Didn't you serve in the Armed Forces, Topper?

Maybe you have forgotten the old adage:- "never volunteer".

However, if you are really fed up with your lot, here's another idea:- look again at some of those who have been promoted (and - or - even some who you say have expressed "surprise"), and ask yourself what boxes they have ticked.

From what I have seen, "boxes ticked" seems to count more than technical competence, length of service, or what-have-you these days (and not just in the NHS)! frown