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air marshal

An air marshal is an officer in the Royal Air Force. He or she is an almost big cheese, ranking just below air chief marshal. As I’ve noted many times before, while I have great respect for the military of any ethical, democratic country—and I include the U.K. in that class—I’m getting really tired of having to comment on U.K. military titles just because I’m using a dictionary published in Britain to drive this project.

I should expand on that a little. I’m getting really tired of having to comment on U.K. military titles simply because I’m using a dictionary published in Britain to drive this project and because I’m obsessive about those sorts of things. After all, I made up the rules. I could choose to ignore the military titles when I come upon them in the dictionary. But I don’t because; did I mention I’m obsessive?

Oh, well. It is what it is.

After September 11, 2001, air marshal took on another, more salient meaning. An air marshal is a law officer who rides, typically undercover, on some commercial flights. This sort of air marshal’s role is to protect the aircraft from acts of terrorism and from other violently unlawful acts.

Air marshals likely carry guns onto planes. Feel free to debate vociferously in the comments on this post about whether that is an excellent idea, an atrocious idea or somewhere in between.

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