Does the US Military still assign a Batman to their Officers?

No, not that moody guy that skulks about Gotham city’s darkened streets. :smiley:

A Batman is an orderly or personal servant assigned to high ranking officers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman_(military)

A lot of people may not be aware that David Niven studied at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He served in WWII and his batman was Private Peter Ustinov. Yes that Peter Ustinov.

Eisenhower had aides and a driver (batwoman??), Kay Summersby. That may have had additional after hours duties. :smiley:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kay_Summersby

I’m not sure. Did the U.S. military assign a Batman or Batwoman to military officers like the British, Germans and other countries? Wikipedia mentions the term dog robber instead of batman. Given the choice, I’d prefer being called Batman.

Is this practice still continued today?

I wonder, why Bob Kane choose to use a term (Batman) that already had widespread use?

I have nothing to add, other than I got a chuckle reading that in German, he might have been called a putzer.

Depending upon the number of stars an admiral wears, they can have staffs, including cooks, boat coxswains, drivers, etc.

Of course the US military still assigns assistants of various kinds to its officers. AFAICT, though, they aren’t the “dog robber” or “dogsbody” functionaries you’re talking about—i.e., individual orderlies or personal servants whose chief function is looking after housekeeping/wardrobe duties.

I can’t find any evidence that personal aides or orderlies of this kind were ever called “batmen” in the US military.

Batwomen were orderlies in the UK women’s armed services: that is, they were female soldiers who performed personal duties for female officers. Kay Summersby was Eisenhower’s driver or chauffeur, not his batwoman, even if you like to snicker about some of the “personal duties” she was rumored to have performed for him.
AFAICT, the category of batman/batwoman/personal orderly, more or less an officer’s personal or domestic servant, was phased out of the UK military services after WWII. Interestingly, the personal orderly system has lasted longer in the militaries of some British ex-colonies, having been downsized in the Royal Bhutanese Army just last year. The Indian Army version, called the sahayak system, was officially abolished last July—that is, officers still have sahayaks or orderlies but they’re not supposed to use them as domestic servants. The Pakistani army still officially called their orderlies “batmen” up to the time they got rid of the system (I think) in 2004.

That’s very interesting. Thank you.

I can see the need for a personal servant or aide in war time. Generals have to present a certain professional command image. The uniforms have to be immaculate. Given the choice, I much rather have Eisenhower spend his time running the war then ironing his trousers and polishing brass.

The Wikipedia article also mentioned the Officer’s Batman served as a bodyguard in combat situations. There’s always a possibility an assassin could get past the main security forces. I guess he was the last line of defense.

Yes, such high-ranking officers do still get enlisted-personnel “aides” for such minor tasks, but AFAICT your average lieutenant or major nowadays is responsible for his own brass-polishing. Even for generals, there’s apparently still rather a fine line between employing an aide to perform minor professional duties and using an aide as a personal servant. As this article notes,

The article goes on for 22 pages on the regulations, practices, and potential problems concerning the role of the general officer aide. So you see that your lighthearted query about officers’ personal orderlies actually opens up a whole military-legal complex can of worms!

Given that Kane was an American artist pitching his material to mid-20th-century American audiences and that, as I noted, the term “batman” doesn’t appear to have been a common designation for a personal orderly in the American military, why would he think there was anything confusing about using the name “Bat-Man” for a superhero with bat-like characteristics?

I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman

Nowadays, the officer’s radioman basically has the same job. That’s one reason that the guys carrying radios for higher ranked officers in battle are often experienced, highly-trained troops.

It is indeed true that most officers in the U.S. military do not have any aides. I left active duty as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, and I took care of my own uniforms.

Flag officers (i.e. admirals) and general officers (i.e. generals), do have aides, but the primary aides are not usually enlisted personnel. The primary aide is usually a junior or mid-grade officer. In the Navy, such officers are referred to as “Flag Lieutenants.” The Flag Lieutenant is the senior aide for the admiral. As the name suggests, such officers are usually lieutenants (O-3). It is a highly coveted position, because the lieutenant can learn a lot, and is exposed to many high-ranking people, including the admiral, of course, and if he or she performs well, the admiral will give them favorable fitness reports and often use their influence to help their career.

The Flag Lieutenant usually does the advance scouting work for the admiral when they travel. They take care of the thousand details that need to be done so that the admiral’s time is not wasted.

In the U.S. Army, I believe the equivalent term is the Aide-de-camp. iI knew a four-star general (O-10) in Germany (through a personal connection) who has an aide who was a Major (O-4). This section of the article indicates that the general was actually entitled to a lieutenant colonel and a captain as well.

The affectionate, mutually-reliant master-servant relationship between Frodo and Samwise in The Lord of the Rings books has been likened to that of an upper-class British officer and his lower-class batman. Tolkien was an infantry officer during WWI and would have been very familiar with the relationship: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/tolkien_studies/v001/1.1hooker.html

While I was in the Army (90-98), for battalion and brigade staff officers (CO, XO, S-1…), in the field their driver, while not a true batman, was largely responsible for their care and feeding.

I drove for a brigade S-2 and he was an absent-minded professor type. So, along with my other duties in the field I was responsible for making sure he slept, waking him up, that he changed uniforms every couple of days and that he remembered to eat. He was a smart guy and absolutely brillant in his job, but was also the type that had to be reminded of everything outside of his job.

Every officer was different though. The brigade CO’s driver was more true batman like: laying out uniforms, managing his schedule, etc even while in garrison. While the S-3’s driver basically lived in his vehicle and had no other duties.

Later I drove for the brigade HHC CO. While I drove for him I was also the unit armorer and mail clerk so the only thing he wanted from me was that the Hummer was always dispatched and that I was ready to drive at any moment.

I see I was beaten to the punch, but I’d like to second “Aide du camp”, as the official title of a dog-robber. They’re not enlisted men at all. They’re lower-grade officers. The job is not to lay out clothes and such. It’s to go deliver orders and to oversee things that the general wants to have a personal touch. So that person needs to be of a slightly elevated rank in order to command the necessary respect.

In the first place, the name is “aide-de-camp”, not “Aide du camp”, and in the second place, you seem to be conflating two different types of military aides. C’mon folks, stop voluntarily resuscitating the ignorance after it has been successfully fought.

Yes, as robby explained, the title aide-de-camp generally refers to a lower-ranking officer who assists a high-level officer with official duties, not valet-type personal services.

However, as you can clearly see from that 22-page article I extensively quoted a few posts ago, there certainly are other types of aides to high-ranking officers who do belong to the ranks of enlisted men. And the jobs of those enlisted aides or personal orderlies do indeed include the more menial tasks, such as looking after officers’ uniforms and quarters, that the OP was inquiring about.

And the term “dog robber” was indeed used to refer to those enlisted aides who performed menial services:

It may well be that the contemptuous term “dog robber” for a military valet/batman/enlisted aide has been subsequently transferred to the officer-level aide-de-camp. However, I don’t know what the Straight Dope is on that, and I’m not sure I’m willing to take Chessic Sense’s word for it.

You beat me to it! I have heard this term for a long time, but always thought it had something to do with cricket. I finally looked it up when reading The September Society by Charles Finch, in which it figures prominently.