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Track Selects and Assignment Nights


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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, a

Hey folks, don't confuse my sarcastic and pessimistic posts for the voice of a dude who's going to give up and watch the house burn down around him. (Although it's probably easy to think that way

All that time spent learning how to get ATIS by yourself...wasted.

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2 hours ago, BashiChuni said:

JFC...actually there is a "happiness" and "fairness" index built into each score so every SNAP stud gets what he wants and goes home a "winner"

+1 to dangers post

 

I agree with the mentality that whatever you get is what you get and make the best of it. Everyone going into UPT thru Active Duty knows (or should know) the deal and how the drop process works, it's not a secret. I was just curious if the AF allowed swaps and if it was common.

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I've always thought drop night would be more fun if they just put the list of planes for that class up on a board and call the studs up in rank order.  #1 gets first pick, etc...  Yes, someone will be last and their plane will be the only one left, and that's OK.

That's how my drop was. Except we also had the other bases on a conference call. Order of bases rotated each drop. #1 from Vance would get up and pick e.g. I'll take line 5, F-15C to Tyndall," then someone at each location would cross that line off the transparency with a marker (list was displayed on an over-cranium projector. Then #1 from CBM would go, etc. Until the last guy at the last base got what was left


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You could also do it the way my SQ/CC handled our assignments back in the B Course:

"Here's the assignments. You guys are grown men, figure out a fair way to pick who goes where. If I hear any arguing, you're all going to Korea."

Good to be a Guard guy.



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Probably unpopular opinion here, but here goes. In a typical UPT class there are the top sticks who are easily identifiable, the anchors or the class who again are easily identifiable by everyone (and they know who they are), and then there is the center of Mass (around 75-80%). These middle of the bell curve guys could end up flying fighters or end up in an AWACS or Tanker or whatever else. Having been a flight commander at UPT, it's tough watching those middle guys go up on assignment night knowing their dreams are about to be crushed and they have no idea. I wish we would be more transparent about the MASS and make it public. Post the list maybe once a week and definitely let the studs know before assignment night. If they know they are 15/20 (ENJJPT) then they know it may go either way. But #18 knows it's gonna take a miracle. Less heartbreak in public in front of 300+ people and strangers.

Always thought it was ironic back in 09-11 when we dropped guys Preds and told them to act professionally while crushing them in public with no foreknowledge.

Some may disagree, but coming from a class with a ton of Preds, it hurt to watch guys get blindsided like that.


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5 minutes ago, PilotCandidate said:

Just curious, do the guys/gals know beforehand what airframes (and how many) will be dropped on their assignment night?

As you said, the top and bottom will generally have a feel for where they are so they can at least make educated guesses. Allowing the middle guys to know exactly how many of each airframe is available would help them judge with a higher degree of accuracy what airframe they may end up in. 

Pretty sure T-1 guys get to see "what's available" for drop night (airframe, location), but T-38 guys basically make a dream sheet. 

As far as how many of each option are available, I don't think that's stated. So it could say "C-17 Charleston, C-17 Dover, etc" but not how many 17s to Charleston or Dover.

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9 minutes ago, PilotCandidate said:

Any idea why that is?

Fighter guys don't get their base until RTU, just how the machine works based on needing to make it through IFF and then RTU.  What they get at assignment night is at least where they're going to RTU (Luke/Holloman/Kelly for the F-16 for example).  

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-38 studs don't know what's available or where they truly rank in the class. If they're lucky and have a flt/cc that cares they'll get midterm feedback or something along those lines and be told what third of the class they're in, if they're lucky.

I've never heard a solid reason for why it's such a secret about where SPs rank or what's on the table for the drop.

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Back in the day, 1987. We had no idea what the drops were.  We did have a strange scenario that affected my class.  We graduated in March of 87.  During the summer of 86, there were a few F-16 mishaps resulting in a temporary halt of F-16 assignments to new UPT grads unless they were the #1 graduate.  Our Class Advisor told us, essentially, that if you were FAR'ed (fighter qual'ed) you'd probably become a FAIP since fighter assignments would be rare for our class.  He wasn't kidding..started UPT with 52 studs, graduated 24, 2 fighters, an F-4 and an A-10, zero Vipers Top 3 guys in the class got an A-10, a 135 and a C-130..strange times.

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On 7/5/2017 at 0:00 AM, Danger41 said:

I've said it before in this thread and I'll say it again: I simply cannot fathom wanting to do something for such a long time and then being talked out of it because it may be difficult. JFC, you put up with all the bullshit to get to the fucking fun part and now you want to bail out! Yes, I realize I sound like Clark Griswold.

Source material for all you millennial chodes that are hiding from having to do a lot of "Boldface and Ops Limits" sheets.

 

 

56 minutes ago, Duck said:


Always thought it was ironic back in 09-11 when we dropped guys Preds and told them to act professionally while crushing them in public with no foreknowledge.

 

Then there were those poor guys in the 09-11 days who chose to fight like Clark in Danger41's post and track 38s only to get to drop night and get a damn drone. Must have felt like this:

 

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1 hour ago, Duck said:

Probably unpopular opinion here, but here goes. In a typical UPT class there are the top sticks who are easily identifiable, the anchors or the class who again are easily identifiable by everyone (and they know who they are), and then there is the center of Mass (around 75-80%). These middle of the bell curve guys could end up flying fighters or end up in an AWACS or Tanker or whatever else. Having been a flight commander at UPT, it's tough watching those middle guys go up on assignment night knowing their dreams are about to be crushed and they have no idea. I wish we would be more transparent about the MASS and make it public. Post the list maybe once a week and definitely let the studs know before assignment night. If they know they are 15/20 (ENJJPT) then they know it may go either way. But #18 knows it's gonna take a miracle. Less heartbreak in public in front of 300+ people and strangers.

Always thought it was ironic back in 09-11 when we dropped guys Preds and told them to act professionally while crushing them in public with no foreknowledge.

Some may disagree, but coming from a class with a ton of Preds, it hurt to watch guys get blindsided like that.


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Very true, our 38 flight CC told us before graduation that the difference between the #2/7 and #6/7 was a few items on a grade sheet on a given single daily ride.  

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Our #1 was a walking autopilot.  Our #2 built the pattern to scale in his garage.  Our anchor had posters made by the sim instructors of his epic instrument approach crashes (in the sim).  The rest of us knew we were in the middle, but didn't find out actual ranking until we got our training reports at the end.  

Transparency breeds competition.  Of course, if the AF trusted students with transparency, they wouldn't be very well conditioned to a future of AFPC controlling them from behind a dark curtain.  Think of assignment night as an intro to the rest of your career.

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Then there were those poor guys in the 09-11 days who chose to fight like Clark in Danger41's post and track 38s only to get to drop night and get a damn drone. Must have felt like this:
 

Maybe, but you only get one shot at it...I also can't fathom not taking it.
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2 minutes ago, SurelySerious said:


Maybe, but you only get one shot at it...I also can't fathom not taking it.

Indeed. I really hope there were some folks out there who got that assignment but rushed a guard unit/played the game well enough to get the assignment they originally wanted which brings us to this:

 

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8 hours ago, HU&W said:

I've always thought drop night would be more fun if they just put the list of planes for that class up on a board and call the studs up in rank order.  #1 gets first pick, etc...  Yes, someone will be last and their plane will be the only one left, and that's OK.

Randolph nav school class 09-02 did it this way. Our flt/cc even told us the final class rankings (and all the numbers behind it) and the drop list earlier in the day before the actual drop night so people knew exactly where they stood, why, and what was likely based on knowing the other studs in the class. Everyone was also still afforded the right to change his/her mind until the moment of deciding on stage.

It worked great because folks adjusted their desires appropriate to their class rank somewhat vs getting blindsided, and it was a very good drop anyways. Win-win.

I never understood the secrecy and having leadership picking for the stud in the vast majority of cases. The planes are what they are, the studs rank as they do, let freedom take its course on drop night. 

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21 minutes ago, HU&W said:

Of course, if the AF trusted students with transparency, they wouldn't be very well conditioned to a future of AFPC controlling them from behind a dark curtain.  Think of assignment night as an intro to the rest of your career.

This is brilliant and so very true. 

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21 hours ago, Duck said:


Always thought it was ironic back in 09-11 when we dropped guys Preds and told them to act professionally while crushing them in public with no foreknowledge.

Some may disagree, but coming from a class with a ton of Preds, it hurt to watch guys get blindsided like that.


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It hurt dropping the Reaper two years ago. We asked leadership to tell the guys who were going to drop RPAs ahead of time, even if was just before assignment night kicked off, they said no because it would be perceived that RPAs were a bad drop. That was ironic. 

 

I would have have liked to see a little more transparency in the rack and stack. I know for a fact myself and at least 3 others that got RPAs in the latest UPT D  classes were not in the bottom of the class. It's preached all that matters is the mass but it's not always the case. 

 

Reguardless, embrace your assignment.  No community in the AF needs new guys with bad attitudes. Every aircraft in the AF invitory is in some way contributing to bringing the fight to ISIS/assholes, and that's something to be proud of. 

 

Back to my whisky, and hopefully a manned a/c  next year. 

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Back in the day, 1987. During the summer of 86, there were a few F-16 mishaps resulting in a temporary halt of F-16 assignments to new UPT grads unless they were the #1 graduate.

 

So you're saying that history tells us we about to get seriously fvcked soon. I'm sure "we'll" figure out a way that continuing to drop those assignments is worth the risks this time though.

 

How correlated is the introduction of our core value of "service before self" to our decline caused primarily by leaders that preserve career over forcing path change to maintain a sustainable service course (not to mention the possibility of improvement/innovation).

 

This shit is in need of an overhaul. We've gotta be running short of people to bomb, if not fvcking bombs...maybe we can spend a day or two up top top talking about how to unfvck ourselves at the SecDef level. No?

 

Bendy

 

 

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For any one interested in track select info, take the info as a whole presented here, assimilate it, and decide what is a good idea for yourself. It's what I would try an teach you to do with aviation if you were my student anyways. You don't just take someone else's answer and use it without checking it first.

If you want to do it, and you get a chance to do it...do it. You don't get a do over, opportunity breeds regret.

If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but changing your mind over some shlt knuckle(s) opinion is ridiculous. They haven't known anything else either...know about it, sure...have done it, rare.

Try and find people that have been around the block...flown lots of stuff, or at least interacted with it. They aren't going to tell you don't want a -38. If you want it and you suck, they'll tell you you need to get better faster if you still want to be good going a little faster.

Understand this though...you are like my 5 year old. You don't really know anything about what the real world is like. You think you know, and that is cute. You get to voice your opinion because I'm on beer 4...but when track select, assignment night, etc. shows up you can just assume I'm on beer 13 and I'm going to just tell you what's going o happen. Sometimes it makes sense, most of the time it's crazy, cause it's beer 13. AFPC drinks...A LOT. Absorption into the training pipeline is like the wife nagging the drunk AFPC while you're simultaneously asking for that new toy car you want thinking drunk daddy is in the mood to give it to you.

Good luck! If you want a -38, I'd recommended being first in your class. How? I'd say it has a lot more to do with studying and knowing what the fvck you're doing than it does hands.

I saw a girl track -38s based almost solely on academics. She's happy with her heavy, the dude that stuck the tone instead...probably has some questions he asks himself.

Bendy


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What he said, but realize there is some natural ability in some people, its hard to quantify, but I've seen it.


Sure...how much of that is toward the spectrum of photographic memory that helps them studying vs. just simply can move their hands in a slower, smoother, more controlled fashion?

Most get to almost the same spot with the hands by the end...with the basic tasks required of them. Why do some have it earlier? Because they're gifted with the hands or because they knew what they were trying to do earlier (even if gifted applied to that as well)?

All I know is if you don't know what you're supposed to be doing or say, you're going to suck. Even if you have good hands from day 1, those hands aren't doing the right things and your super intelligent mouth might as well have a cucumber from my cupboard in it.

You can have brick hands on day one and there is help for you if you can learn. If you can't learn, we'll make sure you have supervision while you take the extra time to let the lightbulb go off.

Starting early is different, pros and cons to everything...but, once you start, your academic intelligence (I believe) plays a large part in your fate. Cue fighter guys/gals that claim to be stupid.

Bendy


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Agreed. Eventually, what separates the good from the really good in this business is brain power.

Some guys can read a book once and memorize it, categorize the info, and recall it when needed. Others have to study it over and over, every time the squadron enters a new phase of training, and then are still likely to mess it up during the execution.

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Well, UPT is 1 year, its the people that learn the fastest that do the best.  However, I've seen "brick" hands stay "brick" hands for a long time past UPT.  You cannot teach coordination or a fast cross check, just as you cannot teach everyone to be in the NBA.  Not everyone is cut out to be a fighter pilot, just a fact.

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