Rank Has Its Privileges

General Washington's Headquarters

RHIP, rank has its privileges; an old adage that is evident even in the Continental Army of the Revolutionary War over 200 years ago.   When I think of Valley Forge, I think of soldiers suffering through frigid winter conditions with no shoes, the lucky ones had newspaper wrapped around their feet.  Rations were thin and shelter was minimal, yet the young patriots persevered, crossed the Delaware River on Christmas Eve, 1777, caught the British (Hessians) by surprise on Christmas morning, and turned the tide of the Revolution.  I never thought much about the living conditions of the general and field officers, only the foot soldiers.

Officer's Quarters

The officer’s quarters and soldier’s huts (see photo below) were hastily built on site when the Continental Army moved into position near Valley Forge, PA in late fall of 1777 to attack the Hessians at Trenton, NJ.  General Washington’s headquarters was an existing farm house, well furnished and much more comfortable than the rank-and-file’s accomodations.  The officers’ quarters were much larger and better built than the foot soldiers’ huts.

Soldier's Huts

RHIP hasn’t changed much since Valley Forge; I suppose it has been that way throughout history.  Hollywood depicts Roman army officers reclining on blankets and soft cushions in tents, servants fanning them with palm branches, while the foot soldiers slept on the ground under the stars.  The modern U.S army enlisted man is well aware of the acronym, “RHIP”, but uses a more colorful phrase, “s_ _t rolls down hill”, to explain the privileges of rank.

Just one more reason to give special thanks to buck privates and NCOs serving our country today.

Thought for the Day:  Naked and starving as they are, we cannot enough admire the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldier.   George Washington, Feb 28, 1778

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