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Tish Davidson
08-05-2005, 09:24 AM
I'd like to know generally for a story:

If a one star genera is discredited and formally reprimanded how will this affect the status with which his wife and children are perceived on post? If he has an enlisted son who is serving at a different location, will his father's poor reputation hurt him? How efficient is the Army gossip tree about this kind of thing?

StoryG27
08-05-2005, 03:21 PM
I'm not an expert...but I'll share what little knowledge I know. My husband is in the Army, enlisted, not an officer, so it's sort of hard for me to know about the genreal's situation. I will tell you this about some officer's wives, they think they have the same rank as their husband, and other lower ranking wives should bow to them. If the general was actually repremanded, publicly, he did something very bad...because they are slow to punish that rank. He could possibly be stripped of his rank (demoted)--rare for a general, but could happen. Other wives of generals (and kids too) might look down their noses at the family, because it's all a big competition of who's the best. Now some officer's wives are the sweetest people you'll ever meet, but I imagine for a story, you'll want to make a few wives act vindictive and superior...which is a good possability. As for the son, it really wouldn't affect him much, ecspecially because he's enlisted. He might get a little of the crap that rolls down hill, but snarky remarks about his old man are about the worst that would happen. Oh, and Army gossip is the most efficient gossip there is.

Does that help?

NancyP
08-05-2005, 05:05 PM
Well, I'm an officer's wife (not Army, but we've been stationed at Army posts). Certainly the Army post gossip gang would kick into mega-high gear over a general's reprimand. No doubt, if it were a small post, everyone would know what happened (or some dubious version thereof) and everyone would also know that general's family. This might result in some whispering about them, or some pointed questions for the wife while shopping in the PX. On a larger post - and some posts are huge - the family might not be that well-known, especially if they lived off-post, and so they would be pretty anonymous except at official events. So, the setting has a great deal to do with the effects on the family.

The repercussions for an enlisted son stationed elsewhere would be minimal. A lot of people would know about the reprimand (Army off-line communications work almost as well as the gossip chain), but the son's career would be unaffected...unless, by some unhappy accident, he reported directly to someone who'd been harmed by the general/father's actions, and that person turned out to be vindictive. Even then, I think the son would have recourse through his chain of command.

While I don't know many Army officers' wives, modern-day officers' spouses tend to have a lot going on in their personal lives (caring for family, careers, doing everything at home while the active duty member is deployed, etc.). Most of the time, spouses don't do those stereotypical teas, coffees, etc. you read about, because they are too busy with other things; if they do anything, it's to get together once in a while for activities that benefit the local community or involve the entire family. On a very small post, or an overseas post, the spouses do more activities as a group because the job opportunities are so limited.

Most of my fellow officers' spouses really dislike being excluded from events because of their husband/wife's officer rank. They also dislike being lumped into the "O-wife" category and the associated expectation that all officers' spouses are stuck-up and expect privileges. While some officers' spouses undoubtedly do ask for privileges or flout their spouse's rank, most don't. In fact, they shy away from discussing rank at all, because everyone treats them differently (as an alien life-form, or as a little tin god) when they discover that the active-duty member has a high rank.

Just thought I'd throw that in...might not help your story much, but it's based on 20 years of personal experience.

Richard White
08-06-2005, 09:18 PM
I'd like to know generally for a story:

If a one star genera is discredited and formally reprimanded how will this affect the status with which his wife and children are perceived on post? If he has an enlisted son who is serving at a different location, will his father's poor reputation hurt him? How efficient is the Army gossip tree about this kind of thing?

Tish,

After spending 15+ years in the army, I can tell you what I've seen (albeit through an enlisted person's eyes).

1) If the Brigadier General was discredited and formally reprimanded, he'd probably wind up retiring. He's (almost) never going to get promoted at that level with a formal repremand in his records. If you're going to have him stay on, you'll really need a good reason why he just didn't take his retirement pay and become a high-paid defense contractor somewhere (most generals can write their own ticket with a Fortune 500 defense contractor).

2) Officers wives are seen in two ways anyway. The cool ones who're just themselves, help out at the unit functions, make certain the unit takes care of the younger wives, etc.

The other types of wives are the ones we (enlisted) try to avoid like the plague. Now, mind you things have changed since the 80s when I came in, but I remember the "officer's wives' teas," where the junior officer's wives were required to attend (and serve) to the senior officer's wives. I've seen senior officer wives butt in line at the commisary/PX because their husband was "so-and-so" and therefore they demanded to be treated as if "they" wore the rank." (I have a great story to tell about that, but it's too long to go into here).

3) If the officer's kid is old enough to be in the service, it really doesn't matter, unless he's been bragging on who his dad is.

One of the guys I went to language school at DLI with had the last name of Wickham (same last name as the Army Chief of Staff in Washington - 4star general). We were picking on him one day at softball practice and asked why he was a specialist in the Army. We figured his dad would have gotten him a better assignment.

He asked us who we thought his dad was, so we all laughed and said, why Gen. Wickham at the Pentagon. He looked at us deadpan and said, "No, he's my Uncle." When we stopped laughing, he said, "NO, seriously, he's my uncle. My dad is Lt. Gen Wickham at Ft. Hood. (3rd Corps Commander)." When we asked him why he wasn't an officer, he told us, he wasn't certain he wanted to make a career out of the Army, so he thought there'd be less pressure on him as an enlisted person than as another "Wickham".

4) The only gossip tree that's faster than the military is a fraternity/sorority one. Trust me.