05 May 2009 @ 10:17 pm
How would this be handled?  

I'm working on a fic set a little into the future (2024 to be exact). At the point in the story that I am asking this question about, John Sheppard has been promoted to Brigadier General.

The scene I am working on (and questioning) is one where John and his 24yr old daughter are at the beach (in beachwear) with no visible signs of John's rank anywhere. If a young officer were to approach, and if in the course of the conversation she were to mention that her dad sitting there was a general -what should the young officer do? Should he snap to? Should he salute? And would it be appropriate for John to extend a hand to shake?

lol... I guess it's probably easier to just include the bit I'm struggling with - ignore the typos and my rampant comma abuse, this is the first draft ;)

John had splurged on a posh hotel right on the beach for he and Mei. He had settled down into a beach chair with a cold beer, a new golf magazine, and an audible sigh of contentment. Mei shook her head and laughed and teased her father, "Dad, you always act like you've never seen the beach before."

Mei was getting a kick out of the appreciative looks her father was getting from women of all ages. Even at fifty-seven, he had women tripping over themselves and he was still oblivious to them all.

Mei had just settled in with a physics journal she had brought to read. Her attention was pulled away from it buy the unexpected arrival of a volleyball in the sand next to her. She picked it up and looked around for its owner. A moment later a buff, tan man about her age walked up with a grin. He had dirty blond hair that was cut short, Hawaiian print swim trunks in day-glo orange, and dog tags around his neck.  He teased as she tossed him the ball, "I couldn't have aimed that better if I had tried. But then again I did try so I guess maybe I'm just that good."

John snorted behind his magazine and Mei's cheeks flushed red and she chided, "Not a word, Dad."

She turned back towards their visitor and teased back, "You do know that if your trajectory had been just a little off, you might have hit the general's beer instead."

The young man's eyes grew wide and he looked towards John and straighted his posture automatically.

John dropped the magazine in his lap and said to Mei, "That was mean." He addressed the man and extended his hand, "Relax, son. General John Sheppard, Air Force. And this is my daughter Mei."

He visibly relaxed and shook John's hand and introduced himself, "Captain Christopher Burton, sir, Navy. Very pleased to meet you, sir. And you, Ms. Sheppard."

John picked up his magazine and stared leafing through it again and said casually, "Feel free to ignore me, Captain. You can recommence flirting with my daughter whenever you're ready."

After a awkward moment and an equally awkward invite to go play volleyball, John watched Mei walk away with Burton. He had to bite back a chuckle when he heard Burton ask, "So do you always read physics journals for fun?"

And when Mei nodded and shrugged in affirmation, Burton surprised both Mei and John when he said, "Cool. Me too. Dr. Martinson's article on page seventy-nine is fantastic."

What does this need to not make those with military knowledge cringe?  I don't see Sheppard (especially Sheppard on vacation) holding to super-strict protocol, but it would be ingrained into the younger man's head.  I just don't know how that works. 

Thanks in advance for the help!  ^.^
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Mark Smith[personal profile] zorkian on May 6th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
I've heard When in doubt, whip it out! as the SOP for saluting.

If the younger guy thinks the older man is a general, then he would very likely salute him out of respect, even if neither are in uniform in any way. The worst case if he salutes is that the other man doesn't care either way. Worst case if he doesn't, he gets dressed down for disrespect. (Although it'd take a pretty self-important general to go through the trouble of doing that on a random beach when neither of them recognize eachother.)

You can probably find some resources on the Internet by looking up something about military protocol with some other choice keywords tossed in.

My two cents. Was an Air Force brat most of my life and involved in the Civil Air Patrol for a number of years, if it matters.
CJ aka WritinginCT: gen coffee[personal profile] writinginct on May 6th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
I'll have to see what I can find - there's got to some sort of protocol for saluting.

And you're right- more is always better though.

beatrice_otter[personal profile] beatrice_otter on May 6th, 2009 05:44 am (UTC)
My brother is in the Navy. From what I know of that, you only salute if you are wearing official headgear. When hatless, you brace to attention.
CJ aka WritinginCT: gen coffee[personal profile] writinginct on May 6th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
But I think there's more to it than that- because they do salute indoors (where they do not wear headgear).

scrollgirl: sg-1 cam[personal profile] scrollgirl on May 6th, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)
If you're going with saluting indoors from "Children of the Gods", I believe that was actually incorrect. Ditto Hammond wearing his lid in the very first scene. ("Children of the Gods" got a lot of military stuff incorrect.) I suppose if they're doing a ceremony like promotion (Sam from Capt to Major) and Daniel's funeral, you can have saluting (I have no idea, but I assume you can) but if you remember "Avalon", Cam doesn't salute Landry in his office. And he's not wearing his lid, because you don't wear headgear indoors.

ETA: See my comment below. Maybe "Children of the Gods" wasn't wrong after all! Since Jack and Sam were reporting in (the briefing, Sam's first scene) then it was appropriate they saluted. And Cam should have saluted, because he was reporting in in "Avalon". Huh.

My last ETA, I *swear*! ETA2: Though I can easily believe that the SGC is one of those "no hat, no salute" areas since we never see them salute after the first couple of years.

Edited 2009-05-06 07:27 pm (UTC)
beatrice_otter[personal profile] beatrice_otter on May 6th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC)
Are you sure about that? I seem to recall people with military backgrounds grumbling about O'Neill saluting Hammond in the first episode, because he wasn't wearing his headgear and so shouldn't have saluted. If you'll notice, there isn't another salute w/o headgear for the entire rest of the series.
Ivorygates: 25 GATE WARGATE (iconsss)[personal profile] ivorygates on May 6th, 2009 08:19 am (UTC)
How would this be handled?
I believe military protocol goes "salute the uniform and not the man", so if John isn't in uniform, he doesn't get a salute.

It is, however, entirely appropriate (and safe!) for the young officer to brace and call John "sir".

The question I have, though, is whether or not John's tags are visible in that scene, since it would be appropriate for him (as a serving officer) to be wearing them even on vacation, just as the young officer is. If his tags are visible, the young officer will reasonably presume that John, given his age, outranks him.
scrollgirl: sg-1 cam[personal profile] scrollgirl on May 6th, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
Re: How would this be handled?
Agreed, this is what I've seen trawling military info websites. If they're not in uniform, shaking hands is appropriate and a "sir" is a safe bet.

I suppose John could be wearing a t-shirt that covers up the tags?
CJ aka WritinginCT: gen coffee[personal profile] writinginct on May 6th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Re: How would this be handled?
"Sir" is always a safe bet. That word has so many uses in military conversation. lol

And John is wearing his tags- just forgot to write that part of my mental image. When he sat down he slipped them around to hang down his back so he didn't end up with weird tan marks on his chest. I've got to add that in (and something about the kid seeing the ball chain on John's neck, too).
CJ aka WritinginCT: gen coffee[personal profile] writinginct on May 6th, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
Re: How would this be handled?
I believe military protocol goes "salute the uniform and not the man", so if John isn't in uniform, he doesn't get a salute

This is what I've always thought.

lol and this is totally a case of my fingers not typing what my brain is visualizing because in my head I can see John whipping his dog tags around to hang down his back as he sat down so he doesn't end up with two untanned rectangles on his chest.

I think if I add that bit, and maybe a bit about the young officer catching a glimpse of the ball chain around John's neck, then the scene should work reasonably well.

scrollgirl: sg-1 cam[personal profile] scrollgirl on May 6th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
Official USAF document ftw!
8.1. Hand Salutes.
8.1.1. The hand salute is the form of greeting and recognition exchanged between persons in the armed services. All Air Force personnel in uniform are required to salute when they encounter any person or situation entitled to the salute. When the salute is rendered to another person, the junior member initiates the salute accompanied with an appropriate verbal greeting, e.g., "Good Morning, Sir/Ma'am." Salute and extend the verbal greeting at a distance at which recognition is easy and audible. Offer your salute early enough to allow the senior time to return it and extend a verbal greeting before you pass. All salutes received when in uniform shall be returned; at other times, salutes received shall be appropriately acknowledged. When the salute is rendered to a senior officer in a vehicle, hold the salute until it is returned by the officer or after the vehicle has passed. When reporting to a senior officer, secure permission to enter, walk to within two paces of the officer or desk, halt, salute and report. Hold the salute until it is returned. When leaving, you should, prior to departing, take one step back, render your salute, execute an about face and leave
in a military manner.

8.1.2. Local commanders are obligated to carefully review saluting policies for their installations. In areas where saluting would be highly repetitious or otherwise infeasible, commanders may designate the specific area(s) as a no salute or no hat, no salute area.
8.1.3. A member not in formation but in uniform, salutes as follows:

NOTE: Rendering/returning salutes is not required if either or both are in civilian attire or have their hands full; however, a greeting such as good morning sir/ma'am is appropriate.
[skipping a couple of points]
8.1.7. When at a military funeral in uniform, salute the caisson or hearse as it passes and the casket as it is carried by your position. You should also salute during the firing of volleys and the playing of Taps.

ETA: I totally forgot to "turn" the page!


Edited 2009-05-06 07:19 pm (UTC)
Lis[personal profile] staranise on May 7th, 2009 04:31 am (UTC)
Re: Official USAF document ftw!
I love you SO MUCH for linking to that document--I've been looking for it *forever*