History Main / ArtisticLicenseMilitary

9th May '17 7:25:41 AM Taskmaster123
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* Having military fighter pilots fire missiles over the territory of the United States. This ''cannot'' be done unless specifically authorized by the President.
26th Apr '17 2:54:02 PM Taskmaster123
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** Completely wrong. US military officers have rank authority over all other more junior members, officer or otherwise, throughout the armed forces. Officers from one branch can and do give orders to members of other branches all the time. While it's pretty much ''standard'' to give and take orders with members of your own branch, it is by no means the ''rule.'' What, you think an Air Force lieutenant is going to refuse to obey an order from an Army colonel because he's in a different branch?


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* ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'' had one during the "Sister City" episode, where a group of military officers from Venezuela visit Pawnee. To anyone with military experience, it's plain that their Venezuelean Army uniforms are just US Army uniforms loaded with bling. Among others, they're wearing US Army Combat Infantry badges and the medal ribbons on their uniforms are all US military decorations.
23rd Apr '17 8:21:10 AM Wooboo
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* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'': One of the most notorious errors in the entire series is that Jill Valentine is listed in the manual for ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'' as a former-Delta Force, the top secretive anti-terrorist unit in the U.S. Army. At the age of 23. Two problems here: 1) the Unit (as it is often called) recruits only from the most experienced members from the Special Forces[[note]]As in, United States Army Special Forces, more commonly known as Green Berets[[/note]] and Army Rangers, neither of which admitted women to their ranks at the time of writing (much less in 1998). 2) Even if one assumes that women can be Berets or Rangers in the RE-verse, becoming a Delta operator becomes somewhere around ten to twelve years; Jill would have to be at least 32. Later games dodge this by simply listing Jill's skills and abilities without going into which branch of the military she was trained in.

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* ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'': One of the most notorious errors in the entire series is that Jill Valentine is listed in the manual for ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'' as a former-Delta Force, the top secretive anti-terrorist unit in the U.S. Army. At the age of 23. Two problems here: 1) the Unit (as it is often called) recruits only from the most experienced members from the Special Forces[[note]]As in, United States Army Special Forces, more commonly known as Green Berets[[/note]] and Army Rangers, neither of which admitted women to their ranks at the time of writing (much less in 1998). 2) Even if one assumes that women can be Berets or Rangers in the RE-verse, becoming a Delta operator becomes somewhere around ten to twelve years; Jill would have to be at least 32. Later games dodge this by simply listing Jill's skills and abilities without going into which branch of the military she was trained in.in, while the novelization states that Jill learned her skills from her father, a cat burglar.
** Chris Redfield, meanwhile, is stated to be former U.S Air Force, where he served as a pilot. However, background material from the first game also states that he served as a "marksman", which would be under the purview of a dedicated ground-service branch such as the Air Force Pararescue service, and it would be extremely unusual for someone to have combat experience as such while also serving as a fixed-wing pilot. Chris is also stated to have experience flying VTOL's, which during the era that Chris served would have only consisted of the Harrier Jump Jet, which were exclusive to the Marines.
18th Apr '17 6:16:00 AM GnomeTitan
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* Failing to distinguish between different branches of the military (e.g., using "army" to refer to any military unit), or mixing and matching different military branch ranks into one service (e.g., sergeants in the Navy or admirals in the Army).
** Though it really happens in many countries which have no separate Navy armed forces or Air Force. No need to create separate ranks for the pilot and commander of your three planes...

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* Failing to distinguish between different branches of the military (e.g., using "army" to refer to any military unit), or mixing and matching different military branch ranks into one service (e.g., sergeants in the Navy or admirals in the Army).
** Though it really happens in many
Army - though note that not all countries which have no separate Navy armed forces or Air Force. No need to create separate ranks for make the pilot and commander of your three planes...same distinctions between branches as the U.S.).
17th Apr '17 9:13:37 AM Candi
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[[folder:Universal]]
* There actually a story behind the whole "Getting patches, medals, rank insignia, and uniforms wrong." It was believed for a long time that movies and television were doing this deliberately to avoid getting in trouble for impersonating an officer (they believed similar things applied to police officers, by the way.) However, the only law that was even close to doing anything similar to that was shot down in 1970. If they still do it wrong, it's not because they have to be "out of uniform," but whether it's out of respect, habit (if the costumer got their start before the 70s, or was an apprentice of same), or just goofing up, usually depends on the movie in question. It's explained on the "Goofs" page of the [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0160127/goofs Charlie's Angels movie.]]
* Often, soldiers in fiction will have a BadassBeard or PermaStubble. Most army regulations would strictly forbid this for both cosmetic reasons and practical reasons (gas masks don't seal very well on facial hair.)
** A notable exception is for various Special Forces units. Not only do they tend to spend a large portion of time in the field and/or behind enemy lines (and therefor often lack the ability to shave), but it can help them blend into the local population better.
* Referring to service members as "G.I.s" in any time past the Vietnam War is pretty anachronistic, but still pops up, thanks to its popularity in WWII. A bit of TruthInTelevision, as some media outlets still use that term on occasion.
* Salutes are often done wrong.
** In the US Navy, US Marines, and all branches of the British military, salutes are only given while wearing a cover (hat, helmet, etc.) and saluting indoors is only done when someone is covered and under arms or under very formal circumstances. Superior officers saluting lower-ranked officers (as opposed to returning a salute) is only regularly done during special circumstances to honor the recipient, such soldiers being promoted or Medal of Honor recipients (it's not even a formal statute, just a tradition that became an unwritten rule that all officers salute a Medal of Honor recipient, regardless of rank). Civilians, including the American President, are not required to return the salutes that they are rendered by active-duty military personnel.
** A common error is the left-handed salute: Saluting is done with the ''right'' hand. A left-handed salute is permissible only very occasionally. In the US Army and Air Force, you might get away with it if you lost your right arm in combat, but best not to try it otherwise. In the US Navy and Marines, it's allowed if your right hand is occupied in some way, such as carrying something heavy, or stuck in a bear's mouth.
*** In the US Army, it's generally expected that work-occupied personnel will continue working while the least engaged soldier (usually the supervisor) will salute, or, if working alone, [[DeadpanSnarker the bear will salute on their behalf]].
* Pronouncing the rank "Lieutenant".
** A general example that tends to crop up when British personnel feature in US media. In the UK, the rank of Lieutenant is pronounced "leff-tenant," not "loo-tenant." It can also happen with Canadian personnel, with Canadians pronouncing it the same way as the British. Historically, it was pronounced differently in the Royal Navy to both the British Army and US Forces, being rendered "letenant" or "l'tenant"; this pronunciation is in desuetude nowadays, but is often ballsed up in WWII films (even in the era), like Film/InWhichWeServe.
** The same thing happens in Spanish-speaking media between Mexican Spanish (the dialect commonly used in both Latin American dubs and Mexican-made media) and the rest of Latin American and Spaniard dialects: In Mexico, a Lieutenant is translated as ''Teniente'', while in almost every Spanish-speaking country, the same rank is translated as ''Alferez''.
* There seems to be some confusion over the names of the British armed forces. There's a Royal Air Force and a Royal Navy, but the Royal Army hasn't existed since the Civil War. The eldest surviving regiments can trace themselves back that far, but the oldest was actually founded under Cromwell and the Protectorate. It's further confused by the fact that some individual regiments or corps in the Army do have a royal warrant, e.g. the Royal Army Medical Corps. In this case it is the Royal Medical Corps of the Army, not the Medical Corps of the Royal Army.
* The spelling of "sergeant" in the British armed forces: prior to 1953 it was "serjeant" (It still is in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rifles the Rifles]].) A surprisingly large number of works forget this.
** It should be noted that the modern spelling (Sergeant, with a 'g') was already commonly used by the time of the First World War. The archaic spelling was usually only used in official documents.
* Also from the Brits: an OR7 in the British Army is a Colour-Sergeant in the Infantry and Royal Marines, and a Staff Sergeant elsewhere. Referring to such individuals as "Colour"/"Staff" (As in "Colour Johnson", or "Staff Smith") or by full title is acceptable, but using the unadorned "Sergeant" will get your arse chewed out royally.
* The addressal of Sailors is usually simplified for story sake. In reality, most people address the middle enlisted ranks (E-4 to E-6) in the rating/rank style (ET 1, BM 3, etc) with the last name. While simply calling someone "Petty Oficer So-and-So" is acceptable, it's not very common.
** On the other hand, sometimes Chief Petty Officers and above are simply called "Petty Officer" which is incorrect. Additionally, in more modern times calling a Senior Chief or Master Chief simply "Chief" is unacceptable.
* One from the Russians. Frequently in media, Russian Special Forces are frequently called "''The'' Spetsnaz", as if "spetsnaz" was an organization in and of itself. Spetsnaz are not an organization, but the term ''used in Russian'' for "special forces" [[note]]to those who are curious, it's a contraction of "spetsialnogo naznacheniya", literally "(for) special use"[[/note]], and several branches of the Russian military (and even the police) have their own "spetsnaz" organizations. While some of them may include "spetsnaz" in their name, none of them are ''The'' Spetsnaz. It would be sort of like calling Navy [=SEALs=], U.S Army Delta Force and Marine Force Recon "The Special Operations Forces".
* A rather common mistake, especially in live action, is for soldiers to wear their caps cocked to the side. It's done for stylistic reasons, usually to denote a more easy going character who likes to play by his or her own rules. This is actually a violation of military dress code--with the exception of Air Force flight caps, which are supposed to be "slightly cocked" to the right.[[note]]And often a case of RealityIsUnrealistic in other armed forces - historically many RealLife soldiers (especially conscripts in World Wars and VietnamWar) attempted to ''personalize'' their looks this way if they were able to get away with it - rather than always strictly adhering to the regulations.[[/note]]
* Military are often shown living in 40-60 man "open bay" style barracks, which were increasingly rare even by the 80s in favor of 2-4 man style dorm rooms (other than Naval ships, which the junior enlisted still do this for space purposes). This usually comes from the iconic boot camp look of barracks, where this is still true. Even deployed military in combat zones aren't quite as crowded up. Related to the perpetual boot camp trope mentioned above.
* Both fixed-wing and helicopter pilots are always shown running to their aircraft, climbing in, and taking off. Ask a military pilot sometime exactly what a preflight inspection is, how long it takes, and if they've ever just jumped into their aircraft and flown away without doing one.
* Pilots talking casually and easily during intense dogfights while doing high-G maneuvers. In reality, they're gulping air and holding it, tightening their stomachs, being squeezed by a G-suit, and doing their best to make certain they don't pass out.
* Liberal use of weapons, but no depiction of said weapons being cleaned and serviced. Military personnel are absolutely fanatical about keeping their weapons clean. After firing their weapon they will take the first opportunity to thoroughly clean it, putting this before food, sleep, or ''even medical attention'' if they don't think their injuries are severe enough to need care right away. This is justified in film and television, as cleaning weapons is tedious to do and even more tedious to watch, and would severely affect the flow of the story.
* Bit of a DiscreditedTrope, US military members are often seen wearing their dress uniform everywhere off duty in modern times in a lot of media. Until the late 20th century, the owning and wearing of "civvies" was a special privilege for lower ranks and it was a more common sight. Nowadays it's a lot more rare. While a JustifiedTrope if it's someone fresh out of boot camp home for the first time, most military rarely just throw on their dress uniform just to go out on the town. Dress uniforms aren't that comfortable, and most aren't eager to get them dirty, and many just find it gauche. This is especially prevalent with the Navy, with the iconic image of the sailor on shore leave in dress blues/whites. In reality, the Navy has discontinued allowing the wear of uniforms in most foreign ports for security and diplomatic reasons, (special events like Fleet Week in San Francisco and New York City being exceptions, where it's required).
* Showing outdated uniforms for media set in modern times. The US Navy again gets this more than others, as most wardrobe fitters/artists seem to prefer the classic dungarees with the white cover ("dixie cup") look as opposed to its replacement, the similar looking utilities and now the new blue camo-like [=NWUs=]. Same goes for showing sailors with beards, which the US Navy stopped allowing in 1986. It doesn't help that all branches of the US military have changed their battlefield uniforms several times over the past few decades (that blue camo uniform we just mentioned is already being phased out in favor of a new uniform in woodland or desert camo, similar to the Marines' fatigues.)
* A common theme is for creators who actually do have a military background depicting a fairly realistic potrayal of the military ''from the time they were in'', even though a lot of the details are now out of date (when set in modern times). This can be for just not knowing or caring how the services have changed, plus its easier to go with what you know.
* Since the Iron Cross is the most iconic German military decoration of the 19th and 20th century, German officers, monarchs etc. are frequently show wearing one in historical films etc. However these Iron Crosses are often shown at the wrong time and sometimes worn incorrectly. The Iron Cross was only awarded by Prussia (but also to non-Prussians) in the [[UsefulNotes/TheNapoleonicWars Wars of Liberation]] (1813-1815), the [[UsefulNotes/FrancoPrussianWar Franco-German War]] (1870-1871) and the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI First World War]] (1914-1918) and, in a modified form by Nazi Germany in World War 2 (this last version e. g. included an entirely new class, the Knight's Cross). Examples:
** In the British television series ''Edward VII'', Otto von Bismarck was shown wearing an Iron Cross in the 1860s. But being too young to have served in 1813-1815, he only got an Iron Cross during the war of 1870/71. (Bismarck's monarch, King Wilhelm I, did have an Iron Cross at that time. It had been awarded to him when he was serving in the French campaign of 1814 as sixteen-year-old.)
** In ''Film/ThoseMagnificentMenInTheirFlyingMachines'', Colonel von Holstein and Captain Rumpelstoss wear Iron Crosses a few years before UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, even though the former most likely and the latter undoubtedly is too young to have served in 1870/71. To make matters worse, von Holstein is wearing his cross around his neck. The only class of the Prussian Iron Cross to be worn around the neck was the Grand Cross, which was reserved exclusively for commanding generals for winning an important battle or for taking or defending an important fortress.
* For Americans, the name of the award is not "the ''Congressional'' Medal of Honor", it's just "the Medal of Honor". It's possible this results from the citation beginning with the phrase "In the name of Congress", or that it gets conflated with the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom, which are civilian honors.
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15th Apr '17 3:54:05 AM isolato
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* Showing outdated uniforms for media set in modern times. The US Navy again gets this more than others, as most wardrobe fitters/artists seem to prefer the classic dungarees with the white cover ("dixie cup") look as opposed to its replacement, the similar looking utilities and now the new blue camo-like [=NWUs=]. Same goes for showing sailors with beards, which the US Navy stopped allowing in 1986. It doesn't help that all branches of the US miltiary have changed their battlefield uniforms several times over the past few decades (that blue camo uniform we just mentioned is already being phased out in favor of a new uniform in woodland or desert camo, similar to the Marines' fatigues.)

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* Showing outdated uniforms for media set in modern times. The US Navy again gets this more than others, as most wardrobe fitters/artists seem to prefer the classic dungarees with the white cover ("dixie cup") look as opposed to its replacement, the similar looking utilities and now the new blue camo-like [=NWUs=]. Same goes for showing sailors with beards, which the US Navy stopped allowing in 1986. It doesn't help that all branches of the US miltiary military have changed their battlefield uniforms several times over the past few decades (that blue camo uniform we just mentioned is already being phased out in favor of a new uniform in woodland or desert camo, similar to the Marines' fatigues.)
13th Apr '17 1:14:43 PM AFP
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* Showing outdated uniforms for media set in modern times. The US Navy again gets this more than others, as most wardrobe fitters/artists seem to prefer the classic dungarees with the white cover ("dixie cup") look as opposed to its replacement, the similar looking utilities and now the new blue camo-like [=NWUs=]. Same goes for showing sailors with beards, which the US Navy stopped allowing in 1986.

to:

* Showing outdated uniforms for media set in modern times. The US Navy again gets this more than others, as most wardrobe fitters/artists seem to prefer the classic dungarees with the white cover ("dixie cup") look as opposed to its replacement, the similar looking utilities and now the new blue camo-like [=NWUs=]. Same goes for showing sailors with beards, which the US Navy stopped allowing in 1986. It doesn't help that all branches of the US miltiary have changed their battlefield uniforms several times over the past few decades (that blue camo uniform we just mentioned is already being phased out in favor of a new uniform in woodland or desert camo, similar to the Marines' fatigues.)
7th Apr '17 6:40:27 AM MrAnderson
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* In ''Film/ThoseMagnificentMenInTheirFlyingMachines'', Colonel Manfred von Holstein wears an Iron Cross, but in 1910, when the film is set, none had been issued since 1870, and the Colonel is at most in his early fifties too young to have received one, as the minimum age for the Prussian army at that time was 18.
7th Apr '17 6:38:41 AM MrAnderson
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* In ''Film/ThoseMagnificentMenInTheirFlyingMachines'', Colonel Manfred von Holstein wears an Iron Cross, but in 1910, when the film is set, none had been issued since 1870, and the Colonel is at most in his early fifties too young to have received one, as the minimum age for the Prussian army at that time was 18.
5th Apr '17 3:43:49 PM Ferot_Dreadnaught
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* ''WesternAnimation/DanVs'' gives us "Sergeant Saskatchewan", the most intently overly patriotic Canadian superhero ever. As he's based on a Mountie you'd assume he'd wear the [=RCMP=] sergeant emblem (Three chevrons pointing down with a crown above them) or at the very least the Canadian Armed Forces sergeant emblem (Same deal, just a maple leaf instead of a crown). Instead he wears the American staff sergeant emblem (Three chevrons pointing up). [[CriticalResearchFailure Take]] your [[TheyJustDidntCare pick]].

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* ''WesternAnimation/DanVs'' gives us "Sergeant Saskatchewan", the most intently overly patriotic Canadian superhero ever. As he's based on a Mountie you'd assume he'd wear the [=RCMP=] sergeant emblem (Three chevrons pointing down with a crown above them) or at the very least the Canadian Armed Forces sergeant emblem (Same deal, just a maple leaf instead of a crown). Instead he wears the American staff sergeant emblem (Three chevrons pointing up). [[CriticalResearchFailure Take]] your [[TheyJustDidntCare pick]].
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