Post by J. Clarke Post by firstname.lastname@example.org Post by David Johnston Post by Dimensional Traveler Post by David Johnston Post by Dimensional Traveler
And they can become capable of participating in the political process
any time they wish to. Just serve.
Of course if the people training them decide that they really don't
want that guy participating in the political process, all they have to
do is ride the recruit until it washes out.
Military service is not the only option.
Even assuming you don't get assigned to a combat arm which is not you
can entirely control, that has nothing to do with being able to ride the
recruit until they wash out.
Heinlein addresses this issue in the novel. Juan Rico tells of a
fellow recruit who washes out of the M I when he is injured in
training and is actually carried off the course on a stretcher. Rico
then mentions that a person doesn't have to accept a medical discharge
and that later he met the guy again who had become a navy cook
on a troop transport.
So even if a person's immediate superiors do ride them until they
wash out that person can just go on to another set of higher
ups in another branch of service.
Being injured isn't "washing out". Washing out is when you decide to
take your ball and go home.
In common usage, to wash out is to fail at a course of training. This
can be for physical or mental reasons. In the incident I referred to
the person washed out of the M I when he was physically unable to handle
the training. Earlier, Rico was rejected from pilot training, logistics,
and many other preferred options on the basis of tests before even getting
into the programs and ended up in the M I as his last choice.
During World War 2 the wash-out rate for military pilot trainees was
about two-thirds. These people were nonetheless talented, skilled
and motivated and typically became navigators, flight engineers,
and bombardiers on bombers and other multi-place aircraft.
The wash-out rate for the Galactic Patrol is much higher, as commandant
von Hohendorff explains to the graduating class of Lensmen, but similarly,
candidates who wash-out at one goal do not necessarily leave the organization:
..."You know that every year one million eighteen-year-old boys of Earth
are chosen as cadets by competitive examinations. You know that during
the first year, before any of them see Wentworth Hall, that number shrinks
to less than fifty thousand. You know that by Graduation Day there are only
approximately one hundred left in the class. Now I am allowed to tell you
that you graduates are those who have come with flying colors through the
most brutally rigid, the most fiendishly thorough process of elimination
that it has been possible to develop.
"Every man who can be made to reveal any real weakness is dropped. Most of
these are dismissed from the Patrol. There are many splendid men, however,
who, for some reason not involving moral turpitude, are not quite what a
Lensman must be. These men make up our organization, from grease-monkeys
up to the highest commissioned officers below the rank of Lensman. This
explains what you already know--that the Galactic Patrol is the finest
body of intelligent beings yet to serve under one banner.
"Of the million who started, you few are left. As must every being who has
ever worn or who ever will wear the Lens, each of you has proven repeatedly,
to the cold verge of death itself, that he is in every respect qualified
to wear it."