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Old 09-10-2008, 04:16 AM
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Default Where are all the PFCs?

weswood 08-30-2008, 08:07 AM One thing I've noticed is that most characters are at least an E-5. As best as I remember, there are 8-10 E-3s and below per E-5, and 2 or 3 E-4s. Most PCs are 30+ years old, but the bulk of the military is made up of 19 & 20 year olds.


Where are they all???????

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Targan 08-30-2008, 08:27 AM NPCs in my experience

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bigehauser 08-30-2008, 08:58 AM Ah yes...the big flaw I never forget...


I REALLY hope this is fixed in T2K13


I being a recently promoted Specialist in the real Amurrrrcan Army can attest that I was a Private for 18 months...and you are right...where did they all go? that is the thing though...unless you are a first term character who didn't get promoted to Specialist or Corporal(which from what I remember is impossible), and started the war...you would most likely be a higher rank.


Time in service for automatic Specialist is 24 months unless adverse action is evident. There is your answer.


For the Marine Corps, it may take longer due to the fact that their lower ranks hold higher responsibility than a few ranks higher in the Army. This is due to their numbers being much smaller.


Hope this helps.


-Hauser

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thefusilier 08-30-2008, 09:36 AM Yeah, a big annoyance for me with the rules. My online game is so top heavy due to the nature of the char gen. Its a dozen guys with seven or eight sergeants - and the officers. Hard to explain that when you don't want to have to mess around with a big load of NPCs.

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Mohoender 08-30-2008, 09:59 AM Yeah, a big annoyance for me with the rules. My online game is so top heavy due to the nature of the char gen. Its a dozen guys with seven or eight sergeants - and the officers. Hard to explain that when you don't want to have to mess around with a big load of NPCs.


Reduce the length of the military terms and you'll avoid that problem. The 4 years term was inspired by the length of civilian studies but military training is much more intense (it can easily be reduced to a one year term for soldiers and to a two years term for officers).


While in the field (or for subsequent terms), the regular term could be one year for both soldiers and officers. Just adjust it to the time length you are using and use the background sheet to help you. Pay attention not to allow too much terms but that shouldn't be a problem as the war is supposed to have started only 4/5 years ago (1996-2000 roughly). Moreover, your players didn't have to come with the first draft and they might not be in Europe since the beginning. I hope I'm clear.


I don't know how it works in US but in France you can be called back until 45. In the case of Twilight you will certainly have troopers in their fourties with quite some civilian training. If war was starting today, I would be a 38 years old trooper. Moreover when things are turning sour, countries draft about anything and you can even have 60 years old soldiers (I wouldn't know how to play it so).

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chico20854 08-30-2008, 10:09 AM A few factors to explain the lack of PFC's:


1) in Europe at least there isn't much intake of new recruits, who are the lower ranking soldiers. So as time goes by and soldiers hit their regular promotion dates they get the promotion, even if there isn't a job for them to go in. (In the US Army you are, or at least used to be, allowed to work in a job authorized at 2 ranks above or one rank below your actual rank).


2) due to losses, soldiers are promoted to fill empty positions. So, possibly, when a platoon goes from 35-50 soldiers to 15, the 15 soldiers fill the one officer and all the NCO jobs (PSG, Squad leaders, Team leaders), leaving only a handful of privates. If the platoon is brought up to strength with foreign troops, the American troops might retain the leadership positions so that American troops aren't taking orders from foreigners (silly but a real concern).


3) when deploying (or in combat) soldiers are promoted quicker. When my National Guard battalion deployed over 40% of its soldiers (including me!) received a promotion as of the mobilization date. Once in a combat zone, sympathetic leaders might give promotions out like candy, figuring that if Private Smith has a short life expectancy (like his predecessors Private Williams, Private Jones, Private Black and Private Harrison did), he might as well die a Specialist rather than a PFC, so that Mrs. Smith and little Baby Smith get an extra $500 in death benefit and $150 a month in extra pay until that tragic time.


4) Maybe PFCs, being less experienced and doing more front-line jobs, get killed quicker. During the fall of 1944 in Western Europe, some experienced American infantrymen didn't bother to learn new replacements' names until they'd lived through a few firefights...


and finally, when expanding the Army, some soldiers that were working in military jobs analagous to their civilian jobs (ie a construction foreman going to a construction engineer unit) would get direct appointment to an appropriate NCO or officer rank.


But yes I agree it is a major flaw of the character generation system, that it tends to encourage the creation of special operations officers (very rare IRL) and discourage the E-3 and E-4s that make up the bulk of the army!

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bigehauser 08-30-2008, 10:33 AM (In the US Army you are, or at least used to be, allowed to work in a job authorized at 2 ranks above or one rank below your actual rank).



Haha....yeah just a while back I was doing the job of a Staff Sergeant as a PV2, and then PFC.


-Hauser

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Targan 08-30-2008, 10:39 AM Reduce the length of the military terms and you'll avoid that problem.In the system we use for my campaign character generation is calculated year by year after high school (or equivalent). Very detailed, it gives characters real background depth and has resulted is some interesting skill mixes.

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Mohoender 08-30-2008, 10:40 AM A few factors to explain the lack of PFC's:


1) in Europe at least there isn't much intake of new recruits, who are the lower ranking soldiers. So as time goes by and soldiers hit their regular promotion dates they get the promotion, even if there isn't a job for them to go in. (In the US Army you are, or at least used to be, allowed to work in a job authorized at 2 ranks above or one rank below your actual rank).




If I refer to the canon I think reinforcement are sent until late in the war. Why wouldn't have that much intake of new recruits? It stops in 1999 but what about before that.


What you say about the US army and ranks is true for the other armies of Europe I'm familiar with.


By the way is always your groups made of US soldiers?

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simonmark6 08-30-2008, 10:48 AM Strange, I'm toying with running a Twilight Game on RPOL where the players are all PFCs who were press ganged from a refugee camp on the East Coast in the last round of CIVGOV replacements, they'd all be between 15 and 19 and way out of their depth. I saw it as an antidote to all the Special Forces that seem to be running around in Poland but I wasn't sure if it would appeal to T2K players as they'd be the little fish in a very dangerous pond.


I even went through the process of having High School Archetypes to develop the characters and advancement that took them through the Refugee Camp, to a shortened Basic and then on to Germany and finally the front line. I tried to keep the Generation close to T2K rules (a few more skills, obviously) but also simple because I have a feeling that if players played the Kid PFCs like they play normally there'd be a hig turnover rate, in fact, we might well get the veterans not bothering to learn the FNG's name until they were sure they'd live long enough to make it worthwhile.

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pmulcahy 08-30-2008, 01:02 PM Time in service for automatic Specialist is 24 months unless adverse action is evident. There is your answer.



-Hauser


May not be true anymore, but you can make specialist in 4 months if you have a college degree, and Sergeant in a year -- I got Specialist in 5 months and Sergeant after a year and a half. I don't see how a history degree made me eligible for early promotion, but I didn't argue...

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bigehauser 08-30-2008, 01:13 PM May not be true anymore, but you can make specialist in 4 months if you have a college degree, and Sergeant in a year -- I got Specialist in 5 months and Sergeant after a year and a half. I don't see how a history degree made me eligible for early promotion, but I didn't argue...


I am simply going off of current standards(I read it on the policy letters at BN HQ...heh heh).


Also note that I was drawing off of what it would be for a high school graduate with no previous job or education experience other than just the afore mentioned.

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pmulcahy 08-30-2008, 01:20 PM A few factors to explain the lack of PFC's:


1) (In the US Army you are, or at least used to be, allowed to work in a job authorized at 2 ranks above or one rank below your actual rank).



That's not only allowed -- in my experience, it's often the case! That's the "Hollow Army" -- lots of young enlisted and officers, a good number of senior NCOs and officers, and nowhere near enough mid-rank troops in between.

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Raellus 08-30-2008, 03:46 PM I had a PC in Chalkline's PbP who was a PFC well into his second term. He kept getting busted back down to private for various reasons. This was by choice, though, as part of his backstory explaining his unpredictable and sometimes insubordinate behavior. If I'd gone with the actual promotion rolls made during char-gen, he would have been a Sgt., at least.


Also, if one chooses to play a local conscripted into the ranks of the U.S. Army- perhaps a former enemy combatant- they probably wouldn't be allowed to keep the rank they held in their first army. For example, if a Polish or Soviet Sgt. deserts/defects and is absorbed into a NATO army, they'd most likely have to start back at the bottom of the ladder as a private. It'd be a question both of trust and of having to learn the ropes in an essentially foreign army.


Overall, I think that Chico did a pretty good job of justifying the paucity of PFCs in the U.S. Army c. T2K.

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Raellus 08-30-2008, 04:53 PM I guess that my last couple of points were actually reason to encounter more PFCs in the T2K world. Here's a couple more.


After the sh*t really hits the fan in '97, book-keeping and paper work would probably be adversely affected, and promotions that are automatic or routine in peace time or in a more conventional (i.e. non-nuclear) war might be postponed, sometimes indefinately.


After the TDM, a lot of clerks and pencil pushers would find themselves trading in their No. 2 penciles for M-16A2s and becoming riflemen. With the downsizing in the army bureaucracy, promotions might occur less frequently.

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Law0369 08-30-2008, 06:01 PM For the Marine Corps, it may take longer due to the fact that their lower ranks hold higher responsibility than a few ranks higher in the Army. This is due to their numbers being much smaller.



Well young man let me teach you a lesson from the local marines>>>>>



I have been around a while and I respect all here on this board so i will go slow with you.


We are much smaller? We have 202K in the US Marines but deploy about 60% of the combat power to CENTCOM right now. That means we are about 30% of the army doing about twice their job.


On the Infantry side of the house. We have 13 Man squads by TO/E run by E-5 sergeants. While you have 9 man squads run by E-6 Staff sergeants by TO/E. Now I know this is not always the case but promotions are based on this system so it matches up the numbers.


So in the end the Marines do more with less and have slower promotions with greater responsibility at lower ranks.


I was once at the US embassy in Albania in 1997 "Operation Silver Wake". The army was coming in to replace us from Italy. (173d Airborne Brigade at the time called lion’s brigade). There Col. came in and asked who was in charge and I told him I was (E-5 Sergeant 5 years EXP) I told him it was the day time no action and that the Co Commander and the two Platoon commanders were sleeping and that he was late and they went to bed and I was to tour him around. At the end of the tour he told me that he was amazed by me being in charge. I told him" Sir you have the same great Americans in your unit that we have all you have to do is give them the chance to fuck up and they will kick ass." He left with a smile on his face.

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pmulcahy 08-30-2008, 06:10 PM "Where have all

the PFC's gone...

Long time passing..."


Sorry, couldn't resist...

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Hangfire7 08-30-2008, 07:38 PM Well, Chico said everything in a much better manner than I could. So, to that I say,


"Ditto!"


As to what Law says, yep, pretty much. However, it also depends on the situation. An example, the early 90s LOL promotions! What are those? Durring a DRAW DOWN LOL ROFL!!!!!!


However, in a T2K event, where forces are expanding, well you would have personel picking up promotions to fill billets in the expanded or newly raised units.


However, There is a finite height a person can rise in rank that will be allowed. In the T2K World, I can see people being promoted for valor and taking charge and such in leu of other awards or rewards. Also, with the merging of units or stragglers well you can have a glut of NCO's and non rates with rank.


Remember, rank usualy goes with the billet, but not always so. And in the T2K world, well with limited personel and rank given as an atta boy then yeah, I can see it.


Now onto gamming, I hate having rank as a PC. That means you have to follow the rules and be part of "the system." I much preffer being a specialist or a PFC or a Pvt second award. Because in gamming like in real life the lower the rank you are, the more crap you can get away with. "The Pvt Don't know sir" can save your ass. Let a Gunny try that?


As a GM, I basicaly limit my PCs stating No one over E-4 or E-5 without prior aproval. And certainly no SF types which people then try to sneak in Rangers and always friggin Marine Snipers! ARGH!!! So, basicaly those are not allowed unless it is a special ops game, OR, they are a proven player who is mature enough to handle such a powerful character. And that pretty much solves the issue.

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weswood 08-30-2008, 08:35 PM Wow, lots of responses.


Here's some of my thoughts & experiences:

I thought I was misreading the ranks when I first read Blackhawk Down and the squad leaders were SSgts. Most of my time in the Corps was in the Air Wing, but I also did 2 years active reserves in an infantry battalion. SSgts are platoon sergeants, Sergeants are squad leaders. I was a Corporal when I joined the Reserves, and before I picked up Sgt, our Hq platoon sergeant was often "too busy" to take the platoon during formations, so he shoved the job on me. Not that is was much of a job; mainly making sure everyone was accounted for and fed, and representing the plt in meetings. During Desert Storm, I had a Gunny over me in the S-4, but I did most of the work, I was the go-to guy for the company.


I've only played 3 games of T2K; my first was a FtF, I played a Marine helo pilot with some kick ass martial arts and flying skills. Couldn't do much more than that though. My 1st PbP game (KC's) was a Marine Embassy/Infantry Sgt. In Rae's current game, my character is a Navy SEAL Corpsman. The party had one medic type who was wounded when I joined, so I went with a corpsman. We're playing the Pirates of the Vistula, so I thought a SEAL- lots of boat and swimming skills would be helpful. He's got decent combat skills, but there's a lot of people better on the boat.


To me, it kind of makes sense to have at least some SF types in a party. They may not be as numerous as other types (Infantry, Support, etc) but they would probably have more experience sneaking around NOT getting killed. Maybe that's where all the PFC's have gone, tried to sneak past some eagle eyed Russian.


On the other hand, if I can ever put together some local players, they're going to be draftees from the last reinforcements sent to Europe, so they'll be mostly lower ranks. Like Hangfire says, if the player is mature enough, maybe I'll let them run a SF or Ranger type.


And LAW, take it easy on the ARMY, they can't help it if they're goofy

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Hangfire7 08-30-2008, 08:58 PM Wes, your time sounds like my career, I think we had the same staff NCOs as it sunds


As for the whole SF thing, really the ones who want to be one of those tend to be 16 year old kids who want to be a SF Colonel with a pair of Desert Eagle .50s on the hips and they are packing a Barret Light .50 ARGH!!!! And thats where I got that rule.


As for the Army, lol, well as I said once, "Not everyone can be a Marine"


Wes, obviously you haven't been around the right kind of Infantrymen. It is the SF types who are ultra gung-ho. It is the regular infantry types who well as the Duke said as his incanrnation of Sgt Striker,


"Sit down, if yer nervous, count yer toes. I'll do the masterminding around here."


Or the Forrest Tuker character, "This is a nice safe place."


Remember a regular grunts mindset is,


Sleep, Food and then more sleep and food with the intermittent tought of women. And the enemy and destroying him is just an obstacle that one must remove to acheive those ends


Thus, why on earth would a PFC <as Van johnson said in Battleground, "I'm no Sgt Sir, I'm a PFC, praying for civilian." > want to risk things beyond what he has to and have the possibility of having any after market holes when it is just no called for. Again, thats what the SF types love to do.


Now, if one interupts the three things a grunt holds sacred, well then you have a problem, as you are again an obstacle to them and must be removed.


Ah, the life of my mispent youth, a simplier happier time :cells:

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weswood 08-30-2008, 09:47 PM Wes, obviously you haven't been around the right kind of Infantrymen. It is the SF types who are ultra gung-ho.




I don't know- my father retired in about '78 when I was 15. 101st AB most of his career, Jumpmaster at Ft Benning for a while.


I grew up knowing how to say "Yessir" before I could say Daddy; I thought the jump school was my personal playground until I was 12; and Pop was teaching me about hasty ambushes and how to patrol in the woods as soon as I could keep both ends of a rifle off the ground.


His medal rack is ridicoulous- Silver Star, 5 Bronze Stars with a V for valor (If I'm reading this right, got a V and four repeats), 3 Purple Hearts, and pile of crap I don't recognize.

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bigehauser 08-30-2008, 10:13 PM So in the end the Marines do more with less and have slower promotions with greater responsibility at lower ranks.



That is in essence the point I was making...I didn't mean to offend anybody...I kinda said what you just did in different words: You do more with lower ranks because your numbers are smaller...therefore the pool of people to promote is much smaller, and so rank can be harder to attain.


-Hauser

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Raellus 08-30-2008, 10:33 PM To me, it kind of makes sense to have at least some SF types in a party. They may not be as numerous as other types (Infantry, Support, etc) but they would probably have more experience sneaking around NOT getting killed. Maybe that's where all the PFC's have gone, tried to sneak past some eagle eyed Russian.



I used to really dislike the idea of SOF types in T2K. In some cases, they seem way overpowered skills-wise plus they almost always have the authority of at least non-com rank. I think that this fact alone may discourage some players from choosing to play a one term PFC type.


I mean, why would you want to be the only player in the game who's PC misses most of their shots (not as many skills) and has to follow everyone else's orders. Unless one happens to be a glutton for punishment, it kind of forces one to add terms (and rank) to build skills and achieve at least something resembling parity.


I have found, however, that in the POV campaign, the river tug with her various HMGs, AGLs, and whatnot, seems to be a great equalizer. Any non-SOF PC with high autogun or heavy artillery skill is just as "powerful", if not moreso, than any of the SOF PCs.


I guess if you have a vehicle like a Bradley or something with heavy armament, the skilled PC crewmembers are often more dangerous than your 4 term Delta Force Operator.

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GOF 08-30-2008, 11:37 PM I always thought of the game as a post-apocalypse survival game and figured that the reason so many lower ranks dont exist is because they didnt have the skills to survive.

The higher ranks had more experience and therefore better skills and so a better chance at staying alive

Never saw the attraction in having military command survive well enough to still play an active part in the player's lives.

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Hangfire7 08-31-2008, 12:01 AM Simple, the survivors who were the suriving PFCs got promoted to replace the SSGTs and Gunnys who were killed. However, the PFCs also were killed so there is a pretty small pool of PFCs which gets smaller as their best are selected to replace the leadership billets that are now empty.


Thus there are two things taking away the PFCs, combat operations and promotion.


Or, maybe the PFCs just weren't as committed to the conflict and they drifted off somewhere with the farmers daughter, or just found their way home. <I wrote it in jest but the essence I do mean> they settled down or decided they had had enough and went home since if someone is a PFC that usualy means they do not have a career in the military and they do not have the mindset. After all what is the average age of a PFC?


Hauser! How are you son? I recall how old I was, 19. And with four years of fighting, okay 23. Now, gentelmen, lets all hop on the way back machine and remember what your priorities at 19-23 where?


Mine, Kill RUSSIANS! The evil red menace! And women Mmmmmmmmm soft, warm, sweet smelling with long hair and warm eyes. I mean come on after living at sea, in open squadbays and assorted holes in numerous jungles and snowcaves or deserts with nothing but foul smelling foul humored dudes well you all can understand why.


And another factor. PFCs are the lead element they usualy get hurt on a higher ratio than the Staff NCOs. And again, the survivors of the PFCs will have some become NCOs. But, the PFCs by the time we start our games <well most> their aren't any new PFCs unless its people earning it for the second or third time. But, again the broken record, we have PFCs becoming NCOs.


So to put it so a child could understand,


The PFC Factory is closed. The NCO Factory is still up and running.

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bigehauser 08-31-2008, 01:26 AM The PFC Factory is closed. The NCO Factory is still up and running.


PRICELESS

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copeab 08-31-2008, 02:08 AM One thing I've noticed is that most characters are at least an E-5. As best as I remember, there are 8-10 E-3s and below per E-5, and 2 or 3 E-4s. Most PCs are 30+ years old, but the bulk of the military is made up of 19 & 20 year olds.


Where are they all???????


I think this is really only an issue in games where there is a solid command structure left. In the games I prefer rank is irrelevant.


It's also somewhat a function of most players wanting to play multi-term militarcy characters, not civilians drafted into the war (although that doesn't guarantee they enter play as a PFC).


Brandon

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Hangfire7 08-31-2008, 02:28 AM One futhter reason why we don't see many PFCs,


They are all on working parties with so many Senior NCOs around the handful of non rates are so buisy racking dirt and painting rocks you never see them. And those who are not kept buisy, are hidding in at the snack shack.

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Targan 09-01-2008, 12:08 AM Also, if one chooses to play a local conscripted into the ranks of the U.S. Army- perhaps a former enemy combatant- they probably wouldn't be allowed to keep the rank they held in their first army. For example, if a Polish or Soviet Sgt. deserts/defects and is absorbed into a NATO army, they'd most likely have to start back at the bottom of the ladder as a private. It'd be a question both of trust and of having to learn the ropes in an essentially foreign army.In my campaign Major Po's unit allowed a Ukranian POW to join them (he's still with the party after they went back to the CONUS) and they made him start over in rank.

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bigehauser 09-01-2008, 12:19 AM In my campaign Major Po's unit allowed a Ukranian POW to join them (he's still with the party after they went back to the CONUS) and they made him start over in rank.


On the flipside, a character in my Florida game is also a Warsaw Pact Soldier now conscripted into the US Army as a Private; however, he on the other hand wants to go to America, the big USA! Hotdogs, hamburgers, big busted women, budweiser(when it was still American, might I add), and all that other jazz that will probably be turned to ash once he gets there.


-Hauser

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smokewolf 09-01-2008, 07:17 AM Ah yes...the big flaw I never forget...


I REALLY hope this is fixed in T2K13


-Hauser


I thought everyone wanted to start out as Lt. Ranger Delta Force Navy SEALS Snipers.

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akula_au 09-01-2008, 06:26 PM I thought everyone wanted to start out as Lt. Ranger Delta Force Navy SEALS Snipers.


You forgot chopper pilot, martial arts expert, fencing champions....

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Snake Eyes 09-01-2008, 11:20 PM You forgot chopper pilot, martial arts expert, fencing champions....


It could happen.

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Hangfire7 09-02-2008, 01:58 AM It could happen.



Hell yeah!


I am or have been taking Brazillian Jujitsu and a little Krav Maga although not in some months and always wanted to take Fencing a freind and I always talk about taking it, we find a place poof we are there.


As for Helicopter hell yeah, I get the time after med school I am getting my pilots liscence it isn't that hard, almost had it back in CAP back in the day.


So it is certainly doable.

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