Armed Forces was the last title in a trilogy of albums that rank with the greatest three-LP series in pop-rock history. In retrospect, it also now appears to be the one on which the young Costello's pop tendencies peaked, right before they began to "mature" and grow less accessible. "Accidents Will Happen" features a melody line as beautiful as any ever written; "Oliver's Army" easily competes with the best of Abba and Brian Wilson among pop masterpieces. This is also where Costello's early themes--most notably romantic rejection equated with the horrors of neo-Nazism and modern politics--came together most precisely (the album's working title was "Emotional Fascism"). Rhino does its usual superb job, with wonderful remastering, in-depth liner notes by Costello himself (including a catty paragraph about famous groupie-author Bebe Buell, who often claims this album is about her), and a second disc of concurrent singles and alternate versions. Best of all are nine live tracks from the legendary June 4, 1978, Hollywood High School show, fully documenting that Costello & the Attractions were once among the all-time dynamic live rock acts. --Bill Holdship
What is the military? In simple terms, the U.S. Armed Forces are made up of the five armed service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. There are three general categories of military people: active duty (full-time soldiers and sailors), reserve & guard forces (usually work a civilian job, but can be called to full-time military duty), and veterans and retirees (past members of the military). And of course there are the millions of family members and friends of military members, past and present. But you're here to learn more about the military. There is much to learn! So first the basics. Exactly who is in charge?
While considered part of the non-commissioned officer corps by law, senior non-commissioned officers (SNCOs) referred to as chief petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard, or staff non-commissioned officers in the Marine Corps, perform duties more focused on leadership rather than technical expertise. Promotion to the SNCO ranks, E-7 through E-9 (E-6 through E-9 in the Marine Corps) is highly competitive. Personnel totals at the pay grades of E-8 and E-9 are limited by federal law to 2.5 percent and 1 percent of a service's enlisted force, respectively. SNCOs act as leaders of small units and as staff. Some SNCOs manage programs at headquarters level and a select few wield responsibility at the highest levels of the military structure. Most unit commanders have a SNCO as an enlisted advisor. All SNCOs are expected to mentor junior commissioned officers as well as the enlisted in their duty sections. The typical enlistee can expect to attain SNCO rank after 10 to 16 years of service.
The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) is used by all of the Services to determine if an applicant is eligible for the military. Four of the ASVAB subtests are combined to form the AFQT. It measures general cognitive ability and is composed of verbal and mathematics subtests. AFQT scores are grouped into categories for reporting purposes. The table below shows the AFQT categories and the percentile score ranges corresponding to the categories. Applicants that score in AFQT category IIIA or higher may qualify for enlistment incentives.
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