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The BSG TOE and Military Q&A


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#1

amitskaw

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Posted Jan 26, 2005 @ 5:01 PM

TOE is "Table of Organization and Equipment" and is one of the documents stating how a military force is to be organized. How many planes, how many pilots, how many people in the ground crew, and on and on and on. In a bit I'll try and dig up some examples and post a link. Questions like "What does CAG stand for" and "What's the CIC" are what this is for.

Since two such question have come up in rapid succession, I'll answer them here, and then leave off:

The CIC is the combat information center, it is the room in which information about the battle is collected, and it is a principle place from which any battle will be directed; on BG it seems to also include the functions of a ships bridge, which is the location from which a ship is driven. This strikes me as very reasonable for a ship in space.

CAG stands for Commander Air Group. While the Colonial the Colonial Fleet TOE (Table of Orginization and Equipment) remains a deep, dark mystery which we might hope to solve here, in Western navies (which BG more than a little resembles) the CAG commands the embarked air wing, and is a peer of (rather than subordinate too) the skipper of the carrier.

[Edited to add: Strega, is there anyway you, or someone else, can fix that "your"? Sorry. Homonyms are my natural predator]

Edited by amitskaw, Jan 26, 2005 @ 5:05 PM.


#2

Lila

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Posted Jan 26, 2005 @ 5:45 PM

Done. I made it "BG TOE" so it wouldn't be quite so long. Plus, it's rhyme-y.

On the show, the XO seems to be sort of a mediator in military decisions affecting both the air wing and the carrier -- which it seems like you'd need, but what do I know? Does that correspond to the modern navy? Or am I imagining the whole thing?

#3

TGC-64

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Posted Jan 26, 2005 @ 5:55 PM

There's a great resourse availble on understanding how a USN carrier battle-group is organized at http://www.fas.org/i.../rfs/index.html . It's a little dated but it gets the high points, written for Reserve Officers reporting on-board for their duty-tours. It even has ship-board etiquette and what-to-pack.

GlobalSecurity.Org also has pages and pages of informations for those who might want to poke-about. http://globalsecurit.../navy/intro.htm

Current USN military doctrine has the Carrier's Captain and the CAG as co-equals reporting to the strike-force's commanding Admiral. The Carrier XO (usually of the rank of Captain) runs the ship-side of the day-to-day operations.

Edited by TGC-64, Jan 26, 2005 @ 6:01 PM.


#4

Benito

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Posted Jan 26, 2005 @ 6:30 PM

We've also met the Landing Signal Officer (LSO). In the miniseries his name was Captain Kelly. He's the guy who was questioning Adama about Tigh's fitness for command.

Like the CAG, this also is a real wet-navy position.

Also, as far as CIC goes, (reasonably minor spoiler follows)in a later episode there's a scene where Adama and company, in the midst of a battle, clearly change rooms between one with tactical displays and another where they give the ship movement commands. This seems to argue that there's either a CIC, or at least a battle briefing room of some type which is somewhat seperate from the bridge.

Edited by Benito, Jan 27, 2005 @ 8:01 AM.


#5

ersatzreality

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Posted Jan 26, 2005 @ 7:07 PM

A less-detailed but still fun description of a USN carrier strike group is on the Navy page.

#6

Tanker

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Posted Jan 26, 2005 @ 9:24 PM

I'll take a shot at the rank structure.

amitskaw said over in the nitpicking thread:

I thought I caught railroad tracks on the back of Starbuck's helmet during "Bastile Day", just as a data point. Maybe they're some kind of integrated service, kind of like the Candian Forces?


Could be. The odd mix of army-style and navy-style ranks could be a result of Joint doctrine gone horribly wrong, resulting in a unified rank structure designed to confuse everyone (grin).

What we desparately need from the show's PTB is a table of rank insignia. Well, I deparately need one. I have a thing for rank tables. Ahem.

I had typed a lot more, but I found myself going in circles trying to figure out how a Commander can outrank a Colonel, and gave up. At least one other Marine had those two white bars on his helmet, by the way.

#7

Warden

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Posted Jan 26, 2005 @ 9:40 PM

Helo who's stuck on Caprica referred to himself to Boomer as her ECO which I think means Electronic Combat Officer since he ran some controls in the back of the Raptor. Either that or it could be Equipment Control Officer.

What we desparately need from the show's PTB is a table of rank insignia. Well, I deparately need one. I have a thing for rank tables. Ahem.

Seconded.

Edited by Warden, Jan 26, 2005 @ 9:41 PM.


#8

rackstraw

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Posted Jan 26, 2005 @ 9:48 PM

The odd mix of army-style and navy-style ranks could be a result of Joint doctrine gone horribly wrong, resulting in a unified rank structure designed to confuse everyone (grin).


I'll buy that. I have a tough enough time trying to keep the Army and Air Force acronyms straight at the Pentagon...

Maybe Galactica is a combination of an aircraft carrier and amphibious assault ship - more analogous to what the USN and USMC are doing with the Expeditionary Strike Group concept:
http://www.globalsec...cy/navy/esg.htm

The ship certainly looks large enough to carry both her fighter wing and troops, and the hints at unrest on Sagittarion (President 'Stands with Dri-Erase Marker' mentioned President Adar sending in the Marines at the end of "33") certainly indicate a need for some sort of assault capability for the Colonial Navy.

#9

ctcasares

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Posted Jan 26, 2005 @ 10:04 PM

Strega
I made it "BG TOE" so it wouldn't be quite so long. Plus, it's rhyme-y.



Rhyme-y? I was pronouncing it "big toe"!

Thanks for this extrememly useful thread, though. I couldn't quite figure out the CIC acronym.

#10

teflon

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 12:34 AM

A word or acronym I've heard a few times on BG is pronounced something like "draedus". It appears to be referencing thair radar-like system. Anyone know what the word actually is, and what it refers to?

#11

Endi

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 2:01 AM

Thanks for this! I'd sort of had CIC figured out, but the whole might-also-just-be-the-bridge thing had me confused. But since it's all still sort of a combat situation anyway, it makes more sense to me now that I look at it. Man, as if I ever needed reason #865 not to join the military, it would be my complete inability to be down with rank, protocol, and acronymns/abbreviations.

#12

Nuallain

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 3:51 AM

I think the thing with the CIC is that it would (as far as I can make out) be used primarily when leading a Battlestar Group into battle. Since the Galactica doesn't have a carrier group anymore (unless, you know, Adama wants to start issuing orders like "Astral Queen, you fly up to the Cylons, go boogedy boogedy boo, and run away real fast") and really just needs to direct itself, the bridge is pretty much all they need.

#13

akg

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 9:03 AM

A word or acronym I've heard a few times on BG is pronounced something like "draedus".


The closed captioning spells it as dradis. I'm not sure what it is either. Google just gives me a list of BSG sites where people are trying to guess a definition.

#14

thingamajig

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 9:45 AM

It's their sensor/radar type system, right? At first I thought it was the name of a ship, but every ship seems to have a dradis (DRADIS?). It seems like it must be an acronym, but I have no idea what for.

Edited by thingamajig, Jan 27, 2005 @ 9:45 AM.


#15

TGC-64

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 12:34 PM

GlobalSecurity.Org has the same problems we do with how things are "organized".

"... Land lubbers accustomed to the admirable clarity of the organization of the United States Air Force, or the slight quirkiness of the organization of the United States Army, will be quickly alarmed and bewildered by what claims to pass for the "organization" of the United States Navy. Indeed, those not of a naval persuasion may be surprised to learn that the Navy is "organized" at all, in that units intermediate between numbered fleets and individual ships so rarely figure in public accounts of naval activities. And the more that one learns of US Navy "organization" the less it is understood, given the bizarre diversity and inconsistency of unit designations. One source of this confusion is the distinction between tactical and administrative chains of command, while additional obscurity derives from individual commanders wearing multiple hats in various chains of command. "

This topic should be fun.....


DRAEDUS might be a deep-space version of the USN's AEGIS radar-aircombat system. (Hint: AEGIS is not an DoD acronym. Aegis was the armored-cloak worn by Zues and Athena, spun of Gold in the form of a goatskin, with the Gorgon's head as it's clasp.)

Edited by TGC-64, Jan 27, 2005 @ 12:38 PM.


#16

Avery

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 12:54 PM

(Hint: AEGIS is not an DoD acronym. Aegis was the armored-cloak worn by Zues and Athena, spun of Gold in the form of a goatskin, with the Gorgon's head as it's clasp.)

I always thought that the Aegis was the shield of Zeus, usually lent out to Athena, and briefly lent to Perseus. Medeusa's poor head decorated it after Athena got the shield back from Perseus.

Kind of how this website describes it.

Anyway, with all BG's pseudo-Greek mythology allusions, it wouldn't surprise me had they used "AEGIS" for such a thing, particularly when there's already a real world counterpart. So I'd assumed that "dradis" was something else.

#17

adonis

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 1:23 PM

I googled "dradis" as well and found that it is a surname. The country it originates from, I am not sure of.

#18

BigFire

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 2:20 PM

Found this in IMDB Trivia page for the mini-series:

According to the official website, the officer ranks in the Colonial fleet are: Ensign, Lieutenant j.g., Lieutenant, Captain, Colonel, Commander, Admiral. There are also Colonial Marines, but their rank structure is unknown (they have not as yet appeared onscreen).



#19

wombathefool

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 4:10 PM

But the Doctor referred to in the last ep was a Major, so I think such lists are at best incomplete.

#20

mcathy

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 4:13 PM

According to the official website, the officer ranks in the Colonial fleet are: Ensign, Lieutenant j.g., Lieutenant, Captain, Colonel, Commander, Admiral. There are also Colonial Marines, but their rank structure is unknown


There aren't any colonels or majors in the USN. It goes ensign, j.g., lieutenant, lt. commander, commander, captain, then admirals.

Edited by mcathy, Jan 27, 2005 @ 4:14 PM.


#21

Benito

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 8:01 PM

I don't believe Bigfire claimed the quote was about the USN.

We can't really put this on Ron Moore and company either. The ranks were very central to the original show, and while they dumped a lot of the baggage of the original, I think they felt it somewhat essential to keep Adama as a "Commander", because it had become somewhat emblematic to call him that. From that I suppose it made sense to keep Tigh as a Colonel and so on, because that use of "Commander" was already nonsense. Glen A. Larson is to blame! Yup!

And actually "Major" does seem to have gotten lost. I mean Glen Larson was already pilfering multiple military services, so I wonder why "Major" got the boot.

#22

Tanker

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 10:21 PM

If the quote about the rank structure pans out, then the two bars on Starbuck's helmet were indeed the correct rank, if the Colonials use US Navy tactical insignia (a variant of the "brass" insignia they wear on the khaki uniform collar. Which is the same as the other services' regular insignia, but completely different from the stripe-based insignia on the dress blue uniform sleeves, thus requiring each sailor to memorize two different insignia for each officer rank. It's not just a job, it's a giant headache). Or it could have been a coincidence.

And actually "Major" does seem to have gotten lost. ...so I wonder why "Major" got the boot.

There's a military joke there somewhere, but I can't quite think of it. Anyway, could the doctor be a Marine doctor? Maybe the Marines have Majors. The Navy probably got rid of it (assuming for the moment that the list above is complete) to avoid things like "Major Payne" or "Major Major."

#23

BigFire

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Posted Jan 27, 2005 @ 11:51 PM

And actually "Major" does seem to have gotten lost. I mean Glen Larson was already pilfering multiple military services, so I wonder why "Major" got the boot.


Following the logic, Major should be a rank between Captain & Colonel.

#24

jharrell

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Posted Jan 28, 2005 @ 1:59 AM

My gut feeling is that DRADIS is just RADAR spelled sideways. There are a number of little things about the show that send the message, "They're just like us, only different." Instead of RADAR they have DRADIS. Instead of radio, they have wireless. Instead of "november" and "charlie," they have "nebula" and "constellation." Instead of "mayday" they have "crypter."

(I'm not saying that DRADIS works just like RADAR only with a different name. The inner workings could depend on modulated neutrino emissions or Einstein-Rosen particle pairs or the moral power of virginity for all I know. I'm just saying that our word for "machine that sees far for us" is "RADAR" while their word for the same thing is "DRADIS.")

#25

ersatzreality

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Posted Jan 28, 2005 @ 9:23 AM

I have to agree that DRADIS is sideways RADAR - maybe something like Distant Ranging And Detection Information System.

#26

Meggrs

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Posted Jan 28, 2005 @ 1:19 PM

The inner workings could depend on modulated neutrino emissions or Einstein-Rosen particle pairs or the moral power of virginity for all I know.


Snerk. Now that would make for some interesting conflict.

#27

Cantab

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Posted Jan 28, 2005 @ 3:00 PM

Instead of radio, they have wireless.

A small nitpick but we use the term wireless for radio as well. Though admittedly it's not incredibly common. Also, given how they've been treating the communication equipment on the ships (one way telegram-like communications over long distances, voice coms over short, and no communication after jumping away from the fleet) it looks very much like they're trying to be consistent with using a lightspeed limited electro-magnetic wave for communication.

#28

RTOlson

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Posted Jan 29, 2005 @ 3:07 AM

In "Act of Contrition" Apollo says he's got 40 surviving Vipers (and 21 pilots). Does that fit into the context of this thread (which seems to be about military organization)?

Also in the episode, Starbuck makes references to LSOs (during her story about Cmdr. Adama's 1,000 landing) and meatballs (when trying to help the nugget land). The former presumably stands for Landing Signal Officer (as the one who would guide the Vipers to a safe landing) and meatballs as the signal that Vipers follow to the landing area. Seems pretty conforming to U.S. Navy stuff to me.

#29

lidja

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Posted Jan 29, 2005 @ 1:42 PM

It took me awhile to figure it out, but when Apollo says we have only 21 pilots, we don't have enough to fly the CAP, he means Combat Air Patrol right?

#30

jharrell

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Posted Jan 29, 2005 @ 1:50 PM

Of course, that's 39 surviving Vipers now, isn't it?