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What's wrong with the Air Force?

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I'm probably like everyone else here, I have a love/hate relationship with the Air Force. But I think when it comes right down to it, as an organiztion the Air Force has its self screwed tightly into the wrong hole (no sts on that, sorry). I think baseops is a pretty good representation of the officers and some enlisted who truly care about what is going with the service and the most active boards and threads are the ones where people bitch and complain about Big Blue. 90% of the time I agree with the points being made, or at least where the frustration is coming from.

When I was at SOS and they brought the War College guys in for Capt/Col discussion. I will never forget after taking quesitons from a bunch of angry, know-it-all Captains for the better part of an hour, the Colonel simply told us "YOU have to allow YOUR Air Force to make mistakes."

I agreed with him at the time, but how many mistakes is enough? Would we as individuals have been cut the same amount of slack if we spent SIX years trying to figure out force shaping initiatives? How about the idiocy with uniforms? Reflective belts? What about one of the most expensive airframes ever being grounded for five months?

Having said that what is OUR problem? If there was one thing (or a few things) that could turn crap around what would it be?

I have my theories...leaders not allowed to be leaders is probably the biggest one...but I don't any earth shattering answers but maybe someone else does.

Edited by Catbox
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I don't have an answer but I can post a symptom - notice none of the new recruiting commercials show fighters? Instead it's battlestar satellites, uavs on mars, and transforming c-17s. Maybe were afraid of really kicking ass. Navy has the same issue "global force for good" - and here I thought they were a satanic breed.

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Crosswind- yes, our military has made it known that humanitarian support is more important than war-fighting, anybody who doubts that just hasn't been around enough. So, 5 things I hate the most about the Air Force:

1- Closed for training on (insert day here).

2- Sexual assault training.

3- The 10 different offices that you can complain to: ig, chaplain, meo, sarc, afrc what do these people do all day?

4- The term "standby to standby".

5- Senior Ncos, they usually have bad haircuts and no real purpose in life.

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The fact that we self identify more as a business than a branch of the military.

That we coddle people who aren't in the fight to make them feel good. Who the fuck cares? I don't want my finance guy thinking he can storm a compound like a squad of Army Rangers. I want him to unfuck my pay and then help the next guy. That's his JOB. But since he might get his feelings hurt...we should belittle the guys that are actually in the fight.

Our priorities are jacked up. We are more worried about looking good than being good. Just look at the stuff people are worried about during inspection. Check mark or X in the box? OMG!!! Or the abortion of uniforms being introduced. You seriously are telling me that people TESTED the PT uniform? With the cardboard tshirts that don't breath and shorts that would look home in a certain brightly colored San Francisco parade? Or the ABU with it's billion pockets and winter weight fabric (and that's overlooking the abortion that is it's camo pattern).

Or blues mondays? As a flier that can be tasked at any minute why am I not showing up to work prepared to fly at any minute? Oh to "support the war fighter" I am wearing the least war like uniform. That makes sense.

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Crosswind- yes, our military has made it known that humanitarian support is more important than war-fighting, anybody who doubts that just hasn't been around enough. So, 5 things I hate the most about the Air Force:

1- Closed for training on (insert day here).

2- Sexual assault training.

3- The 10 different offices that you can complain to: ig, chaplain, meo, sarc, afrc what do these people do all day?

4- The term "standby to standby".

5- Senior Ncos, they usually have bad haircuts and no real purpose in life.

As a "No Real Purpose in Life SNCO" I have to take offense to your statement. I hope that isn't what you really believe, just because there are some E-7's 8's and 9's that take queep to the extreme. Don't lump us all in the same boat. I have met some real dumb and incompetent officers, but I don't think that a whole tier of folks have no real purpose in life. BTW, I have an amazing haircut! And if we are talking about aesthetics, are all FGO's issued Dockers, tucked in polo shirt, loafers, and a braided belt? And my tone is in jest, but really it is so easy to pick out the FGO. Probably just as easy to pick out the T.E.D. :thumbsup: Edit: For grammar

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To get the thread back on track from my previous rant, here is my top ten things wrong with the AF, in no particular order:

1. Officers that are worried about the next rank rather than taking care of their people.

2. SNCO's doing the same.

3. Cost cutting without taking into account the consequences of that decision.

4. PME that is usually twice as long as it should be.

5. The General should be held to the same or higher standard than the A1C when it comes to punishment.

6. People that don't understand their roles in the AF, and pandering to everyone so they feel better about what they do :vomit:

7. I want my Aircraft Commander to be the best pilot they can be, so let them be PILOTS!!! Enough with all the extraneous shit they have to do to be promotable. Being a great pilot should count for something. When the shit hits the fan I want to know that the AC will get our KC-135 safely on the ground.

8. Enough with the uniform changes, we don't have to keep up with the Jones's!

9. Stop with the re-branding of the AF every year. I don't feel like a "warrior" so stop trying to convince me that I am one by reciting the Airmans Creed at every event! :banghead:

10. Get rid of 90% of the bands the AF has. This isn't the 40's, I get more entertainment from my Ipod. Use that money to book a half way decent band to perform.

I think the reason that most feel so unhappy with the AF at times is that we see what great potential it has. Things have to start changing, I just hope I can do my small part to facilitate it and see it before I retire......If that isn't taken from me of course.

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As a "No Real Purpose in Life SNCO" I have to take offense to your statement. I hope that isn't what you really believe, just because there are some E-7's 8's and 9's that take queep to the extreme. Don't lump us all in the same boat. I have met some real dumb and incompetent officers, but I don't think that a whole tier of folks have no real purpose in life. BTW, I have an amazing haircut! And if we are talking about aesthetics, are all FGO's issued Dockers, tucked in polo shirt, loafers, and a braided belt? And my tone is in jest, but really it is so easy to pick out the FGO. Probably just as easy to pick out the T.E.D. :thumbsup: Edit: For grammar

Sarge...you have to admit some NCO's have really f-ing stupid haircuts. I keed, I keed. Now where is that belt I bought in 1994...I'm taking the wife to Chili's tonight.

Edited by Catbox
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Sarge...you have to admit some NCO's have really f-ing stupid haircuts. I keed, I keed. Now where is that belt I bought in 1994...I'm taking the wife to Chili's tonight.

That's some funny shit! And yes there are some HORRENDOUS haircuts out there, but equally as bad dressed FGO's!

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I think the reason that most feel so unhappy with the AF at times is that we see what great potential it has. Things have to start changing, I just hope I can do my small part to facilitate it and see it before I retire......If that isn't taken from me of course.

Ok cheap shots at each other's appearance aside...I think you hit the nail on the head. The Air Force has a ton of potential...I really like to think that if some enemy came knocking on the door of Alaska or California we would rally Wolverine style and be able to kick ass. Maybe the drag of continual nation building and other contingencies has made us bored and thus we focus on queep like uniforms, volunteerism, “everyone’s a warrior” and slogan after slogan after slogan (after slogan).

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1- Closed for training on (insert day here).

3- The 10 different offices that you can complain to: ig, chaplain, meo, sarc, afrc what do these people do all day?

6. People that don't understand their roles in the AF, and pandering to everyone so they feel better about what they do :vomit:

9. Stop with the re-branding of the AF every year. I don't feel like a "warrior" so stop trying to convince me that I am one by reciting the Airmans Creed at every event! :banghead:

10. Get rid of 90% of the bands the AF has. This isn't the 40's, I get more entertainment from my Ipod. Use that money to book a half way decent band to perform.

I think the reason that most feel so unhappy with the AF at times is that we see what great potential it has.

Along the lines of these two reasons. Here is a serious question not meant in jest at any admin/support folks:

Why do we have a career field for things like finance, admin jobs, services? Whatever happened to people in the military actually fighting in the war? I've been in a few squadrons where we "deployed" as a squadron - ie, we flew our aircraft there. We had our aircrew. We had ground maintenance. We had ground intel support. And there was no one else. We didn't take finance guys with us, we didn't take admin guys with us, we didn't take services guys with us. These are the "smoothest running" deployments I've been on. We bring our own stuff and support, and that's it, no extra bullshit.

What says that it has to be a uniformed AF member doing my paperwork or finances at home station when they will NEVER EVER pick up a weapon and shoot it at bad guys(without it being a ILO or JET tasking).

The biggest thing that gets me is that 90% of the people I meet are so far removed from the fight they couldn't even point to Bagram or Kandahar on a map. And then it's these same people that some how end up in charge and running the base, making everything as much of a pain in the ass as possible for people who actually do remotely do something useful.

Edited by damastas

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Along the lines of these two reasons. Here is a serious question not meant in jest at any admin/support folks:

Why do we have a career field for things like finance, admin jobs, services? Whatever happened to people in the military actually fighting in the war? I've been in a few squadrons where we "deployed" as a squadron - ie, we flew our aircraft there. We had our aircrew. We had ground maintenance. We had ground intel support. And there was no one else. We didn't take finance guys with us, we didn't take admin guys with us, we didn't take services guys with us. These are the "smoothest running" deployments I've been on. We bring our own stuff and support, and that's it, no extra bullshit.

What says that it has to be a uniformed AF member doing my paperwork or finances at home station when they will NEVER EVER pick up a weapon and shoot it at bad guys(without it being a ILO or JET tasking).

The biggest thing that gets me is that 90% of the people I meet are so far removed from the fight they couldn't even point to Bagram or Kandahar on a map. And then it's these same people that some how end up in charge and running the base, making everything as much of a pain in the ass as possible for people who actually do remotely do something useful.

Before becoming a Boom Operator, I was a finance guy. There are some obvious reasons why you need these folks in these locations. The problem is this; when the support function personnel outnumber the "warfighters", something is askew. It becomes more like a peacetime function to many of the shoes than a real fight. The lines get blurry, dumbass rules are put in place, and worse yet....Enforced! I bought an old 8x10 photo of some soldiers fighting in Vietnam a while back. They were manning a cannon and believe it or not......wait for it, they weren't wearing a shirt!!! What do you think these guys would of said if someone told them to put on a reflective belt? The fact of the matter is that we have lost our way, the desert is an opportunity for someone to check that box, get that medal, or just be in charge of something. It is no longer about the mission. The mission. It boggles my mind that we don't focus on the F'ing Mission. Sorry folks, I just get pissed when people focus on the dumb shit. I hate that we reward people for doing bullshit volunteer work and forget the people that get the REAL job done everyday. That would be number 11 on my list.

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That's some funny shit! And yes there are some HORRENDOUS haircuts out there, but equally as bad dressed FGO's!

I am a FGO...I don't have a braided belt, I wear blue jeans not dockers, and I never tuck in my polo shirt. Even if I did all of the above, nothing says heinous like a SNCO with his hair parted down the middle.

alfalfa03.jpg

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I think we could probably merge about 6-9 of the threads on this forum (New 36-2903, Mil Retirement Under Attack, Tops in blue -- WTF?, Cyber Wings, Boss I Quit, More Uniform Changes, etc etc etc) and it would more than answer all of your questions Catbox. Where's the "How to fix the AF" thread? Just sayin....

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I think we could probably merge about 6-9 of the threads on this forum (New 36-2903, Mil Retirement Under Attack, Tops in blue -- WTF?, Cyber Wings, Boss I Quit, More Uniform Changes, etc etc etc) and it would more than answer all of your questions Catbox. Where's the "How to fix the AF" thread? Just sayin....

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I am a FGO...I don't have a braided belt, I wear blue jeans not dockers, and I never tuck in my polo shirt. Even if I did all of the above, nothing says heinous like a SNCO with his hair parted down the middle.

alfalfa03.jpg

My hair started parting itself down the middle before I retired.

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I am a FGO...I don't have a braided belt, I wear blue jeans not dockers, and I never tuck in my polo shirt. Even if I did all of the above, nothing says heinous like a SNCO with his hair parted down the middle.

alfalfa03.jpg

post-7006-0-90063300-1313731160_thumb.pn Just say NO, FGO!

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Had to take a picture of this. For your PHA, they want you showing up at 0700 to get you battery of tests done. By the time you make it to the hearing test place (last stop), its 0800. Then, you look at the sign saying that everyone is doing PT until 0900. Fucking great! Then, you have to come back to see the Doc in the afternoon, which consists of a 5 minute bullshit session and signing several 1042s. Standard AF waste of time.

35a5dav.jpg

Edited by Techsan

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Had to take a picture of this. For your PHA, they want you showing up at 0700 to get you battery of tests done. By the time you make it to the hearing test place (last stop), its 0800. Then, you look at the sign saying that everyone is doing PT until 0900. ######ing great! Then, you have to come back to see the Doc in the afternoon, which consists of a 5 minute bullshit session and signing several 1042s. Standard AF waste of time.

I think we should all take pictures of things like this, 6 out of 9 times you go to a SUPPORT squadron on base they have a sign or some excuse posted as to why they can't SUPPORT you. Yea, I'm sure Finance couldn't do their SUPPORT job unless they closed at 2pm, every f#$&ing day, its like they have crew rest or something for their 6 hour work day

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Some of these are pretty standard gripes. So back to the original question, what mistakes are "WE" (CGOs and FGOs at the squadron level, no offense CH) making that we could correct and put a stop to at least some of this?

1. Magical OPR bullets. Not everyone in your flight is #1/x. Give brutally honest feedback prior to the OPR, give a guy a chance to straighten up and perform...but at the end of the day, stop making your mediocre performers and your all-stars look the same on paper. If we start giving SQ/CCs and WG/CCs actual differences in performance to rack and stack people with, they won't have to use a Master's/SOSx2/SOS DG as the discriminating factors.

2. Tolerating the crap support agencies. Yes, we all expect it, so many of us are at the point where when finance/MPE/etc tells us "Oh, the person who does that is on leave" or "We're closed for training" or "Well, you have to fix what we screwed up in DTS", we accept it. We feel it isn't worth our time and effort to engage with the support agency, and we work out a way to get the job done without them. Maybe it's time to start requesting to talk to A1C Snuffy's supervisor. Then his supervisor's OIC. Will it change overnight? Unlikely. But if his supervisor's game of solitaire keeps getting interrupted, maybe A1C Snuffy won't get a 5 on his next EPR, and maybe he'll learn from his mistake, if only to keep from getting burned again.

3. Coddling students in the squadron. We complain about making everyone feel like a warrior, then we do the same to the new guys in the squadron. Hammer them not only on the flight stuff, but on the expectations of the squadron in general. Make it clear that PFAs are not allowed in scheduling. Make it clear that the FNGs will clean the bar. Essentially, make it clear that the new guys have a place, and that place is not the same as the senior guys'.

4. Goes along with 3, but use your damn bar. Give guys shit for not hanging out in the bar. Make the bar an expected place for the informal debrief following the formal debrief. Make it a point to gather the squadron together in the bar, with morale patches and all, and lock the door so that REMFs can't get in or see what's going on. Hold on the the small bits of heritage we have left.

That's all I've got. Obviously, no one at the squadron level has the pull to fix the new uniform reg, or blues on Monday, or the support agencies and their hours of non-operation. But we can start grooming the next batch of leaders to be more like Robin Olds than like the risk-averse, heritage sucking folks that seem to populate the USAF right now.

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Why do we have a career field for things like finance, admin jobs, services?

Seriously? Grow up.

Whatever happened to people in the military actually fighting in the war?

Grow up.

I've been in a few squadrons where we "deployed" as a squadron - ie, we flew our aircraft there. We had our aircrew. We had ground maintenance. We had ground intel support. And there was no one else. We didn't take finance guys with us, we didn't take admin guys with us, we didn't take services guys with us. These are the "smoothest running" deployments I've been on. We bring our own stuff and support, and that's it, no extra bullshit.

Do you really beleive you could've functioned without any type of PERSCO support? Seriously? C'mon.

What says that it has to be a uniformed AF member doing my paperwork or finances at home station when they will NEVER EVER pick up a weapon and shoot it at bad guys(without it being a ILO or JET tasking).

I agree, much of the work can and has been outsourced. The problem is, once you get civil servants into the mix things can get fugly and stay that way...civil servants are very difficult to remove and you don't exactly attract the top 5%.

The biggest thing that gets me is that 90% of the people I meet are so far removed from the fight they couldn't even point to Bagram or Kandahar on a map. And then it's these same people that some how end up in charge and running the base, making everything as much of a pain in the ass as possible for people who actually do remotely do something useful.

I would say you are onto something. Sorry to say you need to look in the mirror.

You also need to think about what being "removed from the fight" actually means. I can promise you there are plenty of folks who think you are removed from the fight and I don't even know, or care, what you fly.

Sorry guys but we need to be mature about how the organization functions and all the requirements to get the jets in the air to support the warfighter. The USAF has been the supporting command in every joint fight I know about except one, and that was merely a technicality as far as I was concerned.

Most of you joined the USAF because it was more laid back, had better facilities and treated people better than the USA or the USMC. Admit it. You didn't become an Air Force pilot because the other services wouldn't take you.

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You didn't become an Air Force pilot because the other services wouldn't take you.

True. I was an off-the-street (not USAFA/ROTC) guy applying for a pilot slot back in 2000. I simultaneously applied for both the Air Force and the Navy. When I was an ALO I worked with the Marines...they kick a$$. However, I did not consider them back in 2000 because I don't run fast enough and I'll never rock a high-and-stupid haircut. Due to lack of fixed-wing assets, I did not consider the Army, although I believe their Warrant program is the best way to manage pilots. Because the Air Force has so much goddamn paperwork, the Navy got back to me first. Just before I started AOCS with the Navy the Air Force got back to me with an offer for OTS and UPT.

I chose the Air Force over the Navy because I wanted to focus on flying, period. I've heard all the buzz-phrases...officer first, pilot second...blah, blah, blah. I wanted to focus on fixed-wing aviation because THAT'S what the USAF is fvcking known for. I'm no Robin Olds, but I have my sh!t together in the jet and I don't suck as an officer. They don't have to be mutually exclusive. I have a feeling most bros feel the same way I do. I also believe a lot of dudes lie about it publicly. Privately, dudes b!tch because they want to FLY and hack the MISSION. That's why MOST of us joined the Air Force.

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That's why MOST of us joined the Air Force.

Sorry, I'm a little slow on the uptake. So are you disagreeing with me or agreeing with me?

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Sorry, I'm a little slow on the uptake. So are you disagreeing with me or agreeing with me?

Disagree, disagree.

That means I agree. Okay, smarta$$ remarks aside, I was trying to convey that I believe MOST of us don't care about anything but flying and the mission. Everything else is a means-to-an-end to fly.

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All these ills are a product of peacetime leadership. Some people in the USAF are fighting for sure, most are not. Peacetime is one hell of a catch-22, when it comes to being the root cause of all the qweep bemoaned on this board. I don't want war as a solution to our "corporate culture", burn me at the stake for sayin' so, if you must.

I've met enough green-to-blue ARMY aviators to know that bleeding for the novelty of it, gets old really quick. They're more than glad to deal with, if with a condescending roll of the eyes (but earned) smirk on their face, the gay shenanigans of Big Blue, for a little less hell on earth. I value their perspective on that regard and don't find any cowardice or lack of mission commitment for being part of the least rough around the edges of the Armed Branches. Cogs on a wheel fellas... if it's that pussifiably unbearable, Army aviation is always hiring and bleeding, and they'll give you a demotion and a paycut for your troubles too, but you'll get the full no-seatbelt-on-the-bus Disney ride experience and no time for reflective belt shenanigans that side of the wire.... Just some balancing perspective.

All that aside, I do think we could do better as an organization. Recognizing and accepting that AFSOC is not representative of the Air Force in aggregate would be a huge start. But that seems to be the root cause of the warrior towel folder ethos problem in the first place, the insistence on portraying everybody in the AF as AFSOC warriors... Ah hell It's Friday screw it, I'm gonna go bang the girl and call her dirty names, happy to be here and all that jazz, and give Jody a break you know what I mean? .... Cheers! :beer: :beer:

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All that aside, I do think we could do better as an organization. Recognizing and accepting that AFSOC is not representative of the Air Force in aggregate would be a huge start. But that seems to be the root cause of the warrior towel folder ethos problem in the first place, the insistence on portraying everybody in the AF as AFSOC warriors...

Agreed. Maybe towel folders should just be proud of being the best towel folders they can be. This would imply they actually become proficient at towel folding, but surely that can be managed.

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