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Red Shirts, Marines, Officers... ??
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Jeffr0
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 5:46 pm    Post subject: Red Shirts, Marines, Officers... ?? Reply with quote

The red shirt security mooks...? Those ARE NOT marines, are they? (I hope not.) What are they?

I am clueless about military life, but... I'd say they are run of the mill noncomms. The Chief Petty Officer looks after them and tells them what to do so that the "real" officers don't have to deal with them. But even the lowest ranked, wimpiest, most incompetent officer would out rank the red shirt dudes, right?

So you have the situation of totally inexperienced officers occasionally having to tell battle hardened veterans what to do, right...?
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the SFU, there are no classic 'red shirts'. They are marines. Starship security is directly handled by the on-board marines. Yes, that is a change (at best a significant reinterpretation) than what was shown in the TV shows.

However, there is nothing to stop you from handing 'red shirts' as just security personnel.

Another point: In TOS, Roddenberry intended that the entire ship was crewed with officers. There were supposed to be no ratings (enlisted personnel) at all. In the SFU, there is a more traditional division of officers and ratings.

So, if you didn't want to use marines as your starship security, they would end up being organized very similarly to marines, but use naval ranks for the enlisted, NCO, and officers.
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Jean
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike is right -- the "red shirts" in PD tend to be far more competent than the TV series.

Check out some of the Marines in the published characters for what a "typical" Marine would have for skills.
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Jeffr0
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How do marines fit into a normal chain of command?

Are there marine officers and marine non-officers?

Do they typically just kill whatever the captain sicks them on and that's it?

Do they have to defer to the other navy officers...?
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not a military veteran. Therefore, I cannot speak from my own experiences. To get a more authoritative answer, you will probably need to go ask on the Legacy board.

That said, I would expect them to be integrated into the command structure of the ship. The ranks have direct equivalents, so you simply take the marine officer (or ranking officer) and give him an appropriate naval officer to whom he reports (probably the XO).

The marines will be used for marine raids, boarding actions, and defending against boarding actions. In between combat, they serve as ship's security. I imagine they can also get 'drafted' into other various activities (e.g. damage control; shuttle pilot) depending on their skills, the direction of their lead marine officer, and the directives of the captain and XO of the ship.

To be honest, whether they are 'marines' or 'red shirts' is mostly cosmetic. They will still be organized and operate the same either way.
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Jeffr0
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It makes a difference.

If the bad guys kill several marines in the first five minutes of the adventure, then some serious #$^%^(#* is about to go down.
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Jean
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm trying to remember and I think there's some information in the PD20M book under the class information. Let me check tonight and see what I can find.
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Sgt_G
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike said, "I would expect them (Marines) to be integrated into the command structure of the ship."

Well, yes and no. There are equivalent ranks for each branch of the service. Where Marines have Privates and Sergeants, the Navy (or, if this case, Star Fleet) has Crewmen and Petty Officers. So, if a bunch of troops were on general work detail (i.e., KP duty), the highest ranking would be in charge no matter which branch of service he or she is in. Otherwise, it depends on the mission at hand. On board ship, Star Fleet should be in charge. During a boarding party combat action, a Marine would usually be in charge.

Within the Star Fleet officer ranks, you have command-line officers and non-command / support officers. The captain, exec officer (aka first officer), chief navigator and weapons officers would all be command-rated. Some of the other officers, such as chief engineer and science officer, could theoretically be command-rated but most are not (maybe one in four). It would highly unusual to find a doctor or logistics officer be command-rated. Obviously, such non-rated officers can be commanders of units within their field, e.g., a doctor in command of a field hospital or a logistics officer in command of a supply depot.

But the commander of a ship or base has to be command-rated, regardless of ranks available. Ergo, should a virus take out half the crew, a (fully trained and certified) command-rated Ensign would take charge of the ship before a not-rated Lieutenant Commander chief engineer. (A smart Ensign would take lots of advice from said LtCmdr.) Marine officers would fall into the non-rated category. It would take a lot of doing (so much so that I would suggest NEVER putting it in a Captain's Log fiction story submission), but it is theoretically possible for a Marine Major to end up in the Center Seat.

Within the enlisted ranks, it gets a little less clear because there are no command-line career paths. There are two rates (job titles) that allow for enlisted crewmen to be officially in command of a small ship, such as a skiff. These are Quartermaster and Boatswain's Mate. In the US Coast Guard (and I think in the US Navy), they have to be rated as a Coxswain to be eligible for promotion to Petty Officer First Class (E-6) or higher. So, if that virus takes out all the Star Fleet officers, a Chief Boatswain's Mate would be a better candidate to take charge rather than a Marine Major.

Have I confused you yet?
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mjwest
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeffr0 wrote:
It makes a difference.

If the bad guys kill several marines in the first five minutes of the adventure, then some serious #$^%^(#* is about to go down.

If the bad guys kill several members of the security detail in the first five minutes of the adventure, then some serious [deleted] us about to go down regardless of whether the security detail are naval security or marines.

In the SFU, that security detail are marines. (This is SFU canon.)

In the TOS-U, that security detail will be Security (which is presumably a specialty within the Star Fleet navy). (Which is not how the modern navy does it, thus the change in the SFU.) Regardless, given the absence of marines on the ship, I have to believe that those Security personnel will be as skilled and and well-trained as marines would. In effect, this would really mean there are no marines, and Security fills that function.

So, regardless of the color of the shirt they wear, and the names of their ranks, they will be professional soldiers either way. And if the player characters' security detail are all swiftly killed at the beginning of the adventure, the characters are in deep ka-ka no matter what.
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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about Master-at-Arms. I find it hard to believe that every security detail is a trained Marine. Marines guard the weapons locker, or the gatehouse to Star Fleet command? Or go through lockers searching for the key to the larder to discover who stole the strawberries? I doubt it.

To perform correctly there should be security, Marines, and Star Fleet police.

Although I do agree, a Marine detail should be used on a landing party.
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Jean
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check our GURPS PD character Yanke and GURPS Feds Isabe. Both of those in PD20M were classed as Marines.

I think there's a page or so in GURPS Feds on Star Fleet Marines and how they are formed.

The ranks and how they compare is in the GURPS PD core rulebook.
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All red shirts are Marines in SFU, and we expect you to do that at Origins.

The whole "red shirt" nonsense is just more proof that Hollywood writers don't have a frakking clue how the real military works, or any respect for the real military.

Star Fleet has "officers of the unrestricted line" which is going to be just about everybody on the ship except the doctor and scientists and maybe by the middle of the general war the supply officer. (Garth is wrong here, although he is right in the case of the Klingon navy, which has "tech warrants" and most chief engineers are non-line tech-warrant officers. Let's not worry about Klingons right now.) "Command rated" means qualified to be in command, and that's going to be two or three guys on the ship (Captain, XO, maybe the chief engineer or chief weapons officer or maybe the chief navigator) because you don't go to command school until you're ready for the top job. There is no such thing as a "command rated ensign" although an ensign of the unrestricted line would take over in precedence to an officer who is not of the unrestricted line (e.g., the doctor).

Ships in the Star Fleet Universe are like real world ships, they have officers and they have enlisted people. Really senior enlisted people are smarter and have more experience than really junior officers, but an ensign two weeks out of the Academy still out ranks a chief petty officer who has been in Star Fleet for 25 years.

Marines also have officers, and enlisted. Marines officers are divided into "combat arms" and "support" officers, and "support officers" never command combat units (well, rare rare rare exceptions.) The senior officer at some remote station might well be a support officer and might well be in command, but in a combat unit, the support guys (doctors, lawyers, mechanics, logistics) dont take command.

Marine officers on a starship are mostly going to be combat arms as that's why they are there. A really big ship that happens to have six or ten Marine officers may well have some non-combat officers.

A Marine O-3 (captain) is the same rank and gets the same pay as a Navy Senior Lieutenant (o-3) and they even wear the same insignia (which you can find on the website). Whenever an officer who is senior to everyone else enters the room, everybody shuts up and stands up and the newly arrived senior guy then says "carry on" or "I need to take over this meeting and accomplish this task".

THEN you get into chain of command. An officer who is senior to another officer is senior to that other officer, but wouldn't necessarily give him orders if they were in a different chain of command because the junior guy already has orders from someone senior in his chain of command. Say all of the Navy officers on a ship except one ensign get sick from cole slaw that went rancid. The senior Marine isn't going to take command of the ship because he simply doens't know how to drive the ship around. Same thing goes for that chief scientist who is a senior officer because Star Fleet needs to pay him that much, but he is not an officer of the unrestricted line.

History is full of cases. Take for example Eban Emael, a famous German paratrooper attack on a Belgian fort. The officer in command didn't make it (his glider got lost). The only other officer said "I don't know krap about this combat stuff. I'm the forward air controller here to call in air strikes." So the sergeant took command and won the knight's cross for what he did.
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Sgt_G
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now see, here's the stupid thing ... I said the same thing as what Steve just posted while this was all discussed a couple years ago and was told, "maybe in the Air Force, but that's not how it works in Star Fleet."

When I said that officers are selected to go to Command & Staff College when they're Captains or Majors with 8 to 12 years of service, I was told that "Star Fleet selects command-line officers during Academy."

When I said that the Army will rotate junior officers thru staff postions such as supply or comm, I was told that "only non-command line officers do those jobs".

Steve's way make more sense.
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ericphillips
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But is there still occasions when somebody makes a mistake and gets guard duty for the week? I mean, there must still be crew members who are screw ups in the future.

What about KP? I know they have replicators, but does that leave anything for them to peel?
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Steve Cole
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 09, 2011 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are always going to be young cadets who are "marked for higher things" like Robert E Lee and George B McClellan were.

In peacetime, combat officers rotate through staff jobs l ike supply and personnel. During wartime, those guys move to new warships and star fleet brings in zillions of civilians to do human resources and supply work and so forth as Limited Duty Officers. So it depends on wartime or peacetime.
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