Friday, September 15, 2017

German generals get themselves a seat upgrade on government planes through sheer serendipity

Note: The news reported in Frankfurter Allgemeine today can only surprise people who have never worked in large organizations where the RIP principle (Rank has Its Privileges) applies. So, enjoy.

The facts are simple enough:
1. The German government has a fleet of aircraft that members of the government, the German president, and high ranking members of the federal parliament use for official business.
2. The fleet belongs to the German defense department.
3. General officers (generals, admirals) are not entitled to using these aircraft, except when a craft conducts a training flight and a general officer happens to need to go where the plane flies.

In other words, item 3 makes German generals mere governmental hitchhikers.

For example, one of the valiant defenders of German freedom, as well as ours as part of NATO, wakes up in the morning and finds he needs to go to Afghanistan, he calls up the fleet people to find if a government plane just happens to go there.

Or to Paris, or London, or some similar remote fighting location.

If so, he can hitch a ride.

And if not?

Well, that's where "RIP" comes in.

Of course, you have already figured out what the hitchhiking provision really achieves, right? 

Say, a German general, let's call him Alert for the sake of a cheap joke, needs to fly to New York. General Alert asks his ADC to organize the flight. The ADC will send an email to fleet management to ask if they would like to schedule a training flight to New York.

Fleet management, knowing full well that any email which starts with "the General would be happy if" is really an order, will do its best to make the improbable happen.

Oh, the general needs to leave on July 3rd at 8 AM and return on July 12th at 5 PM?*


What a coincidence, we will have a training flight to New York on July 3rd at 8, with the return on July 12th at 5. Will that be convenient?

This is how German generals roll, or fly, for that matter.

Now, a pesky newspaper finds out that German general officers routinely arrange "training flights" to satisfy their airborne needs.

And also to overcome the feeling of being the underlings of civilians, who - let's face it - shouldn't get to fly for free on planes that really belong to the military anyway, right?

Will Germany's brave heroes have to revert to hitchhiking after being outed by the press?

Most certainly not. This news will be forgotten in 24 hours, and Germany's finest will get to enjoy the privileges that come with their rank.

* Please note that this is not a literal quote. Germans don't use AM and PM.

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