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What's wrong with the Air Force?


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7 minutes ago, Prosuper said:

On 9/11 we didn't have a problem generating 24 hour coverage as we shutdown CONUS airspace but that was 20 years ago and the 552 ACW had ongoing deployments to PSAB and Incirlik plus every Red Flag. Only seeing 4 acft on the flightline because all others being used or in PDM. What happened? I was resigned to the fact I would be deployed 9 months a year, What happened? 

we flew all the hours off the jet now it's fucked and that friction is having first, second, third, fourth etc order effects and they don't seem to know what to do.

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9 hours ago, Guardian said:

There are lots of drone opportunities in the civilian world and a lot of them do better than some airline pilots.

Just as a pile-on to the previous post on this, my two close friends from the fighter world who have been doing RPA contractor gigs for the last 5+ years are both having to tighten their belts as re-bidding has steadily reduced pay year over year.

One of them -- a retired O-4 who has been riding the contractor gravy train -- is having to sell his house in Vegas and move into an apartment because he's worried his job is going to go away entirely and he's going to be left holding the bag with a big mortgage.

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Just as a pile-on to the previous post on this, my two close friends from the fighter world who have been doing RPA contractor gigs for the last 5+ years are both having to tighten their belts as re-bidding has steadily reduced pay year over year.
One of them -- a retired O-4 who has been riding the contractor gravy train -- is having to sell his house in Vegas and move into an apartment because he's worried his job is going to go away entirely and he's going to be left holding the bag with a big mortgage.

Well…

At least the market is very much in his favor at the moment…


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On 7/19/2021 at 4:25 PM, HossHarris said:

This is why you don’t let non-pilots run flying organizations 

Two of the absolute worst commanders I’ve had were pilots. Two of the very best were navs. The radiator shield does not automatically qualify one to be a good commander. 

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All righty. Going to breakup the monotony of this thread and just say. I survived command on a 365.

One of the best experiences in my life probably because I wasn’t a shiny penny.

There may be some wrong in the USAF but not in the deployed environment where the mission hackers make it happen. There are a lot of eager and aggressive Airmen out there who are only limited by the system they exist in.


a35df6c79f54f1f2515bae6c15dda1b1.jpg


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2 hours ago, 08Dawg said:

Two of the absolute worst commanders I’ve had were pilots. Two of the very best were navs. The radiator shield does not automatically qualify one to be a good commander. 

Sample size 4?

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4 hours ago, 08Dawg said:

Two of the absolute worst commanders I’ve had were pilots. Two of the very best were navs. The radiator shield does not automatically qualify one to be a good commander. 

I've met a number of Navs... and even one Flight Surgeon... that would have made excellent SQ/CC's had the AF decided to actually let them command a single-seat flying squadron.  

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11 hours ago, Skitzo said:

All righty. Going to breakup the monotony of this thread and just say. I survived command on a 365.

One of the best experiences in my life probably because I wasn’t a shiny penny.

There’s plenty of wrong in the USAF but not in the deployed environment where the mission hackers make it happen. There are a lot of eager and aggressive Airmen out there who are only limited by the system they exist in.


a35df6c79f54f1f2515bae6c15dda1b1.jpg


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Congrats, I may or may not know the challenges you faced first hand, especially with leadership.  You were always willing to mentor the younger guys and shoot the shit with us. You’re one of the good ones. 

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Sample size 4?


Hoss I get what you’re saying.

However, as I know you know, command is a mindset. In my experience a rated aviator who is willing to look at multiple perspectives and educate themselves on all the crew positions under their charge as well as take care of airmen and safely execute the mission will be successful...regardless of the wings on their chest.

Ive coached youth hockey for 20 years now. I’ve seen fantastic lifelong hockey players fall on their face behind the bench. I’ve seen complete ankle benders who are new to the game win championships as coaches. How do the benders win championships? They surround themselves with smart people, they study the game, they play to their strengths and they solicit the advice of others when they know they have a gap in their knowledge and they earn the respect of their players.

While a CSO or ABM will never hold an A code, any one of them worth their salt SHOULD have the experience and perspective after years of flying the line in their given airframe as an instructor in their crew position to effectively lead a squadron.

Now, when we take a shiny penny, fluff and buff them, make them an exec and then ship them off to every non-flying school and special duty assignment known to man, or in the MAF ship them from airframe to airframe to “broaden” them, one may never gain that perspective or experience within their community to fully understand the cultures and challenges.

Maybe it turns some of them into that coach who played hockey all his life and won’t take inputs from others because he thinks he’s that good.

I dunno. My rambling $0.02 I guess.
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14 hours ago, HuggyU2 said:

I've met a number of Navs... and even one Flight Surgeon... that would have made excellent SQ/CC's had the AF decided to actually let them command a single-seat flying squadron.  

I've had both pilot and WSO Commanders, and there were good and bad out of both camps.  I consider it a good thing that there are some who I'd really have to sit down and stretch my brain to remember if they were front seaters or back seaters.

That being said, I remember being at SOS and having one of those "senior leader seminars" with my flight. The guy who led the seminar for my flight was one of the original CROs, a big burly dude who was emphatic that any "leader" could command any unit, regardless of specialty. 

I offered that such a thing would not work in a fighter unit, to which he scoffed and told me I just wasn't evolved enough in my thinking about leadership to understand that I was wrong.

I said, "in my community, our Squadron Commander generally is the lead pilot of the first formation to cross into badguy territory on the first night of the war. How are you going to inspire your warriors if on the first night of the war you're sending them into the IADS while you're going to watch them all take off into the night, then stay behind in the office and watch it on CNN?"

His only response was, "that's not a fair question."

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I said, "in my community, our Squadron Commander generally is the lead pilot of the first formation to cross into badguy territory on the first night of the war. How are you going to inspire your warriors if on the first night of the war you're sending them into the IADS while you're going to watch them all take off into the night, then stay behind in the office and watch it on CNN?"

His only response was, "that's not a fair question."


That is a very valid point. That’s not “MAF standard” but there is a lot to be said for that.
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His only response was, "that's not a fair question."


I think what he was getting at was that your using a very specific example of your unit to make that case that only a pilot should lead. Every conflict is different, and will require different skill sets. The first months of Afghanistan was fought with dudes on horseback. And as we move forward, the use of AI or pilotless aircraft will become more prevalent.
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4 hours ago, jrizzell said:

 


I think what he was getting at was that your using a very specific example of your unit to make that case that only a pilot should lead. Every conflict is different, and will require different skill sets. The first months of Afghanistan was fought with dudes on horseback. And as we move forward, the use of AI or pilotless aircraft will become more prevalent.

 

No, Hacker was making the point that if you lead a squadron tasked with going into combat, or a wing, etc. you better be qualified in the primary mission otherwise you lack credibility. WSO leading a strike Eagle unit, absolutely.  SOC douche leading a unit that constantly needs IP supervision? That’s what Hacker is talking about.

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Leadership traits can span many groups/organizations, but it’s ignorant to think there is a one-size-fits-all leadership know-how that can effectively lead any organization. 
 

Yeah MSG guy, you did supervisor/lead 100 airmen…now stand up front and lead this MPC and tomorrow’s 80v30 mission vs. a peer level threat. I’ll wait…

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10 hours ago, dream big said:

No, Hacker was making the point that if you lead a squadron tasked with going into combat, or a wing, etc. you better be qualified in the primary mission otherwise you lack credibility. WSO leading a strike Eagle unit, absolutely.  SOC douche leading a unit that constantly needs IP supervision? That’s what Hacker is talking about.

Young young crew chief uhhello was at PSAB for start of OIF.  Waiting on pilot to show up and was surprised to see the WG CC's SUV pull up to spot.  Was surprised and asked ignorantly what he was doing.  "I'm leading the package in".  

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On 7/21/2021 at 9:25 PM, 08Dawg said:

Two of the absolute worst commanders I’ve had were pilots. Two of the very best were navs. The radiator shield does not automatically qualify one to be a good commander. 

Fair, but 12s are not 13s and that’s another matter all together. 
 

post script to the Tinker buffoonery, I also got COVID despite being vax’d lmao

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What truly is the difference between toxic and intrusive?

Putting my former CC hat on I’m sure that the OG was assured thru multiple briefings that there was no cause for alert or concern on the part of anybody for the inbrief for the exercise.

Roll around to the next day and he is completely flabbergasted by the reality of cancelled sorties. I’m sure he was disappointed. He was disappointed in the wrong folks.

In no time in my 17+ years was I denied no go pills to meet an operational need.

If I am him I am asking why the med group denied ambien for the crews?

If you want folks to act like it’s night one of world war 3 you have to organize, train and equip them as such including giving them an ambien to switch their sleep cycle so they can fly around the flag pole.

In the meantime. Let this be a reminder that anyone can record anything outside of a Vault and take the time you need to talk to your squadron commanders about what happened and do so from a humble place. If your convo is nothing but venting you are not ready.

No bad situation gets solved thru frustration.


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The MDG/CC is not the authority to approve or deny Ambien in AMC…it is the Sq/CC. I had an O-6 Flt Doc call me for Ambien approval when our exercise crew requested them.

Short version: I said yes. But I also talked to the AC about all the ways to mitigate before going straight to the pilot’s little helper and made sure I understood why they felt the no go pills were needed.


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I’ve never understood the reluctance to use medicine to improve performance. If I have an infection that makes me DNIF, I take antibiotics. If I have a sleep schedule that needs to be shifted to operate safely, I take ambien. Need to be awake? Go pills.
(Edit to be clear for OSI: I’m describing the ideal, not what I do or current practice. Also to be clear for OSI: get fvcked.)

You’re asking me to strap into a fuel-laden tube, filled with fire but balk at altering body chemistry? Thanks Nancy. 

Smarter, stronger, and better at our job… of killing and not getting killed. Give us the pills.

Can you imagine how great the MPF could be if we gave them Dex and locked them in for 12 hour days twice a month?

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OSI
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On 7/22/2021 at 4:39 PM, jrizzell said:

 


The first months of Afghanistan was fought with dudes on horseback. 

 

Bad counterpoint. SOF units wouldn't be caught dead with a non SOF commander. Also, the dude leading the guys on horseback was an operator. He wasn't some logistics dude that said "peace out, tell me when it's done". 

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So on the topic of “toxic leadership” and command pressure to fly, I’d love to get opinions on this scenario. And spears as well but hopefully someone can learn from my thought process and your responses.

Several times in deployed environments, other AC’s have elected to cancel based on low weather given instrument approaches available (e.g. 300&3/4 when an ILS with 200 & 1/2 is available) with no forecast showing it will get worse or significantly better). The phrase they’d always use is it’s the “conservative” choice. Well one time I’m the DO deployed and a guy who is a bit notorious for canceling in that scenario comes to me and says he’s going to cancel. I ask why and he says for weather. I had him walk me through it and there was usable weather at the field at Takeoff and Land +\- 1 hour and also a viable alternate (which admittedly was 250 miles away and would reduce 75% of station time). After showing that, I said I didn’t understand the cancel decision. There was then a bleeding heart speech about backing up AC’s and undue pressure to fly when it was unsafe etc. I’m not particularly proud of my response but I said that I’d back up his decision every time, but I asked if we need to look at our evaluation criteria because we don’t have Pilot Weather Categories and all of our AC’s are approved to what’s on the plate. He said no (he was a SEFE) to which I retorted why aren’t you going then? “Because that’s my decision” and I said “then why do we have the 202v3 if it’s just up to your gut”. He then asked if I was ordering him to go when he felt unsafe and I said no, I don’t have that authority and wouldn’t do that if I did. We canceled the line, NBD and then I get feedback at the end of the deployment from this guy about how I set up a toxic environment and he cited this particular case. That pissed me off but I just let it go and moved on but it ate at me for awhile. A few other guys made similar comments while others praised me for upholding the standard, etc.

Debrief? Is that toxic? Where’s the line between toxic and upholding the standard? Is this in the same ballpark as the Tinker OG?

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20 minutes ago, Danger41 said:

So on the topic of “toxic leadership” and command pressure to fly, I’d love to get opinions on this scenario. And spears as well but hopefully someone can learn from my thought process and your responses.

Several times in deployed environments, other AC’s have elected to cancel based on low weather given instrument approaches available (e.g. 300&3/4 when an ILS with 200 & 1/2 is available) with no forecast showing it will get worse or significantly better). The phrase they’d always use is it’s the “conservative” choice. Well one time I’m the DO deployed and a guy who is a bit notorious for canceling in that scenario comes to me and says he’s going to cancel. I ask why and he says for weather. I had him walk me through it and there was usable weather at the field at Takeoff and Land +\- 1 hour and also a viable alternate (which admittedly was 250 miles away and would reduce 75% of station time). After showing that, I said I didn’t understand the cancel decision. There was then a bleeding heart speech about backing up AC’s and undue pressure to fly when it was unsafe etc. I’m not particularly proud of my response but I said that I’d back up his decision every time, but I asked if we need to look at our evaluation criteria because we don’t have Pilot Weather Categories and all of our AC’s are approved to what’s on the plate. He said no (he was a SEFE) to which I retorted why aren’t you going then? “Because that’s my decision” and I said “then why do we have the 202v3 if it’s just up to your gut”. He then asked if I was ordering him to go when he felt unsafe and I said no, I don’t have that authority and wouldn’t do that if I did. We canceled the line, NBD and then I get feedback at the end of the deployment from this guy about how I set up a toxic environment and he cited this particular case. That pissed me off but I just let it go and moved on but it ate at me for awhile. A few other guys made similar comments while others praised me for upholding the standard, etc.

Debrief? Is that toxic? Where’s the line between toxic and upholding the standard? Is this in the same ballpark as the Tinker OG?

Short answer is no, not toxic at all.

 I can understand (sort of) someone CNXing a training line for WX like that but a combat/contingency line?  Absolutely not.  It’s leadership’s responsibility to make sure ACs are getting shit done and CNXing for WX your airplane is capable of operating in in combat would be a big red flag for me.  Over the years I’ve had Sq/CCs and DOs give me feedback on decisions I’ve made when I was a young AC and could’ve made a better call.  What you did was nothing different.

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39 minutes ago, Danger41 said:

asked if we need to look at our evaluation criteria because we don’t have Pilot Weather Categories and all of our AC’s are approved to what’s on the plate. He said no (he was a SEFE) to which I retorted why aren’t you going then? “Because that’s my decision”

Seems like PWC mins was a great question. Fighters do it and I certainly apply my own in the GA world. At some point you have a job to do (especially in combat), and if you need 500’ PWC mins, so be it…we’ll put someone else in the line or cancel, depending on the situation. It sounds like this AC has more going on than just his personal opinion of weather mins. 

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