March 22nd, 2007

the wave

Will Sheppard make it to General or have to retire?

Hello, everybody :)

I recently read an SGA story set about ten years in the future in which John was referred to Colonel Sheppard. This got me wondering about his chances of ever getting promoted to - and past - full Colonel, so I did a bit of Googling. (I'm a total ignoramus when it comes to the military.) What I found really surprised me.

According to this article, Military Commissioned Officer Promotions,

By law, Regular Officers promoted to lieutenant colonel (O-5) may serve for 28 active commissioned years, while those promoted to colonel (O-6) may stay for 30 active commissioned years-unless earlier retired by other provisions of law.

Or, as this (bitter, bitter) site puts it,

An O-6 is allowed to serve 30 years, then must retire unless he is one of the few chosen to become a General or Admiral.

And as a result,

the US military spends around two million dollars to fully train a pilot, then he requires several years of flying to be considered proficient. Nevertheless, shortages of experienced pilots are common because DOPMA requires that most pilots be discharged in their early 40s.

It does seem incredibly wasteful. I know that this isn't news to many of you, though, so I'll get back to Shepard: assuming that he was commissioned around the age of 22, and that he will *have* to retire at 50 (if he doesn't make it past Lt. Col.) or 52 (if doesn't make it past Colonel), what is the likelihood of him getting that promotion at the SGC?

Would his position as the military commander in Atlantis increase his chances of being promoted compared to, say, Carter? Or would his record work against him? Or is it really a completely political decision that has nothing to do with his own merit?
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