got out recently, is it SLIGHTLY possible he could have retired, as the military is offering early retirement to certain eligible service members (last I heard, it was early out at 15 years). My husband is 36 this year, and he has almost 12 years in (and he joined two of three years out of college, when he would have first been eligible to commission) - so while unlikely, it is plausible that Sam could have retired if he met the years-in requirement and the military (Army, right?) approved it.
But I don’t think we know how long he was actually in, so it’s hard to say. Do we even know if he was enlisted or commissioned? Because if he was enlisted, it’s even more likely he was in longer (because he could have joined out of high school, as opposed to out of college), or if he was a prior-enlisted officer, which would also make this scenario more likely. Speculation is fun!
And this is just a terminology thing (doesn’t matter much): but if you’re writing from the perspective of the service member, it’s more accurate to have them use the term ‘separated’ rather than discharged. Separated usually means they got out voluntarily for whatever reason when their commitment was up, but they didn’t retire.
Although their discharge status matters in a legal sense (for instance, their separation papers would list ‘honorable discharge,’ ‘general discharge,’ ‘other than honorable discharge,’ ‘dishonorable discharge,’ etc., and this might matter to an employer), you’ll rarely hear the member him or herself use this term to describe their exit. Mostly because ‘discharged’ carries the connotation of being removed from the military - either medically discharged, or discharged due to a professional, character, or criminal reason.
However, if you are referring to a member in the third person (as the OP did above), it’s perfectly acceptable to say that they were discharged (because this indicates their legal status, and not the reasons they are no longer military). So you might hear something like, “What’s Jones’ discharge status?” - but you still might hear, “She separated last year.” Anyway. Hope that makes sense.
Edit: My husband is forcing me to note that given Steve’s heroic feats, he’s probably a Medal of Honor recipient (although I am forcing myself to note that as far as I know we haven’t gotten any canonical indication that that’s happened). In which case, everyone would salute him, right up to a 4-star general. So…there you go.