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RandomWords
03-04-2015, 07:39 AM
I have a character who was a U.S. Air Force officer, worked in Intelligence or cybersecurity. He's well connected, closely allied with a prominent senator. Then he retired to start his own civilian defense contractor business along the same lines of cyber-intelligence. (story set in near-to-mid future)

Questions:
What would be an appropriate rank for him? Colonel? At what age could he retire?

Can a civilian contractor business be located on the grounds of an Air Force base?

If, say, the base commander visits him, how would the base commander address this retired officer? Still call him Colonel (or whatever appropriate rank)?

Hoplite
03-04-2015, 07:42 AM
Questions:
What would be an appropriate rank for him? Colonel? At what age could he retire?


I can only answer this one. My father-in-law retired as a Colonel in his mid-50s after being in the Air Force his whole career. It was a mandatory retirement, not voluntary, if that makes a difference.

RandomWords
03-04-2015, 07:52 AM
I can only answer this one. My father-in-law retired as a Colonel in his mid-50s after being in the Air Force his whole career. It was a mandatory retirement, not voluntary, if that makes a difference.

Sweet! That's perfect.

Did the Air Force still call him "Colonel" after he retired?

MaryMumsy
03-04-2015, 08:42 AM
My Dad retired as a Lt Col when he was 46. It was voluntary, he'd been in for 28 yrs. In official matters he was referred to verbally as Col, in writing as Lt Col (ret'd).

MM

blacbird
03-04-2015, 09:39 AM
An air force base commander is almost certainly at a general officer rank, thereby outranking a colonel. But common courtesy probably would have him addressing the retired officer as "colonel". Even if unofficial, the general principles of military courtesy continue after retirement.

caw

badwolf.usmc
03-04-2015, 10:01 PM
An air force base commander is almost certainly at a general officer rank, thereby outranking a colonel. But common courtesy probably would have him addressing the retired officer as "colonel". Even if unofficial, the general principles of military courtesy continue after retirement.

caw


Correct, but like blacbird said, it is only a courtesy. If he tried to tell someone to do something, as if he was still in the military, then he would/could/should be told to pound sand. In the most professional way possible, of course.

RandomWords
03-05-2015, 06:42 AM
Thanks for the answers.
Would the following be okay? Or is it incorrect to refer to him as Col. without mentioning retired?

"Colonel Rich Burkett looked over the girl’s shoulder, out the window of his corner office. Blowing snow obscured most of Wright-Patterson airfield, but he could still see the lights of a big transport lumbering in for a landing, fighting the crosswind."

Duncan J Macdonald
03-06-2015, 06:11 PM
I'm not Air Force, just retired Navy.


I have a character who was a U.S. Air Force officer, worked in Intelligence or cybersecurity. He's well connected, closely allied with a prominent senator. Then he retired to start his own civilian defense contractor business along the same lines of cyber-intelligence. (story set in near-to-mid future)

Premise sounds good -- I've known a few like that.


Questions:
What would be an appropriate rank for him? Colonel? At what age could he retire?

Colonel would be best -- gives him enough time to build up those contacts, and is senior enough for the senator to give him the time of day.

Active service from 24 to 30 years. Age would be from 45 to 55, depending on accession source (Academy, Officer Training School (OTS), Airman Education and Commissioning Program (AECP), Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), etc.)

Commissioning source can have a wide affect on relationships between and among officers and senior civilians. Academy grads are considered more 'Old School', while AECP grads are more mavericks.

As stated, your MC is likely Air Force Academy.


Can a civilian contractor business be located on the grounds of an Air Force base?

As DOD office space temporarily assigned to the winner of a service/support contract? Yes. As a stand-alone office of the contracting company? No.


If, say, the base commander visits him, how would the base commander address this retired officer? Still call him Colonel (or whatever appropriate rank)?

"Howdy Rich, how's your bride? And your daughter, Sally? She's married herself now isn't she?"

"Mr. Burkett, your employees refuse to show proper courtesy to my staff! Fix it, or I'll fix it -- fix you right off of this base!"

As another poster mentioned, a base commander is flag rank. He's (or she -- near future makes it possible) not going to call a retired officer by their retired rank. As a matter of fact, the US Air Force is big on using first names in situations where the other services would use ranks.


-- Duncan

Duncan J Macdonald
03-06-2015, 06:20 PM
Thanks for the answers.
Would the following be okay? Or is it incorrect to refer to him as Col. without mentioning retired?

"Colonel Rich Burkett looked over the girl’s shoulder, out the window of his corner office. Blowing snow obscured most of Wright-Patterson airfield, but he could still see the lights of a big transport lumbering in for a landing, fighting the crosswind."

As written, I would assume that the Colonel was still active duty. Recommend you drop the title.

Wright-Pat is a fairly large place. See Map (https://www.google.com/search?q=wright+patterson+afb+map&tbm=isch&imgil=oQt1UlphRhTJLM%253A%253BBVjWQ7LHOapZdM%253Bh ttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.88thservices.com%25252 Fwrightfieldfitness.htm&source=iu&pf=m&fir=oQt1UlphRhTJLM%253A%252CBVjWQ7LHOapZdM%252C_&usg=__EuKBn4QaAezZmFUuXh0-dR27yIg%3D&biw=1644&bih=1010&ved=0CCsQyjc&ei=0LX5VPzwKMGDNvTog8gM#imgrc=oQt1UlphRhTJLM%253A% 3BBVjWQ7LHOapZdM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.88thserv ices.com%252Fimages%252Fart%252Fjoggingmap10mile.j pg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.88thservices.com%252Fw rightfieldfitness.htm%3B900%3B676). The airstrip is called Patterson Field, which your MC would know. From the map, most of the buildings are well away from Area "A" where the field is.

R/
Duncan

blacbird
03-07-2015, 12:55 AM
As written, I would assume that the Colonel was still active duty. Recommend you drop the title.



If it has been clearly established that this is a retired officer, now a civilian, I don't think it would be a problem, and I do think it would be completely appropriate and accepted courtesy for other officers to use the title, informally.

caw

RandomWords
03-07-2015, 04:14 AM
@ Duncan J Macdonald
Thanks for the valuable info! Air Force Academy it is.

This would be the character intro, not sure if I want to write Col. Rich Burkette (Ret.), because my eyes tend to glaze over when I read things like that. Also, I'm getting the impression that the base commander is not going to take any guff off this civilian, retired brass or not. (hopefully 'brass' is the right term)

p.s. Thanks and respect to all who served

Duncan J Macdonald
03-07-2015, 08:38 PM
@ Duncan J Macdonald
Thanks for the valuable info! Air Force Academy it is.

This would be the character intro, not sure if I want to write Col. Rich Burkette (Ret.), because my eyes tend to glaze over when I read things like that.

A quote from the Joint Ethics Regulations (JER) is appropriate here:

JER, para. 2-304 concerns use of ranks.
"Use of Military Title by Retirees or Reserves. Retired military members and members of Reserve Components, not on active duty, may use military titles in connection with commercial enterprises, provided they clearly indicate their retired or inactive Reserve status. However, any use of military titles is prohibited if it in any way casts discredit on DoD or gives the appearance of sponsorship, sanction, endorsement, or approval by DoD." <emphasis mine>

So his Business card can read Colonel Rich Burkett, USAF Retired.


Also, I'm getting the impression that the base commander is not going to take any guff off this civilian, retired brass or not. (hopefully 'brass' is the right term)

A colonel isn't normally considered 'brass', that's a flag officer or a suit (derogatory term for Senior Executive Service -- government civilians is flag equivalent pay grades). It is a wide-spread belief that colonel is the last rank you earn, the rest are political.


p.s. Thanks and respect to all who served

You're welcome.

Astormooke
03-08-2015, 11:41 AM
I have a character who was a U.S. Air Force officer, worked in Intelligence or cybersecurity. He's well connected, closely allied with a prominent senator. Then he retired to start his own civilian defense contractor business along the same lines of cyber-intelligence. (story set in near-to-mid future)

Questions:
What would be an appropriate rank for him? Colonel? At what age could he retire?

Can a civilian contractor business be located on the grounds of an Air Force base?

If, say, the base commander visits him, how would the base commander address this retired officer? Still call him Colonel (or whatever appropriate rank)?

Generally speaking, the officer in an official manner would be referred to by his rank. However outside of other active military members or veterans he would be referred to by his first name as anyone else in the world.

In the base commander situation, if he were inviting him to an all call then of course rank is important, but if it is a personal visit then the base commander would refer to him however he likes whilst the colonel would still refer to the base commander by his rank unless otherwise told not to.

It all sounds complicated but really it isn't once you get used to it.

I am currently active duty Air Force if you would like to PM me with any other questions I will answer them, or get you the answer(I can ask someone else here).

RandomWords
03-08-2015, 08:52 PM
Generally speaking, the officer in an official manner would be referred to by his rank. However outside of other active military members or veterans he would be referred to by his first name as anyone else in the world.

In the base commander situation, if he were inviting him to an all call then of course rank is important, but if it is a personal visit then the base commander would refer to him however he likes whilst the colonel would still refer to the base commander by his rank unless otherwise told not to.

It all sounds complicated but really it isn't once you get used to it.

I am currently active duty Air Force if you would like to PM me with any other questions I will answer them, or get you the answer(I can ask someone else here).

Thanks!
For this meeting, I'm not thinking in terms of an all-call (which a quick google tells me would be an assembly of all the airmen at the base, no?).

But more in terms of work interaction or socializing. So, come to think of it, maybe the Base Commander isn't even what I'm looking for -- I assume his role is to oversee the operations of the entire base (or just the personnel?).

Maybe what I actually want is the current commander of the Intelligence Unit. Burkett's successor, as it were.