Discussion in 'English Only' started by kahroba, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. kahroba Senior Member

    Dear all
    Could any of you tell me what "O.A.R.D." stands for in the following context, taken from "The Three Soldiers" by Dos Passos:
    Time: 1917
    Location: a training camp somewhere in USA.
    Fuselli, the american soldier, is one of the main three characters in the book. He is ambitiously anxious to become a corporal. All the time he tries to make a good impression. Mabe is his girl at home.
  2. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    It's a mystery to me! I just did a search of a book on my shelf plus two online abbreviation dictionaries, and came up with only Office of Alumni Relations and Development and, in Ethiopia, Office of Agriculture and Rural Development. Somehow, neither of those seems to apply here.
  3. kahroba Senior Member

    Thanks dear Parla
    I'm still waiting to see if someone can decipher above. It's all military terms though.
  4. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    I'm glad you've reminded us of this, Karoba. It's been on my conscience. I spent half an hour searching yesterday, because I was ashamed we hadn't helped you.

    The suggestion is that the corporal may well die and that Fuselli will take his place and then his girl, Mabe, will write to him as Corporal. The letters would probably designate his unit I thought, but I couldn't find many details of his unit in the book. There's a moment earlier when Fuselli is asked for his unit during his conversation with Tub and he replies Medical Replacement Unit, which would make M.R.U.5 easy to understand, except that the 5 is obscure, being mentioned nowhere.

    I remain at a loss, but haven't given up. Some AE member with knowledge of WW1 may be able to enlighten us.

    It may be it was just the indicator of his unit, unexplained by DP. The only thing to do would be to transcribe it as it stands without explanation. It wouldn't puzzle your readers any more than it puzzles the English-speaking readers of the original.
  5. kahroba Senior Member

    Thanks a lot dear kind TT.
    I must be ashamed, thankful at the same time, for the time you've spent on this.
    I appreciate it very much. I've raised the question also in "World War 1 Forum" but haven't received an answer yet despite the fact that they know quite a lot about such issues.
    Thanks again for your time and everything.
  6. Harry Batt

    Harry Batt Senior Member

    USA English
    Office [of] Army Regulations Department I got the lead from this:
    Management control process.
    This regulation is not subject to the requirements of Army Regulation (AR) 11-2 (Management Control). [I've highlited the AR]

    The up-to-date way you might put it would be, "The right way, the wrong way and the Army way."
  7. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    There was another thread concerning words/abbreviations in this book and the conclusion, if I recall correctly, was that the author like to make them up to "sound/look" authentic but they were nonetheless fictitious. I don't know how to search based on that memory fragment.
  8. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    I can't find the thread you recall, but I did find this thread, in which the abbreviations Dos Passos uses were shown to be authentic: (Loob found them in the some archival material.)
    CL E (abbreviations?)
    Dos Passos likes to include snips of reality in his books, and some apparently improbable news stories, for instance, turn out to have been lifted from actual newspapers, though apparently doctored up a bit.

    It is possible that he made up the initialism we are discussing, but my first guess would be that he didn't.

    Note: Harry Batt's Office [of] Army Regulations Department is suggestive to me. Can it be that they used those initials and then gave the rank number 5? Do those designations work that way?
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010
  9. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    That occurred to me, but I don't believe that Corporal ever gets as high as enlisted rank 5, which is usually a sergeant's level.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  10. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    My mind had been wondering about Overseas Army Reserve Department. He's in a Medical Reserve Unit, isn't he? It is after all a postal address we are looking for.
  11. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    English - US
    Looking at the way the rank numbers are used, I thought that meant he was dreaming big. This is all taking place in his imagination, so needn't be bounded by reality.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010
  12. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    His dream is of being a corporal, so it is unlikely that he would have a higher dream as well. I think this is substantiated by the sentence: And he pictured Mabe writing Corporal Dan Fuselli, O.A.R.D.5.

    O.A.R.D.5. seems to be linked directly to his dream rank, Corporal, for whatever reason (unit, perhaps, as has been discussed).

    I couldn't find a listing of American Army ranks in WWI, but I did find this listing, which shows Corporal as an E-4 (enlisted rank 4). Sergeants are E-5 and the first level of the non-commissioned officer ranks in the Army (although E-4 Corporals in the Marine Corps), which is a much greater step up than a single pay grade would seem to indicate. So this would have been much more than a dream for Fuselli.

    Historical note: It wasn't until 1955 that the Army changed their Corporal ranks to Specialist ranks, to nearly everyone's confusion and consternation.

    One last comment is that military people are very familiar with and very conscious of their E (enlisted) and O) officer designations. Not only are they used within a particular service branch but sometimes it's the only way we know what rank someone in another service is -- especially those Navy guys. :)

    Side note: I see that my error-filled message written on the iPhone just before nodding off was quoted about one minute before I got it corrected, thereby saving it for posterity. :D
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2010

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