November 5th, 2009

Army ranks and wedding etiquette and Marine Corps assault helicopters

So I'm writing a couple of stories featuring military characters, and I have some questions. Y'all have been incredibly helpful in the past, so I thought I'd impose on you once again.

Army questions

1) What is the general form of address for senior Army NCOs (Master Sergeant, Sergeant Major)? Full title, Sergeant or heck, just Sarge? Not in fully formal situations but in general conversation where people don't know each other well enough to use first names.

2) I know that Army NCOs are authorized to carry swords, but can they form an arch at a military wedding? The groom (well, one of them- this is set post-DADT) is a veteran officer, but it's important to him that his team be the one to do the arch. The other groom's an active-duty NCO, if that makes a difference.

ETA to clarify: The officer in question resigned his commission and is currently a civilian, so there are no fraternisation issues at play here. 

My USMC questions deal with Marine aviators in general and the Huey SuperCobra in particular. 

1) At flight school, do cadets on the rotary-wing/helicopter track train to be both pilots and gunners or do they have to choose one path? If it's the former, would someone be able to spend some time as a gunner and then switch over to being a pilot?

2) My apologies if this is a dumb question, but are the controls for any of the Cobra's weapons systems with the pilot, or are they all with the gunner?

I've tried Googling, but that gets me either conficting information or none at all. :(

Thanks in advance!

cross-posted to military_beta

The Portuguese equivalent of "Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe"?

My character speaks Brazilian Portuguese, modern setting. I found out that there's a Creole-Portuguese equivalent, but I can't find just a Portuguese equivalent of the rhyme. I've Googled "portuguese eeny-meeny-miny-mo," "portuguese equivalent eeny-meeny-miny-mo," "brazilian eeny-meeny-miny-mo," and "brazilian equivalent eeny-meeny-miny-mo" and haven't come up with anything.

Any help? Thank you in advance!

Comprehensive healing timeline following a beating

Googled: 'healing time after beating/strapping', 'skin abrasions, healing time', 'lashing, aftercare'

I've also scoured the archives of the community, and while I found several helpful posts on the kinds of injuries I'm writing about, including one asking almost the exact same question, none of the answers gave a comprehensive time frame.

My MC (17 and small for his age) runs away from home following a severe beating by his father. He was beaten with a leather belt (including the buckle side), mostly on his back, so he's got scratches/track marks, raised welts and bruising. His wounds have been dressed by his mother before he leaves, and he is invited to squat with a friend who helps him with aftercare, changing the dressing, etc.

How long will he be laid up for? Will he be lying in bed for a few days, or be able to move around very soon? I'm assuming the pain will improve enough for him to be up and about before the cosmetic damage (fading bruises and scabs) does?

Thanks so much!

Tattoos.

I have a fantasy culture that practices heavy tattooing, amongst other body modifications, notably scarification and earlobe stretching/ear gauging/whatever. It's a rite of passage for children to get very intricate henna-like tattoos on their hands, arms and feet when they reach a certain age. These ones are usually the only ones they get nowadays, but in the past the tattoos would cover the legs, entire arms, shoulders, neck and parts of the face (forehead--in place of eyebrows which are burned off--nose, chin, lips on women). I would like to say that the country's technology is somewhere around 16th or 17th century, but it really has no real-world equivalent. Probably useless background information.Collapse )

The tattoo idea came from the Ainu culture, so I figured even though the designs were fundamentally different, these people would use a tattoo knife similar to the makiri to keep the connection. But the more research I did, the less it seemed to make sense. The Ainu had thick bold tattoos, while mine are similar to mehndi--could a tattoo knife be so precise? What would be a better option? I've also thought about using tebori instead (I know the Ainu are not related to the Japanese! It's just that apparently the technique is just as good or possibly better than the needle machines most people use today) but I couldn't actually find out how old tebori really is, or what traditional needles were made out of. Just a lot of stuff about yakuza tattoos and how the Japanese used to use tattoos to brand criminals. I don't need that.

Also, because the designs are so intricate and the people who get them are so young, I'm guessing that they're going to stretch and lose their shape. How often would these need to be redone? I had it set up so that they would get their initial hand/foot tattoos at eight years old, and every three years until they were twenty the tattoos would be traced over again and more would be added on. (The face tattoos would come with marriage.) Is that plausible? Is it too often/not often enough? What herbs/medications/whatever out there could be used to preserve them? (Google will turn up bio oil and whatnot for this, which I can't use because it's a modern product :/)

Apologies for the long post.

Exploring ancient cities

I'm writing a story which involves characters exploring a newly discovered ancient city that's been empty for roughly a thousand years, and I have some questions about the state it would be in. The city is set up with military and religious buildings forming a big, rectangular wall made of stone. In the center of that was a big field, which was filled with wooden homes.

My question is basically this: How much stuff would be left after a thousand years, and how much would fall apart and decompose? I'm assuming wood would rot after that much time; would there be anything left at all? What about cloths, like cotton or animal skins? The city is located in a rain forest, if the climate makes any difference. If anyone has any tips on anything that might be found in an ancient city that people might not think of, I'd really appreciate that, too.

I've been Googling and Wikipedia-ing Mayan and Aztec ruins all night, because my city is very loosely based on them, and I've read articles about them on a variety of websites. I've basically been searching for archaeologists' reports, photos of the ruins, and so on, but I'm not really sure what sort of search terms I'd have to use to find the answers I want.

ETA: I just had a thought. The people who lived in this city are supposed to have been wiped out as a result of a war (and probably other contributing factors, but I want that to be the most blatant). If an invading army were to have burned down the wooden buildings in the center, would there be any way to tell after so much time? As for bodies left to the elements, would there be any skeletons left, or would those have decomposed as well?
Tags:

District Attorney's office?

Time: Present
Place: Chicago, if that makes a difference
Terms searched: District Attorney ranks, District Attorney promotion, District Attorney's office positions.

So... I know that the chief District Attorney is an elected official, but the people under him/her? I know they have ranks/titles/names, and that you've got to be promoted up until the ADA (if I remember correctly). My character is a....higher-than-average lawyer in the DA's office, and he's up for a promotion--not quite to ADA--but I don't know what to CALL the promotion's title.

So my question is this: What are the levels/titles in the District Attorney's office BELOW DA and ADA?

thanks in advance!!

Professional photographer, late 1940s

Vintage camera enthusiasts, help me out! My character is an American documentary photographer in 1949. He specializes in location work, nearly always outdoors and often in rough conditions. He's taking a solo trip to Mexico (probably by bus and train rather than by car, though that could change) to scout and shoot various subjects. I'm trying to determine what sorts of cameras/film/lenses he might haul along and what other supplies and tools he might need to do his work.
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