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Guest Mave1Rick3

NAS Pensacola information

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On the topic of B-52's. I have a handful of questions that I couldn't find on the other threads.

1. In terms of deployments, I've gathered that Guam is the place to go and that I could expect a 4 month deployment. What is the deployment like as far as living standards, do you cook for yourselves or eat at a chow hall? What kind of sleeping quarters are there?

More like 6 months... "Free" food is available at the Andersen DFAC, temporarily relocated inside their officer's club while they do major repairs. The quality of the food leaves much to be desired. For my most recent deployment they didn't have a short order grill at the temporary facility (since rectified), so you didn't have the bread and butter of deployed dining (omelettes at breakfast and "midnight meal"), and you'd routinely see things like ants crawling on hamburger patties and a lack of condiment options. One of our Electronic Warfare Officers actually got salmonella eating there (don't believe me? it's in the 8th Air Force Bomber Force Improvement Program report). They got a 0% satisfaction rating on their own customer surveys. Most people did cook for themselves or eat out, using the $3.50 a day per diem that is standard for OCONUS incidentals when lodged on base. The thing you have to understand about Andersen is that we deploy there for 6 months, but the base is barely resourced to support its own permanent party airmen.

2. I met a Lt Col R/N who had been out of the cockpit for a handful of years tell me, "The BUFF hasn't seen combat since the Mid 2000s (don't recall which year he said specifically)" Is this true? I know the BUFF is used as a show of force, has it not dropped bombs on bad guys in years?

True... The last B-52 OEF deployment ended in May '06. Of course, no one knew that at the time. Steady-state CAS ops had been supported by both BUFF and BONE squadrons on a rotating basis out of Diego Garcia for several years, as had the deterrence mission against North Korea based out of Guam (initially in response to specific DPRK provocations in '03 and permanently starting in '04). The B-1s were able to start operating out of the Arabian Gulf starting in '06, which requires one less air refueling to provide the same amount of time on station and they could carry more J-series weapons (the BUFF can only carry 1760 weapons externally until we get our 1760 Improved Weapons Bay Upgrade in two years), so they've carried the GWOT mission and us the Asia-Pacific mission ever since.

Additionally in late '07 we had the "unauthorized transshipment of nuclear warheads" from Minot to Barksdale, so we shifted focus (painfully, but necessarily) primarily to the nuclear mission for a few years... In '09 the B-1s got the Sniper pod, giving them a Bomb on Target (BOT) CAS capability that we lacked (outside of our Reserve squadron) for a bit longer. So, long story short, lots of reasons we haven't been in the GWOT fight for some time. I wouldn't make a drop night decision based on this though. For one, the Afghanistan CAS mission is inevitably going to wind down at some point and you'll start to see the B-1 get phased back into the Continuous Bomber Presence rotation to gain experience in that AOR. For two, my personal experience, I was an AWACS nav before I came to the BUFF... When I dropped the mighty E-3 in '07, we had been out of the desert since '04. Less than 18 months later I was flying OEF sorties out of Al Dhafra. Stuff turns on a dime.

3. I am aware that not many countries want a nuclear capable aircraft landing on their Tarmac, with the exception of England are there any other countries the plane flies to for training/TDY?

Well, other than Guam and England, we periodically go back to Diego Garcia to check things out and make sure the taxiways haven't shrunk. We also go to Darwin, Australia about once per CBP deployment. Being a "Global Strike" platform we train in a lot of countries on long-ass sorties thanks to air refueling. My OEF "combat" sorties in the E-3 were all shorter than many of the training sorties I've flown in the BUFF doing CBP (and a few out of CONUS).

4. I'm one of the few guys interested in the BUFF in my class right now. What would you tell a young buck like myself in regards to the Pros & Cons of entering this career field as a Navigator/Radar Nav?

Cons: Lack of immediate combat deployment opportunity. Compared to the F-15E and B-1B, a lack of opportunity to employ weapons right away, since you have to progress from the Nav seat to the Radar Nav seat. (You come out of the FTU technically qualified to occupy both seats, but our Vol 3 restricts performance of left seat duties by an Inexperienced Dual Seat Nav, er WSO, when carrying weapons to only doing so under the supervision of an Experienced WSO or instructor. In the ops squadrons this basically amounts to the "traditional nav/traditional radar nav" program, except with a local upgrade.) It sounds like this may change in the near future per the discussion above (I got independent confirmation from a former B-52 Sq/CC this morning), but who knows... They literally dropped the nomenclature change on us (Radar Nav --> WSO) in the dead of night last week when the new RTM came out, without really explaining or hinting at a long term plan for rewriting the crew CRM.

Additional Cons: PRP/Nuke mission. I'm honored by the responsibility, and I think it's neat to have my name on a letter saying I can accept custody of nuclear weapons (only ACs and Radar Navs can say that), but the number of exercises and the amount of preparation for them take away from proficiency in the conventional mission i.e. the one we're a lot more likely to actually have to do. Also less opportunity to crossflow out and try other things once you have a Nuclear Experience Identifier (NEI).

Pros: One of the few platforms where a CSO can employ weapons. A lot of upgrades and new weapons coming down the pipe (1760 in the bay, OAS CONECT updates our bomb/nav computer system significantly allowing for BLOS retargeting of standoff weapons and Link 16 messages via JREAP-A, Laser JDAM, SDB, JASSM-ER, LRASM, some tweaks to our EW suite, and down the line, a new radar... potentially an interim strapon radar pod along the way too). For the Electronic Warfare Officer, they get to be a lot more man-in-the-loop with jamming than the B-1 DSO does (if you're a "pride in your art" kind of guy). CSOs of both flavors can upgrade to Mission Lead and eventually Mission Commander (usually only the Weapons School dudes that do the latter).

Neutral: Location... Depends on your preferences. Out of the FTU I wanted to stay at Barksdale, but I got Minot and I'm glad I did in retrospect. I love it here. There's a higher level of camaraderie and esprit de corps in the ops squadrons here, and I really fell in love with the town and the region. Barksdale obviously has the advantage of being relatively close to Dallas, New Orleans, Little Rock, etc., but I hated the summers there more than I hate the winters here. For the B-1 dudes, it seems like the opposite is the case... Most dudes want to go north (to Ellsworth) and not stay south (Dyess). I've played it both ways in my career... Initially picked E-3s largely for location, and I indeed loved Oklahoma City, but the nav doesn't hold a lot of mission responsibility in that community and is being phased out over the next decade. Re-picked B-52s for the mission, and while I would never see myself choosing to live long term in Shreveport or Minot, the advantages have outweighed the disadvantages. So wherever you go, I recommend you drop based on mission rather than location.

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Hey there, CSO school is 11 months long. When you get to NASP, expect to wait on average 2 months to go to IFS. Some went in as little as 2 weeks and others waited nearly 6 months so be prepared for that as well. IFS is roughly a month long. The wait between IFS and UCT is also on average about 2 months as well, but it can vary. You'll do water survival (3 day class which is held at NASP) at some point before you start UCT too. Water survival can be done before or after IFS, it doesn't matter. All in all, expect to be at NASP anywhere from 1.5-2 years total.

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I know its been a bit since last post here.

Hoping to get some info on training length for CSO down in Pensacola?

Thanks,

-Murch

If you read through these forums one of the previous CSO's gives a solid breakdown of the flying and the simming phases. CSO training is about to experience a change in how they've been doing things the last few years. The big aspect changing is students will now drop earlier prior to graduation. This is done so the last month of training can be spent preparing you for your future career instead of  SIMS that don't necessarily help you. On the chopping block for sims that ALL students have to take is ES (Electronic Warfare Support) and AI (Air Interdiction). Students will be seperated into different training syllabi based on their future airframe. For example, students whose career will be as a navigator will do Advanced Navigation. Students who track EWO will study Electronic Warfare, guys/gals who will go to AFSOC will get experience doing sims operating sensors. F-15 studs will have the opportunity to get some rides in the T-6 doing formation flying.  I haven't been in Pensacola for a few months now, so any new CSO's can correct me if I'm not 100% correct. 

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Oh wow, that's really interesting! It's about time they did something with the jack of all trades master of none program. ES was easy and AI was fun, but they were still useless for me. SP kinda relates to my job...ehhh kinda. ER totally does. I had an ER nightmare while avoiding thunderstorms a few months back...gave me horrible flashbacks hahaha

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Thank you.  I read a lot of things talking about what goes on but not much about length.  I havent made it through IFS yet so I am taking it one thing at a time, but figured I would get as much info as I could. Since I am active duty they are actually sending me to water survival/parachute training/SERE before heading to Pensacola.  Unfortunately, that will probably cut down on time spent at NAS (PCola is my hometown so it would have been nice to be there for a bit given I have been in Minot for my first two years of AD).  However, the quicker that I can learn the job and get after the mission the better.

Thanks,

-Murch

Edited by Murch
more info

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3 hours ago, mb1685 said:

Anyone have experience with the Balfour Beatty on-base housing at NAS Pensacola? Specifically with family housing. Most of the opinions I can find online appear to be negative but that seems to be the case with all house/apartment hunting in my experience since people usually don't feel compelled to write reviews when they're satisfied. I'll be reporting to Pensacola in June after OTS and my wife and I like the idea of living on base for UCT (will also be accompanied by our 2 year old son), but if it's particularly atrocious then it would be nice to be informed ahead of time and dodge a bullet.

Dodge the bullet and go off base. I had the same thought process and almost same family scenario but it’s not worth the $1329 you’d fork over. NASP is a very old base coupled with the Navy way of infrastructure updates the “houses” are rather dated. Yes, they’re livable by first world standards but the upkeep by Balfour and lack of customer service just adds unnecessary stress to the UCT situation.

The rental market is rather large around PCS season (summer) and they love their military (navy) here so there will be tons of options available off base. May have to pay a little out of pocket for something you really like but you’ll get a decent house for your BAH 10-15 minutes away from the back gate (that opens at 0500)...but you won’t have any left to spare on expenses.  Pensacola took a BAH cut on the 2018 rates so the former of paying a little out of pocket may actually be the norm now.

Be advised...i ran into a few rental agents who were just sketchy...the company was legit, solid website, prices etc but then the agent showed up in flip flops n shorts to show the house, asked for unusual paperwork to apply, i even shook an agents hand said we’ll take it Friday and figure out how to get the money in your bank over the weekend so u get it on Monday and the guy showed the house monday morning and rented it...

Depending on the family and your class going off base could get busy for you if you have a heart haha. Most single folks have to stay in the single dorms so routine study parties at your house could be a thing, again, if you have a heart.

DM me if you need more.

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I couldn't totally follow your timeline but do your best to make a door to door move possible, meaning you can give the origin movers your destination address and be there to receive it without having to put your stuff in storage.  

They won't always have movers on the destination end available to unload you but avoiding storage should be high on your priority list.

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I was fortunate enough to be TDY at Maxwell about a month before i PCSd. 4 out of 5 weekends i was down in Pensacola driving around checking houses the Mrs picked online, checking neighborhoods/drive times etc.  it’s a 3 hr drive one way from maxwell so the day gets long but getting eyes on was clutch. I dont know if you’ll have that kind of freedom at TFOT or a car but i’d try and ask for the freedom and if u dont have the car get a buddies go borrow. Worst they can both say is no...

i’d highly recommend your wife give you a power of attorney to sign as her for lease purposes...that way if you’re down here and love something you can work a lease, deposit, etc. and sign on the spot. I didn’t do that and we worked the lease via email post my TDY which was ok just, i just like doing that stuff in person.

take away if u can sign a lease like @nunya said you set up your move for a door to door vs door to storage to door

 

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This thread seems like it's mostly for nav studs, but would any 11x types want to weight in about life/flying there. Very curious to hear if it's a viable option for a second assignment or if it's a hard gig to get. Seems like decent living if you enjoy riparian activities (fishing, diving, surfing); flying can't be too bad with no student pilots right? Heard the T-1 pilots are mostly civilians, but the T-6 instructors are all mil, that correct?

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This thread seems like it's mostly for nav studs, but would any 11x types want to weight in about life/flying there. Very curious to hear if it's a viable option for a second assignment or if it's a hard gig to get. Seems like decent living if you enjoy riparian activities (fishing, diving, surfing); flying can't be too bad with no student pilots right? Heard the T-1 pilots are mostly civilians, but the T-6 instructors are all mil, that correct?

From my understanding there are about 3 AD T-1 IPs and around 35 T-6 IPs. From knowing a couple of the guys out there this assignment can be given as a second assignment though it seems to be either a luck of the draw or you know some one. I’m headed there in a month and got it as a 365 follow-on. One of the guys I was deployed with took the deployment so he could stay there.

He said it’s probably the best hidden flying gem in the AF.


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3 hours ago, Bode said:


From my understanding there are about 3 AD T-1 IPs and around 35 T-6 IPs. From knowing a couple of the guys out there this assignment can be given as a second assignment though it seems to be either a luck of the draw or you know some one. I’m headed there in a month and got it as a 365 follow-on. One of the guys I was deployed with took the deployment so he could stay there.

He said it’s probably the best hidden flying gem in the AF.


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shit hot, thanks

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