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What's wrong with the Air Force?

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51 minutes ago, Hunter Rose said:

This next won't be popular, but the WSO takers are mostly guys who were going to 20 anyway as mentioned above.  It's also not like there is an equivalent lucrative civilian job like the airlines.  Personally I think the WSO bonus should have just been added onto the pilot bonus to make it a $60K pilot bonus.  You might actually get some pilots to stay for that money.

There may not be an equivalent lucrative civilian job, but there's an equivalent lucrative military job called the Reserve and the Guard... And they were already paying a $35K/year AGR/ART bonus on 1-3 year contracts. The SecAF/CSAF messaging is what it is, and bomber WSO manning is not in the shithole fighter pilot manning is at, but it ain't pretty either. And while I absolutely could get behind a $60K pilot bonus, look at it from my perspective: My last year on active duty I ran the OSS Nuke shop through an NSI, STRATCOM Global Thunder exercise, and multiple nuke WSEPs, while also deploying to the Deid to run the OIR MPC. Obviously I cannot land the airplane or tell my A-Code what to do... But I can, and have (operationally), told two BUFF crews and two Mudhen crews what to do as a mission commander, and part of my job is train PILOTS (and WSOs and EWOs) to be mission commanders and mission leads etc etc. So why would I stay on active duty to make $60K less than my year group peer, mouth-breathing Major Chucklenuts with 50% fewer LOX quals who is at the gym by 3 and home by 5 every day, because he puts his right hand on eight throttles instead of one TGP track handle? [As it happens, I punched to the Reserves without that $60K differential... And I highly leaving active duty to anyone who's thinking about it.]

Bottom line: In multi-specialty aircraft, especially those where CSOs perform much of the mission itself and manage/lead/instruct across specialties, you are going to have a significant brain drain to the Guard and Reserve if you make the differential between Pilot and CSO pay just downright insulting. Obviously market economics (airlines) are going to favor pilots, but us non-pilots can only put up with so much when Big Blue is fucking all of us in the ass and only has enough common decency to give the pilots a reach-around—and there's a ready escape mechanism to a better lifestyle.

Edited by Disco_Nav963

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4 hours ago, Disco_Nav963 said:

There may not be an equivalent lucrative civilian job, but there's an equivalent lucrative military job called the Reserve and the Guard... And they were already paying a $35K/year AGR/ART bonus on 1-3 year contracts. The SecAF/CSAF messaging is what it is, and bomber WSO manning is not in the shithole fighter pilot manning is at, but it ain't pretty either. And while I absolutely could get behind a $60K pilot bonus, look at it from my perspective: My last year on active duty I ran the OSS Nuke shop through an NSI, STRATCOM Global Thunder exercise, and multiple nuke WSEPs, while also deploying to the Deid to run the OIR MPC. Obviously I cannot land the airplane or tell my A-Code what to do... But I can, and have (operationally), told two BUFF crews and two Mudhen crews what to do as a mission commander, and part of my job is train PILOTS (and WSOs and EWOs) to be mission commanders and mission leads etc etc. So why would I stay on active duty to make $60K less than my year group peer, mouth-breathing Major Chucklenuts with 50% fewer LOX quals who is at the gym by 3 and home by 5 every day, because he puts his right hand on eight throttles instead of one TGP track handle? [As it happens, I punched to the Reserves without that $60K differential... And I highly leaving active duty to anyone who's thinking about it.]

Bottom line: In multi-specialty aircraft, especially those where CSOs perform much of the mission itself and manage/lead/instruct across specialties, you are going to have a significant brain drain to the Guard and Reserve if you make the differential between Pilot and CSO pay just downright insulting. Obviously market economics (airlines) are going to favor pilots, but us non-pilots can only put up with so much when Big Blue is ing all of us in the ass and only has enough common decency to give the pilots a reach-around—and there's a ready escape mechanism to a better lifestyle.

Whatever Nav...

I kid...I kid...😁

I've got no beef with WSO/CSOs getting extra compensation, I just don't think it's a very efficient use of funds that really help total force retention numbers.  WSOs/CSOs are leaving for the Reserve/Guard, so they are still serving in some capacity.  Pilots are leaving for the airlines, completely leaving the total force.

As I mentioned at the end of my post you quoted, I think they AF should get rid of bonuses and increase flight pay or offer pro pay like doctors.  The AF is offering chump change in bonus money.  If you're offering chump change and trying to retain people on the cheap, it would be more efficient to just eliminate bonuses altogether and institute aircrew professional pay or just up the flight pay.  Make flight pay at 10 years to $3K-4K for all aircrew or offer $2K-3K a month in pro pay at 10 years.

It would send a solid message that aircrew are valued, that leadership is attempting to actually retain people, and not really cost the AF much more than they currently have allocated. 

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On 7/11/2018 at 1:37 PM, Hunter Rose said:

Whatever Nav...

I kid...I kid...😁

I've got no beef with WSO/CSOs getting extra compensation, I just don't think it's a very efficient use of funds that really help total force retention numbers.  WSOs/CSOs are leaving for the Reserve/Guard, so they are still serving in some capacity.  Pilots are leaving for the airlines, completely leaving the total force.

As I mentioned at the end of my post you quoted, I think they AF should get rid of and increase flight pay or offer pro pay like doctors.  The AF is offering chump change in bonus money.  If you're offering chump change and trying to retain people on the cheap, it would be more efficient to just eliminate bonuses altogether and institute aircrew professional pay or just up the flight pay.  Make flight pay at 10 years to $3K-4K for all aircrew or offer $2K-3K a month in pro pay at 10 years.

It would send a solid message that aircrew are valued, that leadership is attempting to actually retain people, and not really cost the AF much more than they currently have allocated. 

The chump change appears to be working.  And handing it out as flight pay doesn't give the Air Force what it wants - predictability.  Almost every 12B I know in my community is taking the bonus at $25K/year, many for the full 9 years.  

The other thing to keep in mind is that all those 12X folks taking the bonus means a whole lot of 12X folks who can't 7-day opt a 365.  Which should help relieve some of the bleeding, if not all of it.  Any of the LAF taskers can be filled by a 12X just as easily as an 11X.

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Basically, I've seen specialists off base who disagree with our flight doctors. I've seen this happen 3 times now and I have lost a little faith in flight medicine. I have seen doctors and specialists off base completely disagree with flight doctors. Pretty sure I'm not the only one here.

I had surgery a few years ago. My surgeon called flight medicine to ensure the pharmacy would have my post op meds. Immediately after my surgery, I had my girlfriend drive me to the base in order to pickup my paperwork for quarters. I waited 2 hours and still didn't receive my meds. I told the airman at the pharmacy counter twice I was post op and the gauze was pretty easily to see on my neck. I fell asleep and still didn't have my meds so I went off base and had the prescription filled in 15 minutes. I was totally embarrassed in front of my girlfriend because she receives the best care through her company's insurance plan. Also, I was told someone at the pharmacy walked off the job that week creating total chaos. A CC I spoke with said this is becoming standard and I'm not the first so I just accepted it.

PCS to a new base. Had an issue that was misdiagnosed at the previous base. I was in pain on a scale of 10/10 at this point and on narcotics. The flight doctor sent me in for an MRI via referral management. After my open MRI, I felt dirty because the lady gave me a Panera Bread gift card. I told referral management not to use that place again! Luckily, my surgeon didn't accept the MRI images or results. He said I needed to have them done at a certain hospital because the place where I went MRI images would be too blurry and he hadn't even seen them. The report from the MRI said everything was negative. After having a closed MRI, my issue was pretty obvious to my surgeon when the images came back. I was battling the issue for years and flight medicine did not properly diagnose me. The flight doctor I helped is the one who got me to the right specialist. I had surgery a few weeks later and my problem is gone! Took 4 years bro!

When your quality of life and health care starts to suck. It's time to go. Med Groups are starting to mimic the VA model.

Do you guys feel as though our on base care is diminishing or is in decline?

 

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1 hour ago, HarleyQuinn said:

Basically, I've seen specialists off base who disagree with our flight doctors. I've seen this happen 3 times now and I have lost a little faith in flight medicine. I have seen doctors and specialists off base completely disagree with flight doctors. Pretty sure I'm not the only one here.

I had surgery a few years ago. My surgeon called flight medicine to ensure the pharmacy would have my post op meds. Immediately after my surgery, I had my girlfriend drive me to the base in order to pickup my paperwork for quarters. I waited 2 hours and still didn't receive my meds. I told the airman at the pharmacy counter twice I was post op and the gauze was pretty easily to see on my neck. I fell asleep and still didn't have my meds so I went off base and had the prescription filled in 15 minutes. I was totally embarrassed in front of my girlfriend because she receives the best care through her company's insurance plan. Also, I was told someone at the pharmacy walked off the job that week creating total chaos. A CC I spoke with said this is becoming standard and I'm not the first so I just accepted it.

PCS to a new base. Had an issue that was misdiagnosed at the previous base. I was in pain on a scale of 10/10 at this point and on narcotics. The flight doctor sent me in for an MRI via referral management. After my open MRI, I felt dirty because the lady gave me a Panera Bread gift card. I told referral management not to use that place again! Luckily, my surgeon didn't accept the MRI images or results. He said I needed to have them done at a certain hospital because the place where I went MRI images would be too blurry and he hadn't even seen them. The report from the MRI said everything was negative. After having a closed MRI, my issue was pretty obvious to my surgeon when the images came back. I was battling the issue for years and flight medicine did not properly diagnose me. The flight doctor I helped is the one who got me to the right specialist. I had surgery a few weeks later and my problem is gone! Took 4 years bro!

When your quality of life and health care starts to suck. It's time to go. Med Groups are starting to mimic the VA model.

Do you guys feel as though our on base care is diminishing or is in decline?

 

Sounds like you went through such an ordeal.  Glad it got taken care of.  Med group Varies by base.  At my current base they are phenomenal and absolutely professional.  They get you in and out ASAP and work to keep you on flying status/ being able to work your job.  At my old base they were awful.  Constantly closed for some BS exercise or training.  PHAs were a full day event.  Paperwork constantly lost.  The med group even delayed a contingency deployment to provide hurricane relief because people didn’t have their shots - mind you this was to a location we went to all the time.  

Funny enough, the base CGOC was full of medical officers.  Seems like they had time for bake sales and “mentoring sessions” while their troops were providing grade D service.  

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5 hours ago, dream big said:

Sounds like you went through such an ordeal.  Glad it got taken care of.  Med group Varies by base.  At my current base they are phenomenal and absolutely professional.  They get you in and out ASAP and work to keep you on flying status/ being able to work your job.  At my old base they were awful.  Constantly closed for some BS exercise or training.  PHAs were a full day event.  Paperwork constantly lost.  The med group even delayed a contingency deployment to provide hurricane relief because people didn’t have their shots - mind you this was to a location we went to all the time.  

Funny enough, the base CGOC was full of medical officers.  Seems like they had time for bake sales and “mentoring sessions” while their troops were providing grade D service.  

I'm glad some bases have it good. My biggest complaint would be when medical information or referrals need to be faxed. "We faxed it sir, guess they never received it." How hard is it to fax, then call to ensure the paperwork was received? I don't understand why this is so hard.

Don't even get me started on the doc who thought a cyst was a pimple and tried to pop it. Thus causing an infection and a ton of pain. My dermatologist just shook his head. He used to be a flight doc back in the day.

Returned from a TDY with a knot on my arm. Called flight medicine. Can't see you for a week. Went to see my dermatologist and he was like WTF? This could have been an infection and killed you. Look at the size of the knot. I just shrugged my shoulders... flight medicine said...

Edited by HarleyQuinn

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It's hit or miss.  We have one awesome flight doc, and one that asked me if I was a pilot during my PHA...I guess my medical records, seeing a flight doc, and the pilot wings weren't enough of a clue...

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Tricare South combines w/ Tricare East.  The only urgent care in our town was previously covered under South.  Couldn't get an appointment on base for an ear infection for my kid.  Lady on appt line said to take her to that clinic for urgent care.  Now tricare says it's my bill to pay because the clinic is categorized by Tricare East as 'immediate' instead of 'urgent'.   Called the clinic.  Billing clerk says they're trying to collect from hundreds of local tricare patients, most of whom are angry...

They just keep finding ways to chip away at benefits, especially the ones that mean the most to our dependents.

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We have a similar problem. Wifey went to the urgent care that was given as in-network by the nurse advice line. Just got a bill Tricare won’t cover because they classified it as an “office visit.”

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The med clinic is just as understaffed/deployed as the rest of us.  So now they are pushing more patients off base than before. The companies that under bid the Tricare contract are seeing higher than expected costs.  To compensate, they are using standard tactics of narrowing the network, denying care and refusing to pay.

Wonder how it will play in the media, but all the bad press for the VA hasn't changed it for the better.

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Pharmacy/Referral management - Both are understaffed. They are the bread and butter of the medical clinic.

I was told, "Sir, I'm sorry your referral took so long, but we are understaffed." At that point, I could totally understand. Most career fields are having staffing problems. Most men/women between the ages of 17-24 are ineligible to join the military. We are screwed.

Earlier in a post I mentioned a pharmacist walking off the job on base, which wreaked havoc on the pharmacy. How can I be upset? Pilots are essentially doing the same thing. Nobody is going to put up with piss poor leadership and a deteriorating quality of life. Civilians don't have to accept it either. 

Let's not talk about on base PT vs off base. Like night and day. I was in shock when my therapist off base had a machine to measure my lower back strength. I attended on base PT post surgery for 5 months. Started going off base and the exercises I was given were completely different and helped tremendously. Didn't mean to throw so many knives at our healthcare.

 

Edited by HarleyQuinn

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22 hours ago, raimius said:

It's hit or miss.  We have one awesome flight doc, and one that asked me if I was a pilot during my PHA...I guess my medical records, seeing a flight doc, and the pilot wings weren't enough of a clue...

I had to tell a flight doctor look. You can't tell me to take narcotics as needed and driving on the flight line is remotely okay. If you had told a Lt this and they run into something, all hell would break loose. You have no place being on a flight line if you are taking prescribed narcotics.

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17 hours ago, FourFans130 said:

Yet somehow we're expected to think that getting this socialized TRICARE system for life is a major benefit of making it to 20 years? 

Tricare standard. Go where you want. When you want. No permission. No referrals. 

Just like champus for those of us that grew up with it. 

You pay 20%. $3k max out of pocket for the year for the family. 

A similar plan at delta is $700/month with $13k family max. 

Thats almost half a trip per month I dont Have to work for healthcare. 

Yes. 20 years is worth it. 

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Agree with Hoss - we switched to standard for the last 3 years of my AD time...kicking myself for not doing it earlier.  Prime is bullshit.  Unfortunately for my situation now, there's not a whole lot of places where I live who take Tricare, so our options are limited, but not necessarily bad.

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I was told, "Sir, I'm sorry your referral took so long, but we are understaffed." At that point, I could totally understand. Most career fields are having staffing problems.
 

“Sir, I’m sorry your bombs/gas/cargo/recce took so long, but we are understaffed.”

What a lame excuse. We’re still in the military and still subject to an unlimited liability clause.
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5 hours ago, HossHarris said:

Tricare standard. Go where you want. When you want. No permission. No referrals. 

Just like champus for those of us that grew up with it. 

You pay 20%. $3k max out of pocket for the year for the family. 

A similar plan at delta is $700/month with $13k family max. 

Thats almost half a trip per month I dont Have to work for healthcare. 

Yes. 20 years is worth it. 

Live near reasonable good military healthcare but switched from Prime to Standard in April.  May 15th wife got sick and we hit the cap in one week.  One thing I've learned is managing the $3,000 cap is up to you...the hospitals and specialists have billed us well over $5,000 and it takes MANY phone calls to work through the chaff.

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