Military reform, now and then: some numbers

Civil War joke: Have you heard about the boy who threw a rock down Pennsylvania Ave. and hit three generals?

Yesterday, LTG Ricardo Sanchez, who holds rank equal to Grant spoke to Congress, along with Gen. John Abizaid, who outranks Grant. They happened to be in town (dodging rocks on Pennsylvania Avenue?) and were "made available" according to a C-Span Broadcast that I heard yesterday afternoon. Each of them used the same very odd little phrase when asked responsibility questions: "As one of the ranking generals in this theatre of operations;" that phrase was, I think, supplemented with the occasional, "As a senior general in Iraq."

For ex-service folk this kind of phrasing rings loud bells. It is not too far removed from something General Groucho Marx might say during the battle for Fredonia: "As one of countless generals in a confusing command structure ..."

In the Army, there is currently about one general for every 200 officers. That's a very strong statement about professionalism.

Lincoln appointed 538 generals. There are now 655 Army, AF and Marine generals on active duty.

A total of 43 Army generals outrank Winfield Scott by being full, not brevet, lieutenant generals; 9 outrank Ulysses Grant by holding full general rank; an additional 51 Marine and Air Force generals outrank Scott and another 7 Air Force and Marine generals outrank Grant.

With 94 greater-than-Scotts and 16 greater-than-Grants in U.S. service, Jeff Davis would never have had a chance. Enemies real and potential, take note.

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