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Career Profiles: Gunnery Personnel
Image courtesy of Rob McKinnon: http://www.krop.com/robmckinnon/#/134228/
In this edition of Star Citizen career profiles, we're taking a look at the role of the unit Gunnery personnel. The primary areas of focus for gunnery personnel are weapons, tactics, training, security, and military operations command. For most units, this scope includes within the starship, and planetside operations. Career opportunities for individuals with this type of expertise abound, as it is a well known fact: The 'Verse is a dangerous place. Regardless of whether a unit's focus is trade, exploration, or military operations, there is a need for experienced fighters.
Unlike the highly specialized Fighter Pilot, the Gunnery is more of a combat generalist and will likely be a competent fighter pilot, but is more valuable for their expertise in the employment of tactical resources to maintain unit security and military superiority in open combat situations, both planetside and in space. As such, they are most often in a highly regarded and closely consulted relationship to the unit's captain/commanding officer. Most Gunnery personnel are perfectly capable of their own command and the highest ranking Gunnery officer in a unit is likely to be second or third in the command structure. This close relationship and overlap can sometimes lead to tension between a small to mid-sized starship commander and the gunnery.
Gunnery personnel always have deep experiential and theoretical knowledge of the range, tolerances, ammunition, heat characteristics, and how to maintain, operate, and repair every weapon in the 'Verse. Again, this applies to both ship's weapon systems and personal weapons. Obviously, the best will have considerable combat experience in their background, commiserate with the level of their command.
Smaller organizational units or starships have a Gunnery Sergeant. More experienced Gunnery Officers are typically employed by units with a minimum of 16 individual personnel. As the size of the unit increases, so does the need for more experienced officers, moving them deeper into the realm of strategic consulting, command, and coordination...And further from the battleground. For instance, the lead Gunnery Officer for a military organization numbering in the 1000's would likely be the rank equivalent of an Admiral and their primary function would be in the development of process, procedure, and training.
Gunnery Officers for small to mid-sized units are responsible for training and coordinating the tactical operations with cross-functional personnel. For instance, in an exploration fleet consisting of a Carrack, a Constellation, and a fleet of 4 escort/fighter class vehicles, the Gunnery Officer serves as a hands on asset in battle or security operations, and is responsible for training and coordinating the other resources of the fleet. This would include ensuring other crew personnel such as engineers and navigators are ready to defend themselves and the vessel, when attacked.
The Gunnery Officer serves as a unit's military operations chief and works directly with the commanding officer of the ship or organization. In combat, as a member of the unit's command group, the Gunnery Officer serves as a tactical adviser to the commanding officer regarding employment of the unit and will often operate the command post or tactical operations center.
Outside of battle, the Gunnery Officer is responsible for supervising and coordinating the individual training of other unit crew members and may assist the unit First Officer in the administration and non-tactical leadership of the unit by supervising crew, advising officers, mentoring, and performing other duties as assigned.
As mentioned, many units may also put the Gunnery Officer directly in charge of security on board the ship and planetside. This is a typical configuration for mid-sized star-faring vessels such as a Constellation or Carrack. While underway, the Gunnery Officer will be responsible for the security of space within engagement distance around the ship. Planetside, the Gunnery Officer is responsible for planning and executing the unit's tactical security considerations. Safe to say, the lives of the crew are in the Gunnery Officer's hands.
The ship's Gunnery has also often been described as a "hands on disciplinarian" and is also responsible for maintaining order among the crew both on board and planet side. Sometimes this will include direct responsibility for enforcing ship's policies, command, and applicable regulatory compliance. It's not unusual for a Captain or Commander to grant the Gunnery Officer power of arrest over the crew and guests of a vessel, for situations where it is needed to maintain order or security.
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