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Danger41 last won the day on January 28

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  1. I’d suggest you do what you want and let your intentions of a B-21 transition be known. You bring up good points on all and I won’t pretend to know the inner political workings of Bomber Mafia politics, but make yourself as credible as possible and have a good reputation for interpersonal skills. Initial cadre, especially for a crown jewel program like B-21, will need to offer more than being a good stick.
  2. With all your PIT and UPT experience I’m 100% certain you’ve had more risk to life and limb than I did in all my deployments.
  3. Looks like it was a Raptor that took the shot so it’s back to 104-0 for the WGASF and 1-0 on balloons for the 5th Gen boys.
  4. What airframe for WIC? I’d suggest you do the WIC thing because that’s an easy discriminator. I got selected as the demonstration pilot and then initial cadre for SOCOM’s Armed Overwatch program and the only thing that discriminated me was being a grey Patch.
  5. @argstarted the other thread about Gunships in Desert Storm and I recommended a war stories thread because I’m sure this group has some good ones. I’ll kick it off. Decmeber 2, 2014 Nangahar, Afghanistan Flying Draco out of Bagram and a raid comes down that we’re going to support and run the stack for. We weren’t doing hits every night but by dumb luck, I’d been on a few as we rolled through the schedule. As some of you know, they’re usually a bit hectic at first when the helo lands and then it’s pretty chill as they make callouts and not much would happen so that was what I expected. We brief up, get out there, get everyone checked in and ready to go. We had 2 Vipers, a Gunship, a few RPA’s, Compass Call a ways off, and the helos that had a couple DAPs and 4 60’s. TOT hits, all the sensors are assigned and I’m looking out the window and I see multiple 12.7 and 23mm open up from all along this river bank/village that were covered up until we landed (1). We haven’t even made comms with the ground force yet and it’s a madhouse immediately. I vividly remember seeing tracers crisscrossing the village and then under NVG I can see airburst going off above the Gunship and behind where he was (shooting at the sound). The assault force gets out and are immediately under fire. I had some young guys running sensors and a pretty weak swimmer (that got much better but he was a 1st Lt at the time and somewhat weak) as our CSO who, in theory, should be running the show in this instance but kind of locked up a bit and was overwhelmed. I started directing sensors and getting directive to get people sorting and finding targets. We finally get the JTAC on the radio and I unload the situation to him (overly wordy and crappy comms) and he basically tells me to run it because they’re under fire (gunshots and yelling in the background). I had some very good Viper pilots (2 Patch wearers I come to find out) and had them tracking targets, RPA’s on ADA positions, and the Gunship in close on the good guys. I started working with the DAPs and we would find stuff and they’d kill it. Time goes on, we start thinning out targets, the assault force is clearing the northern village and it turns out to be a dry hole so they start moving about a KM south toward the secondary objective. As they move, it’s more of the same with the sensors except we split to help the Gunship escort the assault force and to find targets for the DAPs with the other. As this is going on, I’m starting to realize that the timeline has gone to absolute hell and we won’t be able to support this whole thing so I call back to our TOC and tell them to wake up the crew that would be flying the first line of the day to backfill us (2). Every jet there worked extensions and Tac C2 worked tanker reflows and all that. The whole team came together to support the guys on the ground and we didn’t get any push back. Incredibly awesome teamwork and proud moment for me as a member of the USAF. While I’m neck deep in trying to secure all that, the ground force is moving to the southern area and enemy fighters pop out of VC style spider holes and engage them from about ten feet. By the grace of God, no friendlies get hit and they kill the enemy and continue to move (3). They eventually make it to the southern compound and start to make call outs IAW the ROE. I’ve got two bingos (one for JBAD and one for BAF) and know I’m getting close to having to leave. I didn’t want to go to JBAD because I knew our MX flow at the time we didn’t have enough airplanes to backfill our backfill (jet happened to be in phase) if I went to JBAD but I couldn’t leave until we had another Draco because everyone else was gainfully employed and I assumed we’d lose the Gunship at Dawn (Spirit 03) and didn’t want the ground force to lose their comm lifeline. Personal thought at the time was that this would take until about noon the next day. About this time, my good friend and his crew that got shaken awake and scrambled check in on comms and I start filling them in. I’m doing a handover and they show up and match sensors and see DAPs killing targets under our sparkle and we hand that off (an easy confirmation haha). As they’re making it, I commit to BAF and know I’ll be landing at min fuel but that’s fine. We are about done and their radios all take a shit and lose crypto at the exact same time that an assault force member gets shot and the ground force calls for an urgent CASEVAC (4). Our backfill has no comms and the ground force is relaying the CASEVAC 9-line in rapid fire to my aforementioned weak swimmers who dropped their nuts and did a picture perfect job and made that happen to get the helos back for the exfil (5). My backfill gets one (of their 10) radios working and takes the stack and the situation over and we get out of dodge. I run the numbers and realize we will be at emergency gas when we land so I coordinate to zoom as much as the mighty Draco can and get into a glide profile to enter a 69 mile right base. I call the SOF (A-10 guy) and tell him to get everyone out of our way and he worked with everyone to clear it out for us. He does it and I get cleared to the numbers and land with 78 pounds of gas. I’ll never forget that number haha (it also went up about 70 pounds when I reset the counter on the ground so I didn’t shut down and get towed back). We shut down, get back to the TOC and things are still happening but long story short, we got everyone back a few hours later (6). I’ve never felt anything like that and I was absolutely jacked and when I landed and came down off of that, I couldn’t sleep for a long time and was antsy hearing about the fate of the wounded assaulter because I assumed he died based on how it sounded over the radio. When I found out he lived, I can’t explain the feeling of relief and flush of emotions that happened. He was sent to Germany and ended up being paralyzed, unfortunately but he’s alive today and sounds like he’s thriving. Anyways, I felt like I earned that 1/20th of an Air Medal. 1. Turns out one of our Afghan allies let his Taliban buddies know we were coming and they decided to try to make this a Blackhawk Down scenario. 2. We didn’t have a backfill and a 4 hour gap from when we would land to when those guys would takeoff for the first line of the day to coincide with sunrise. The LPA and junior enlisted that were awake and running our graveyard ops absolutely killed it getting those dudes prepped, getting them food, etc. I was incredibly proud of those folks that didn’t whine or complain at all and just made shit happen. Draco standard. 3. https://www.army.mil/article/147892/1st_battalion_75th_ranger_regiment_honors_its_heroes The dudes that got the Bronze Star with V were for this part. 4. https://www.socom.mil/fighting-on-to-the-ranger-objective The Rangers that got Silver Stars above in 3 were for this part. True heroism. 5. Army helos were sitting at level 1 at JBAD and were there in minutes. They earned DFC’s for this deservedly so. 6. Later on I heard from that intercepted comms said something like “how are they finding us? They’re killing us and we can’t see them.” Over 25 EKIA and a great mission for SSE overall.
  6. You all scoffed Mini and his 7m target guidance but now we have thousands of AMC trained ADA Counter-balloon crews ready to go!
  7. Gotta let the Raptors kill it so they can actually get an air to air kill before they retire the jet. Or even better would be the Strike that killed the helo with a bomb AND a wayward MQ-1 back in the day. Add a balloon to that livery for the most eclectic kill roster ever.
  8. What interests you about the 146? It’s a fun plane and good locations. But it’s not some super secret platform or anything crazy. It’s a mobility platform 100%. They don’t do airdrop. They don’t have a really robust FARP capability like an MC. They can do aeromedical evac and austere stuff but BL is it’s purely a trash hauler/people mover. And I’d say Draco is the AFSOC step child. The 146 is like that cousin that when he gets brought up people say “oh yeah, I forgot about him”.
  9. I’m not in AMC either but I have CYA by the overt and repeated directions from the Chief of Staff (the last 3 really) to make it happen/innovate/accelerate change/a bunch of other platitudes that is a massive opportunity. Why do you want overly specific guidance as a crew dog captain? I can give that to an Airman and have him do exactly what I say. Don’t you want to put your brain, education, aggressiveness and initiative to use? You’ve got the intent so go! And if you don’t think a Captain can make a difference then I don’t know what to tell you. The whole service is founded on that maverick spirit all the way back to the literal start. Everyone always fawns over Robin Olds but his crowning achievement in Vietnam (Operation Bolo) was planned by a couple of captains and lieutenants that were sick of overly restrictive ROE and wanted to make a difference (sound familiar?) Or Linebacker 2 getting unfucked by a bunch of young dudes after the first couple nights when all the geniuses on high had a bad plan. Hell, when I was a young Patch I drastically changed our TTP that rippled across CENTCOM because the old way was going to cause Civcas. I told the flag officers in charge and they were stoked and we changed it the next day. I’m nothing special at all but I really believe that type of thing is what the American people want military officers to be and not just voice activated robots. This will never happen because it’s the same cycle that’s repeated in the military since the damn Romans, but we better stop worrying about all the 1206’s and all that bullshit because when the war starts, that and those who focus on it will go away. Here’s another hot take but Commanders thinking their only job is to “take care of their people” in the form of awards and the like should be fired. Their primary jobs are to execute the mission, lead people, manage resources, and improve the unit. I‘ve seen squadrons that have great paperwork, get their guys all the good jobs, and suck ass at their combat mission. Naturally those squadron commanders were praised and sent onto “bigger and better” things and the combat focused got ran out of town. It’s not right and the organization has some serious failings, I’ll agree on that. You and I won’t agree on whether this is an opportunity or just a poorly worded spew that’s no help. That’s fine and I respect what you’re saying. I’ve been a pissed off Captain myself so I can totally relate. I’ve said my piece and will let you have the last word.
  10. Dude, please don’t take this as a personal attack because that’s not intended, but your type of attitude is exactly the type of problem that weighs the Air Force down. If you don’t want to be micromanaged and be able to exercise your prerogatives at your level, you have more than enough to move out now. You have all the CYA you need with that memo. That’s direct from the highest rank in the Air Force giving very clear intent. Some Bob in the middle has an issue with that doesn’t rate beating the 4-Star. If they’re toxic and threaten/obfuscate, go to the next level and/or IG. Hell, go direct to Mini.
  11. They talked about it while you were golfing and shitting on the SNCO’s.
  12. I stole it and have preached it for years that the key to greatness is being brilliant at the basics. So I’m with you 100%. But unless 22 years (JFC) of GWOT and the ONW/OSW/WW Desert Storm have taught me, the mobility bros are pretty amazing at the basics. Not many people know about the mobility role in Schwarzkopf’s left hook but that whole thing doesn’t happen without AMC (MAC at the time). But now, this reminds me of the Tomcat looking for relevancy after the Cold War ended and the Soviet bomber cruise missile swarms weren’t a thing. They reinvented the platform into a great strike fighter. Same with the Viper going from a day VFR fighter to damn near everything under the sun. Same with the C-130 evolving into the AC-130 in Vietnam after the previous Gunships paved the way. Same with the F-4 evolving into a very good SEAD platform prior to retirement. I think the B-25 showed some pretty decent, non-standard use on April 18, 1942. Why can’t a tanker be a delivery platform for UAS? Hell, take the AC-J internal CLT mounting configuration, crank it to 11 and you could easily put 100 of those in the back. Yes, you’d have to cut holes, flight test, etc but you could turn the back into a radio shack setup with a laptop and have all that shit ran by the boom when he’s not being a boom (aka napping 95% of the time). The earlier Block Draco variants were pretty much cables and laptops everywhere with dudes making it work. It’s very doable. I always thought the tanker force in Afghanistan/Iraq should’ve had some passive collect capability while they covered the whole country 24/7 in the tracks. Maybe they did, I’ll have to check my garage scif but nobody told me. I also saw the proposal for AMP-4 ops and think that should be approved tomorrow. Get some IP’s to Hurlburt/Cannon with the MC dudes, fly a few locals, get some academics on it, and press. To the uneducated outsider, this is the litmus test for me of if this whole endeavor will make any headway. Unfair or not, my perception is that AMC has some incredibly risk averse people that call “safety of flight!” For damn near anything. AMP-4 is something different but well within your command’s capabilities. If it gets hung up by those in the Safety camp*, nothing will change. My passion for this topic is probably pretty evident. My favorite line in a movie is in the Departed when Jack Nicholson’s character talks about how John Lennon said “I’m an artist. You give me a fucking tuba, I’ll get you something out of it”. That’s how I view my time in the AF. I may not have the tools but I’ll do what I can to help win. The other reason IGAF about this is I can’t stand cynicism (copy shot on picking the worst profession in the world for that). My hero, Theodore Roosevelt, talked about it and I actually had this on my wall as a young Danger. ”The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement.” That’s a very long, very rambling way of saying I hope AMC gets after this stuff and finds ways to win. This post brought to you by the good people of Basil Hayden’s. *Safety is critically important and I’m not advocating for stupid risk. If these things prove to be stupid, then don’t do it.
  13. So back in the day, AFSOC started doing a thing called “Air Commando Field Course” which involved tactical driving, shooting, clearing buildings, emergency medicine, etc. We all scoffed it with typical aircrew knowitallism (see above) and how all these people wanted to play GI Joe etc. Fast forward to Iraq 2015 and I found myself in a Hilux, with body armor, loaded M4’s and M9’s, and civilian clothes with another pilot driving to the Consulate that had gotten bombed the previous day and I was wishing I’d spent a little more time paying attention. Or Kabul when everything went to shit and aircrew guys had to apply similar skills to break into structures and clear them to get food when the people working it said “F this, I’m out”. More stories like that will come out from that deployment and I have the utmost respect for those folks, but they weren’t anything but motivated type A winners making shit happen. Mobility folks can do the same stuff if they’d just stop with the GD pessimism about everything. From my outside perspective, I love Gen Minihan’s whole program and hope that AMC embraces the urgency and importance of their role in this fight. Easily the most important MAJCOM in this scenario.
  14. Tanks are similar to BUFFs, IMO. If you use them stupidly and without proper support, you’re not gonna have a good time. If you use them and support them appropriately, they are incredibly effective and devastating.
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