The one thing I think fanfic authors miss, is Rhodey went to MIT with Tony. His major was probably aerospace engineering, since many Air Force officer candidates major in this area. You know what another name for an aerospace engineer is? Rocket scientist.
Rhodey is a rocket scientist.
Rhodey is a rocket scientist, y’all. Treat him with the scientific respect he deserves.
Rhodey did indeed go to and graduate MIT for Aerospace Engineering in MCU canon. that is legit. He is a rocket scientist
tho, post MIT and probably during, his specialty became more weapons focused but no doubt he is quite knowledgeable in a lot of other related areas
#TEN BUCKS SAYS THAT MORE THAN ONCE #JUST TO BE AN ASS #TONY’S LIKE ”WHAT ARE YOU #SOME KIND OF ROCKET SCIENTIST?” #AND THEN BOTH RHODEY AND TONY ARE JUST LIKE ‘EYYYYY!!’ #because trolls #all the fic where Rhodey is a rocket scientist and everything to do with that #PLEASE (via mayqueen517)
A note on rocket science and weapons from a rocket scientist with a more than passing knowledge of how rocket scientists function in the US Air Force. :D
It is completely reasonable for an aerospace engineer to go into weapons, especially missiles. And it makes sense for Rhodey to be a missile guy, since he’s working with Tony and what do we see Tony giving the Air Force at the beginning of the first Iron Man movie? The Jericho Missile.
Missiles are at their heart, a rocket problem.
For a missile, aerospace engineering is required, in at least three parts. (1) The aerodynamics of the missile, (2) the guidance, navigation and control of the missile, and (3) the propulsion system of the missile. Now if we extend this problem to Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), you also have to consider the astrodynamics problem, so this is an additional area in a missile design that an aerospace engineer would be required.
Whether Rhodey initially put himself on a path to study missiles, I can’t say. What I can say is something about the idea that Rhodey is “no doubt knowledgeable in other related areas.” This is undeniably true. The Air Force does not actually seek to over specialize their officers. They instead put them on a path that leads them towards a more “jack of all trades master of none” philosophy. So it is highly likely that Rhodey spent time in all areas related to Aerospace Engineering—including airplanes, helicopters, and satellites. To get as far as he is in the military, a Colonel, Rhodey would also have been required to do multiple over seas tours and probably spent some time doing nothing more than being a glorified admin while he was a lowly LT or Captain. (As a general rule, butter bar lieutenants are trusted with exactly zero responsibility. I can just imagine Rhodey calling up his buddy Stark to complain and Stark being like “weeeelllll, you could always come work for me” and Rhodey being all like “NOT ON YOUR LIFE” and Rhodey just continuing to press through and making it clear he is worth something until finally he’s a first LT and they actually trust him with something.)
If Rhodey did not get his master’s degree from MIT, which is likely if he was ROTC though not impossible, he probably went to AFIT for his later degrees. And Rhodey would *at least* have a master’s degree, since a master’s degree is essentially required to ascend from the rank of Captain to Major. I say *essentially* because the Air Force occasionally changes its policy on this. Sometimes it’s absolutely required and sometimes it’s merely recommended. Regardless, Rhodey would at the very least have a master’s degree. It’s also highly likely that for a Colonel working in a research based division, he would be required to have his PhD (considering it’s Air Force weapons, I’m going to make the guess that he probably works in something similar to AFRL Munitions Directorate, though perhaps not that particular group since Rhodey doesn’t seem to be based out of Eglin AFB). As a full bird Colonel, it’s also highly likely that Rhodey would in fact be IN CHARGE of the entire research directorate.
So yes, not only would Rhodey be highly knowledgeable in all areas of Aerospace Engineer, he would probably also have a PhD in it, and is probably in charge of whatever weapons division he runs.
For example USAF research colonels, check out these biographies of current USAF colonels: here and here.
^^And THIS is why I began this meta…for wonderful comments like these. This stuff is golden. Thank you, all of you, for your wonderful additions. So now we know. Rhodey is very likely DR. JAMES RHODES, thank you.