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  1. 46 points
    Choke yourself you sanctimonious prick. For the record, you are not as smart as you think you are, you have simply become a mindless part of the collective, endlessly spewing the same old PA verbiage. Here is the thing, I know the game, I’ve done all the in-res schools….ACSC, ASG, War College in DC…and I’ve sat behind the glass doors on the E-Ring as an exec and watched the buffoonery. Playing the $ money card overlooks a GLARING error, we did it to ourselves. The lack of vision from people like Buzz and Zatar is what got us here, for all too long we have been stuck in the endless Do Loop of “we can only have a fifth gen force” and we are paying the price for it in spades. 10 years ago a LOT of very smart people tried to tell them the $ crunch was coming and we could not afford a force of only F-22’s and F-35’s. Despite the fact that on the second night of OIF A-10’s were fighting inside the “Super MEZ”, the seniors insisted we double-down on fifth gen and now we cry when we have no $ to buy anything else. What do you expect when we are flying Raptors that cost $44,000 a flying hour and F-35’s that cost $36,000 a flying hour instead of a mixed high-low fleet that could have economically fought the fight we have been in for the 15 YEARS! Then as we piled ever more coal into the 5th gen steam engine that we couldn’t afford, we decided to cut people to pay the bill, and we took those people from the admin heart of the Squadrons (CSS), where they were needed most…Now, after purposely cutting people we suddenly come to the conclusion that the Air Force is On Verge of Manpower Collapse…freaking brilliant! Sadly, we had multiple chances to off-ramp this road to perdition and the Navy tried to show us the way like in 2006 when they broke the “no more 4th gen fighters for any service pact.” I was there the day the boss found out the Navy was getting 24 extra Super Hornets and I was in close trail as he barged into the N-8 office screaming explicatives at the CNO and his XP staff. The Navy response “well the Super Hornet is not a 4th gen airplane, it is a 4.5 gen airplane and we probably can’t afford all the F-35’s anyway.” Congress has been more than willing to gift us extra Vipers and Eagles every year, but we foolishly keep saying no and doubled down to the point we had to start closing fighter squadrons to pay the bills. The last ten years have seen a steady retreat from the TacAir redline, No lower than 2,300 fighters!…Ok No lower than 2,100 fighters! There was a huge gasp at 2,000, but we sliced right past that number faster than some late night yaki mandu through your system after a Friday night in Aragon Alley. As we started closing fighter squadrons we suddenly had fewer to fill AEF taskings so the bros and sisters on the end of the whip have to run even faster to make up for the shortage…starting to see the picture now? When it comes to your "retention tools" again, you don’t get it…what you call having bigger fish to fry than keeping pilots on the right side of the happy meter and using STOP LOSS as a retention tool is the PROOF that the entire thing is a scam. How can senior leaders profess to care about the force, mission first…people always, and say things like “Morale is pretty darn good” almost in the same breath they admit the Air Force is on the verge of a manpower collapse? This CSAF has made countless impassioned speeches about caring for people and “every Airman has a story”, but in the end as you admit the people are just numbers and their happiness doesn’t really matter. I get it that you will never make everyone happy and there will always be sport bitching, but this is something very different. This is the heart of your ability to be an Air Force, your professional pilot force telling you with their feet…”THINGS ARE Fed UP!” Only 38% of the pilot force took the bonus last year and the numbers look worse for this year…so I would submit you better make time to fix the happy meter. It is not about hating the messenger, it is about hating the smug asshat that parades around the room showing glee in his pronouncements from on high. You represent much of what is wrong with the current system.
  2. 38 points
    Never met the guy, but if he's still got a hair on his old fighter pilot ass, he'd throw up on me if I looked him in the eye and called him "sweet and charming". Not sure what your background is, but you lose any credibility you have with this statement..."trashing the reputation of one of this nation's last living heroes." You obviously have NO idea what you are talking about because our nation is blessed with thousands of living heroes, most of them under the age of 30 (many under 20). They are fighting in places you've probably never heard of, and are performing acts of heroism that make breaking the sound barrier seem kind of boring. But thanks for the lecture.
  3. 33 points
    Meh, I disagree nsplayer. I enjoyed the show while it lasted. More importantly, I will tell anyone who listens with what is wrong with the Air Force. Some I have solutions for and for others I am at a loss on how to fix. Actually Chang, the persona that you portrayed here, although completely overdone, are the sum total of the sentiments that are causing people to head for the door. What causes disappointment? Unrealized expectations. I think you have to start there. The last 10 or so years have been really tough on the CGOs. We came into the AF after 9-11 being told that the #1 priority of the AF is lethality, yet we are held to a completely different standard of measurement. I was an '08 commissionee from ROTC and worked my butt off to get to UPT, 38s and hopefully to a fighter, just to be told that there was no where for us to go except RPAs and AMC. Big disappointment, but whatever, I press on. Get to my AMC unit and less than a year later I am writing a RRF for my 1st of 2 RIF boards. Meanwhile my fighter brethren (the 30 or so they created in my whole year group) were now considered undermanned. On my 4th deployment, my CC calls me to tell me that he has to get me on the next VML otherwise an RPA may be non-vold must-fill from AFPC. I end up going to T-6 UPT, my dream job at the time. While I am in PIT I face the #2 RIF/VSP of my career, while my 11F brothers (whoever is left) are now critically manned. I get sat down by my T-6 SQ/CC and told that although my record is outstanding, my career field (11M) is 175% manned and I haven't even completed PIT yet, so prepare for the worst/hope for the best. Also, we are cutting for the next 5 years. I go out and get my dream job, and apply for Palace Chase only to be denied because now even though my career field is still overmanned, the AF as a whole is short on pilots. Me, I still keep kicking @ss, pulling down #1 Sq/OG strats and moving my way up in the Sq. Get tasked with a 6 month non-flying deployment to some $hithole to be underemployed and a job that would have actually been better to have been CONUS doing (timezone differences). Somewhere in there my family (wife+kids) made up their mind that we were done getting jerked around, so I have been making my way to the door ever since. After 10 years of stellar service, 5 deployments, missing years of my kids lives, I get called a quitter and told that I have no future in my Sq. I could write a lot more, but I just don't care to relive it anymore. I hate the fact that the AF made me fall out of love with something that I fought so hard to be apart of. I have seen this organization change in just the 10 years I've been in and it is unrecognizable. I sincerely want the AF to get better and be better, so let me know if you have any questions. Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network Forums
  4. 33 points
    all us mid level captains have seen the bullshit...we dropped when there was only one fighter per class, we had RPAs in our -38 drops, we were in the squadrons with the TAMI 21 guys and heard how they got screwed out of their fighters, we saw the masters swing back to required for major and how our friends had to claw to get it before their board, we saw it swing back to not being required, we had friday morale shirts taken away, we had pencil tab patches made illegal, we had black boots taken away for swade, we saw dumbass ABUs come into "style" along with 1980s parachute PT pants, we saw the air force e-9s embarrass our peers in the died chow hall for wrong sock color (and be rewarded for it by the O-6), we saw 21 year old A1Cs drinking at DJ but aircrew were forbidden from even one beer, we saw our flying hours get cut back, we saw congress not do their job to the detriment of our survival in combat with zero shits given, we saw congress debate to take away dual spouse BAH, we became our own finance officer, we became our own professional CBT clicker, we saw below average yes men pilots do the minimum flying-wise and excel at queep only to get rewarded with good deal assignments and promotions (CHANG), we saw absurd increases in ROE for political purposes with no eye on victory. We saw the airlines start to hire... we didn't see our families, we didn't see clear cut victory in the war, we didn't see respect for our skills as pilots, we don't see a end in sight in deployments or war. The air force has been f***ing us since 2008. How the f*** are they surprised we don't want to stick around for the next 8 years to get run into the dirt. Most of my peers are getting TFO in a few years and i have zero fu**s or sympathy for big blue. They earned this.
  5. 33 points
    Fucking stop it. This guy can't win. For years dudes have bitched about all of the little paper cut stuff in the AF...including this sign, t-shirts, patches, masters, PME. Well guess what? We have a CSAF who is actually fixing a lot of those irritants. And every time he fixes one, someone like you bitches "well, he shoulda done X, Y, or Z instead." Do you think he cancelled an afternoon of meetings about force shaping to hammer in the sign himself? Or do you think he may simply have mentioned it to someone and it got fixed? Everything isn't an either-or! For fucks sake. The man is trying. Some things are easy fixes. Some are complicated beyond measure. If you can't get behind him, sts, who will you follow?
  6. 32 points
    So, there I was. No shit. Middle of an ORE at Shaw, first of three sorties for the day turning ACT x ACT x RED. I was a brand new CMR #2, all thrust, no vector; I'm a pitbull on a fvcking leash. Brief and ground ops were uneventful, up to the point where PFL (wussy flight lead) calls Ops and tries to cancel due to isolated VCTS. Fvcking FAIPs. Ops recommended he grow a pair so we took off and headed west. After precisely 69% of the vul covered, with a clean picture and most of my missiles expended, the SOF calls on AUX - mushroom cloud overhead; we need to divert to WRB. PFL quibbles, something about it being his turn to cook dinner that night. Those of you who know MatMac are aware: this is no joke. Anyway, Georgia is a state where (up to that point) I had yet to slay so I tactically declared BINGO and reached back with my right hand to make sure my helmet bag contained my trusty mark-1 divert kit: deodorant, toothbrush and a box of rubbers. On vectors to WRB I've got snowplow called up and I wisely aimed for every rainshower I could... On the ground, we talk to TA about turning our jets. Well, I talked to TA. PFL was on the horn with his wife and then PF Chang's ordering food so he didn't get in trouble. Turns out TA will take 3 hrs to turn the 8 jets so we go to the bowling alley to get lunch. This is where the fun starts. It's summertime, so school is out. I spy a group of four lovely ladies (who were looking for heroes) on lanes 6-9. I give PFL a 5-spot and directions to order a burger, then I go anchor by the ladies. Turns out the outgoing blonde is the wing king's daughter and the others are her friends from the nursing program who happen to be visiting during the summer. Shitty food is consumed. Numbers are exchanged. I depart for Base Ops with digits and the hope of a road trip some upcoming weekend. I proceeded to do the most thorough pre-flight inspection of my life. Low and behold, I find an EMS bit ball had popped after landing! Sure, if I had noticed it on my post-flight then maybe they would have had time to send dudes from Shaw to fix it that day. Not likely though. Now, everyone knows that flight through precip is likely to trip one without any real problems, so PFL comes over to survey the situation. He closes the panel and asks what I'm gonna do. I give my best pep talk about how happiness comes in small doses and opportunities to be true heroes are rare. His response: "I know dude, that's why I need to get home. I'm only allowed two TDYs a year, I don't want to burn one in WRB." SQ policy was to divert as two-ships but I sit idly by with a shit-eating grin on my face as 7 jets blast for home and I walk off to the Qs, helmet bag thrown over my shoulder. Aftermath: he told me the lettuce wraps were particularly good at home that night. Me, on the other hand - I got back the following afternoon and was completely spent. 4 nursing students not worth burning one of your allocated TDYs on? For me it was, and all it cost me was a phone call to my neighbors to take care of my dog. Well, that and I did have to replenish one divert kit.
  7. 32 points
    Tonight we honored a fallen soldier during a ramp ceremony at BAF. As his team unloaded the flag draped casket from the HMMWV and walked him up the C-17 ramp, five soldiers from the 10th Mountain Band played Amazing Grace and another somber and respectful song. Soldiers in the 10th Mountain Band carry weapons, can pull guard duty and are capable of killing the enemy. They also have unique musical skills and equipment to honor the dead and comfort the grieving in combat. Their primary purpose is combat and ceremonial duties while entertaining is a collateral duty. Our Air Force bands primarily entertain and should be cut to the level where they only support ceremonial events in the DC area. We can contract the entertainment if we decide we can afford entertainment for a fraction of the cost. Cutting our AF bands (not including TIB) by 75% would save $180M in personnel and O&M costs over the FYDP. Cutting AF bands and eliminating their AFSCs are easy decisions that should have been made years ago.
  8. 32 points
    Flipping the safety on after each shot is a poor technique that would get most people killed. The carbine courses have so many different techniques, and some sound totally crazy but happen to work for one guy one time. Great training all, but I think that particular technique would get the majority of people killed. Sky cops fall squarely in the average majority. Bottom line is this guys is a total idiot, whether or not this particular technique is valid and used by someone at Magpul. The conceptual idea that one absolutely must get the uniform standard right all the time or you simply aren't qualified to fight the war is fundamentally flawed. The true professional puts everything on a hierarchy of importance, a hierarchy that changes depending on many variables. As operators we're very comfortable living like this, and we usually call it SA. Sometimes your gas state is the most important thing, sometimes it's the weather, sometimes it's the mission then the icing on your wings, and when the critical part of the mission is over you RTB the area because now the icing is most important. The hierarchy is always changing, and a good flyer stays aware of what's at the top and the handful of items under it. This idea of juggling a group of variables which all slide up and down the priority list used to confuse the shit out of me in pilot training, resulting in my average performance. But with a few thousand hours it's natural to all of us. And I think this is why we all know his argument is bullshit, but an articulate response is hard because the concept is so simple. We think "of course my mission planning is more important than having my sleeves rolled down." Or "of course I put my sunglasses on my head, I'm doing shit with my hands." And that's the issue with this guy, and this entire school of thought with non-operators that if you can't get the uniform right how can you fly an airplane? They think "how can you possibly do the important things when you can't get this thing right?" And we think "how can you possibly worry about the unimportant things when there are so many others that matter?" Of course our perspective is right and theirs is wrong. We prove that by flying successful missions everyday wearing baseball hats with a dip in our mouth; and if they understood priorities they wouldn't correct an officer about a minor uniform violation by yelling at him in public-- a customs and courtesies breach that manifests their inability to differentiate importance levels between issues. The only possible fix to our plight (two incompatible schools of thought) is leadership. Leadership must set the standard and leadership must judge what is most important when. And of course, leadership is what we are mostly lacking. Approaching the end of my commitment, this is a pretty strong argument for me to stay and try to fix it.
  9. 30 points
    O-5, Command list, flying with the majors now. Didn't hurt my professional livelihood at all.
  10. 30 points
    They are missing WHY dudes are disgruntled. I've been around a long time, as you have. There have certainly been boom and bust cycles for morale. This one is far different than what I think can fairly be called the last down cycle for pilots in the mid to late 90s. Young pups hear jack/shit about mission focus anymore. The mission is what motivates them. It's why they are here. But they hardly hear a peep about it from their leadership. That's the number one reason. Act like what they dedicate themselves to is worth your attention. All they hear about from the cake eaters is stuff like you yourself (and guys like old major chang) has said--get you masters or you clearly don't care. There are no bad assignments. You should get down on your knees every day and thank mother air force for all she has given you. Service before self after all. These fuckers have known nothing but war. They have never, ever known any semblance of stability or predicability in their whole careers. They weren't around in the good old days where we had fun. When we were captains, our career paths were stable, our deployments predictable, our promotion process was rational, there was no such thing as a 179 or God forbid a 365 other than a few remotes to Korea. We didn't face down UAV assignments. We didn't face constant rumors (and realities) of a RIF. There was a mission focus. Leaders seemingly cared that their CGOs were good in the jet. That's all that mattered to my early commanders. It's how they stratted CGOs for the most part. I swear to God I never heard a single word from a leader about a masters degree until I was a major. Not one word. Now guys are dirtbags if they haven't started one as a lieutenant. Education is king, the only problem is that no one seems to care what you study, how we'll you do or what diploma mill you go to. After all, it makes great "thinkers" yet no one seems to be allowed to think for themselves. It's party line or you're a troublemaker. See problems? Don't point them out and offer solutions. That's whining. Dudes are tired of that bullshit. So what are the "aristocrats" missing? 1) acknowledge that young pups in the AF have been run ragged. I mean really acknowledge that, not just a token half-hearted comment here or there. 2) acknowledge that there are bad deals and lose the "suck it up" and "service before self" lectures. No one respects that bullshit. You can't polish a turd. 3) Masters degree does not equal dedication or leadership potential. Stop saying that it does. Masters is required. Got it. But when it goes beyond being a yes/no at the board to being used for strats and jobs, then it's out of fucking control. The AF has absolutely lost its mind in this regard. Job performance and leadership potential should be king. They are not. 4). acknowledge that these dudes face an uncertain future with regards to promotion, assignments and RIFs unlike we ever did and it stresses them out and wears at their morale. Don't even dare compare it to uncertainties you had in your early career. You and I both know that it's not even close. I'm tired of typing now. But that's a start.
  11. 29 points
    So the draft outline for the script for Top Gun 2 has leaked (probably Trump and/or Russians. Same thing, right?): "TOP GUN 2: This Time It's Non-Gender Specific" Having been caught up in the 'Fat Leonard' supply scandal, former Rear Admiral, now Captain Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell is given his final assignment as the Commanding Officer, Naval Fighter Weapons School, Miramar Naval Air Station, California. Having been the number two graduate of his class in 1986, 'Maverick's' has unique insight into what the daring young aviators have to face in flying their high-performance, stomach-churning aerial chargers in modern air combat. SCENE 1: 'Maverick' is shown being given a ticket by the Shore Patrol after he was caught driving his Lexus on the flight line road trying to keep up with an F-18 doing touch-and-goes, exceeding the station's 25 mph speed limit by nearly 8 mph. SCENE 2: 'Maverick' puts the auditorium at ease to welcome the Class of 2017B. The roster includes three women, a two-dude married couple, one undeclared person, and four heterosexual men; one black, one Hispanic, one Asian, one White. "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Top Gun. I am Captain Maverick Mitchell and I want...yes? What is it, lieutenant?" "Sir, you only welcomed the ladies - which is a very patriarchacal thing to do - and the men - which just demonstrates their historic privilege. But you didn't include the zir. I am offended and have uploaded your comments to youtube. I assume I will be receiving an apology from the Department of the Navy and you after the press conference with Gloria Allred?" SCENE 3: Operations Officer Holly 'Diaper' Nowak briefing the class for a mission: "Today, you are scheduled for a 4v4 DACT - Hornets against the 3rd generation contract air. Unfortunately, the MC rate won't support it, so "Snowflake" and "Cis-G" you two will go fly a BFM. The rest of you can knock out some of your CBTs." SCENE 4: Having sweated their way through the CBTs, the 2017B class makes its way over to the Miramar All-Ranks Club where the SARC and Alcohol Prevention offices check their IDs at the door, carefully noting their data, and placing their CAC cards in the file to be retrieved on the way out, after the mandatory breathalyzer and room sweep checking for sexual assault victims. Finally making their way to the near-empty bar, as the Isley Brothers "You've lost that lovin' feelin'" begins to blare from the speakers, the four heterosexual men are accosted by the irate school instructor that looks remarkably like Kelly McGillis. But not the hot, wild-haired Kelly. No this the haggish, yet with an Adam's apple, Kelly who instantly begins to berate them for building the modern world. SCENE 5: Meanwhile, in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, the despot that rules that arid, worthless land gases and kills his citizens. Despite it having absolutely no strategic value to the United States, the President, fully backed by the hawks in Congress dependent upon the defense contractors in their districts, sends a short-manned carrier battle group to the region. Why it's short-manned, especially in pilots, is never questioned. Class 2017B receives its orders to man, er, person-up the carrier's flight department despite not having worked up or being current in carrier operations. Stepping into their F-35Cs, they find out that "this helmet is too heavy." This ejection seat is "too tall." But this all-seeing, all-knowing fighter is "just right." Flying an Alpha strike (not your father's Vietnam Alpha strike of 50 jets), this one has four F-35s and two UCAVs, our class of heroes flies into the double-digit SAM rings where they all synch their Blueteeth to some Starbuck's selected folk-rock tunes and proceed to ISR the hell out of the dirt. They return to the boat, all take the three wire, shut down. And hand in their separation papers since they each got a call from major airline. AND CUT...
  12. 29 points
    This is complicated, and I don't claim to have the full picture, but here is what I think it really takes. TL;DR: Congress, the Joint Staff, and the USAF all have a role to play. All must take unprecedented steps to fix this, but the potential gain is beyond anything we've ever known. Congress: 1. Eliminate the vast majority of queep driven by federal law. 2. Bring pilot pay up to 75% of airline pilot pay with similar seniority/qualification. 3. BRAC Cannon yesterday, everywhere else tomorrow, and mass forces at superbases near major metro areas. Build a DFW-worth of runways to support and make the airspace Class B if needed. JCOS: 1. Inform COCOMs that their staff requirements will be combined (Navy flyer for USA/USAF/USMC/USN rated job, etc) or eliminated, to the scale or 50-75% or more. 2. Annihilate 179s as a thing. One fvcking day? Are you kidding me? Give people the credit for their service. This is one example, but i think the trend is clear: shorter deployments, where the service pays a premium to get people home to their families, and if not credits the time served, rather than allowing a cowardly bureaucrat to steal that credit. USAF: 1. Divorce rated promotions from non-rated. Separate boards, with separate quotas. To make a long story short: you can replace an MPF 0-3 with about 30 grand. To replace a (good) pilot is 100 times that amount. Time to recognize return on investment, kids. 2. Make the non-verbal signals clear: stop the anti-ops "you're all officers and equal" jihad. I won't rant about why. 3. Man the queep positions so that pilots/rated only do DOT, DOV, etc jobs aside from flying, aka those that require their expertise. 4. In Robin Olds' words: "If I can order a man to combat 24 hours a day, he can get paid 24 hours a day." I truly do not care if MSG folks have to work 12 hours shifts; they will support. If they quit, I do not care; I will replace them for the cost of a single aircrew TDY. Run the numbers and tell me I am wrong. However, I will also massively increase incentive flights and the like to connect Ops to MX to MSG and MDG. I would unite the factions so that they would SEE what their worth ethic empowers. 5. Inform COCOMs that their "rated requirements" will be manned at about the 10% level or lower. And see [JCOS] part. 6. Start researching how to finally quit the AEF and move to a better, more cohesive, more predictable model. Don't go full Army, because that is just retarded, but find a way for families to know that "this" deployment is just the one in 4 years, or whatever. 7. Most important: CSAF has to get out there, to every base, and every squadron bar, with nametags off and interview the pilots/CSOs/STS dudes with beer in hand and no entourage. This is the hardest part. He/She MUST establish credibility by allowing the rank and file to speak truth to power at the risk of being disrespectful. This will be a self-sustaining process; if the CSAF showed up here, paid my bar tab and got me a DD, I would whiteboard out the cycle of factors, at the FGO level, that are ensuring our mission failure - but only if I trusted him. 8. I'd overhaul Lackland to look more like an Army basic training unit than the clown show it is now. Kill the "but the queep reg says" buffoonery, and make 50% or more personal combat skills. I could go on on this point, but this is the essence of "expenditionary skills" and would motivate people that want to be part of a warfighting organization. Those who don't: quit. They will be replaced at their least expensive point. Folks, it's time to steal from the USMC model and challenge our people to be part of an elite combat unit, not an office camo welfare unit. And the take-away, folks: trust. This will require huge risks by leadership to change the paradigm, but if they can restore trust, then the rest will follow. Their biggest challenge now is that no one trusts the leadership, even if they make valid arguments and really want to change the culture.
  13. 29 points
    The pilot of that Luscombe was my good friend. I'd known him 19 years and had flown that Luscombe with him. We took a T-38 to Oshkosh a few years back. Aviation... all facets... was his passion. You always hear about guys that will do anything for you; guys that are always the bright spot in your day; guys with an eternally optimistic attitude. Spanky really was that guy. He was an amazing pilot. And an even better father and person. He always cared about his fellow man. After being a T-38 FAIP, a tour in the B-52, and a staff tour, Spanky applied for the SR-71 in 1997: they were hiring one... only one... pilot that year, from the hundreds of applicants. Spanky beat out everyone and was hired. He showed up at Edwards to start training, but four days later, Pres Clinton killed the SR program. Three days later, Spanky is at Beale to fly the U-2 interview flights. Five days later, he is hired to the U-2 Program and has to get a SecAF waiver for two PCS' in 2 weeks. He became my neighbor on base. When I first met him, I knew he was about 35, but he looked barely 21. I gave him his T-38 checkride on 23 Dec 1997. Friends ever since. He was the deployed U-2 squadron commander in Saudi before the war kicked off in 2003. I replaced him at the end of his tour. He elected not to go the professional pilot route after retirement, but was always super active in GA, EAA, and teaching his kids about aviation. The fact that Tim perished too is just crushing. So very tragic. He was loved by all that ever met him. God bless you, Spanky.
  14. 29 points
    You got it all wrong... an FE with two Masters degrees who just cross flowed from a 130J landed gear up flying solo in a C-17; turns out he was sexually harassing the gay singer from Tops in Blue at the time that he was planning the Christmas Party with when he learned he got passed over for a second time for Lt Col and got non-continued. Now he doesn't know what to do because he wanted to sign the bonus that got delayed and isn't sure if he can still transfer his GI Bill to his kids. All of this happened while landing at the wrong airport in Tampa when he was supposed to be landing in Benghazi, but just as he was manually calculating TOLD he got a call from both Obama and Clinton telling him not to go. He was planning on getting out any day now anyway when the Airlines start their massive hiring wave! I guess they already had the court martial and he got convicted by a bunch of shoes on the jury, but a 3 Star overturned the verdict. So when all was said and done... it was pretty much a long week for Rainman!
  15. 28 points
    I'll add my two cents (and some more). Soooooo not everyone on this board agrees with Tony Carr's perspective on the USAF - see his editorial on the Thunderbird mishap from last June and (if you know ANYTHING), you'll know that that piece was designed to elicit an emotional response, did nothing to satisfy public curiosity about the event, shed no new light on the event, and was literally the journalistic equivalent of throwing $hit at a wall - in the name of smearing the AF (cause he thinks it's fun, IMO). After that post I was honestly not sure whether or not to take him seriously any more - and I don't. He was a previous safety guy who "had F-16 experience" but yet he wrote it as someone would who lacked a military flying background. His response to my analysis (http://disq.us/p/1ejpsoe) of his editorial was dismissive, and when presented with facts, he avoided the issue. I don't consider him value-added at this point - as I do this message board. I think he's a semi-talented, own-press-reading, bitter, (ret) Lt Col who has nothing better to do with his time than sport bitch on the internet. I think lots of people agree with that sentiment, and while he can sometimes come close the mark, I don't think (in general) he is that interesting any more. On that note, and to your question, I don't think the root cause of the USAF's current crisis has much to do with leadership in a traditional sense, but then again, I was never one who drank the AF koolaid that would have all its officers believe that leadership is the panacea to every and all problems. No, sometimes, people make poor decisions and it's not because they are poor leaders. And sometimes, it doesn't matter who's at the seat, there can be (and are) systemic issues in an organization which have far greater effects. Pinning it all on "toxic leadership" is what someone who is still pissed at a lot of previous superiors does when he is no longer subject to their rule. That said, if you choose to orient yourself in such a way, then I suppose that everything can be boiled down to poor leadership (not toxic), but I think there are more systemic issues as to why the USAF is in its current state, and when viewed in that light, will lead to more fruitful changes. 1. 179s: Look a troop in the eye, and tell them that the reason they're going down range for 179 days (vs 180 or more) has nothing to do with the USAF's policy of granting short-tour credit for deployments of longer length (sts). http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/112915/air-force-normalizes-short-tour-credit-policy/. IMO, there is only one reason such a policy could exist, and it is to screw airmen out of a medal, deployment credit, make it easier for the personnel machine to send them downrange again sooner, or whatever. Justifications along the lines of "well, we will need to be able to deploy them again" do not hold water. All airmen who were getting short-tour credit for 180+ day deployments were playing by the same rules, and were all on the same "list". What shifting a policy did while we were in the middle of a war, was create two groups of people - those who had deployed for >181 and <365 who got credit, and those who did not - that is a ripple in the system, and though it may not have an immediately visible consequence, it certainly has an effect and was unfair to lots of people. So, that's one example of something wrong, which has nothing to do with anyone wearing < 4 stars on their shoulders. But toxic leadership? Maybe, but by only one person - not a culture of it. 2. RIFs/Force-shaping: During my time in the USAF, I "survived" two RRFs (I think, maybe, I can't remember at this point). One occurred shortly after I finished the B-Course. The U-S-A-F sent me, a fighter pilot, paperwork that suggested I may not be retained, literally immediately after I finished soaking up the better part of $5M in training costs/taxpayer money and with nearly 10 years of commitment remaining. IMO, this was done in the name of "social justice" - an example of a policy enacted to make everyone feel like they're on the same page and are all of equal value. Was I actually concerned I was going to be force-shaped? Nope. But this is an example of something that is wrong with the AF at a cultural level. Fixing this would go a long way toward re-orienting the AF in the correct direction, but (I get it) it would cause A LOT of teeth-gnashing with the REMFs, and that is a merge I highly doubt the AF wants to buy - because we MUST be socially just, we absolutely must be (sarcasm). 2a. In 2011, the USAF got rid of 157 Majors who should have been allowed to retire: http://dailycaller.com/2011/11/25/military-advocates-decry-illegal-early-terminations-of-157-air-force-majors/ http://nation.time.com/2012/01/03/air-force-firing-for-effect/ This occurred, and then (almost immediately), the USAF sought to be granted TERA (and was given it) in order to "slim down": http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/467816/eligible-officers-enlisted-members-offered-early-retirement/ http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/483997/af-opens-additional-tera-vsp-windows/ http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/467713/af-announces-additional-force-management-programs-to-reduce-force-size/ https://federalnewsradio.com/retirement/2016/01/greg-rinckey-air-force-officers-demand-reinstatement/ Does that not cause one to scratch their head (who said head)? Look a troop in the eye and tell them this is not the apex of hypocrisy and short-sighted decision making. If you ask me, this is an instance of breaking faith with people. And before we cry uncle and say "well we're subject to civilian leadership decisions", I don't remember any stars falling on their swords over that one. GOs should have been resigning up and down the chain over that one. Again, like it or not, when people witness decisions like this, it affects their "matrix" and they then re-evaluate their criteria for staying in the AF for the long haul. What this sequence of decisions made clear was that a member's continued service was arbitrary, and subject to the flavor of the month. That is not going to be good enough for most people who are investing the most valuable years of their working lives towards a successful career, and I think this has had a direct and lasting affect on morale and retention. Again, this is an example of a policy decision that created two classes of people: those who served > 15 years and were not given a retirement, and those who were. 3. Shortly on the pilot bonus: the fact that it hasn't change in what, 20+ years, communicates a lot - if not directly, then indirectly. All the hand-wringing about increased amounts being just around the corner is a little pathetic, and is obviously being done from a reactionary perspective. This should have been addressed YEARS ago, because the Airline hiring wave is NOT a surprise. 4. Focus: This, to me, boils down to what the USAF should be focused on. IMO, it is high-time that "space" and "cyber" became their own separate service (or perhaps services). Much like the USAF growth out of the Army benefited both branches, I think another, modern version of that evolution needs to take place with those two realms so they can get the focus they need, and we can get ours. No, space is NOT a continuation of the "air domain", and neither is cyber. There, I said it. Sure, they abut, but so does the surface of the sea/Earth, with the sky, yet we have different branches dedicated to those domains. IMO the AF is in love with the idea of being a one-sized fits all solution to all problems (or maybe they're addicted to the money, IDK). That last point will lead me to #5. 4a. It was suggested on other message boards that more 11X presence is needed throughout the AF - from staffs, to the FSS. I fully agree with this sentiment, and would happily displace an FSS Maj or Lt Col (while remaining on flying status) and run that shop/unit. Would I be there everyday? Nope, but I wouldn't need to be. See, it's all about policy and setting an expectation. The USAF for far too long has been ceding ever more control to those who don't have to cross a wire. Why is this? Do we really need a finance-trained, specialized Maj/Lt Col to run the finance shop? Really? Does that person even know how to operate DTS or whatever else? And even if they do know how, do they? I highly suspect they fill more of figure-head roll; a leader of those units could easily come from an 11X background and provide actual, bonafied leadership. I would go so far as to say that in order to command anything, you should have to be a rated officer. Yes, this caps non-rated officers - tough shit. Go get wings. 5. This is likely an unpopular opinion on this board, but the biggest mistakes we have recently made (as a nation) have been the strategic errors of invading Iraq in 2003, the "how" of invading Afghanistan in 2001, and then the subsequent withdrawal from Iraq in whenever we actually did it. Bottom line on this one, is that the USAF leadership (at the time) should have thrown down a firm "no" when the Army demanded we play in the conflict for as long as we have, as should have the Navy. Drones and snake eaters? You bet. Multi-million dollar fighter jets, the full capes of the world's greatest AF burning holes in the sky, US Navy billion-dollar aircraft carriers? No way. We have WAY over-extended ourselves in these conflicts and have NOTHING to show for it. Well, except a military full of equipment that is falling apart at a time when we least need it. I fully grasp that we were sent to war by our civilian leadership, but not calling a goat by its name isn't solving the problem. No, AFPAK Hands will not succeed. Not because of lack of awesome people and their concerted and earnest efforts, but because the strategic context of its goal is illogical and nonsensical. No amount of Air University PHD-research-papering will make it so. The point of the military is to kill people and break their shit; not to nation-build before a war is won. Advising people who don't want what we want isn't the answer - if there's one thing I learned from my experiences, combined with the 'cross cultural competency' assigned by ACSC, it's that. The sooner our "leadership" - of whatever flavor and level - wake up and recognize this, the better. We have poured (and continue to pour) far too much in time, resources, blood, and money into an unwinnable situation. We need to get back to defining realistic, measurable goals, by which we can actually measure a 1 or 0, we can start counting those. I would much prefer to hear from our leadership that the new, stated goal in Afghanistan is to never allow a Taliban, or al Qaeda sponsored/sympathetic government to take root - and leave it at that. We're not interested in standing up a government there; we're not interested in building girls' schools there; we're not interested in teaching air advisers how to read the JP 3.09-3. We are interested in shooting Hellfires off of drones at anyone associated with the Taliban or al Qaeda for the next 1000 years - that's it. This section has run on way too long, but to sum up: our current strategy only exists because we misunderstand who and what type of people we are fighting. 6. HPO lists, etc. This category is all about creating "classes" of people. The military has always been a good 'ol boys club, and it always will be. Formalizing it in Excel spread sheets, and choosing people while they are Captains is what has created and perpetuated a perception that it literally doesn't matter what you do if you're not on that list. It is nothing more than playing favorites, and creates an environment that leads people to separate - now there's some "leadership". I ultimately believe that more transparency in the assignment and promotion system will go a long way to correcting a lot of the AF's current problems as well. I could, and might, write more, but until next time, if you haven't read this article, the author hits on some extremely relevant points: https://philipgmorrison.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/its-your-move-the-dilemma-of-incurred-commitment-in-the-modern-job-market/. - ViperMan
  16. 27 points
    Just as I would never trivialize the sacrifices or challenges our airmen faced in Vietnam or WWII, I would expect our officers to not trivialize the sacrifices and challenges our military has faced since 9/11 in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our Air Force crews have not experienced anywhere near the losses we did in previous wars, but our military has suffered sufficient losses to not be marginalized by reminiscing of better times when fighter pilots felt more appreciated. We shouldn't hope for the times when air to air combat and incredible losses resulting from ground to air fires define our Air Force's worth, contribution and legacy. We should be proud of the asymmetrical advantage we provide our nation as we engage this enemy during this time. And we should be very careful about marginalizing our military's most recent combat experiences to our joint partners. Our Air Force exists today, with significant investment of taxpayer dollars, so we don't have to experience the challenges and losses that we experienced in WWII and Vietnam. It is foolish to wish for "real air combat" and losses to fix our problems and define our worth. My Dad flew Huey gunships during two tours in Vietnam and my grandfather flew B-17s in Europe. There was plenty of admin bullshit and useless bureaucracy then. Robin Olds rebelled against the same. Don't view the past through rose colored glasses and think we are so much worse than we were in the good old days when aircraft were shot down, ground forced needed Beyer air support and morale was high. Especially when it pisses off those who sacrifice, kill and serve.
  17. 26 points
    That is an animated gif not a meme you n00b.
  18. 26 points
    A valid question; here's my opinion based on my involvement as an AF O-6 at NSA working airborne programs for the Asst Dep Director for Operations, Military Affairs and post- retirement as a civilian in OSD (DARO, OUSD/ISR, and NIMA/NGA)at the time The answer is that in the very early 90s, Bill Lynn, the Director of DARPA (actually named "ARPA" at that point but returned to its original title of "DARPA" later in the 90s), and Bill Perry, the DepSecDef (not sure if they were in those exact positions in the very beginning, but by mid-90s they were) believed that unmanned aircraft had the potential to revolutionize airborne operations, starting with ISR, by reducing personal exposure to threats, enabling extended ISR (long duration ops) and save money by reducing the manpower costs in the systems. Additionally, they believed that a new acquisition concept called the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) could speed up the introduction of new systems from the current (in the 90s) and painful 15-20 years. The idea was to marry up the contractor side and the government side early in the development cycle to better work out operational issues while designing the vehicles (sounds good...didn't work!). They married the two ideas and DARPA initiated the High Altitude Endurance (HAE) and Medium Altitude Endurance (MAE) programs in 1994. The HAE program envisioned two platforms; a high altitude "U-2-like" vehicle and a smaller low observable, craft for better penetration of highly defended areas, referred to as "tier 2+ and "Tier 3-" in their concept terminology. The MAE program started with an existing much less capable unmanned RPA called the "Gnat", built by General Atomics for another purpose. You'll note here that this effort was a DARPA technology development effort, not an acquisition effort responding to an approved DoD mission need. In fact, the Air Force was not particularly enamored with the idea of unmanned mission aircraft and did not support the effort; there was no AF money or manning in the POM to support it. In fact the HAE program plan itself says there is only one required outcome...and let me quote from the ARPA 6 Oct 1994 ver 1.0 HAE CONOP..."A dominant objective of the HAE UAV program is to obtain the maximum capability possible for a set, non-waiverable Unit Flyaway Price (UFP); accordingly, while there are performance objectives, the only requirement that must be met is the UFP." In other words, it doesn't have to do anything except fly, hold a camera, and cost less that $10 million a copy; no operational needs have to be satisfied. To many in the system, the real effort was for DARPA to develop the new acquisition concept, using the HAE and MAE as exemplars. The AF eventually got the aircraft because the outcome of an ACTD was to be either: 1) a failed program, so cancel it, 2) showed promise, so move on and correct issues, or 3) Provide program residuals to the eventual user (AF in this case) for them to decide to either keep and operate or dump. The ARPA and SECDEF seniors decided it flew, collected something, and (sort of) met the UFP goal (at about $15.5 each), so they chose option 3 and passed it all to the AF (both HAE and MAE, although the DarkStar segment of HAE was cancelled after it crashed on flight 2. Why they kept it was the usual case of political and industrial influence, I guess. Some of us suggested the best course of action was to dump the Global Hawk because it met few operational needs, would cost too much to upgrade (if it could ever be upgraded...too little space, too little power, too little payload), and met few of the original desired capabilities, We felt it would be cheaper to take the money and start with a clean sheet design, using the knowledge gained to drive the new (unmanned) platform (which we referred to as "Global Truck"). The estimated $200-400 million extra was consider too much money by leadership, so we stay on the "cheap" track...which I suspect has cost us an extra $5-8 Billion by now (just my guess). As for the ACTD experiment, it hit a few bumps, too. When the Predator program was turned over to the AF and told to operate it, they found the DARPA program provided no money or manpower in the DoD budget to do so, no tech data was ever developed for the Service (it was all contractor proprietary) so they couldn't fix it, no ground control systems built except the contractor's test stuff so they couldn't deploy or fly it fly, No additional money was provided by DoD or Congress to the AF so the AF started a program called "Predator 911" to find money (to operate and buy support) and manpower, and facilities, "robbing" it from the current and future years budgets, causing major disruptions for years. As for GH, the idea of killing the U-2 and replacing it with the GH didn't float either, because the GH had practically no operational capability as delivered and it took a decade to develop the RQ-4B with more capability and slightly better sensors. So, that's why we have it! BTW, as far as Perry and Lynn were concerned, the success of unmanned systems since then probably indicates their vision was a success, and I can't really argue that they'd be wrong. Its all in your perspective.
  19. 25 points
    RF-4C 1. Ops tempo: Outstanding. Best kept secret. Basically a flying club. As a 1Lt it's your airplane with great responsibility; "All we ask is bring it back in one piece." Flying is mostly low level single ship to where ever YOU and your WSO decide to go that day. Not flying, review your film from previous day, do a tour in the RSU, perhaps a little studying in the vault, shelf check at the BX. TDY's and deployments minimal and considered a good deal. AAR training every couple of months. Night AAR is always scheduled with a full moon. If stationed in Germany always save a little fuel for the fur ball with whomever is trolling along the Rhine. 2. LIfestyle/family: Could not be better. Home every day by 5. No working weekends. If stationed in Germany most have a rental Swiss chalet for the winter skiing months. 3. Community morale: Excellent. Surprising amount of fellow pilots UPT DG's. Some turned down fighters to fly Recce. Everyone works and pulls together. 4. Advancement & Future of Airframe: Terrible, once Recce always Recce according to MPC although I managed a 4 yr OA-37 assignment to DM. (another flying club). NO future dedicated manned Recce airframes. 5. Preferred PCS locations: Zweibrucken, Alconbury, Bergstrom. Oh crap, just got up from a nap. Dreaming it was 1977 and not 2017! Sorry guys, you missed a great time in the AF. 10 years AD then off to a legacy airline.
  20. 25 points
    A true warrior. Never bitched (excessively), always worked hard, and made the brotherhood and the Air Force a better place. It was my honor, and many others, to serve with him. Artisits: Amn Pucci and Amn Leonard. Nice work boys, some of the best nose art I've seen. #flynavy
  21. 25 points
    Many senior leaders value the wrong things. We overvalue entertainment, image, compliance and control. We undervalue combat, results, creativity and trust.
  22. 25 points
    Long rant incoming. You don't seriously believe the Air Force will ever let the tail wag the dog, do you? Name me one time in history where someone said "wow we're going to have a problem with retention, we're going to dial things back for a bit". The fact is, especially as officers, we've grown accustomed to a certain quality of life that has been guaranteed for multiple years, and they're banking on the fact that enough people will be too afraid to risk that QoL as a civilian, but don't have the foresight to know what's coming down the road. Timing-wise, let me say this -- from FY1972 to FY1976 the Air Force dropped 20,000 officers and 220k enlisted. From FY1990 to FY1995, it dropped another 22,000 officers and 113k enlisted. We currently have 30k fewer people in the Air Force than from when we started this war. And that's when we were under complete GOP control for most of a decade that was more than happy to skyrocket DoD spending to record levels. Now, the military is beset on all sides by people who want to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the amount of money we spend on defense. But we don't want to lose defense capability. Where do you find the savings? Personnel. We're [allegedly] drawing down in Iraq, and the end of surging in Afghanistan is looming over the horizon in 2014. If you're not expecting another huge active duty cut in the next 3-5 years, then you haven't been paying attention to history and current trends. Fighter guys will keep going to UAVs and non-flying assignments, because there are simply fewer squadrons around to go to. What, you didn't realize this when they went from 8 fighter assignments per class at UPT down to 2? And that they went from 0 UAVs up to 3-4 per class? And when they sent a bunch of AFSOC guys to fucking Clovis and still kept deploying them 200 days a year? And when they deployed a bunch of AMC guys so much that people actually start volunteering for UAVs to escape the madness? How is this even a surprise? It's a long-term, insidious, and most likely unintentional-yet-I-like-where-this-is-going rebalancing of the force. Why should we bother retaining expensive, high maintenance pilots who are tired of deploying, when we can replace them with wide-eyed newbies who we can deploy until they drop? And then, keep enough experienced guys who are just happy enough taking one more assignment in a cockpit, that they won't ever complain? This ensures that we have a just-enough-qualified cadre for the F-35, and a bunch of prior experienced fighter guys that are still on the payroll for the future, but are solving the UAV issue in the present term. Furthermore, all the benefits we as a military service currently enjoy came from veterans and sympathetic lawmakers fighting for it. The GI bill, the even better post-9/11 GI bill, educational assistance, military retirement (remember REDUX? it wasn't THAT long ago). These things were fought for by vet lawmakers for vets. Well, those people are dying off and retiring slowly, but surely. We're exporting this whole "military service" thing to a very specific, and very small portion of the American population. Look at the people who remember what it was like in the Cold War, honestly appreciate your service, and would give you the shirt off their back to keep you warm. I bet most of them have gray hair. And as time marches on, they will get fewer and farther between. Look at the current President, and his likely Republican challengers for 2012, not a single goddamn day of military service amongst ANYONE besides Ron Paul. But there sure as hell are a lot of J.D.'s. And you think this is going to get better? In 2000 we talked about how good it was back in 1990. In 2011 we all talk about how good it was in 2000. And in 2020 we'll talk about how good we had it back in 2010. Change is the only constant you can depend on, and it won't be for the better. We're governed by men of rhetoric, not action. They will proclaim their support of the military loudly, take a PR-sanitized tour of your deployed base with their American flag jumpsuit, and then deploy your stupid gullible ass to another war without thought or care for what you're giving up, while simultaneously gutting 1) your ability to do your job, 2) pay, and 3) benefits to make room for super high-tech procurement contracts so that they can win votes back home. Below these men of rhetoric are generals who have already banked their 19k a month retirement check and follow-on CEO position at a defense contractor, many of whom will not hesitate to RIF you or deploy you so that their excel spreadsheet macro turns green, and it makes their masters happy. As it goes down from star to eagle to oak leaf to bar to stripe, it will get bastardized into "well these are the boss' orders, we have to do our duty", and so, the game continues. I guess what I'm trying to say here, is that we should get rid of this misconception that aviators have any leverage whatsoever with things like retention. I know everyone thinks "well if they keep screwing with us, we'll all leave and show them who really has the power", but, honestly, that's just wishful thinking. And, even worse, a lot of people think "well if I just play the game, I'll get taken care of", leading to an attitude where you'll casually throw your own people under the bus just to keep that quality of life you have. The situation will continue to erode, so I guess my advice is to protect yourself and your families from the looming storm ahead, but don't forget to take care of your fellow servicemembers and vets, because nobody else will.
  23. 24 points
    A colleague who is F22 pilot for the Virginia ANG had honor of flying a Phantom at Eglin. He flew the aircraft we had at the reunion. Here is the F-22 pilot’s thoughts on flying the F-4: I flew your jet a couple days ago (see attached). I had a little trouble getting the engines started, so I climbed out and shoveled some more coal in the back; after that she fired right up. Ground ops were uneventful, although I couldn’t figure out why the cockpit smelled like body odor, Jack Daniels and cigars…and that was BEFORE I got in it! By the way, what’s with the no slip crap on top of the intakes, it’s like you have permanent icing conditions due to that spray on rhino truck bed liner on top of the aircraft. It’s no wonder you needed so much coal (I mean thrust) to get airborne. Take off scared the sh*t out of me. I lit the burners at brick one and 2 miles and 45 minutes later we were ready to rotate. After barely clearing the tree tops, the gear came up and I climbed away at a VERY impressive 2 degrees nose high. In case you don’t remember, “Trim” is your friend in the F-4 (pretty sure it’s also a good friend on the ground too). Once I got her up to speed and a moderate altitude, we were ready for the G-Ex. Two G-turn’s later and I’m sinking like a rock…the F-4’s energy seems to bleed like Holyfield’s ear in the Tyson fight! After the G-Ex it was time to do a little Advanced Handling Characteristics (AHC) and by “advanced handling” I mean the same crap the Wright Brothers were doing back in 1903…just trying to keep it airborne. The jet flies much like my old man’s station wagon used to drive…You turn the wheel (push the stick) a few inches and nothing happens, then all of a sudden the steering kicks in, inertia takes over, and all HELL breaks loose! You’re pretty much along for the ride at that point and only gravity has a real say in your lift vector placement. “Checking 6” was really quite easy…. because you CAN’T! Scratch that off the list of “Sh*t I need to do to keep myself alive in combat today”. Breathing, however, was surprisingly easy in the F-4 when compared to that of the F-22 (thank you Lockheed)…LOX works, who knew! I think I may have burned my legs a bit from the steam pouring out from behind the gauges. Where are my 6 mini-flat screen TV’s, I’m lost without my HD jet displays (editors note: actually, I’m an analog guy stuck in a digital world too…I really do like the “steam driven” gauges). After the AHC, I decided to take her up high and do a supersonic MACH run, and by “high” I mean “where never lark nor even eagle flew”; but not much higher, a foot or two maybe. I mean, we weren’t up there high-fiving Jesus like we do in the Raptor, but it was respectable. It only took me the width of the Gulf of Mexico to get the thing turned around while above the Mach. After the Mach run we dropped to the deck and did 600 kts at 500’; a ratllin’ and shakin’ we will go…. I though all the rivets were going to pop out. Reference previous station wagon analogy! Very quickly we were out of gas and headed home. As I brought the jet up initial, I couldn’t help but think that the boys who took this thing into combat had to have some pretty big brass you know whats! My first F-4 landing was a little rough; sub-standard really by Air Force measure… but apparently “best seen to date” according to the Navy guys. Did you know that there’s no such thing as an aerobrake in the F-4? As soon as the main gear touches down, the nose comes slamming down to the runway with all the force of a meteor hitting the earth….I guess the F-4 aerobrake technique is to dissipate energy via denting the runway. Despite an apparently “decent” landing, stopping was a whole different problem. I reached down and pulled the handle to deploy the drogue chute…at which point a large solid mass of canvas, 550 cord, metal weights and cables fell out and began bouncing down the runway; chasing me like a lost puppy and FOD’ing out the whole runway. Perfect. I mashed down on the breaks and I’m pretty sure at this point the jet just started laughing at me. Why didn’t you warn me that I needed a shuttle landing strip to get this damn thing stopped? All kidding aside, VERY COOL jet! Must have been a kick to fly back when you were in Vietnam! Just kidding!
  24. 24 points
    I fly a little Titan Tornado S now and it is a blast. It's a full light weight metal aircraft with only 80hp (Rotax 912) but it will do a loop, actually more of an oval ellipse since it barely gets over the top and kind of falls off the back side. It cruises at C-172 speeds and has 2 seats in tandem and a stick rather than a yoke. A fun little experimental that carries about as much (600 lbs - that includes the 15 gallons of fuel) as its empty weight (~620lbs). The reason I chose it is that the front seat height is pretty much even with the seat in my wheelchair (I'm paralyzed now so can't use feet/legs) and the rudder and brakes were easy to modify so that I can use my hands to operate all flight controls. Never consciously thought about how much I would miss flying until it was taken away for a little while. The first picture was when I test flew one before I bought mine, the second shot is my plane shot from a friends plane.
  25. 24 points
    Fellas, it's Memorial Day. Let's have a beer for the boys who can't. This thread is brutal and going nowhere fast. Cheers Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network Forums
  26. 24 points
    1. You will change your mind. It's a mere function of time and life stage. Don't fret it. The young ones want to fly helos these days after MWS day out of UPT because they don't want to get "stuck in an airframe that doesn't see action". Nothing has changed much in that regard from 50 years ago. The crusty majors and above roll their eyes and welcome a family-friendly PCS duty location, or conversely 7-day opt in order to save their families in the absence of one. The two archetypes were the same person at one moment in time, bear in mind. You will be no different unless you opt out of a family, which is perfectly fine too. 2. You're misunderstanding the exodus. Just like the retirement of the baby boomers, job replacement will not occur on a one for one basis. The jobs are GOING AWAY. The 11F shortage is an 11F head count (sts) shortage for 11F coded staff jobs, NOT an 11F cockpit shortage (i.e. false advertisement). Ergo, there is NO net vacating spot for you to jump into. You're competing for less jobs, which makes your desires MORE competitive. It's not impossible, but watching all this experience leave is not leaving you with more opportunity merely because you feel willing to go where the ones before you are running away from. Understand this difference for your own sake. It will lessen the disappointment. 3. You'll quickly come to chastise your own statement. I know you're being flippant, but you really have no concept of how old queep gets. It is fundamentally defining in the career of a flying officer, that his flying duties, in paper listed as primary duties, are in effect tertiary duties after he pins on O-3. You will not escape that (there is no WO program in the AF). The closest you will get to attain such an outcome is to be a Guard/Reservist and deal with just getting to do it on a part-time basis (even full time reserve guys are being fired too, for your SA). Understand what this means. This means they'll pay you to not get to do what you're willing to sell your soul for in order to get to do in the first place. You will reject that construct in due time, like most of those before you, and again come to chastise your own words. Look, none of this has to be accompanied by a moral adjudication either. Some kool-aid drinkers could say airline_guy is a shitbag for having such an openly disdainful attitude (by proxy) for which he took an officer oath that had nothing to do with flying airplanes. Others (myself included) would view such means to an end as an admittedly apathetic but par for the course answer in an organization that's bigger than the kool aid drinker, myself or airline_guy's, and certainly an organization who doesn't care one flying fuck about me, airline_guy or even the kool-aid drinker. The only truth I know is to keep doing something until it stops making sense or you get fired. Words I live by and it's kept me sane. What makes you a SNAP is not that you think you're willing to do things others are not (you're not btw), what makes you a SNAP is that you foresee yourself as immune from these dynamics by simpleton attitude. You're not immune and you will find out. Whether that transition is a fluid one or a life-embittering one largely depends on how much common wisdom and free internet advice you're willing to accept or dismiss today. Good luck to you either way and thank you for your service.
  27. 24 points
    That's not just a great OPR bullet... it's a fabulous OPR bullet.
  28. 23 points
    I'm deployed and busy. I still check the forum to see what's new. I'm tired of reading posts from whiners who continue to bitch and moan about not being required to get an AAD until Col. Drama queens. I can't stand being around people who complain about stupid things and this forum is full of them. Hard to read sometimes, but there are enough witty insights to make it worth it. This Korea alcohol thing is over the top. I think it is an unlawful order. Good order and discipline my ass. Some commanders have lost their minds with this "treat people like children" mentality of leadership. JQP's Camp Air Force article is spot on. I recommend you read it and apply it to your leadership style. To those in this forum that aren't bitter, selfish, disillusioned crybabies, thank you for serving in the greatest AF this world has ever seen. It is a bloated bureaucracy (DMV with guns), with more chickenshit senior leaders and commanders and more stupid rules than it should have. But our Air Force kicks ass all over the world, enabling our nation to do the things it should be doing, killing those who need to be killed, and protecting those who need to be protected. We need competent, courageous and creative leaders at all levels, including every one of our officers. Quit your complaining and start leading. Or just quietly separate and go get that dream job where there are no stupid rules and bad leaders, so the rest of us can get to it. edited to remove some profanity caused by my bad mood
  29. 23 points
    A few weeks ago I made a statement to a room full of senior AF leaders that we were making a big mistake paying contractors and civilians to fix and fly aircraft in combat while we keep active duty support personnel, including band members, comm, CE, firefighters, finance, etc. I said an Air Force that pays civilians to fix and fly aircraft will soon end up in the Army. I didn't get a slow clap, or any supporting fires, but it felt good to say it to a bunch of senior decision makers. We should cut, contract and civilianize all support functions before we cut combat power and our core missions. Our support functions are vitally important, but they don't have to all be military. We should contract all housing, CDCs, fire departments, base security, FSS, DV airlift, protocol, CE, base comm, base logistics and most our health care. Contracts keep costs down, quality up, allow for competition, hold people accountable and leverage corporate experience, technologies and responsiveness. And you don't pay for full benefits and retirement for non-combat/non-critical Air Force capabilities, so it is cheaper in the long run.
  30. 23 points
    Anyone else feel an overwhelming urge to punch that dude in the face standing on the vertical stab?
  31. 22 points
    A few things I've learned/observed in my 30+ years of adulthood and 25+ years since being commisioned: 1. Military aviation requires near absolute precision and professionlism in planning, briefing, execution, and debriefing. I have never met a single officer (I know and have worked for many who are now or became GO's) who could maintain that high level in all facets of their careers and at all times. People need balance. Flyers need a forum where they can let loose. It used to be the Auger Inn at Randolph AFB (not sure if it still is). Mather AFB had their famous JOC night. Reese AFB had the Smokin' Hole. Eielson had the "Club". Many squadrons had their own bars, like Moody's at Red Flag. These were/are places where aviators could go, be irreverent, be bawdy, be undisciplined, and be on a somewhat level field with leadership. How many here have seen their Wing CC with sleeves rolled up having a beer or playing crud or smoking a stogie? When you do, at that moment he is one of you. How often does that happen now? Probably not much. Base Ops offers a welcome alternative to places that are mostly long gone. The squadron bar has replaced the squadron bars and O'Clubs and the NSFW forums have replaced the doofer books. 2. When a dude walks into a bar looking for a fight, he will most likely find it while lookling like a jackass. He will look it even more when he gets indignant when he gets his ass kicked. 3. When someone thinks they are in the midst of assholes, they probably should take a step back and think about who the common denominator is. 4. Differing opinons are usually heard when offered in a credible well thought out manner. It is possible to be right in one's opinion, but completely wrong headed in expressing it (being an ass about it). That usually tunes people out. Joseph McCarthy was right about Communists in government and Hollywood, but was such an ass that he was marginalized and eventually not heard. The louder one yells while trying to force their views on others, the deeper the fingers go into the ears of those who are subjected to the rant. At some point it morphs from peers hearing a guy expressing an opinion to peers seeing that guy being a jackass. Then the focus is no longer on the opinion, but on the jackass It is good to know when that point is reached. 5. A small dose of humility goes a long way. One does not compromise their integrity by allowing that they may be wrong about something or that they made a mistake. I've seen commanders fess up in a debrief and they won lots of respect points by doing so. I've seen a Red Flag deployed forces commander sit himself down for not maintaining his altitude block. Good on him. I've also seen or heard of commanders who tried to ignore obvious mistakes to save face. They came across as jackasses. If a person communicates to others in a condesending fashion, they can expect likewise, regardless if their point if valid. Example of humility - my spelling sucks, so I'm sure there is a mistake somewhere in this post. I believe we grow intellectually stale if we only expose ourselves to things with which we agree and believe differing views are welcome here when offered in a credible fashion. . One needs to have thick skin and be willing and able to defend one's differeing view. One garners respect when one does that when challenged instead of reacting with a tantrum. Again, the issue then morphs from a differing viewpoint to a jackass having a tantrum. Enjoy the forums guys (and Mustache Sally). Keep posting and I'll keep reading. Regards, RF
  32. 21 points
    hey man take this however you want IDGAF, but in most of your posts you come across as a huge ass hole
  33. 21 points
    One night North of JBAD we were supporting a routine nightly DA from the bottom of an air stack 20 miles high. Upon infil the objective village came to life and a large group with small arms, RPGs, and recoilless rifles headed for the high ground surrounding the objective. We kept track of their movement with 25% of the capacity of one of our two sensors while supporting other tasks with the rest. When the F-16 flight finally finished yo-yo ops and got both birds back onstation from JOKERing out prior to infil due to a 15min slip in the timeline, we talked them on. The group stopped and set up a fighting position in the terrain above the objective leading the GFC to decide to engage prior to entering the objective village. Friendlies were still several clicks away and the targets were in the middle of nowhere. As a result, and because it wasn't a critical or time sensitive engagement, the JTAC decided to throw a bone to the F-16s. A way to get them in the game as thanks for showing up night after night and watching in the background while we took care of the meaningful engagements. In the process of 9-line coordination, the F-16s lost sight of the targets (which hadn't moved) and were unable to reacquire. We moved out, found them, and talked the F-16s back on. We then attempted to confirm basic fighter/gunship integration procedures to allow us to remain overhead at the time of strike, but it caused confusion on their part and the JTAC opted to push us off rather than spend the time to unfuck it. The initial drop incapacitated 2 or 3 of about 15 and the re-attack turned into a shitshow that never left home plate after the F-16s lost tally again. After giving the targets a 5min headstart to run in a bomburst pattern off the original impact site the JTAC got fed up, aborted the re-attack, and called us back overhead. Despite having been in BFE for the initial strike, the first round left the aircraft ~3 seconds after arriving overhead without aid of the assets that were supposed to have custody of the target. The remaining 12 or 13 spread all over the mountainside were cleaned up in 1/5 the time that it took for 9-line coordination on the initial strike, while the F-16s faded back into the background. I knew right then how different our worlds were.
  34. 21 points
    I'll bite, although I feel as though my response would fall on deaf ears. I have thought about this question for many years (I'm not just about to pin on Capt) and have come to quite a few answers to that questions. My answers are three fold, with a summary at the end. The short of it, we just aren't even. 1. Integrity First- This catch phrase is used to encompass the expectations of subordinates, but not accountable to self or superior. I have seen blatant betrayals from senior leaders when the "deal changes", during any feedback session, or through the horrible personnel management. 2. Service Before Self- The comment in itself reeks of cold war propaganda. Many people subscribe to the God, Family, Country mentality but the Air Force would have you believe that you would put all personal desires second to the Air Force needs. The "needs of the Air Force" have been met personally by my by missing the majority of my own birthdays, christmas and 4th of July celebrations. I have also put the service first by moving to undesirable locations on a timeline chosen for me by the Air Force. In return I am rewarded by the likes of TAMI 21 and multiple RIFs. It is of absolutely no surprise to me that this concept of a one way street with no expectation of the service to show gratitude for my dedication to it's cause. 3. Excellence in All We Do- I can't believe that this even exists as a core value any more. We have punted the majority of the leadership challenges that have come our way in recent years. The least of which is not defined by the current state of large scale acquisition programs. The fraud, waste and abuse run rampant among spineless senior leaders more focused on the nest promotion than holding peers and superiors accountable for their actions. I believe excellence exists in the warriors that I have flown with in combat. I believe whole-heartedly that it exists in most squadrons. I do not believe that it exists above that level. The last, and most important, is the informal "affirmative action" implemented amongst company and field grade officers. The Air Force has gone to great lengths to ensure that we are all wingmen, warriors and leaders. We have reverted to baseline stratifications, masters degrees, PT tests and PME completion as a measure of success instead of number of combat deployments, hours spent in the vault or countless early morning, late nights and endless TDYs. I want to be very clear. We are not equal. A pilot should not be measured against a personnel, maintenance or finance officer. We aren't the same people. We, as aviators, assume an inordinate amount more risk when we execute combat airdrops, prepare for air-air refueling, or execute a combat mission. We aren't even. When reviewing commissioning sources over various years you will find that pilots are required to be the top 50% or better (10% at times) of their peers. Further, at SUPT, T-38 candidates must be in the top 50% of their class. We aren't even, we aren't even close. So, when 10 years into my career a commander stratifies pilots amongst pilots it should be assumed that those numbers are easily the top percentages of the Air Force. Through the personnel management programs we have attempted to even the playing field by placing emphasis on PME and AAD. Yes, I expect that a Personnel 2LT after having completed 4 months of training in his primary AFSC should have the time and energy to commit to those. Conversely, after 12 months of SUPT followed by 6 months of MWS specific training, followed by 6 months of MQT a pilot is given the opportunity to be the WORST pilot in the squadron. From there he is expected to work 12 hour days, spend weekends preparing for upgrades and countless days and weeks on the road. We aren't even. So, you ask why, that's why. We aren't even. We aren't even close. In a completely humble and non assuming context I contend that we just aren't the same people. We are cut from a different cloth and the Air Force has attempted to make us the same guy. So, after 12 years of military service I will cut my losses and take my chances in other ventures. I am willing to wager my military retirement that my statements above are of more substance than mere narcissism. I'm disappointed in the Air Force, in it's leadership and the way in which it downplays it's most valuable resources. We just aren't even.
  35. 21 points
    Look dude, it's pretty clear you're way out of your lane. Hows about you just STFU and move on, mmmkay? We all bust each other's chops when shit goes sideways, but the fact is we aren't flying 180 pax +bags from MSP to DFW. No matter what we do or how much we prepare, sometimes our shit does, in fact, stink. It may surprise you to learn that there are a few platforms out there that are responsible for more than just an ILS 16 full stop when we zip up our pajamas. Maybe not. What I do know, is that this job isn't easy, and sometimes people fuck up. Sometimes with fatal consequences. There are far better pilots than I will ever be who now have an address in Arlington, VA. I've made my share of mistakes in this business and have come out clean, but I don't confuse my good luck with invincibility. I don't know what you do, FlyBoy, but it's pretty clear your experience in a tactical environment is limited to avoiding tipping the baggers at the commissary on a Tuesday afternoon. I am fucking tired of reading posts from whiny bitches passing judgement on their brothers without so much as a tenth of an hour in their shoes. Every single community has its challenges, and until you've been there, you just don't know what they are. Those B-1 guys didn't wake up thinking they were going to put their airplane on its belly in Diego Garcia. The guy flying the C-5 at Dover didn't didn't say, "Fuck it, I only need 2 motors for this landing." How many F-16 pilots do you think decided to roll & pull into terrain? As long as there are humans defying gravity with extreme prejudice, the lucky ones will ride out their golden years knowing they got away with one at some point in their careers. Some are not so fortunate. There is one thing that I can say with confidence: flying a tactical airplane in Afghanistan is not easy. Should these guys have been able to grease that airplane on with no problem? Sure, but I can think of dozens of times that I've landed on that very runway near the end of a max duty day on the backside of a trip turn out of OAIX. I dont care how many eyes you watered on your midphase check in UPT, that shit ain't easy. It's late, and God damn this Tullamore Dew is delicious, but how about a little perspective around here, eh? Fucking hell.
  36. 21 points
    Fini Flight. You either know it will be your fini flight or you don’t. I had mine planed out for months. “Viper 2, traffic eleven o’clock , 3 miles slightly high. Slow mover.” “2’s tally” That is the first thing he has said in the last 30 minutes. Right after taking the runway I checked him in on the departure frequency and he had not said another word since. Radio discipline is absolutely necessary in our job, something I did not realize fully until flying over the skies of Iraq. Working with JTAC’s, air controllers other flights, predators, helicopters and humvees all on the same frequency - there is no time for small talk. Every word needs to have a meaning. Brevity. There are no umms or aahhhs – nothing extraneous. Think about what you are going to say and find the 3-1 term to say it. A book a thousand pages long with a chapter specifically written on how to say things. Every flight in the last five years we have debriefed to it and so far this flight is going well. An HH-60 Blackhawk helicopter passes motionless a thousand feet above our flight, the workhorse taxi of Iraq. The doors are open and a few dudes are sitting on the edge with their boots hanging into the air. One gives a hang loose sign as we rocket past at 500 knots. Our flight is at 500 feet and 500 knots, hugging the trees, weaving and bobbing in and out of the valleys. Nap of the earth flying using the terrain to hide from the SAM threats that abound around us. The General Electric I am strapped to is not even sweating. It will still give me 300 more knots with a 2 inch flick of the throttle. I am covering a mile every 6 seconds but it is comfortable now. I have time to check out houses and notice fisherman in the lakes. What was a blur a few years ago has slowed down immensely and given me time to think well ahead of the jet. I have a map in my left hand and a photo of the target along with the attack we will be using strapped to my knee. A quick study of the terrain we will see will pay huge dividends in about 5 minutes. I have my pen handy to jot down any notes the ground controller will give me when we check in. All this with a 2 second time to impact the earth with any wrong moves. The laws about texting and driving always crack me up – we are on a different level. I was 3 seconds late on my last turn point and need to push it up a little to get there on time. I have a two minute window to deliver, but bombs on target on time to the second is the goal. This will be the lat time I drop bombs for a long time and I want to shack the SA-6 site on the first run attack. The next plane I fly won’t do low levels and I know I am going to miss the Viper. I have had an outstanding time with my squadron the last few years and have been mentored by some of the finest pilots in the Air force. My final flight won’t be without some tears, I’ll be leaving some great friends and my first love – the F-16. The plan is a 10 LAT, Rip 6, 1 pass and haul ass. 1 shot with no re-attacks. Nothing worse than stirring up the hornets nest with the sound of a NASCAR race and going through dry. A re-attack with an aware enemy is much more risky. The element of surprise is a tactic that worked for Ghengas Kaahn and a flight of fighters alike. The initial point looks exactly as briefed, a small bridge over the creek at a low point in the valley. We are going to egress back over the mountains and be gone and out of sight just as quick as we arrived. Ghosts of destruction. 5 miles out, we still cannot see the target at these low altitudes. Viper 2 checks 45 degrees to the right. I immediately check 30 and climb 15 degrees nose high. Things are starting to happen fast. Off the left is an opening in the road and as I climb, an SA-6 is just becoming visible through the trees. His radar just woke up to the fact that I was there, the operator woken up by an alarm and the computer asking for consent to fire. Off my right, Viper 2 squares up to the target on a simultaneous attack. He needs to pickle before my bombs impact so he can see where to drop. I roll inverted and point. 10 degrees low, target just below the nose. Track. Small adjustment left. Wait. I am only 1000 feet above the ground with the target rapidly approaching. These are dumb bombs. Old school. They go where you pickle and if you miss you miss. No fancy lasers or GPS to put them back on track. The sport of kings and a skill the CAF is rapidly losing with less flying and the adaptation of high tech guided weapons. I have less than 5 seconds to figure all this out. 520 knots, heading down hill. Watch the throttle. Aim. Put the thing on the thing. Let the green stuff do its magic, the hamsters working overtime to calculate it out. Warheads on foreheads. Whatever. The pipper tracks right over the center. Pickle. Hold. Track. The death dot passes squarely across the target and is moving rapidly. In milliseconds, 6 bombs ripple off the jet in quick succession. 2 lofts his bombs in from a mile out so he doesn’t get nailed by the frag of mine. We both pull 5 g’s in an aggressive left hand turn, back to formation, back down low and back out of sight. Gone. Blue Death. 12 BDU bombs leaving a pile of hair, teeth and eyeballs in our wake…. A perfect training mission and a perfect way to end my career in the plane I have come to love. The end of the Fini Flight is usually met with the same enthusiasm on the ramp. It is traditional for friends and family along with the entire squadron to meet the jet as it taxis in. Long over are the days of multiple burner low approaches inches over the squadron building but there still is some unique style to ending ones career in a particular fighter. I have seen guys taxi back with gorilla masks on, blow up dolls fully inflated and my personal favorite – helmet removed and replaced with one of those beer caps, 2 Bud Lights strapped to the sides of a yellow plastic ball cap with a straw going to both. The canopy opened on his jet and he tossed a dozen empties over the side. “Thank God he didn’t crash” is all the commander could say. “Could you imagine the accident report on that one with a case of beer in the wreckage.” It is not over with the landing, as the pilot takes his last step off the ladder it begins. Some try to run but most know to stay put. My squadron gets one of the cops to handcuff pilots to the tie down rings on the ramp just to make sure they don’t go anywhere. Kids get the small fire extinguishers, and mom gets the hose from the fire truck to soak the pilot down. This is a fantastic exercise when snow is on the ground – as it turns out, the rubber, watertight dry suit we wear during the winter months is also fantastic at holding water on the inside. Often times, someone will unzip the dry suit, shove the fire hose in, sts, fill it up with water and zip it back closed. Probably 50 gallons or so get trapped and freezing temperatures offer no reprieve. This much water weight will pin the pilot to the ground until the water drains out of his sleeves. A bottle of champagne is shared by the bros, we call the pilot a quitter and generally throw a big party in the bar that evening. Tradition, and something every fighter pilot should have. I had flown that same flight a hundred times but my planned fini flight in the Viper did not happen that way. None of it. Not even close. Back in November of 2009, my buddy Monty had his fini flight as well but he didn’t know it. A few days after his last flight, on an off day, he was out in his front yard doing a little lawn maintenance when a Pontiac GTO went out of control and jumped the curb up into his yard killing him instantly. He died trimming his trees on a day off. Unbelievable. Fighter pilots know exactly how they will part the surly bonds of earth. It happens one of two ways. You die telling stories of your past glory at a relatively young old age from liver complications from the whiskey you drank to help make those stories entertaining – OR – you plow in at tremendous speed, out of control and on fire, completely content in the fact that you just took 5 flankers with you. A national frickin hero. A decorated combat veteran and one of the finest fighter pilots this world has ever known did not go down in a blaze of glory with his hair on fire. He was not slain by AAA even though it had been aimed at him. He was not damaged by SAM’s even though they were trained on his jet. He has had countless emergencies and brushes with death over his decade and a half flying fighters and he came out unscathed. He was a phenomenal fighter pilot, well respected in the community, and unfortunately he did not go out on his own terms. Monty was the kind of pilot that everyone wanted to follow into battle. As one of my early F-16 instructors, he was unanimously voted as one of the best. He had an easy going personality combined with an unbelievable knowledge of tactics and golden hands that made him an extremely talented aviator. He was also a good friend and mentor and played a tremendous part in my follow on assignment. I had dinner with he and his wife just a week earlier. 3 years later and I still have trouble making sense of the way he parted this earth. Tragic. Monty grew up in Ohio and Ohio is where he wanted to be buried. We flew jets out to Selfridge Michigan the next weekend to honor him with a missing man fly over of his funeral. Unfortunately, just after we landed, the storm of the year started to pass through. Detroit and Chicago O’Hare shut down and the entire country was being crippled by a massive front. Snow had just started falling when we landed, the forecast was getting worse and it looked as if there would be absolutely no way to get airborne the next day. We chatted with the crew at base ops regarding the next day’s flight and they were determined to do whatever it took to make it happen. They knew of the accident and knew what it would mean to Monty to get us airborne. We passed 2 dozen accidents on the way to the hotel that night, the snow had turned to freezing rain. Hell really had frozen over, there was no chance the flyover would happen. We met Monty’s family that evening and they were just as good of people as he was. I had been on a fishing trip with Monty and his dad down in Florida a few months prior and his old man was devastated. They were true friends. His wife was also a good friend of the squadron. A fantastic woman, also an Air Force pilot, who lost her husband far to early in their marriage. There was nothing to say so we talked about all the good times. They had all thanked us for bringing the jets out and understood that we wouldn’t be able to fly. The next morning we pressed out to the airport anyways. The storm had been devastating, cars had been in the ditch all night from sliding on the black ice and power outages were widespread from iced over trees falling on power lines. It dumped another 1.5 feet of snow on top of the ice over the night. The weather was still a few hundred feet overcast with freezing fog and mist. 45mph is all we dared to go but we had to at least try and make it happen. When we pulled up to the airport we were amazed at the sight of several snowplows already hard at work. The base ops manager said they called in extra employees and came in early. If the weather cleared, the runway would be ready. I have never seen an F-16 iced up as badly as these jets were. They looked pathetic and crippled with hundreds of ice sickles jetting off every point that water ran off. The wings were covered in snow and under that was a layer of frozen ice. The manager said the de-ice truck was ready when we were. We made the call to fire the jets up. There was no chance the weather would clear, but we felt we owed it to Monty to try. The truck de-iced us and we hobbled our way out to the runway single file. The cleared area was barely wide enough for an F-16 to sneak through. At the end of the runway we waited. And waited. We were all watching our watches, waiting for the no later time knowing the funeral had already started. We had about a half hour to go until it would be too late. None of us said a word. At the 29 minute point, tower called and said we had the absolute minimum weather we needed to lift off. “1’s Ready.” “2’s Ready.” “3’s Ready.” “Tower, Viper flight ready” “Good luck boys, cleared for takeoff.” The tower controllers knew the importance of this flight as well. It was dark, gray and dreary. Absolutely miserable out. Off we went a minute later and immediately into the weather. A few minutes into the climb, lead broke the silence. “Well fellas, here we go.” We were in the weather forever. If the ceiling was the same over the cemetery, there was no way we would be able to do the flyover. We pressed on anyways. Passing through 25,000 feet we finally broke through the clouds. The misery and dreariness of the weather below was left behind and we broke out into a crystal clear blue sky above. It was a beautiful sight to see the sun, but a white blanket of thick clouds stretched out as far as we could see. The satellite image showed it stretched for a thousand miles. 100 miles to go and there was no hole in site. There was no chance this was going to happen but we owed it to Monty to press on anyways. A check of the weather with the center controller said the clouds in the area were overcast from 400-800 feet with 1-2 miles of visibility. “Viper flight, cleared to descend to 1500’. Good luck fellas.” The center controller knew how important this flight was as well. Down we went, back into the black abyss. The blue sky disappeared and the gentle white clouds quickly turned grey and then black. The weather sucked but we pressed down anyways. “Viper flight, cleared to 1000’” On the AUX radio, lead called our buddy with a handheld on the ground. “It doesn’t look good fellas, I’d estimate a few hundred feet at best.” 1000’ was the minimum vectoring altitude in the area and as low as we are legally allowed to go. If the clouds were at 800’ we would have to call it a day. Miraculously, and against all odds, we broke out of the weather at 1500’. We were in a radar trail formation with 2 miles between each jet. One by one we popped out of the weather and slowly joined up. We had 5 minutes of loiter time and we were holding about 20 miles away. There was still a wall of weather between us and where we were going. We were in a sucker hole, just wide enough for us to fumble around and wait. It was still a long shot even though we were so close. At the 4th minute, the weather parted and a rainbow appeared right above the cemetery. “You see that Rainbow?” “Yep. This is meant to happen” The rainbow, no kidding ended right on the mark point for the cemetery. Viper 2 was on the left wing, I was on the right. In between lead and myself was an empty space for another Viper. Where Monty’s jet belonged. The missing man. We flew slowly over his funeral during taps. His broken wings put back together and placed on his chest in the coffin. His body was on the ground but there is absolutely no doubt that we were actually flying on his wing that chilly morning. There is no way that flyover should have happened, but somehow it did. Monty was watching over us and he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. After we flew over, the clouds closed up and we were again swallowed by the weather. Our good buddy was laid to rest with a proper send off. He dedicated his life to the service of our country, it is the least we could do to pay him back. We had a few more beers that night and reminisced more about our friend. Old Monty stories turned up from other squadrons that we had never heard. Different time, different place, but same old Monty. What a great guy. The next afternoon the weather finally broke. I led the lonely flight home and landed at night. A handful of pilots met me at the jet, the rest were still in transit from Ohio. There was no ceremony, no fire hose, no pictures, or Champaign. A simple handshake to a few of my good friends to commemorate my fini flight in the F-16 was all I needed. That long flight home was my last in the mighty Viper. “Here’s To Monty” we all said in unison. I rubbed my hand down the nose of the jet for the last time and took my gear inside. I cut my teeth on the Viper, and Monty was a big part of that. Not by any means what I planned for a fini, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I miss that bird, but I miss my friend more. I’ll see him again the next time I fly. Here’s To Monty.
  37. 21 points
    I’ve heard the same dire prediction several times throughout my mediocre career and Armageddon has yet to materialize, perhaps this time will be different. The early to mid 90’s in particular saw a few really bad years of retention and prognostications about everyone leaving. Perhaps it was the internet that gave more voice to the chorus of complaints (it helped form this site), but other events like 9/11 stopped a wholesale exodus. As has been discussed in multiple threads, sometimes people bitch and moan but when push comes to shove they are afraid to make the leap and leave the comfort of a steady paycheck. Perhaps this time it is different, on the airline side there certainly does appear to be a perfect storm of hiring about to begin. The real train wreck in my uniformed opinion will be on the fighter side. SECDEF jammed requirements unrealistic RPA and ISR demands down our collective throats through cajoling, public embarrassment, insults and direct orders. Our senior leadership at the time finally got on the bus and went along with the plan and in the process our service mismanaged the fighter pilot so ineptly that it will take 10+ years to fully recover. I honestly think that if there is a wholesale run for the door on the fighter side, our leadership will step in with Stop-Loss. Full disclosure, I am one of clowns you reference above and I guess we have different points of view. Was the force in perpetual beat-down mode, absolutely, that was directed from above and we were at war. Did I tell those same folks to complete SOS and get a Masters, absolutely. The more important question is why did I do that?...because those were the rules as set by on high. Did I think it was right, No, did I try to fight it, YES, did my guys know I was fighting it, No. As a DO and a CC I saw my duties as the following, accomplish the mission, take care of my people, and take care of their families. I wanted my guys to advance because it was good for them and the service, promotions mean more money, and I wanted their families to get that money. By your logic I should say fuck all master’s degrees and SOS, lets party…then sit back and watch as every single one got passed over. For the record, I pushed back, to the Wing/CC when I fought tooth and nail for a guy that didn’t have all the squares filled (I won a few), to the MAJCOM/CC when he asked me personally what the major issues were, to a soon to be CSAF who asked my opinion, and to a Deputy SECDEF who express an interest. It was my job to voice the concerns of “my guys and girls”, but when things didn’t change I did everything in my power to help my folks succeed. On two occasions I also helped to superstars gracefully dismount. I had two WIC grads that were on the leadership track…easily could have been DO/CC’s, and neither one wanted it. I spent considerable time, effort, and favors helping them exit the leadership track without pissing everyone off. For the record I never asked or volentold one of my folks to raise a paw and lead the OG Christmas Party, CFC, or community event. Perhaps I am quibbling, but one of the most frustrating things about being one of those “clowns” was people had no idea how much time and effort you were expending to protect and help them…the only person that seemed to notice was my wife who would call to yell at me because it was the fourth night in a row I stayed at work past 2200 to work on OPRs and such, “do you plan on seeing your son this week?” Institutional change takes time and I honestly think Gen Welsh is trying to turn the ship, but there is a lot of momentum to overcome and a constant fear it will shift right back when he retires. I sincerely hope we can overcome those who want to wait him out and return to the corporate bullshit Air Force…our nation deserves better.
  38. 21 points
    This is why we need tougher airplane control laws. Why was that guy allowed to own a "double-engine" airplane, in the first place? Everyone knows one engine is enough to sustain flight. If that guy had not owned that airplane that kid could not have used it legally. Enough is enough, we have to stop airplane violence.
  39. 20 points
    I don't pay an annual subscription to BO.net to have the drama shut down just when it's getting good... Sent from my Vitamix 450x Professional using Tapatalk
  40. 20 points
    I feel a strong disturbance in the Force, like a 1000 Eagle and Raptor pilots collectively groaning in agony....
  41. 20 points
    The best advice I've received since getting passed over came from another man who had a similar experience (checked the right boxes, nothing negative, excellent line operator, surprise non-promote): "Your life just got a lot easier, you just don't know it yet." He pointed out the importance of people (for however long they might stay in the AF) that can call a spade a spade without worrying if it will hurt their promotion chances. He also pointed out that once you're done in the USAF, no one gives a second thought to if you're a retired major, colonel, or general...it simply doesn't matter. If you're a pilot, a dispatcher, driver, or someone else, that's your job, end of story. He flies big civil planes now where his work day is done and he's headed home before the engines stop spinning, and a driver is waiting on him to take him to the hotel which is already paid for. (strange how you never hear about dispatchers, drivers, and baggage handlers in private aviation demanding the same treatment as pilots at those companies in name of "fairness") That perspective made me realize it doesn't matter who gave the "you're not promoted" news nor how. No changing it, and it's the AF's loss. No matter how important they might be saying pilot retention is, they've made it clear again that line performance will not get you promoted nor continued. To the AF, it all boils down to lines of text on a piece of paper, regardless of how excellent your aviation record, how many lives you've saved, or how many combat sorties you've flown. To me, none of that defines my value as a pilot or a person. If the AF doesn't want talent, that's their problem, not mine. How much more do I need to know? FF
  42. 20 points
    The AF strategy is to retain people at the 12 year point, when in actuality they need to start retaining people at the 2 year point. It's too late to try and make people change their minds when you have beat them for 10 years. Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network Forums
  43. 20 points
    It's not about overriding. The JTR only specifies what you get paid. So your commander cannot stop you from getting paid, if it happens. But your commander can order you not to do something that you would get paid for BEFORE you do it, and it would be legal. Then, if you disobeyed, you would still get paid per JTR rules, but you can be punished for not following an order. Two examples. You have a TDY coming up, leaving from an airport 45 minutes away. Commander tells you to use the base shuttle service to save the squadron money. You're a piece of shit, so you just take a cab because you didn't want to use the base long-term parking lot. JTR says you will be reimbursed for the cab. Commander says you get an LOR for telling her you would use the shuttle. Both happen. You, a C-17 AC assigned to UPT, want to take a T-6 to San Francisco for the 2017 Brony convention in the Castro district. Commander says the squadron can't afford it. You tell him you and your hetero life partner, a FAIP, will stay at a friend's house in Alameda to save the squadron mad cash. But when you get there, your FAIP mentor immediately finds himself overwhelmed by a deluge of nonbinary polysexual panda-kin sex addicts. Swept away by the raw sexual fury and unkempt body hair of your fellow Brony convention-goers, you decide to each get your own hotel rooms in the heart of San Fran, where the lodging per diem is a conservative $12,500 per night. After returning to Vance in what can best be described as the moistest T-6 in the fleet, you submit your travel voucher. Seconds later, the lights go out, because your voucher was so expensive the squadron had no choice but you use the pot of money dedicated to utilities to fund your pseudo intra-species erotica vacation. Your commander, who for some reason looks just like a certain purple Clydesdale you got way too close to over the weekend, is reasonably upset. Per JTR rules, you must be reimbursed for the lodging. Per UCMJ and AFI, your commander is entitled to rip off your souvenir unicorn horn and stab it straight through your lying heart. See? Discipline and reimbursement are separate issues.
  44. 20 points
    Troll status: Confirmed. Sent from my iPhone using Baseops Network Forums
  45. 20 points
    Fellas, It's been a turbulent March--for people and mustaches alike. I created this gem a few weeks ago when a friend of mine attending SOS confirmed that a champion of the victim culture complained about Mustache March and its inherent sexism. On behalf of all decent females in the AF, I apologize. We hate these women's studies majors just as much as you do. To all the dudes I serve with, it's been a blast being an honorary member of the boys' club. Mustache March 2014.pdf
  46. 20 points
    From John Q. Public... I've been measuring my shots at General Mark Welsh carefully over the last week or so, because I've been working instead on trying to help diagnose the organizational and systemic issues associated with the drawdown. More to say on that in a day or two. But first, I am going to take a shot at General Welsh. Please, for the love of God, STOP PREACHING INTEGRITY to airmen. Just stop. Don't remind them to have integrity. Don't do it. It has ZERO effect upon the rank and file. None. The vast majority don't need to hear it and get offended that you feel the need to remind them. The few who demonstrate they do need to hear it probably aren't going to respond meaningfully anyway, and should not have their shortcomings driving how you communicate with everyone. The only impact this has is NEGATIVE. It's bad. It hurts you because the current perception -- a fair one -- is that the leadership and staff level of the Air Force is where the real integrity problem lives. Airmen complain of a say/do gap, an endless game of "I've got a secret" . . . and one-way commitments that leave them with no bargaining power. I've written elsewhere that personnel and evaluation policies are being allowed to persist when we know they're telling us lies and leading us to wrong decisions. If there is an integrity problem, it's not among the audience the attached article seems to be addressing. So why not target more discriminately? Best commander I ever had (and now one of my professors says the same thing) used to say "show, don't tell." Great advice. Fire the next commander you catch lying or the next Chief you catch defying your intent. That'll go a long way toward reinforcing the value of integrity.
  47. 20 points
    I find it hilarious that you guys still don't realize that you are getting stabbed in the back by your own community. About half of your "bros" that talk a good game right now are going to promote and then use their new found power to impose "shoe" rules on you. You guys keep referencing this aircrew versus the world situation...but in reality you are eating your own. In the CE world, our SNCOs always greet these new policies with a "I guess now they expect us to enforce this bullshit, too" attitude. I expect that is true in the MX world and about half of the support world. The reality is that everybody in the Air Force works for a pilot. It is in your hands to change it. Stop bitching and do something about it. Please, for the rest of us that will never have any real power. If some pilot O-9 out there put his foot down on uniform regs, they would change. If some O-6 flyer said that the "Home of the Fighter Pilot" sign at Nellis will stay up, it will stay up. Trust me. I'll take all of the negative ratings as a reflection of how close to home this hits.
  48. 19 points
    To hell with this. I'm going back to airwarriors
  49. 19 points
  50. 19 points
    This one was too funny and well written not to pass on to the rest of the baseops.net communuty. This could probably go in the "Leadership at the Deid" thread, or even the "I Hate Reflective Belts" thread, but since it is from Iraq and deals with combat showers, I figgered I'd piss the mods off and start a new thread for it. Names obscured to protect the innocent.
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