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Hunt for Red October, The - Will the Real Jack Ryan Please Stand Up?
During the national security briefing, the National Security Advisor refers to Jack Ryan as "Dr. Ryan". Once he puts out to sea, everyone calls him "Mr. Ryan". Also, the conversation in the captain's cabin, aboard the aircraft carrier, makes mention of Jack Ryan graduating from "The Academy" and as "A Marine". Even if they can't agree on whether to call him Dr. or Mr., shouldn't he be addressed by rank (Captain, Major, Lieutenant, etc) ?
Badger Bill
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Special Requirements: Just listen to dialogue carefully.
Contributed By: Badger Bill on 12-02-1999 and Reviewed By: Webmaster
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tree_worshipper writes:
Nah... Read the books guys! Ryan became a Marine, but was invalided out after a helicopter crash in which he damaged his back. He then became a History teacher, and later began working for the CIA in a minor(ish) role. During "The Hunt for Red October", he works for the CIA under the cover of a Naval Officer. So: > He held a Marine rank (Lt?) but is no longer part of the military > He has a doctorate in History - hence Dr. Ryan > He was Knighted by the Queen (see Patriot Games). Although this was an honorary Knighthood, he is referred to as "Sir John" at least once in the book. I've never seen the film. You might well be right about the Senior/Junior mode of address (I'm a Brit anyway), but since he wasn't in the Military, all the Officers (presumably) used his civilian title.
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Slick writes:
After graduating from the Academy, Ryan entered the Marine Corps, a department of the Navy. Although the titles if the ranks and grades are different, the USMC follows the Navy tradition of gouge(language). Superriors reffer to their juniors, in the Navy and Marine Corps as Mister. His civilan title would be doctor where as both doctor and mister would be acceptable for the military.
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Suffolk writes:
As far as what Ryan should be referred to as, Dr or Mr, the question is answered in the movie itself. When he first gets on the Dallas, he says that he is wearing the uniform because Navy command wants him to keep a low profile. It is easy to connect the dots and figure out that if he is wearing a uniform then he should be referred to as a Mr not as Dr so as not to blow his cover. The person who submitted the facts about reading the book is also correct, but I think the desire for a low profile overrides the desire to call Ryan a doctor.
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Pat M writes:
How about something similar? He is known in Washington as Dr. Ryan, so therefore at the briefing he would have been called Dr. Ryan. When he is on the Dallas, they would have no idea he is a Dr, and as pointed out, he states that the uniform is a ruse, so they would refer to him as Mr. Ryan.
3 of 3 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Michael writes:
I am a US Navy veteran of almost 12 years. In response to what one gentleman said about senior personnel referring to junior personnel as "Mister" I have never seen that occur in all my 12 years in the Navy. It is common place however for an enlisted man/woman to refer to a commissioned officer as "Mister" as in Mr. Jones regardless of there rank. Female officers are usually addressed as Ma'am or by there rank such as Lt. Jones.
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Gary Lynch writes:
It's very common for senior officers to call those of significantly lower rank 'Mister'. Check out Lawrence of Arabia. When Peter O'Toole reports to General Allenby that his army has captured Aqaba from the Turks, the General asks a lowly Corporal what he thought of the news. In this conversation he called the man 'Mister ....' Check out Mutiny on the Bounty. Everybody of a junior rank is called Mister 'Damn you Mister Christian' etc.
0 of 0 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
kamakazikid writes:
Jack Ryan did hold a commission in the USMC. He was a Second Lieutenant but received back injuries in a chopper accident over Crete. These injuries gave him a medical discharge from the Marines. As for the proper way to address him, Dr. Ryan is correct. However, those who talked to him on the Carrier most likely didn't know about Ryan's doctorate. And they probably didn't know about his Marine Corps commission, with exception of Admiral Painter. So in that case, everyone was addressing Jack Ryan correctly. Basically, if you don't know if a person has a doctorate or are in the armed forces, Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. (insert last name here) is the safest way to address them.
0 of 0 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Gary Lynch writes:
Check out Zulu. Everybody calls everybody else Mister. Possibly to reflect that in the British services everybody is a private citizen first, then a soldier. It may also be due to the fact that brevet or temporary ranks would have been common as the army grew and shrank to cope with war- and peace-time, so people would not make an embarrassing mistake in using an old rank. We always refer to Custer as General, though he was only a Colonel at the time of his death.
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Gary Lynch writes:
Has anybody seen the Henry Fonda movie, Mister Roberts? He is called Mister by everybody on board ship, albeit disparagingly so by the Captain, wonderfully played by James Cagney.
0 of 0 found this helpful. Did you? Yes
Dr D writes:
That is correct.
0 of 1 found this helpful. Did you? Yes

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