->''"Do all that stuff we have to do to shoot at him and then '''FIRE TORPEDOES!'''"''
-->-- '''Submarine Captain''', ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja''

An artistic license trope that pertains to depictions of the military in film and television. This ranges from minutiae (forgetting which branch of the military uses which ranks) to RuleOfCool and RuleOfFunny (having a character all but assault superior officers with no consequences).

The most common errors in depictions of the military:

* Failing to distinguish between the military and other government (CIA, FBI, Police) and non-government (mercenaries) entities.
* 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 note that not all countries make the same distinctions between branches as the U.S.).
* Incorrect use of service-specific jargon (e.g., army privates regularly saying "aye, aye" without being ironic.)
* Failing to understand the fundamental concept of the chain of command (e.g., having regular privates taking orders directly from the President in the field, or having a private appealing directly to the President to overrule his company commander's orders.)
* Having military fighter pilots fire missiles over the territory of the United States. This ''cannot'' be done unless specifically authorized by the President.
* Getting [[UsefulNotes/CommonRanks the ranks]] wrong, either in form of address, or in who outranks whom.
* Having people performing jobs with either a [[OverrankedSoldier too high]] or low rank (e.g. having a colonel leading a platoon in the field).
* Not understanding the difference between officers and enlisted personnel in modern militaries (e.g. assuming that all officers started out as regular troopers, with lieutenant just being the next step up the ladder after sergeant).
* Getting [[MilitarySalute saluting protocol]] wrong.
* Getting patches, rank insignia, and uniforms wrong.
* Having medals and ribbons inconsistent with the setting, the characters age and experiences (e.g. having Gulf War veterans wearing UsefulNotes/{{W|orldWarI}}WI medals).
* Having characters with an unlikely or downright impossible professional BackStory (e.g. an Air Force fighter pilot and an Air Force Special Tactics operator at the same time).
* Using incorrect weapons or incorrect models. Very common in media as it's cheaper and easier to use [[WeaponsUnderstudies older weapons as stand-ins]] for more advanced hardware that might be difficult or impossible to obtain, and vice versa.
* Using incorrect radio or communication protocol (e.g., nobody says "over and out" "Over" means "Done talking, awaiting response" while "out" means "Done talking, no response needed").
* TanksButNoTanks
* [[ImprobableWeaponUsage Handling weapons incorrectly]] or [[ArtisticLicenseGunSafety dangerously.]]
* Getting promotion[=/=]demotion procedures wrong.
* Making Boot camp either more extreme or much milder than it really is. It's not unrelenting torture, but it's not summer camp, either. Depicting ordinary Boot Camp as if it were Special Forces Training, or vice versa.
* Making the military justice system appear far more brutal (e.g. having a company commander summarily execute insufficiently enthusiastic soldiers at whim without any pretension to justice) or ineffectual (e.g. characters openly disobeying orders or insulting superiors to their faces and getting no more than a slap on the wrist) than it is.
* Having no [[InappropriatelyCloseComrades rules against fraternization]].
* Depicting [[BlackVikings ethnic minorities]] or [[TheSquadette women]] as accepted members of the military in roles that would not have been open to them in the story's regional or temporal setting (when they are not [[PassFail passing]] as ethnic-majority or [[SweetPollyOliver male]]).
* Failing to understand the basic organisational setup of the Department of Defense and the roles and functions of its various leaders and component organizations (e.g. jointness and collaboration at the top is unheard of: the military services are fighting their own separate wars and the service chiefs report directly to no one but the President). Though this changes depending on the era (and depending on which nation you're talking about). In World War 2, for instance, the Department of Defense had not yet been established, and the branches of the U.S. military were more independent than they are today.
* Being [[MilitariesAreUseless unjustifiably useless]]. When not just [[ArmiesAreEvil plain evil]].
* [[DefconFive Getting the Defcon system wrong.]]
* At military funerals, confusing a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-volley_salute three-volley salute]] with a TwentyOneGunSalute (generally a mistake in {{dialogue}}). The former is done by a team of riflemen (ranging from three soldiers to nineteen, depending on the rank of the deceased), while the other is performed by artillery pieces ("guns" in military parlance) and is reserved for presidents' funerals.

There can be various reasons for this. Sometimes mistakes are made intentionally in order to facilitate the storytelling medium. Most often, though, Hollywood simply doesn't know or care about the particulars of the military.

This should probably not be applied to stories set in entirely imaginary cultures, unless they show something utterly implausible, or out of keeping with what's seen in the rest of the culture (eg a supposed libertarian democracy that treats its soldiers more callously than the World War II Red Army, or a culture that is meant to be very hierarchical and repressive having armed forces that are very MildlyMilitary).

Most current and former members of the military find this more funny than annoying, and military films that make countless errors are still more popular with members of the military than with the general public.

It should also be noted that since media portrayal tends to influence public perception, there are a [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19016_5-myths-about-military-you-believe-thanks-to-movies.html few myths many people believe about the military thanks to movies.]]

Related to HollywoodTactics and MildlyMilitary. Subtropes include TheSquadette. Often averted by works that are BackedByThePentagon.
'''Since military customs, rules, and traditions vary from country to country and in some cases, branch to branch within the same country, many times what is seen as "wrong" by an audience in one country is actually correct for the military force being shown (because of this, please check that any examples are actually incorrect for the military service depicted before adding them to the page.)'''



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Universal for many anime that feature military ranks: Japan has historically used a unified rank structure for officers, i.e. all branches of the military use the same rank names and structure (''Sho-i'' for Second Lieutenant/Ensign/Pilot Officer, ''Chu-i'' for First Lieutenant/Lieutenant Junior Grade/Flying Officer, ''Tai-i'' for Captain/Lieutenant/Flight Lieutenant, and so on). This was changed after World War II (JSDF naval, army, and air force ranks use different names and kanji), but it can still cause problems for translators in trying to determine whether fictional military units (such as the UN Spacy/RDF below or the EFSF of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'') should go with a naval naming convention or an army naming convention.
* The official subtitled version of ''Anime/StrikeWitches'' calls Mio a Major (an Army/Air Force rank) in the subtitles. It's the right grade, but as a naval officer she should technically be a Lieutenant Commander. They also call Shirley a Lieutenant in episode 5, but since she's an officer in her country's Army, she should technically be a Captain. What makes this error more unusual is that the subtitles correctly referred to her as a First Lieutenant in episode 3 (she was promoted off-screen between the two episodes). The actual dialogue averts this, since the characters use the all-forces rank structure of the Imperial Japanese forces ('shousa' being used to refer to both army majors and navy lieutenant commanders, for instance).
** To add to the confusion, the Witches in Joint Fighter Wing holds TWO rank. One is for her native country and branch of service she originally is from, which should be addressed by whatever the appropriate title it is for the serving country/branch. And the other is for the League of Nations Air Force (LNAF), which is generally addressed in British Royal Air Force ranks. For example, in a drama CD, Barkhorn states that she is a Shousa (Major) in Karlsland Luftwaffe, but holds the rank of Taii (Captain/Flight Lieutenant) in 501st due to command structure and such.
* ''Franchise/GhostInTheShell'' is well known for being BroadStrokes of any thing military. It's worth noting Section 9 in most incarnations is not actually a military unit but a special police squad, though Motoko Kusanagi herself is usually a serving JSDF major and Batou a retired Ranger.
** The original ''Anime/GhostInTheShell'' (1995) film. During Major Kusanagi's battle with the tank, just before the helicopter pilot covering her departs he says "Over and out" to her.
** The ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' episode "Jungle Cruise" has Section 9 tracking down a serial killer who is implied to be an ex-US Navy SEAL. The dialogue mentions he was a petty officer (an enlisted rank) while his photo shows him wearing a very good officer uniform.
** While ''Manga/GhostInTheShellArise'' manga follows the established canon of Batou being a Ranger during his JSDF days, it nevertheless makes him a JMSDF Commander,[[note]]Also ironically making him outrank his own next CO by a full grade: just remember Motoko's [[RedBaron iconic]] [[MajorlyAwesome nickname]].[[/note]] but the only Ranger unit in the modern JSDF, the Western Army Infantry Regiment, explicitly falls under a JGSDF command, even though its soldiers are essentially Marines.
* Mostly averted in ''Manga/MarineCorpsYumi'', thanks to the experiences of writer and translator Moreno.
** Happens during the [[http://www.mcyumi.com/manga/marine-corps-yumi-55/ Marine Corp graduation]] when the Eagle, Globe and Anchor is not depicted properly. This is [[JustifiedTrope justified]] as that symbol is a trademark of the USMC and the authors opt to not use the actual one in the comics.
** Moreno also points out any flaw in the depiction of the military in the summary below each page. Such as [=DIs=] not being as touchy as depicted and etc.
* In the ending credits of the second volume of ''Anime/HellsingUltimate'', the survivors of the attack on the Hellsing manor salute the dead at their funeral. Despite being a British organization, they use the American salute. An American-style salute given to Seras by the surviving Wild Geese in volume seven may or may not qualify - The Wild Geese are mercenaries, and said soldiers may have been trained to salute according to American traditions long before taking a job in England.
* ''Anime/DivergenceEve'' identifies MauveShirt Luke Walker in English dialog as a chief petty officer, but his bio in the opening credits gives his rank as sergeant. Every other character uses naval-style ranks, and no, the Japanese words for the ranks aren't the same.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The French-language Belgian comic ''ComicBook/LesTuniquesBleues'' (''The Bluecoats''), set during UsefulNotes/TheAmericanCivilWar, occasionally shows American soldiers saluting French-style, or presenting arms in the French way.
* Creator/LarryHama's run on the original ''[[ComicBook/GIJoeARealAmericanHeroMarvel G.I. Joe]]'' comic had some very realistic depictions of the military, (you know, given the nature of ''Franchise/GIJoe''), but was also about a decade behind on a lot of the smaller details. He strived to keep up to date, but he was mostly writing with what he knew from his time in the Army.
* ''ComicBook/IncredibleHulk'': General Ross pretty much embodies the ArmiesAreEvil Trope in one man. It not only takes Artistic License but a ''lot'' of SuspensionOfDisbelief on the part of Marvel fans to assume the U.S. Air Force wouldn't have court martialed him, reduced him in rank, and sentenced him to life in Leavenworth after the property damage and civilian casualties his obsession with the Hulk has caused.
* For that matter, the military is rarely ever competent in Franchise/MarvelComics at all, unless you count S.H.I.E.L.D. (who are competent when Comicbook/NickFury is running them and ''utterly'' incompetent otherwise).
** Speaking of Fury, his rank is often given as Colonel while as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. when in reality, he'd probably at least be a General to command a military organization that large. Fixed in ''ComicBook/TheUltimates'' where he is in fact a general.
* Commented on InUniverse in the Kev miniseries of ''ComicBook/TheAuthority''. Kev, a black ops veteran for the British government, is headed to a booksigning by one of his buddies, and reads it to the others as they go, pointing out such details as a timeline that would have made him pass selection at the age of ''twelve'', among others. When they met, the author cheerfully admits it's all BS (except what he and the rest of the squad went through), since what the audience wants is "fucking Franchise/{{Rambo}}".

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ComicStrip/BeetleBailey has numerous examples.
** The outdated uniforms, weapons, open-bay style barracks, etc. usually stand out to most, and nowadays Sgt. Snorkel would be NJP'd and removed from command of Beetle's platoon for striking a subordinate, if not outright put in the brig for how severely he beats him. Oddly enough, there ''have'' been a few strips where Snorkel is thrown in the brig with his stripes ripped off after he does something ''really'' stupid (like wreck General Halftrack's car in a fit of rage) but this [[ResetButton only lasts a day at most.]]
** Almost everyone calls Beetle by his nickname (Sgt. Snorkel does almost exclusively). While not completely unheard of, it's essentially his first name (he had the nickname prior to the service) and most nicknames a superior would call you would be something you earned in service. Gen. Halftrack and a few of the Lieutenants do occasionally call him Private Bailey, however.

[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* In ''Film/{{The Secret Life of Walter Mitty|1947}}'', in a fantasy sequence set on a British airbase, Mitty (Danny Kaye) addresses an RAF officer as "Colonel". There is no such rank in the RAF; the equivalent rank is "Group-Captain". Incidentally, the officer is wearing the uniform of an Air Vice-Marshal, equivalent to an Army Lieutanant-General, while Mitty, supposedly a Squadron-Leader, wears the uniform of a Group-Captain! Perhaps justified in that the protagonist is a daydreaming civilian who's obviously clueless about the subject.
* At one point in the ''Film/{{Stargate}}'' movie, Colonel O'Neil calls Kawalski, his second in command, "Lieutenant". Not only that, he's credited as "Lieutenant Kawalski" in the credits. The problem? He's wearing silver oak leaves throughout the entire movie, making him a ''Lieutenant Colonel''. While the film's treatment of the military is far from accurate or flattering, that's actually a pretty easy mistake to make. After all, he's a "''lieutenant'' colonel." It can be presumed that Emmerich and Devlin were simply unaware that the appropriate abbreviation of the rank "lieutenant colonel" is not "lieutenant" but rather "colonel." On the other hand, they did get a detail right that even some people in the ''actual'' military forget: with the single exception of the sitting President, you do not salute civilians. After the final battle, the Abydonian boys salute O'Neil. You can tell he wants to salute back, but instead he waits until his own men join in so he can salute ''them''.
* ''Film/TopGun''
** Many characters wear patches from every branch of the military ''except'' the Navy.
** The most famous instance laughed at by real Navy pilots is the buzzing of the control tower. A real pilot doing this would be grounded (most likely permanently) and up on disciplinary charges. That's an INCREDIBLY reckless and dangerous thing to do.
** Any pilot/aviator who is described as playing by his own rules and disregarding authority would not be put in the seat of a multi-million dollar jet.
** A pilot who turns in his wings is permanently disqualified from ever flying again.
** Minor, but pilots (officers) would have their own private quarters for showering and not the open bay locker rooms shown in the movie.
** Instances of 1st class petty officers in dress whites serving coffee to officers while underway onboard a carrier border between the strange and the ridiculous. One, wardroom personnel on "cranking" duty would be very junior personnel. Two, they would almost never be required to wear dress uniforms in such duties; since they're working in the wardrooms and the galleys, they'd only get dirty for no good reason. Three, they're serving coffee. Every Navy man from admiral on down knows to get his own goddamn coffee.
** The Top Gun trophy is an admitted artistic license by the writers. As their technical consultant says on the special features documentary that if there really was a Top Gun trophy nobody would graduate because they'd all die trying to get it.
** Tom Cruise's character rides his motorcycle on base without wearing a helmet. No one on a military installation would get fifty feet like that without getting stopped. A pilot would be in special trouble; it takes a lot of money to train one, and the Navy (and Air Force) doesn't want to have wasted that money just because the pilot didn't want to wear a helmet.
** One thing they notably did get right was at the insistence of the US Navy. Kelly [=McGillis=]' character was originally supposed to be an enlisted sailor. The producers changed her to a civilian in order to secure the cooperation of the Navy in the making of the film.
* ''Film/{{Basic}}'', a film starring Samuel L. Jackson, Connie Nielsen and John Travolta featured several errors, including:
** A female soldier wearing a Ranger tab. There were no Ranger-qualified females at the time (or female Rangers, for that matter).
** The rank of Samuel L. Jackson's character changed (up and down) depending on the scene.
* Damon Wayans is [[RuleOfFunny much too young to have served in Vietnam]] in ''Film/MajorPayne'', and also would been at least a colonel by the mid 90s, if not retired.
* ''Film/RollingThunder'':
** When Major Rane puts his Air Force uniform on, his U.S. lapel insignia not only are in the wrong location, but are the insignia used by enlisted personnel, not officers. Similarly, despite the character supposedly being a Vietnam War veteran, his uniform lacks the Vietnam Campaign Medal (an award given out to every single soldier who served in that war).
** Master Sergeant Vohden's uniform has a Fifth Army patch on the right sleeve. A patch on the right sleeve indicates that the wearer served with that unit in combat during a previous war or campaign. The Fifth Army last served in battle during World War II. Vohden, as a returning Vietnam War veteran in 1973, would have been only a year or two old during World War II, if he had been born at all.
** The hair of most of the military personnel shown in the film, including that of Major Rane and Master Sergeant Vohden, is too long for military standards.
* ''Film/IronEagleII'' features rather rotund actor Maury Chaykin as a sarcastic, back-talking sergeant who wanders through the entire movie with his uniform unbuttoned, his hair uncombed (and too long for the military), and generally looking like a slob. However, the higher-ranking General who assembled the [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits ragtag bunch of misfits]] of which the sergeant was a member had handpicked them because he [[SpringtimeForHitler wanted their mission to fail]].
* ''Film/PearlHarbor'':
** Rafe wears an Eagle Squadron badge, as do the Spitfires. The squadron code 'RF' is for No. 303 Squadron, which was a Polish unit - a very famous one at that. The only Hurricane seen in the film has the correct codes for an Eagle Squadron, 'XR-T' for No. 71 Squadron.
** Rafe claims that he was assigned to an RAF Eagle Squadron prior to American involvement by order of Jimmy Doolittle, but he's lying. In reality, active duty personnel could not be assigned to serve with a belligerent nation while the US was neutral. They would have to resign their USAAF commission, swear allegiance to the British Crown, and enlist in the RAF (usually via Canada). The problem is why Danny believed this excuse.
** The Doolittle Raiders scene is "how not to be the military".
* ''Film/TheHuntForRedOctober'':
** The main sonar technician wears the "crow" of a Petty Officer but is addressed as "Seaman Jones" more than once. The proper forms of address would be either "Petty Officer Jones" or "Petty Officer" by those unfamiliar with his rate, or "[=STS2=]" by those who know, by rate being vastly more likely. Possibly "Jones" either by superiors or less formally. Even odder is the fact that, in the book and the movie, he's supposed to be a Sonarman 2nd (later 1st) Class.
** The film depicts the eponymous sub's "caterpillar" propulsion system as a revolutionary technological advance because it is much quieter than a traditional screw-propeller system. The problem is that the loudest thing on a nuclear submarine, and thus the one most likely to be picked by opposing passive sonar systems, is the reactor. The reactors on Soviet subs were particularly loud as compared to those on American subs. So it really wouldn't matter how quiet the Red October's propulsion system is, as long as it's being powered by a nuclear reactor, American subs would have been able to hear it. In RealLife, the real concern over stealthy (well, stealthier) submarines comes from an older technology: diesel-electrics. Since diesel-electric submarines only use their diesel motors when on the surface and rely solely on battery power, which is extremely quiet because there are no moving parts, when submerged, they are much stealthier than a nuclear submarine. They are also much slower when submerged and can only stay submerged for limited periods of time, which is why nuclear power has generally been considered a big advance.
** This may or may not be true, but Ramius probably would not tell his officers that they "are dismissed" after eating a meal, since that would be insulting to a Soviet naval officer. Instead, he would say something like "gentlemen officers", which would be a hint to get up and leave.
** The officers of a Russian sub would probably not walk around in parade uniform all the time. In fact, they certainly ''wouldn't'': when the sub is deployed, the regulations require ''all'' personnel on the boat, both the officers and the ratings, to wear [[http://gallery.greedykidz.net/get/992328/podvodniki_2011_compressed_ed-DSC_2034.jpg?g2_serialNumber=1 the same fatigues]], distinguished only by their position pip on the left shirt pocket.
** The whole reason for Ramius to be dissatisfied with the Soviet system is pretty dumb as well. While the Soviet brass ''was'' [[WeHaveReserves more dismissive of their personnel than the US one]], the nuclear submarine [=COs=] (moreover, a full captain, that is, a colonel equivalent, is a pretty high rank anyway) most emphatically ''weren't'' a resource they have had reserves of, and thus they were treated much more carefully than the other soldiers. Another matter is that he simply wouldn't be approved for the position had his superiors had even the slightest doubt in his loyalty. (The book explains this a bit better. While Ramius ''has'' irritated the Soviet Navy brass with criticisms of procedure to the point where he's unlikely to be promoted to admiral, his criticisms were all of operational matters, not politics: he was at least outwardly completely loyal to the Party until his wife died from a medical error and the doctor couldn't be prosecuted [[ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections due to his Party connections]].)
* In the film ''Film/{{Below}}'', the ghost story is set on a submarine and an incredible amount of artistic license is taken with how roomy the submarine is. Few movies can accurately portray how cramped, crowded, and claustrophobic a submarine is, but this particular submarine is shown to have fairly large rooms, multiple decks, and corridors wide enough for two people to walk comfortably side by side. This was mainly done to allow characters enough room to wander off by themselves so that spooky events could ensue, also its much easier to film in a wider space. Both modern and World War II era submarines are so cramped that all off duty personnel are usually expected to be in their racks so as to stay out of the way of the people on duty. Only the largest "boomers" could even try to approach having this much space.
** For contrast watch ''Film/DasBoot'' also on a WWII era submarine (Type VIIc U-Boat in this case). The space is so cramped that officers having dinner are forced to stand up against the nearest bulkhead anytime someone needs to pass through.
* In ''Film/AnOfficerAndAGentleman'', officer candidates continually refer to Gunnery Sergeant Foley as "Sergeant". Navy OCS candidates refer to their Marine drill instructors as "Sergeant Instructor" (followed by proper rank and last name if referring to a specific instructor rather than the one yelling in your face). In addition, while the United States Army allows the use of "Sergeant" for any NCO from E-5 to E-8, Marine Corps etiquette insists on referring to non-commissioned officers by proper rank, and even though the Army doesn't require them to be called anything by sergeant, E-8s are often referred to as "Master Sergeant" anyway.
* ''Film/AFewGoodMen'': As he is leaving after questioning his client, Tom Cruise's Lt. Kaffee turns and says, "Whatever happened to saluting an officer when he leaves the room?" whereupon Dawson stands up and pointedly shoves his hands in his pockets. Great moment, great scene... except that Marines don't salute indoors, while Navy officers would not expect a salute indoors. (Specifically, in the Navy and USMC, covers (i.e. hats) are not to be worn indoors except for a few rare occasions...and in those branches, you are not supposed to salute without your cover. Therefore, there is a very small chance of saluting indoors for members of those branches of the US military.)
** Dawson does finally manage to salute Kaffee (again, indoors) at the end of the film. At this point, he is a prisoner whose sentence includes discharge from the service; such individuals are not permitted to salute or return a salute.
** The premise for the entire plot edges on the unfeasible, if only because the personnel details of a junior enlisted Marine would be so far below the paygrade of a full-bird colonel running an entire base that it wouldn't be worth his time and effort to get involved in them directly[[note]]That's in fact ''why'' there's a chain of command: the colonel commands the lieutenant colonels, who command the captains, who command the lieutenants, who command the non-commissioned officers. It's straightforward delegation[[/note]]. Indeed, his insistence in getting involved in what should have been a very straightforward matter of discipline easily handled by subordinates is what ended up costing him his job and freedom.
** Additionally, Lt. Kendrick admits on the stand that he had a subordinate punished by depriving him of food for a week. He's not the one on trial, so nothing happens to him. In reality, he would've been immediately arrested and, probably, drummed out for violating the Marine code of conduct.
** Crossing over with ArtisticLicenseLaw, there is no charge in the UCMJ as "conduct unbecoming a Marine".
* Not that ''Film/{{Hobgoblins}}'' was a bastion of reality in film, but Nick salutes his sergeant at Club Scum. He also has insanely long hair for a soldier fresh out of basic training.
* In ''Film/FullMetalJacket'', the Marines saluted officers while in Vietnam. This is a big no-no. You do not salute officers in a war zone because it immediately identifies the officer to the enemy, making them a target. Another error: in the scene with Joker explaining his "Born to Kill" graffito, the officer initiates (just barely, but still) the salute. Wrong: the junior rank initiates the salute, always, in every branch.
** In the original [[TheFilmOfTheBook novel]] (The Short-Timers, by Gustav Hasford, himself a Vietnam veteran) Joker, being [[DeadpanSnarker Joker]], was saluting the officer in a combat zone on purpose - and when explicitly ordered to.
--->"''Corporal, don't you know how to execute a hand salute?" "Yes, sir." I salute. I hold the salute until the [[ArmchairMilitary poge colonel]] snaps his hand to his starched barracks cover and I hold the salute for an extra couple of second before cutting it away sharply. Now the poge colonel has been identified as an officer to any enemy snipers in the area.''"
*** In reference to this, saluting in the field is known as a "Sniper Check", and lampshaded by saying it ''while doing it'' in an attempt to either discourage newer officers or hasten their replacement.
** Creator/RLeeErmey, a former DrillSergeantNasty in RealLife, once said in an interview that a drill instructor would ''never'' be allowed to slap, choke or punch a recruit even in his days as a young Marine, any who did would be stripped of their command immediately. His character was also much more verbally abusive than any drill instructor would ever be allowed to be.
** In addition to this, Emery in the film refers to the new soldiers as "Private [Name]", when it should be "Recruit [Name]". Recruit is a soldier's title while in basic training; private is the rank they earn once they graduate from it.
** Taking even a ''single'' round of ammunition, nevermind an entire clip, from the firing range would be next to impossible. Live rounds are only given out at the range, and ''every'' round is accounted for: you will be given twenty rounds, someone will stand by you and see that you load ''and fire'' twenty rounds. And then there's the continual inspections and searches down to the lint in your pockets: it's not just to teach them an eye for detail and adherence to rules, but also to make sure that recruits don't have anything they shouldn't. But then we wouldn't have thhe most iconic scene in the film, would we?
* ''Film/TheFourFeathers'': Well a British campaign ''was'' fought in the Sudan in 1884. That's about all it gets right. Major points include: the British wore grey not red in the Sudan, the force sent was much larger and comprised several regiments not just one and the most egregious flaw, the Battle of Abu Klea was a ''[[ArtisticLicenseHistory British victory]]''.
* ''Film/DownPeriscope'': There's plenty of stuff that has those actually familiar with the RealLife US Submarine Service laughing not only at the intentional comedy, but the unintentional variety as well. While some of the inaccuracies are due to writer ignorance, and some are due to RuleOfCool or convenience to the plot, some of the issues surrounding the USS ''Orlando'' can be chalked up to the film production staff not having access to classified USN information.
** To say nothing of the fact that [[CloudCuckooLander Nitro]] is apparently both the ship's electrician and a radio operator. In any RealLife Navy, they are separate rates.
*** There is a radio operator seen, played by Creator/PattonOswalt in his first film appearance.
** Command of any submarine, even a derelict rustbucket like the ''Stingray'', would be below the paygrade of a lieutenant commander. Dodge also makes a very fair point when first presented with said rustbucket when he points out that it's a diesel submarine, where he has been trained and operated almost exclusively in nuclear submarine operations, which are very very different.
*** Actually, command of a submarine would not be below the paygrade of a lieutenant commander. If anything, having that position would somewhat ''above'' his paygrade. Most submarine, frigate, and destroyers are commanded by a full commander, while a lieutenant commander would be acting as the second-in-command/executive officer. However, during World War II most submarine commanders ''were'' lieutenant commanders, and one of the points of the movie was the Admiral who liked Dodge giving him command of the sub so that he could succeed in a damned difficult mission and thereby earn a more prestigious command.
** While it's possible that the Stingray's initial crew might have been dredged up from whatever layabouts could be found to fill the necessary billets, however ineptly, for the purpose of a temporary exercise, it's ridiculously unlikely the entire same crew would be allowed to transfer to a completely new submarine with entirely new systems and protocols.
* ''{{Film/Battleship}}'' abandons all attempts at nautical terminology from the start. ("Hard left"? Really?)
* In ''Film/TheBlueMax'' the costume design department perhaps attempted to show off their work - only to fail miserably, dressing ''each one'' German pilot into the uniform of the Prussian 1st Uhlan Regiment - which Manfred von Richthofen (a.k.a. The RedBaron) usually wore, but which was certainly not a general issue in the Imperial German Army Air Service ([[GratuitousGerman Luftstreitkräfte]]). Also, the German aircraft are depicted sporting the curve-sided crosses (''cross pattée'') insignia, which is incorrect for the period post March 1918; also using armament without [[BottomlessMagazines any ammo feed]]. Apparently {{Rule of Cool}} [[http://www.jackhunter.com/BlueMaxOTFInfo.htm reigned supreme]].
* ''Film/LordOfWar''
** The Soviet Union phased out the AKM [[note]] The AK-47 was removed from service and replaced by the similar-but-improved AKM early in TheFifties[[/note]] in 1974, replacing it with the [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute similar-looking-yet-very-different]] AK-74, in 5.45x39mm. Further, Soviet troops (including [[RealLifeRelative Nicholas Cage's son Weston]]) in 1991 are shown using [[http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Lord_of_War#Norinco_Type_56-1 Norinco Type 56-1]], Chinese copies of the AKMS, despite Soviet troops never using Chinese equipment, especially after the withdrawal of 7.62x39mm weapons from service, and [[http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Lord_of_War#SA_Vz.58_Assault_Rifle Czech SA Vz. 58 rifles]], in the background of the Ukrainian armoury. The majority of rifles given to guerilla troops, however, [[ShownTheirWork are, in fact]] [[http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Lord_of_War#AKM Soviet AKM rifles]] and [[http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Lord_of_War#AKMS East German AKMS rifles]], as well as the occasional real, very rare [[http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Lord_of_War#AK-47 AK-47]].
** Yuri tells Uncle Dimitri to flub his numbers so that instead of 40,000 AK-47s, he has 10,000 and thus is "severely depleted," needing to order more from the factory. Yuri says that this number is low for a battalion, which has only 500 riflemen, and so 10,000 assault rifles is a ridiculously high amount of guns. In addition, as a major general, Uncle Dimitri would be in command of a division, of which 10,000 AK-47s is a bit more understandable.
* ''Film/UnderSiege'' probably has dozens upon dozens. One that would probably go unnoticed to most though is that it's stated Steven Segal's character lost his SEAL standing and clearance and only had the options of becoming (cross-rating) to Yeoman or a cook (Mess Management Specialist at the time). It's never stated what his source rate was (back then SEALS were one of 8 regular ratings), so assuming it was one that required a clearance (for instance, if he was a Boatswain's Mate, he could have stayed as one, but not a Photographer's Mate), he still couldn't become a Yeoman, as it requires a secret clearance.
* In ''Film/CourageUnderFire'', a female army officer is being vetted as the first female recipient of the Medal of Honor. The problem is, the first female army officer to earn the Medal of Honor was Captain Mary Edwards Walker, an army surgeon, who received the award for her heroic actions during the US Civil War, 135 years prior to the time ''Film/CourageUnderFire'' is set.
** It should be noted that between 1861 and 1897, the Medal of Honor was given out by the bushel due to it effectively being the sole medal given out by the various American military services at all. Because of this, in 1917, a joint military tribunal reviewed the various Medal of Honor citations and purged almost a thousand of them from the rolls. Walker's medal was rescinded by the 1917 review board because of her gender, despite how she had participated in major campaigns from Bull Run to Chickamauga, and even endured three months as a Confederate prisoner of war. In 1977, President UsefulNotes/JimmyCarter restored the Medal to Captain Walker at the behest of her descendants and the American Medal of Honor Society.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'':
** Steve is promoted to the rank of Captain incredibly fast; the film appears to show him as just a private fresh out of boot camp before his heroics cause him to officially become "Captain" America, including his fellow soldiers referring to him as Captain Rogers[[note]]It's implied though never explicitly stated that Congress approved his bump to Captain rank by special exemption in the scene in which he gets the Medal of Honor, to make his "show" rank the same as his real rank[[/note]].
** Despite being awarded the Medal of Honor, Steve never wears the appropriate ribbon - possibly justified, since the USO arranged his exemption from the usual regulations regarding his uniform. He also wears an American Defense Medal ribbon which he would not (as an active member of the US Army) have been eligible for.
** Steve salutes Phillips and then lowers his hand without Phillips ever saluting him back. Military etiquette is that the junior salutes first but holds the salute until it is returned.
** The ComicBook/RedSkull, when he was still a member of the Nazi Party, wears an Allgemeine SS uniform with SS-Obergruppenführer (3-star General rank) collar tabs, but a SS NCO peaked cap (black chinstrap, not the silver-braid chinstrap of officers) and no visible shoulder boards. This would be an unacceptable breach of uniform regulations and etiquette for a German officer, ''but'' given his attitude towards his fellow Nazis (which got him ReassignedToAntarctica), one assumes that he didn't give a damn whether his uniform was correct or not.
** Two aversions, though: Steve addresses his drill sergeant as 'Sir' which is correct for that era in the US Army, and after pulling a MilitaryMaverick maneuver he submits himself for military discipline. Of course, who's going to court-martial someone who single-handedly rescued 400 [=POWs=]?
** Another case that would be anachronistic is justified: while military units were not fully racially integrated until 1948, the ComicBook/HowlingCommandos are shown to be a special case, since Steve has more than enough authority to demand these specific men be on his team, regardless of race.
* The 2013 film ''Phantom'', starring Ed Harris and David Duchovny, is mostly set inside a Soviet submarine. [[spoiler: Duchovny's character]] is portrayed as a member of Osnaz, an allegedly radical faction within the KGB. Radical or not, this is a big factual error. Osnaz was a generic designation given to the special forces of the Soviet Police (Osnaz short for Osobogo Naznacheniya, meaning Special Forces), while the KGB had its own special forces, namely the Spetsnaz (short for Spetsiyalnogo Naznacheniya, meaning the same as the above).
** Additionally, in the context of UsefulNotes/MoscowCentre, "Osnaz" has always referred (and still refers) to a specific unit, a SIGINT branch of {{GRU}}, that is, a ''military'' intelligence agency as opposed to KGB's civilian/political one. It's basically the Russian equivalent of [[{{NSA}} No Such Agency]], only with less domestic wiretapping (that'd be KGB/FSB turf).
* In ''Film/HussarBallad'' uniforms are historically accurate, except those were parade uniforms, not used in a real war. RuleOfCool, since the day-to-day uniforms looked much less nice.
* In ''Film/TheDirtyDozen'', Colonel Breed bullies his way into the Dozen's training camp and tries to coerce them into explaining their mission. Since he wasn't authorized to be in said camp or to know anything about their mission, this should have gotten him a long and uncomfortable interview with Intelligence while they figured out whether he was an enemy spy or just a pushy jerk with no respect for operational security and need-to-know. Instead, he remained in command of his unit, which held a critical role in a major exercise the following week.
* In ''Film/StarTrekVITheUndiscoveredCountry'', a character is identified as "Colonel West" but wears the Starfleet naval insignia of a vice admiral. [[CanonFodder Fandom has understandably made hay out of this.]]
* ''Film/TheSpyWhoLovedMe''. A female undercover KGB agent sends a message via radio and ends with the phrase "Over and out" while awaiting a response. The male agent she's calling responds and also ends his message with "Over and out".

* ''Literature/ClearAndPresentDanger''
** Tom Clancy messed up with a conversation between an officer and a "Seaman First" in the United States Coast Guard. "Seaman First Class" was a UsefulNotes/WorldWarII rank, not a contemporary one.
** In the same book, the Coast Guard cutter ''Panache'' has as part of its crew two separate Master Chiefs. For a ship of that size, which would have barely one hundred crew members, ''one'' Master Chief would be too many. Justified in that the Coast Guard gave the captain the pick of the litter as far as a strong team of enlisted experts, but still.
* The ''Literature/LegendsOfDune'' prequels take place tens of thousands of years in the future, which means that the authors were free to create whatever ranks they wish. The idea of a starship commander leading ground troops is still completely ridiculous.
* Creator/SMStirling and Creator/JamesDoohan got the Navy and Marines entry-level officer ranks mixed up in Literature/{{the Flight Engineer}} trilogy. Second Lieutenant Cynthia Robbins should be an ensign, and the two Marine pilots assigned to [[TheHero Commander Raeder's]] command in ''The Privateer'' are ensigns when they should be second lieutenants.
* In ''Literature/TheMagicians'', it's stated that one of the students at [[WizardingSchool Brakebills]] was the son of a five-star general. The United States Army hasn't promoted anybody to that rank since 1950, and the last one (Omar Bradley) died in 1981.
* Avalon Hill's ''Magazine/TheGeneral'' magazine Volume 25 #3, article "Riding With The Best". In a fictional account of a U.S. Army Sherman tank crew on a mission the recon platoon leader ends a radio conversation with "Roger, over and out".
* There is no way a real military academy would be run like the Battle School from ''Literature/EndersGame''. The faculty deliberately ignores discipline problems, even when they escalate to the point of attempted murder (In most real military academies, Bonzo would have been thrown out years earlier for striking a cadet under his command). There are regular training exercises between the various training companies, but no mention is ever made of after-action reports or anyone making any real analysis of how the exercise went before undergoing more exercises (The point of a military training exercise is not to establish relative win-loss-draw ratios between teams like in a sporting league. It is to try out various tactical evolutions and teach the officers involved what works, what doesn't work, and ''why'', so that they are better prepared if they ever have to face a similar situation in real life). But the most ridiculous was the basic premise that the faculty could figure out who would make ideal ''Navy'' Admirals by their skills in training exercises that, given the nature of the exercises and the size of the units involved, are designed for ''Marine'' Lieutenants. IRL, skill at executing platoon-scale boarding actions says nothing about whether or not said officer could command a fleet.
* InUniverse example in the ''Literature/{{RCN}}'' novel ''When the Tide Rises''. Adele Mundy attends a play loosely based on her own ship's mission in the previous book and spends most of the performance complaining about the inaccuracies in the production. These range from uniform mistakes (putting people in the semi-dress 2nd Class uniform when they ought to be in utilities, for example) to the fact that, while the holographic video portion of the performance consists of actual combat images from ''Princess Cecile'' (they were sold to the playwright by a crew member, who sent the money to the families of wounded or dead crew), they combine ''all'' the battles since the first book rather than just the fight for Dunbar's World.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
%% Admin note: please do not add back the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' examples that were removed. Starfleet is so far removed from any RealLife Military that saying they got something wrong because it doesn't work like that in RealLife is pointless. It my be fun, but it's not this trope. The only exceptions are those issues where a Starfleet standard, practice or reg is established InUniverse and then later, they get that wrong, like the uniform and rank insignias.%%
* An episode of ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' showed a wedding of a young Navy ensign. He and all his buddies were in choker whites, sporting impossible ribbon racks full of awards they couldn't have earned, some for wars they were infants for, along with warfare devices they couldn't have gotten yet (dual Surface AND Subsurface Warfare Pins)... not bad for being in the Navy less than two years!
* ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' is a serious offender. Buster seems to be in and out of boot camp whenever it's plot convenient, and the uniforms (when not grossly inaccurate) were out of date by about seven years. Not to mention you wouldn't get a medal for getting injured from a non combat accident, and tricking someone into reenlisting is highly illegal. Given the show lives by the RuleOfFunny, most of the inaccuracies are probably intentional.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'' has some problems with Earthforce naval ranks. The uniforms in the series are pretty clear: blue for naval personnel, gray for security, green for ground forces. However, ''General'' William Hague and ''Major'' Ed Ryan are both apparently naval officers, whereas the rest of the cast follow the standard NATO naval rank system.
* ''Series/{{Blackadder}} Goes Forth'', whilst generally fairly accurate on many uniform and insignia aspects (excepting the fact they are dressed perfectly accurately for 1914, not 1917!), has an easily missed error in the form of Brigadier-General Sir Bernard Proudfoot-Smith. The rank title is in fact correct for the era (it's currently just Brigadier, without the hyphened General, in the British Army). His insignia is, however, incorrect: Brigadier-General during WWI wore a crossed baton and sword (similar to other generals, but without any crowns or stars above).
* In ''Series/{{Bones}}'':
** A Ranger Colonel shows up to recruit Booth to train soldiers in Afghanistan. He immediately recognizes the Colonel as an army ranger, presumably due to the 75th Ranger patch on his right shoulder. Instead of a flag (argh!). Also, the Colonel is wearing a (deformed) black beret instead of the Ranger tan.
** Agent Booth himself at the end of the same episode counts as well. Wearing a presumably new uniform that looks like it came from the "reject" pile of the local CIF. Would be an aversion except that Booth has been reinstated to the rank of Sergeant Major and would at least ensure his uniform was presentable.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': The Initiative can't seem to figure out whether it's a special ops arm of a civilian agency or a unit in the military, and if so, it's not sure which agency or which branch. In one episode Riley refers to his colleagues as Soldiers, in the next they are Marines. (There are some implications the Initiative is a unit all its own, and that personnel from all branches have been transferred there due to being deemed suitable for the program, but noting definitive.) Others use the terms interchangeably to refer to Riley. They answer to a civilian at first, but then are taken over by a general. Insignia seems to have been chosen by grabbing stuff at random and pinning it on wherever it would fit. Though they do avert MildlyMilitary by being very well disciplined with a clear chain of command.
* In the Disney Channel Original Movie ''Film/CadetKelly'', Music/HilaryDuff and Christy Carlson Romano would have been discharged for what they did to each other if it had been military rather than a school.
* An episode of ''Destroyed in Seconds'' had footage from a helicopter crash during a Russian airshow. The helicopters were Mi-2s, but the narrator continuously refers to them as "M1-2s". The narrator then calls them "state-of-the-art". They aren't, having been introduced in 1965 and phased out of front-line service in most armies which field them, including Russia's.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** We'll start with New!Who's 'saluting while not wearing hats' (if you are hatless, you can come to attention, or a version of it if sitting down, when wishing to show respect to a superior officer within most Commonwealth countries). Yes, it means that the Doctor can do his 'no don't salute' bit, but would it cost them too much to borrow the hats?
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E2DayOfTheMoon "Day of the Moon"]] Rory, dressed in civilian clothes, salutes the NASA personal in 1969 with the British-styled salute. The NASA personnel are explicitly confused by his usage of the British salute, so it's certainly an in universe example.
** [[Recap/DoctorWhoS36E7ThePyramidAtTheEndOfTheWorld "The Pyramid at the End of the World"]]: The colonel in charge of the American military contingent is wearing the rank insignia of a four-star general.
** ''Series/{{Torchwood}}''. Captain Jack Harkness' greatcoats all bear the rank insignia of "Group Captain", which is a full title in itself, is never referred to as "Captain", and has the equivalent of "Colonel" in the armed forces. Not to mention the fact that in his first appearance, his uniform is that of a "Squadron Leader".
* In ''Series/EnemyAtTheDoor'', set during World War II, most of the recurring German characters are in the Wehrmacht (regular military), but Reinicke is an officer of the Waffen-SS (which had a separate command structure and its own ranks). Early episodes aren't consistent about recognising that the SS had different ranks from the regular army, with Reinicke frequently addressed or referred to with the army rank of "Hauptmann" instead of the SS rank of "Hauptsturmführer".
* In the ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' episode "The Arrival", a photo is shown of a Marine from an incident in 1987. Not only is he wearing digital camouflage, which was not introduced to the Marine Corps until the early 2000s, but it's ACU instead of MARPAT. What the Marine should be wearing are [=BDUs=].
* The opening of ''Series/HogansHeroes'' shows Colonel Klink (who's in charge of Stalag 13) initiating the salute. As mentioned above, that's not how it works. Then again, all the Germans on the show are idiots.
* In ''Series/{{JAG}}'' the research and accuracy became better through the years the show was running, though inaccuracies could always be found. Having a [[SemperFi Marine Corps]] veteran as its creator, executive producer, and show runner probably helped. Being BackedByThePentagon probably helped a great deal too.
* ''Series/{{Jericho}}'', in a rare in-universe example. U.S. Marines come to help rebuild and resupply the town. A former Army Ranger notices details that are wrong; one calls an NCO 'sir', they say 'hooah' (Army) rather than 'oorah' (Marines). They are simply civilians wearing uniforms and using the town's resources.
* ''{{Series/MASH}}'' has too many to count, but a few stand out above the others:
** Frank demands and receives a Purple Heart for getting an eggshell in his eye during an artillery barrage. In real life, he would have been denied as the injury wasn't directly caused by enemy action. The episode actually addressed this point: Frank wouldn't have been eligible for the medal, but the injury was entered into his records as "shell fragment in eye", which happened during an artillery attack on the unit, which got the medal approved by I Corps, which presumed it was an artillery shell fragment instead of an eggshell. Note that Hawkeye was not amused at the trickery and how it cheated the value of the medal to injured soldiers that came through the 4077th. So, not an error on the writer's part; an error on the Army's part, InUniverse.
** Potter is correct in stating that the Army Good Conduct Medal is only for enlisted soldiers. He's wrong in insisting that his status as a prior-service enlisted soldier entitles him to wear the medal, which he is seen wearing from time to time and he has his medal framed on his wall. What he (or the writers) failed to realize is that the medal was awarded long after Potter was an enlisted soldier and that the retroactive dates don't go back to when he was enlisted and eligible for the award.
** At one point Hawkeye and BJ try to take Corporal O'Reilly into an officers-only area with them. Hawkeye plucks a pair of captain's bars from BJ's shoulder, attaches it to Radar's cap, and (inspired by the ranks of lieutenant-colonel and sergeant-major) declares him a "corporal-captain". And this ''works''. They only had to convince one suspicious officer (though this itself is unlikely) and given that he was in the club, he'd likely enough to believe their story of the Army seeking opinions on a possible new rank.
** 1970s shaggy hair and sideburns is and was completely out of Army regulations, almost all CIVILIAN men at the time kept their hair much shorter than that. Now given, the writer of the original book said conscripted surgeons in the war got away with ridiculous things because of the scarcity, it wouldn't explain the regular and career soldiers for the reasons above. During Colonel Blake's tenure as CO the failure of the enlisted men to observe regulation grooming standards can be explained as 'since the commanding officer didn't care about the regulations, nobody bothered following them' (after all, if there's one constant thing about the military it's that if the CO consistently lets something slide, the troops will happily slide on it as far as they can get away with), but one of Colonel Potter's character elements was that he actually was "regular Army" in mindset re: enlisted discipline.
** Now given that the time scale for the 12 year series doesn't really fit into a three year conflict anyway, but most conscripted surgeons only served a year in country. Hawkeye is apparently there throughout the entire conflict.
** Occasionally, references are given to "points," which a draftee accumulates in order to determine his time-in-service; Trapper is sent home after accumulating enough points, and a racist combat unit commander volunteers his black troops for dangerous missions in order to accumulate points faster and rotate them out of his unit. This refers to a system used for WWII which was discontinued by the time of the Korean War, and never applied to medical personnel in any case.
*** According the [[http://www.history.army.mil/brochures/kw-stale/stale.htm U.S. Army Center of Military History]] “…a soldier earned four points for every month he served in close combat, two points per month for rear-echelon duty in Korea, and one point for duty elsewhere in the Far East…The Army initially stated that enlisted men needed to earn forty-three points to be eligible for rotation back to the States, while officers required fifty-five points. In June 1952 the Army reduced these requirements to thirty-six points for enlisted men and thirty-seven points for officers.”
* ''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.
* In the third season of ''Series/SeaQuestDSV'', after [[Creator/MichaelIronside Captain Hudson]] takes over from [[Film/{{Jaws}} Captain Bridger]], he insists that the titular sub is now a warship and is no place for civilians. To stay aboard the sub, Lucas asks Hudson if he can stay if he enlists into the navy. Hudson agrees, and Lucas is given the rank of ensign. That's right, a civilian scientist with no military experience is immediately given an officer rank and starts serving aboard the sub without even having to go through bootcamp. Later, an ex-con gets the same treatment and immediately becomes a sub-fighter pilot.
* ''Series/SevenPeriodsWithMrGormsby'' has a very minor one; Gormsby's medals are ''upside-down'' (making them appear in reverse order). But it's enough to make most watchers from a military background flinch.
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' contains several examples of details that were accurate in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's time, but are not accurate for the series' 21st century setting:
** Watson's backstory in the [[UsefulNotes/BritsWithBattleships British Army]]. He states on several occasions that he is from the "5th Northumberland Fusiliers". The unit name is a carryover from the original Doyle stories. Watson served with the 5th (Northumberland Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot at the Battle of Maiwand in 1880. The regiment was renamed simply to 'Northumberland Fusiliers' in 1881, but was frequently referred to as the "5th Northumberland" for decades thereafter. The regiment became part of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in 1968, before the current John Watson was even born. Additionally, he was a surgeon - not a normal soldier - so he should really be saying he's from the Royal Army Medical Corps.
** "The Hounds of Baskerville" features Major Barrymore, an officer with a full beard, which is not allowed by British Army regulations. Barrymore had a beard in the original story and in every other adaptation, which undoubtedly is the reason for his beard in ''Sherlock''.
*** British Army regulations do allow the wearing of a beard if there is a serious medical or religious reason (e.g., skin condition prevents shaving or the soldier is a devout Sikh) or 'operational reasons' as decided by a sufficiently high ranking officer (e.g., patrolling in the desert for weeks and there's not enough water for shaving). Of course none of these are mentioned or obvious in the episode so Artistic License is the most likely explanation.
** The extras in "The Hounds of Baskerville" are also clearly overage, and do not wear uniforms correctly.
** Sherlock refers to the soldier who asks him and Watson for help as a Grenadier. The problem is that the soldier is actually serving in the Scots Guard and all ''OR1s'' (typically called privates) in Foot Guard regiments are addressed as ''Guardsman''.
* ''Series/SoldierSoldier'' had to fudge things around the edges; it couldn't depict any genuine British infantry regiment, so wholly fictitious ones, with plausible back histories, had to be invented.
* ''Series/SonsOfAnarchy'' had an episode where several sailors can be seen in the escort services house in dress whites. Where exactly their ship pulled in is never really explained. Given they're in uniform it would imply it's Fleet Week, which would be in San Francisco. Seems like a long way to go for a whore house...
* ''Series/SpaceAboveAndBeyond'':
** [[ArtificialHuman Cooper Hawkes]] ends up getting arrested due to a combination of FantasticRacism and a misunderstanding with the police after a group of thugs try to hang him in an alleyway. The judge sentences him to [[TradingBarsForStripes serve his debt to society via military service]]... by putting him through a commissioning program to become a space fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. The DrillSergeantNasty even goes so far as to describe the entire situation as a cruel prank played at his (the drill sergeant's) expense. While the US military ''did'' do this in the past, A) they only recruited enlisted men this way, not officers, and B) they officially ended this practice several decades before the series was ''made'', never mind set. Hawkes would have had to obtain a waiver after the fact; he most certainly would not have been shipped from jail still in a prison jumpsuit and shackles. Besides which, becoming an officer in the US military requires a college degree (whether from a civilian university or a service academy).
** The military had long since abandoned the issue of sending letters to inform families of their dead loved ones. Appropriately, to avoid exactly the sort of situation Nathan finds himself in one episode. [[spoiler: His parents not getting the letter and still believing his brother is alive the episode after he was killed in action.]]
** No, [=Colonel McQueen=], the real Marine Corps does ''not'' [[DoAnythingSoldier routinely send AcePilot naval aviators in as infantrymen]] (the 58th actually complains about this in one episode). Despite the Marine creed that every Marine is first a rifleman, that would be a stupid risk of very expensively trained officers. This is also {{deconstructed}} in "Sugar Dirt" when the 58th leaving their fighters under orders to join a ground attack results in them getting shot up on the runway.
* ''Franchise/StargateVerse''
** Mostly averted, although there were some uniform oddities that popped up now and then, most notably an airman in the pilot wearing the insignia for both a Staff Sergeant and a Major. It was [[BackedByThePentagon officially endorsed by the U.S. Air Force]], and had military advisers on board to avoid most flagrant mistakes (they would reportedly even complain if Creator/AmandaTapping let her hair grow longer than regulation in her role as Samantha Carter).
** The ''Series/StargateSG1'' pilot episode also saw such flagrant errors as salutes given while indoors (you don't salute a superior while indoors), and a Captain reporting to a Colonel while in the same room as a General. (The Captain would have reported to the General, as he was the highest ranking officer in the room.)
** While U.S Air Force soldiers are depicted rather accurately, the same cannot be said for the Russian forces we see on the show. This is most prominently displayed in "The Tomb", which is chock full of inaccuracies. For starters, the Russian Stargate team are stated to be from the Russian Air Force, which unlike the U.S Air Force, does not have any ground troops. It's possible that a writer mistook the Russian Airborne Troops (Vozdushno-desantnye voyska Rossii, or VDV) for members of the Air Force. They are also shown wearing black berets, as opposed to the blue berets of the VDV, one of their most distinctive uniform features, while black berets are worn by Naval Infantry, Russian tank troops and the now-defunct OMON special police unit.
** ''Series/StargateUniverse'':
*** A character is consistently identified as a Sergeant despite wearing the rank insignia of a Senior Airman. This is sort-of understandable, as modern-day Senior Airmen in the USAF wear the same rank insignia that Sergeants did back when the Air Force rank of "Sergeant" existed. That USAF rank was eliminated in 1991 (it was at the same paygrade as a Senior Airman anyways) and the insignia repurposed.
*** The 20-year old ''Master Sergeant'' Ronald Greer. Master Sergeant is a rank that requires at least 16 years prior experience, meaning Greer could not possibly have reached that rank at his age, unless we assume some kind of AppliedPhlebotinum or time dilation plot went on behind the scenes. This being both ''Stargate'' and a more serial show than even ''SG-1'' was in later seasons, this seems unlikely... [[note]]The character of Greer, originally named Ron "Psycho" Stasiak, was conceived as a man in his 30s, a more realistic age for that rank, but when Jamil Walker Smith was cast the role was rewritten somewhat. The rank was not among the changes.[[/note]]
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'':
** In ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', costumes often did not match stated ranks, and there would be some confusion over what rank a character held. The only character to receive a promotion during the run of the series is Spock, who starts out as a Lieutenant Commander and is promoted to full Commander at some indeterminate point in the first season. However, he wears the two-braided shirt, denoting a full Commander, throughout. Many other characters described in dialogue as a Lieutenant Commander also wear the two braids of a full Commander. There is also no real distinction in costuming between junior officers and enlisted crewmen.
** ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'':
*** Usually averted. ''[=DS9=]'' does manage to keep everyone's ranks straight, even the Army style ranks of the Bajoran military. The only gray area is Chief O'Brien[[note]]He started on TNG as an unnamed ensign assigned to conn and went all over the chart from there. [[http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Miles_O%27Brien#Problematic_Rank_History Memory Alpha has the full list.]] By '95 they finally decided he was a Senior Chief Petty Officer, where he stayed (and he was eventually even given a unique noncom's rank patch instead of the gold pins worn by officers, clearly based on real-life petty officers' insignia).[[/note]], but even he is consistently recognized as a specialist officer (NCO/Warrant) rather than a commissioned Starfleet officer, allowing him to, among other things, avoid getting in dress uniform and going to formal occasions a few times.
*** Occasionally you see the Chief chew out an Ensign for screwing up an engineering task (he's still respectful about it), which some people complain about. This is actually RealityIsUnrealistic: If you're an EnsignNewbie and your commanding officer has placed you on work detail with a decorated CPO whose job designation is Chief Operations Officer, he's allowed to chew you out over your failures with the engineering. Indeed, in some military services, mentoring inexperienced officers was one of the duties of senior [=NCOs=], given their experience. Another point about his rank was actually ''brought up'' by the character: when Nog is accepted to Starfleet Academy, O'Brien muses that if Nog ever makes ensign he's going to have to start calling the kid ''sir''.
*** Season seven's "Field of Fire" has Ezri Dax refer to a bit character as "not the first drunken ensign I've escorted home".[[note]]This presumably in reference to Ben Sisko, who was friends with [[TheNthDoctor Curzon Dax]] as a junior officer.[[/note]] However, the character's rank insignia, one gold pin and one black pin, is that of a junior grade lieutenant (and he's correctly referred to as a lieutenant in the preceding scene).
** In the "Equinox" two-parter of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'', Captains Janeway and Ransom are momentarily confused over who's in charge since they're of equal rank, as though it's something that doesn't happen. In RealLife, the method that's been followed for centuries is plain, simple seniority--whoever was promoted first calls the shots. Starfleet's own regulations essentially boil down to "whoever has the more badass ship," which isn't unreasonable, but despite being stranded neither captain should be acting like this is something that requires a deep dive into the rule book, because they've both been in Starfleet long enough that they'd have witnessed or experienced it back home.
*** Actually "who's commanding more combat-capable unit" could be a criterion - in case when seniority was not clearly established within the pre-existing chain of command - in many real-world militaries. What does not make sense here that they had not known the rule as a matter of fact. Chalk it to the MildlyMilitary nature of the Starfleet.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS09E02DevilMayCare "Devil May Care" (S09, Ep02)]], the Army's military police are shown investigating a crime scene on a Navy base instead of the Shore Patrol or NCIS. (For that matter, Army [=MP=]s would not be doing major crime scene work; that's what Army CID (Criminal Investigation Division) does.)
* ''Series/UnderTheDome'':
** Mistakenly describes and depicts the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GBU-43/B_Massive_Ordnance_Air_Blast_bomb MOAB bomb]] as a missile instead of a bomb.
** It can probably be forgiven for being a dream sequence, but when the one woman sees her Navy husband coming home from deployment, walking down the street, he's wearing a discontinued working uniform and wouldn't be authorized to wear it off base/ship anyway.
* ''Series/TheWestWing'':
** The White House received weather forecasts from a Coast Guard 1st Lieutenant. The Coast Guard equivalent to this Army/Air Force/Marine Corps rank is Lieutenant (Junior Grade).
** The Army Chief of Staff is portrayed as a three-star general. The job is always held by someone with at least four-star rank.
** Aaron Sorkin in general seemed to have difficulty with military matters in ''Series/TheWestWing''. He turned heat-seeking air-to-air missiles into radar-seeking air-to-ground missiles, and throughout West Wing's run talks about "Battle Carrier Groups" rather than "Carrier Battle Groups"... to name but a few. (This general ignorance is often expressed through the president, who typically plays TheWatson to the Joint Chiefs.)
** In the first season episode "The State Dinner" a carrier battle group is stuck in the path of a hurricane. The naval officer who briefs the president on it tells him that it consists of "the USS John Kennedy, two guided missile cruisers, two destroyers, and two battleships." This is pretty remarkable, considering the Navy retired its last battleships a few years before the start of ''Series/TheWestWing''.
* In ''Series/TheWire'', the second half of the fifth season has some plot points that revolve around whether or not a reporter is making up details in his stories. As part of his stories, he interviews a former Marine who served in Iraq. When the reporter first meets the Marine, the Marine talks about an "M niner niner eight", which (he explains) is a Humvee. He also calls a .50 caliber machine gun an ''M50'' (which is actually an M2). Later, the Marine's credibility is called into question. Even a fellow Marine is questioned on the subject. In the second interview, the Marine correctly identifies the machine gun as a .50 caliber machine gun, but the audience is supposed to be left with the notion that the former Marine is a credible source of information, despite a few mistakes in his story.

* The first verse of Music/BrantleyGilbert's song "One Hell of an Amen" refers to a soldier killed in action as "going out 21 guns blazing". A 21-gun salute is done with artillery pieces, not rifles, and is reserved for the funeral of a former or current president. The salute performed at soldiers' funerals is referred to as a three-volley salute and never has 21 shooters involved. It's possible Gilbert decided "21 guns blazing" was better rhythmically.

* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', the Marine Base Commanders wear the scarlet and gold shoulder chevrons of a First Sergeant (on the utility uniform, no less), are always saluted and addressed as "sir", and, when they are given names, have varying officer ranks.
** There are also errors in the equipment used by the Marines. They use UH-60 Blackhawks, M2 Bradley [=APCs=] and AH-64 helicopter gunships. These should be UH-1 Venoms, LAV-25s or [=AAV-7s=] and the AH-1 Super Cobra respectively. Even though one could handwave this by saying they are U.S Army attachments, they are all specifically stated to be Marine vehicles, including by the Marines themselves.
** The final battle takes place on-board the ''USS Ronald Reagan'', a US Navy aircraft carrier operating about a mile off the coast of Manhattan and launching Apache helicopters and F-22s. In real life, the ''Reagan'' is part of the US Pacific Fleet, and wouldn't be involved in an operation on the East Coast. Aircraft carriers also don't operate that close to land, not only because they don't have to but also so they have room to change speed and orientation for flight operations. F-22s and AH-64s would not operate off a carrier, because the Navy has more than enough of its own aircraft that it needs the space for. Not to mention the fact the F-22 isn't capable of operating from a carrier.
* The Aircraft Carrier level in ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}'' is incredibly groan inducing to anyone who has ever served in the US Navy or knows anything about Naval Ranks. The fact that none of the ranks or uniforms make any sense points to a blatant case of not even bothering to skim the Wikipedia article. The Carrier CVN-80 being named the USS Constitution is also unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future, being that the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uss_constitution original ship]] bearing that name is still in commission. (CVN-80 has since been announced to be the next ''Enterprise''.)
* The detail in the aircraft carrier environments in ''VideoGame/ArmyOfTwo'' is pretty insanely detailed, and gets a lot of things surprisingly correct, and most of the minor changes for gameplay can be ignored. However, at the end of the level, the players are desperately searching for a lifeboat to get off the carrier...despite the fact that you run past ''dozens'' of lifeboats clearly visible in the background graphics. One wonders if they game designers simply didn't know what they were (the large pill-shaped things around the lifelines) or just ignored them for plot purposes.
* ''Madou Souhei Kleinhasa'' is an {{eroge}} set in a fictional military, so the usual "no fraternization between officers and enlisted" rule get ignored in some scenes. Roze and Llun also have ridiculously long hair, even by the standards of this page: Llun's hair goes almost to her hips, while Roze's hair is long enough to drag on the ground.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlertSeries''
** Given the NarmCharm, it's hard not to expect this of ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer Red Alert 2''. Prominent general Carville is wearing insignia from an ROTC Cadet uniform (badges worn by student soldiers before they graduate college).
** Given every female character in all of the games is intended to be a MsFanservice, the nature of their uniforms should obviously be considered less-than-accurate. In the opening cutscene for the Allied portion of the Uprising Expansion, a female officer clearly has to modify the way she walks just to avoid flashing the camera.
* ''VideoGame/StarCraft''
** The game appears to lack any sort of distinction between military branches. The Alpha Squadron, for example, is commanded by a general... who is in command of a starship. While this could be explained by having the SpaceNavy use army ranks instead of navy, we then have the UED show up with an Admiral in charge, with the Vice Admiral running around in a Ghost uniform (i.e. a psychic assassin). On a third hand, the UED and the Confederacy/Dominion are two very different governments; though both are human in origin, their society has been separated for centuries.
** The game gave a rank to Terran units (Private, Corporal, Sergeant...) going all the way up to Commodore for battlecruisers, who would outrank the player (always referred to as "Commander". The sequel uses an AuthorityEqualsAsskicking system (purely cosmetic, it doesn't change the unit's stats) where the top rank is Commander.
* ''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, 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.
* ''VideoGame/EscapeVelocity'' series
** The original game had a major become an admiral. That's not even trying.
** ''EV Nova'' may have an example with General Smart, a Federation officer who defected to the Rebels and is now in charge of their {{space navy}}. The Federation Navy appears to use US Navy ranks (the two named Federation officers, Krane and Raczak, are a commander and an admiral respectively), so the only way to resolve it is by having the Rebels use Army or Air Force ranks. Given that the Rebels are of Federation extraction, this seems unlikely. There ''is'' a potential explanation, but it may be giving the creators too much credit -- General Smart could be a ''marine'' officer who defected (outside the USA, it is fairly common for marines to be a branch of the navy but use army ranks, and just because the Federation uses US ranks doesn't mean it is organized like the US military).
* ''Franchise/{{Star Wars|Expanded Universe}}'' video games tend to merrily continue the tradition begun by [[Franchise/StarWars the movies]], and in more ways than just preserving the idiosyncratic ranks of the Rebel Alliance and New Republic. Examples:
** [[VideoGame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic The Old Republic]], particularly the trooper storyline, is all over this trope. [=NCOs=] being addressed as "sir" by lower-ranked soldiers who aren't still in training; the timing of salute being completely off (it's not an engine or animation limitation, as proper salutes are occasionally done); romantic relations between characters not only of different rank, not only in the same unit, but between the unit CO and a direct subordinate (sometimes even their second in command); apparently no branches at all in the Republic military (everything falls under the Army of the Republic, including fleet and special forces); ground-based infantry with the rank of Ensign; ''superior officers addressing very junior officers from a different service as "sir"''...
** Justifiable as it's more a way of keeping score, but in the ''VideoGame/XWing'' games, your character's rank is a function of their game score. So if you perform well enough (or use exploits and other tricks to pad your score), your character can be a general being ordered about by fleet captains (about equal to a colonel) or even fighter lieutenants in the early game.
* When you go to the amphibious ship in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoSanAndreas'', the "sailors" you run into are merely the game's stock military troops, wearing green (not even a color palette swap to blue). Which would still be incorrect for the time period, the sailors would be wearing the classic dungarees.
** Minor, but there is no LHD 69 either (only USS Wasp (LHD 1) was in service at the time too), but of course this is GTA, so what other hull designator would it be?
* Sgt Vance in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoViceCityStories'' apparently has a lot of free rein, and doesn't report for any kind of daily duties, work, etc. during the part of the story he's still on active duty.
* ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles''
** Welkin's unit in the first game is very forgiving of uniform alterations; includes older, more experienced troops answering to a rookie commander younger than them; and includes numerous individuals who struggle or refuse to work properly together. [[JustifiedTrope It's also a civilian militia activated on short notice under Gallia's Universal Conscription laws]]. The enlisted armed forces are much better about it, wearing uniform and addressing each other according to rank.
** The second game focuses on a class at the military college, and while the player's unit is explicitly the dumping ground for applicants that scraped into admission but fit nowhere else, there's generally a lot more discipline.
** While all three games have the player in command of a ''platoon''-sized unit (15-30 people), the game always refer to them as ''squad''s (8-12 people).
* ''VideoGame/{{Freespace}}'' inverts its capital ship classifications from the historical norm. In ''Freespace'', cruisers are the smallest capital ships, corvettes are the next level up, and destroyers are the heavy battleship units. In RealLife (circa UsefulNotes/WorldWarI – UsefulNotes/WorldWarII era), destroyers were and are considered escorts and [[FragileSpeedster fragile speedsters]], cruisers were still fast but eat destroyers for breakfast, and battleships were the heavy hitters. And corvettes were basically an upgraded yacht with guns, whose size and capacity is still outranked by the next class up, frigates (who likewise are outranked by the bigger but still just-as-fast destroyers).
* ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'':
** Using rank as a synonym for CharacterLevel (from Lieutenant at level 5 to ''Fleet Admiral'' at level 60) results in a lot of OutrankingYourJob and means the player is frequently taking orders from people they outrank by several grades, as well as resulting in a ludicrous ''Fanfic/MarissaPicard''-like situation where you apparently went from junior officer to 5-star in ''eighteen months''. It also inconveniences the developers in the event they ever want to raise the level cap again: the increase in rank cap to fleet admiral resulted in jokes that the next expansion would make you President of the Federation.
** Miral Paris is a Starfleet security officer, which according to the game's conventions means she should be wearing red coloring on her uniform: red is for security and tactical personnel, as well as commanding officers and admirals. For some reason they have her in yellow, which is for operations and engineering specialties (though it included security personnel in the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' timeframe, which was when her mother served as an engineering officer; this is possibly a misplaced use of GenerationXerox). Season 10 makes the same error in the opposite direction by putting Sarish Minna, Deep Space 9's operations officer, in a red security/tactical uniform. Possibly the devs confused the term "operations officer" with the post of "''strategic'' operations officer" held by Worf in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' (for which he wore a red uniform).
* ''VideoGame/CriminalCase'': In Pacific Bay's eighth case, Colonel Spangler wears the insignia of a ''four-star general''.
* ''VideoGame/SabreAceConflictOverKorea'''s North Korean campaign has you flying as a Soviet pilot attached to the North Korean air force from the first days of the UsefulNotes/KoreanWar, but this state of affairs didn't begin in real life until April 1951.


* ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDoctorMcNinja'': Lampshaded when absolutely no attempt is made to accurately depict a submarine's operations.
-->'''Submarine Captain:''' Do all that stuff we have to do to shoot at him and then '''''FIRE TORPEDOES!'''''
** The author says that this is because no matter how much he could have tried to make their actions accurate, ''someone'' would have found something wrong. Besides, the final scene fits [[RuleOfFunny the style of]] [[RuleOfCool the comic better]].


[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The Navy presented in ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales1987'' is rather...unique.
** Donald is addressed as "Seaman Duck," yet wears a (upside down!) petty officer third class crow.
** Admiral Gribbitz seems to be captaining the aircraft carrier (he should be the admiral overall in charge of its battle group, there's no ranked Navy captain to be seen who would normally be the ship's commanding officer).
** Why the hell does an admiral spend so much time with a lowly seaman? Fraternization/Favoritism!
** Aircraft carriers cannot open from the front to take in a submarine. Nor would they have room to put one in.
** It's definitely done for RuleOfFunny, but you can't swab an aircraft carrier flight deck (it's mostly a rough material called nonskid, swabs get stuck to it), nor would you really want to.
** Also, in at least one scene, Donald is PeelingPotatoes on KP as a punishment. [[DeadHorseTrope That isn't done any more.]] Mess halls have more efficient ways to do it nowadays.
** Donald's court martial more resembled a Captain's Mast/Non-Judicial Punishment Hearing (or Admiral's Mast one supposes), and is still pretty off. He had no JAG lawyer present, no JAG judge presiding, no jury. And to nitpick, a trial for treason would probably take over a year to put together, and he would have been put in the brig probably for close to life, not merely busted down and booted from the service.
* The episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' "Simpson Tide" takes Artistic License in ''lots'' of areas, as the show often does, but two examples could probably be chalked up to this Trope. First of all, Barney's mother wouldn't be allowed an assignment on the submarine, as Navy regulations at the time forbid females from doing so. Second, the only way to be dishonorably discharged is to be court martialed, as Homer clearly was not.
* A "wrong rank" version happens in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold.'' The [[DrillSergeantNasty ex-military]] substitute teacher gives his rank as "Lieutenant Major." No such rank exists. Given that a flashback established him as the drill sergeant of Gerald's father in the Vietnam era, he was likely meant to have been a retired Sergeant Major.
* Bill in ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' is supposed to be a sergeant in the Army, with a barber MOS. He has never transferred, deployed, nor does the Army have a barber MOS.
* ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeRenegades''
** The show has people calling Duke "sir", when he's a Sergeant.
** This version of Scarlett is called a "Lieutenant" in the credits and dialogue, but no such rank exists in the U.S. Army. No, not even Army Intelligence, where Scarlett came from. There are 2nd and 1st Lieutenants, but simply "Lieutenant" with no modifier is a ''Navy'' rank. Although, given the aforementioned pronunciation errors, and the informal structure of their group, it was never mentioned if she was first or second lieutenant, and both 2nd and 1st Lieutenants are typically called "Lieutenant" when talking.
** Flint is listed as Warrant Officer in the opening credit sequence but is a Lieutenant in the show. His original rank in RAH was Warrant, so probably a production snafu.
* The original ''[[WesternAnimation/GIJoeARealAmericanHero G.I. Joe]]'' cartoon can go from surprisingly realistic military procedure to outright tomfoolery. Duke or Flint in the first season seem to be almost always in charge, despite being a first sergeant and warrant officer, respectively, with many members of the team outranking them. And Duke is explicitly stated to be higher in the food chain than Flint in Season 2 (at least by then they had a general leading them). Not even getting into how every member of the Joe team can expertly pilot the F-14 expy, among other things.
** This was invoked InUniverse in one episode where Cobra hacked into the D.O.D. computers to elevate [[TechnicalPacifist Lifeline]], [[DidntThinkThisThrough Dial-Tone]] and [[TheSlacker Shipwreck]] to the rank of Colonel (instantly elevating them to just under General Hawk on the chain of command), in order to screw with the Joes' morale and field competence. This openly baffles the Joes they leapt over in rank, including field commander Beach Head:
--->'''Beach Head''': How is this possible? Shipwreck's not even ''in'' the army! Why not [[ScaryBlackMan Roadblock]] or [[AcePilot Slipstream]] or... ME!
** Several members of the Joes sport facial hair (not just the ones who have Navy backgrounds), even though this has been against military regulations for some time. (Blame the action figure line, who did it as a selling point.)
* While almost likely an intentional goof, the ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' miniseries "Imaginationland" had the two Army soldiers in charge of the Stargate spoof simultaneously wearing senior Sergeant patches AND General stars. Sergerals?
* A deliberate example occurred in the 1960's ''WesternAnimation/{{Rocky and Bullwinkle}}'' show. Boris Badenov showed up at an American military compound and tried to seize control based on his seniority, claiming that he was a six star general. When the general in charge showed that he, too, had six stars, Boris responded with "Yes, but yours don't light up". The rest of the base accepted this without question. Nobody points out that there is and has only ever been ''one'' six-star general in the US Army - George Washington, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-star_rank who was given the rank posthumously in 1976]] so that he could outrank officers who held rank of five star general which was created in WWII - which meant that at the time the episode was originally aired, both parties were claiming a rank that didn't even ''exist''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', Colonel Gentleman claims to be former RAF, despite the rank of colonel not existing in the RAF. The equivalent rank is Group Captain.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Birdman}} The Galaxy Trio]]''
** Episode "Versus the Moltens of Meteorus". While Vapor Man is talking with his superior at Intergalactic Security (a military-style organization) he ends a radio conversation (where he received the message) by saying "Over and out".
** Episode "Galaxy Trio and the Sleeping Planet". When an Intergalactic Headquarters radio officer receives a signal he concludes the transmission with "Over and out", and when Meteor Man receives a transmission from Intergalactic Headquarters he does the same thing.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Birdman}}'' episode "Professor Nightshade". A U.S. military officer addressed as "Admiral" is clearly wearing an Army uniform.
* ''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).