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Billet

Billet

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A billet is a term for living quarters to which a soldier
Soldier
A soldier is a member of the land component of national armed forces; whereas a soldier hired for service in a foreign army would be termed a mercenary...

 is assigned to sleep
Sleep
Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness, relatively suspended sensory activity, and inactivity of nearly all voluntary muscles. It is distinguished from quiet wakefulness by a decreased ability to react to stimuli, and is more easily reversible than...

. Historically, it referred to a private dwelling that was required to accept the soldier.

Soldiers are generally billeted in barracks
Barracks
Barracks are specialised buildings for permanent military accommodation; the word may apply to separate housing blocks or to complete complexes. Their main object is to separate soldiers from the civilian population and reinforce discipline, training and esprit de corps. They were sometimes called...

 or garrison
Garrison
Garrison is the collective term for a body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base....

s when not on combat duty, although in some armies soldiers with families are permitted to maintain a home off-post. Used for a building, the term is more commonly used in British English; United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 standard terms are quarters, barracks, "Single (Soldier) Housing" or "Family Housing".

British history


Originally, a "billet" (from the French) was a note, commonly used in the 18th and early 19th centuries as a "billet of invitation." A particular use of the word in this sense is to denote an order issued to a soldier entitling him to quarters with a certain person. From this meaning, the word billet came to be loosely used of the quarters thus obtained. Repeated petitions against the practice of billeting, starting in the 16th century, culminated in its outlawing in 1689 as an extension of a section of the Petition of Right
Petition of right
In English law, a petition of right was a remedy available to subjects to recover property from the Crown.Before the Crown Proceedings Act 1947, the British Crown could not be sued in contract...

 1628.

During wartime, civilians who have been evacuate
Emergency evacuation
Emergency evacuation is the immediate and rapid movement of people away from the threat or actual occurrence of a hazard. Examples range from the small scale evacuation of a building due to a bomb threat or fire to the large scale evacuation of a district because of a flood, bombardment or...

d from a city in danger of attack are billetted in communal shelters or in the homes of individuals. The practice of billetting evacuees was widespread in Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, particularly during the Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

, when children and other non-essential persons in major cities were sent to rural areas for safety
Evacuations of civilians in Britain during World War II
Evacuation of civilians in Britain during the Second World War was designed to save the population of urban or military areas in the United Kingdom from aerial bombing of cities and military targets such as docks. Civilians, particularly children, were moved to areas thought to be less at risk....

.

In European countries since the formation of regular forces the Quartermaster
Quartermaster
Quartermaster refers to two different military occupations depending on if the assigned unit is land based or naval.In land armies, especially US units, it is a term referring to either an individual soldier or a unit who specializes in distributing supplies and provisions to troops. The senior...

 was an occupation and a rank of the individuals responsible for provision of sleeping quarters as well as other provisions for regular time troops.

United States usage


One of the major grievance
Grievance
A grievance is a wrong or hardship suffered, which is the grounds of a complaint.-History and politics:A grievance may arise from injustice or tyranny, and be cause for rebellion or revolution....

s of the American
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

 colonists against the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 government which led to the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 was the quartering
Quartering Act
The Quartering Act is the name of at least two 18th-century acts of the Parliament of Great Britain. These Quartering Acts ordered the local governments of the American colonies to provide housing and provisions for British soldiers. They were amendments to the Mutiny Act, which had to be renewed...

 of soldiers in civilian
Civilian
A civilian under international humanitarian law is a person who is not a member of his or her country's armed forces or other militia. Civilians are distinct from combatants. They are afforded a degree of legal protection from the effects of war and military occupation...

 homes. As a result, the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution
Third Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights. It was introduced on September 5, 1789, and then three quarters of the states ratified this as well as 9 other amendments on December 15, 1791. It prohibits, in peacetime, the quartering of...

 provides restrictions on the manner in which the Federal government of the United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 may require civilians to provide housing for American soldiers.

Billet can mean a personnel position, assignment, or duty station which may be filled by one person, commonly used by the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

, and the United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

. It may also refer in all the armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

 to the individual bunk or bed.

Billet can also refer to the position and weapons of the members of a unit. For example, the billets of a fireteam
Fireteam
A fireteam is a small military unit of infantry. It is the smallest unit in the militaries that use it and is the primary unit upon which infantry organization is based in the British Army, Royal Air Force Regiment, Royal Marines, United States Army, United States Marine Corps, United States Air...

 include a fireteam leader (M16
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

), a rifleman (M16
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

), an automatic rifleman (M249), and a grenadier. (M16 with M203 grenade launcher
M203 grenade launcher
The M203 is a single shot 40 mm grenade launcher designed to attach to a rifle. It uses the same rounds as the older M79 break-action grenade launcher, which utilize the High-Low Propulsion System to keep recoil forces low. Though versatile, and compatible with many rifle models, the M203 was...

).

Other usage


In Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 the noble officers of royal tercio
Tercio
The tercio was a Renaissance era military formation made up of a mixed infantry formation of about 3,000 pikemen, swordsmen and arquebusiers or musketeers in a mutually supportive formation. It was also sometimes referred to as the Spanish Square...

s were billeted in the homes of the affluent and well-to-do of the cities/towns they were stationed in. This usage is employed as a plot device
Plot device
A plot device is an object or character in a story whose sole purpose is to advance the plot of the story, or alternatively to overcome some difficulty in the plot....

 in the Barber of Seville.

In Canada, the term is widely used in conjunction with housing visiting performers from theatrical or musical tours, such as for a Fringe theatre
Fringe theatre
Fringe theatre is theatre that is not of the mainstream. The term comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which name comes from Robert Kemp, who described the unofficial companies performing at the same time as the second Edinburgh International Festival as a ‘fringe’, writing: ‘Round the fringe...

 festival or a choir festival. Students traveling for a band or choir tour may billet with members of the host band or choir.

The expression "billet" is also used for an exchange student.

Amateur sport


In North America, billet families offer room and board to junior ice hockey
Junior ice hockey
Junior hockey is a catch-all term used to describe various levels of ice hockey competition for players generally between 16 and 20 years of age...

 players (or Under-20 athletes from other sports, such as soccer
USL Premier Development League
The USL Premier Development League is the amateur league of the United Soccer Leagues in the United States, Canada, and Bermuda, forming part of the American Soccer Pyramid...

). who leave home to join elite teams in other towns. Coaches are often involved with matching a player to a billet family. The objective of a billet family is to provide a "home away from home" for young players during the season. Exaggerated fears over child safety
Child abuse
Child abuse is the physical, sexual, emotional mistreatment, or neglect of a child. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Children And Families define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or...

 in amateur sports in Canada drastically curtailed billeting practice, as mandatory criminal record
Criminal record
A criminal record is a record of a person's criminal history, generally used by potential employers, lenders etc. to assess his or her trustworthiness. The information included in a criminal record varies between countries and even between jurisdictions within a country...

 checks were instituted for all involved in amateur sports, including coaches, volunteers and anyone over eighteen years of age from the host family.