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4 hours ago, Lord Ratner said:


Jesus I never know what the f*** you're talking about.

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I'm saying by the way our leaders have represented us at the top maybe a significant factor in promotion results. I've heard countless times when someone has been treated poorly it's normally by someone from the good old boys club in the flying community. Some flight suited gods think they walk on water but tend to treat others like crap. I've heard it from a lot of women too. People maybe pushing back on promotion the boards in a sense if you think about it.

Okay, remember when RPAs complained about lack of promotion? Why were they being held back despite a huge manning crisis? Was it pilots, the boards, or our top brass not promoting? I totally understand the record of those sent to RPAs wasn't anything to shout about. Then after someone complained to Congress, they are definitely being promoted now. Hmmmmm Now pilots are being out promoted. I ask you why, despite a retention issue?

 

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Hmmmmm Now pilots are being out promoted. I ask you why, despite a retention issue?

GMAFB. If the mission suppression functions were that coherently organized, we might not have all these stupid issues like finance problems to bitch about.

It's been said enough times: the Air Force has lost its way as a fighting force. Pilots are 96% of the Air Force's actual war fighters; if the Air Force cared about functioning as a war fighting organization, we'd figure out how to promote and retain those people.
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19 hours ago, flyusaf83 said:

  Really, the AF just needs to promote all pilots, unless an individual has royally F'ed something up.

Do this, and you'll quickly run out of flying positions to put rated Lt Cols in.  You'll be putting flyers as commanders of non-flying units and in non-rated staff positions.

I'm not against that, necessarily, but I don't think that's what's going to motivate your rated CGOs.

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2 hours ago, Lord Ratner said:


I think what we need is to drop the idea that staff jobs help leadership. Sure, it's useful to know how sausage is made. But a captain or Major will get more out of leading a shop of 100 airman than he will out of a desk job crunching numbers, as far as leadership of airmen is concerned.

If we still want the AF run by pilots, which is not necessarily the best idea IMO, then we should change the system so exec, staff, aide, and all the other "broadening" jobs go to the support officers, while the pre-ordained future senior leaders go run a mx or SF shop, with 360° feedback, to see if they really have what it takes to run a squadron.


 

As I've said before...not a pilot.  I did spend a lot of time in non-staff jobs, being the last one in the office, going TDY every time I turned around.  Not the same as a pilots battle-rhythm, but not bankers hours.

After several staff jobs, some joint, some MAJCOM, I'd have to say, While staff jobs don't teach leadership, I think the exposure you get to big picture stuff makes you better when you go back to the line.

Never having been an exec/aide, I would say that limited time spent there can be useful for development, as long as it's used as part of deliberate development, and not just an easy way to punch your ticket.

Leadership experience early on is crucial for developing officers.  However, the cross pollination and perspective you get from staff and even exec help you better apply the lessons you learn as a flight commander to the big time as a squadron commander.

Again:  not advocating staff/exec as a shortcut to promotion or even, by itself, a way to "make" an effective leader.  Just saying they can be a useful and effective part of the program.

Edited by Weezer
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5 hours ago, Duck said:

We do a terrible job teaching/giving pilots opportunities to lead. I am firmly against a Tech/lead track. I think a dual track system would only further breed problems from those on the "leadership" track.

I know this is not going to be popular, but I think we get rid of a vast majority of Officer AFSCs. Mx officer should be a pilot, support should be a pilot, both LEADING the enlisted who are doing the j-o-b.

How many times have you tried to get something done at MPF/Finance and eventually talk to the OIC, just to get some BS excuse which you know is just that Officer "protecting" her airmen? Imagine if it was a Pilot who was the OIC and he was once in your squadron. "Hey bro, your boy, Amn Snuffy told me he couldn't process my new cac because they were about to close and it would have pushed him past his 4pm exit time"

After seeing what little my SOS buddies were actually doing, I realized that this was pretty much the way forward. Most hadn't been deployed and their biggest challenges were how to organize the next CGO Club Social.

This would be a way to expand the "flying" opportunities while developing pilots and leaders who actually understand the plight (Mx) or laziness (some career fields come to mind, you can find them leaving base at 3pm on Tuesday) of our enlisted.

I'm interested in what you guys think.


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Interesting thought.   I think you'll end up replacing the "obstructionist" support officers with obstructionist support chiefs.  Try to lead an effective organization without the backing of the chief, regardless of your rank.  Nobody runs a mafia like a chief, in any service, any AFSC.

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As I've said before...not a pilot.  I did spend a lot of time in non-staff jobs, being the last one in the office, going TDY every time I turned around.  Not the same as a pilots battle-rhythm, but not bankers hours.
After several staff jobs, some joint, some MAJCOM, I'd have to say, While staff jobs don't teach leadership, I think the exposure you get to big picture stuff makes you better when you go back to the line.
Never having been an exec/aide, I would say that limited time spent there can be useful for development, as long as it's used as part of deliberate development, and not just an easy way to punch your ticket.
Leadership experience early on is crucial for developing officers.  However, the cross pollination and perspective you get from staff and even exec help you better apply the lessons you learn as a flight commander to the big time as a squadron commander.
Again:  not advocating staff/exec as a shortcut to promotion or even, by itself, a way to "make" an effective leader.  Just saying they can be a useful and effective part of the program.

Sure. Useful, I have no doubt. The problem as I see it is that you only get so many years in a lifetime. Our promotion and career development system, and least on the pilot side, is a game of checking as many boxes as you can. Jack of all trades, master of none. The real question is what's more true? Do you need to see the sausage maker to be a successful squadron commander (while realizing that no matter what staff jobs to do, you're still only going to see 5-10% of the bureaucracy), or will first hand leadership experience as a CGO/Junior FGO (which you will need for nearly all of your sq/cc duties) be a better use of limited development time?

Perspective always helps, but there are endless examples of leaders being successful running organizations they never served in as workers.

We have to choose, and toxic leadership is something of a hot topic these days, for good reason

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5 hours ago, Duck said:


After seeing what little my SOS buddies were actually doing, I realized that this was pretty much the way forward. Most hadn't been deployed and their biggest challenges were how to organize the next CGO Club Social.
 

This is a change from 8-10 years ago, when my career field was doing 6 months home, 6 months away.  Other support AFSCs weren't much better off.

When we weren't deployed, we were trying to catch up on all the things, personal and professional, that we missed.  That probably affected customer service.  That relaxed "home station" mentality was allowed in the name of resilience.  And that could be where kids these days are getting the idea that's okay.

Big AF pushed for the 1:2 dwell minimum...in fact, that's a DOD goal.  The time away dropped, but home station bankers hours apparently did not.

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2 minutes ago, Lord Ratner said:


Sure. Useful, I have no doubt. The problem as I see it is that you only get so many years in a lifetime. Our promotion and career development system, and least on the pilot side, is a game of checking as many boxes as you can. Jack of all trades, master of none. The real question is what's more true? Do you need to see the sausage maker to be a successful squadron commander (while realizing that no matter what staff jobs to do, you're still only going to see 5-10% of the bureaucracy), or will first hand leadership experience as a CGO/Junior FGO (which you will need for nearly all of your sq/cc duties) be a better use of limited development time?

Perspective always helps, but there are endless examples of leaders being successful running organizations they never served in as workers.

We have to choose, and toxic leadership is something of a hot topic these days, for good reason

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So this is where my mission support perspective throws me off...I will never personally lead all of the types of flights in a CE squadron until I'm a squadron commander.  It is nearly impossible to succeed as a mission support squadron commander without staff perspective.  

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Do this, and you'll quickly run out of flying positions to put rated Lt Cols in.  You'll be putting flyers as commanders of non-flying units and in non-rated staff positions.

I'm not against that, necessarily, but I don't think that's what's going to motivate your rated CGOs.

What if even as a Commander of a non-flying unit, you could fly attached? Easy solution.

 

The problem is that this is a see-saw, if we just let pilots fly and take no leadership or responsibility, we deserve whatever douche ends up floating to the top, dodging every flying opportunity along the way. Meanwhile all our flyers get passed over because their records can't compete and rightfully so, sorry.

 

On the other hand the more non-flying queen wielding, bs jobs out there, the less retention.

 

So we as an AF need to find that balance. It starts with making Command attractive again. I don't know about you, but when I was in Afrotc, I thought being a CC would be cool, being the best pilot in the squadron, the lead guy on night 1, etc... ha ha ha. Yeah right. All my Commanders who have been awesome dudes have not been the #1 pilot in the Sq. The bad ones flew only when they absolutely had to.

 

I got a lot more awesome ideas to fix this mess, but I'm sick of hearing my voice bouncing off the wall that is upper management.

 

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What if even as a Commander of a non-flying unit, you could fly attached? Easy solution.

 

 

So we as an AF need to find that balance. It starts with making Command attractive again.

 

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I'd buy that. It's essentially what our OSS/CCs typically get; it's also what on occasion, from what I have heard, can help keep them sane.

 

And also true. The few people these days I hear desiring command are egomaniacs who see it as a stepping stone, with no regard for the responsibility of commanding the AF's core unit. Sts.

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2 hours ago, Duck said:

What if even as a Commander of a non-flying unit, you could fly attached? Easy solution

Not all bases have flying wings.  So I guess the space guys command non-flying squadrons, too?

Of note, from the stats:  pilots and mission support both make up ~30% of ipz population but made up ~31% of selectees.  Other operators (e.g. 12Xs) and non-rated ops (e.g. Space and cyber) were selected at lower rates than their proportion of population.  Pretty soon you'll end up with pilots commanding space squadrons.

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4 hours ago, Weezer said:

Do this, and you'll quickly run out of flying positions to put rated Lt Cols in.  You'll be putting flyers as commanders of non-flying units and in non-rated staff positions.

I'm not against that, necessarily, but I don't think that's what's going to motivate your rated CGOs.

Easy fix, let these guys promote and fly the line and mentor younger guys... without a "staff position" for them.  That's a AF bullshit way of thinking.  Not everyone is meant to be or is right for command.  Even more guys who could command, simply don't want to.  The AF doesn't handle these rated officers the right way.  Management thinks everyone should be want to be vectored for command.  If they don't, they are pushed out and/or passed over.  

What's the logic of that? Let these guys stay in and do the job that the AF has invested millions in.  Who cares if we don't have some office job for them? They probably don't want some bullshit office job.  Let them stay in and promote easily to O-5.  If that becomes the standard, more dudes will stay in.  Most of us would love to fly the line and avoid bullshit office jobs.

And please don't tell me this isn't "fair" for the shoes who don't have the opportunity to be a technician and promote.  If that triggers them, they should have thought about that before becoming shoe clerks.  They don't offer the AF a valuable skillset. Pilots do.

The AF is going to have to change their thinking regarding promotion for pilots, amongst other things, if they want to a damn thing about the pilot crisis.  They need to throw out the traditional rules and guidelines. The system is broken and retarded.

Edited by flyusaf83
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17 hours ago, hatedont said:

Your points maybe the exact reason why the promotion numbers for pilots are dropping. Why?

We think we are above the rest of the Air Force. Some of our guys have treated people like utter crap at the Pentagon, creating a negative perception of some communities. When you piss off the wrong people long and hard enough, they will eventually start to push back. 

I'm guilty of it myself. Returned from a deployment and the MDG/CC was behind the automatic entrance doors at the clinic having her butt kissed. I didn't see her initially, just 5 to 6 E's and O's but I was in a rush. So I proceeded to head through the second set of doors and she said hi to me like you need to acknowledge my superior rank and presence. I said hi back and kept walking. I was trying to get my inprocessing checklist signed off and this was my second time in the clinic because ITR didn't give me a return checklist.  I was rushing so I can take leave the next day. After you return from a deployment you are in a different mindset and just want to get away from the base altogether. But the MDG/CC wants to be acknowledged. Got it. There is nothing that says I have to issue a greeting indoors to an O-6.  The OG/CC doesn't expect you to kiss his ass every time he is in the squadron. Damn, the ops world is different.

Guess what? When she retires and I retire in 3 years, I will still walk by her ass in civilian clothes and not say a word. 

 

uh wut?

But Did You Die.jpeg

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You're smoking crack if you think that chiefs aren't part of the problem. I've never met a more entitled group for no reason in my life. A large majority of these guys shouldn't have made it past TSgt and now all they do is yell at everyone and complain. Why do we need chiefs? There are a few exceptions to that but I would say it's rare. Chiefs are by and large pieces of crap. But they are the first to tell you "I'm a DV!" Fvck you dude. Get out of my way and have a wonderful AF day. If you don't have the backing of the chief then the chief needs to be fired and put in his place. It's not his job to not back you.


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Exactly. Unfortunately, Chiefs are a byproduct of the us vs them mentality. If Chiefs actually answered to Pilots and not some snot nosed support officer trying to be the next FGO/Yr we may be able to start the refocusing. I had a Mx Chief work for me back in the day and he was the best dirty uniform, wrench turning, war story telling, advice giver I could have asked for. Since we were on the same "team" it worked out great. A hell of a lot of our Chiefs (and O-5s/6s) have forgotten what team they play for.

My Dad was a Marine Fighter Pilot Commander and actually fired 2 SgtMajs who weren't adequately taking care of his Marines. We need to do more of this in the AF.


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1 hour ago, ClearedHot said:

Yeah but was he a SpecOps Fighter Pilot?

Years back an Enlisted Navy SEAL got commissioned and ended up flying Hornets.

Bet he had some stories.

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12 hours ago, flyusaf83 said:

And please don't tell me this isn't "fair" for the shoes who don't have the opportunity to be a technician and promote.  If that triggers them, they should have thought about that before becoming shoe clerks.  They don't offer the AF a valuable skillset. Pilots do.

More should have the chance to go to pilot/nav/abm training and pass, or not, based on aptitude in the actual job.  Regardless of whether or not you want rated officers in charge of more fields (universal management badge has its downsides), the AF needs to make more rated officers.  That means more schoolhouses and relaxed medical standards for entrance physicals.

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CE guy here...good discussion. Here is my perspective:
- The arguments that flyers deal with too much queep and flyers should lead mission support squadrons are mutually exclusive. The majority of the queep in a CE squadron is personnel, finance, environmental,  or contracting related. Much of the queep is driven at the HAF, DoD, or federal government level. Putting a flyer in charge of a CE squadron isn't going to eliminate queep. The queep problem originates with the fact that our government has become the most useless, grid-locked bureaucracy in modern history. So, you have to choose one argument or the other. Putting a flyer in a support squadron is going to increase the queep they deal with exponentially.
- Many times the queep starts with a pilot. I've pulled teams off of apron repair to fix potholes in the wing headquarters parking lot. I've also had heavy equipment operators turn snow over with a shovel before a DV visit so you can only see "clean snow." No shit. That stuff wasn't an engineer's idea, and it is embarrassing and humbling to go ask trained people to do those things while making it "your own" (i.e. Not diming out wing leadership)
- The Air Force chose long ago to invest in cool jets and not facilities. Probably a wise decision given our budget. But, I only get about 50% of the funds I need to maintain the base in a fair condition. One third of our squadrons are often deployed, and there isn't the manpower to execute 100% of those funds even if we got them.
- Flyers don't understand what their support squadrons provide in terms of readiness because squadrons don't deploy with the wings they support. For CE Airmen, readiness means that our Airmen need to be able to repair a cratered runway, setup emergency airfield lighting, setup aircraft arresting systems, and provide drinking water among a host of other tasks. When most people think of CE, they think of Bubba plunging their toilet. Bubba is very important, but he is a very small piece of the pie. When we deploy, we need flyers dropping bombs, not figuring how to get water from A to B.
- Where engineers often fail is telling the operational community where we can't support. Sometimes we let work slip into the black hole, which is unsat.

So, this diatribe probably fits better in what's wrong with the AF, but the takeaway is that I don't think moving flyers into support squadrons is a cure all in terms of fixing support functions and rated promotion rates, and it certainly isn't as easy as some would think. If people are leaving because of all the non-flying stuff they have to do, moving someone into a support squadron seems like the worst thing you could do. I don't know what the right answer is to the pilot crisis, but I hope you guys figure it out. The nation needs you guys, and I'm proud to support you.

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What needs to define a "technical track", if getting passed over for O-5 and continued indefinitely isn't it?

If the ACIP went up to 10k a month...I think we might find some valid competition with the airlines.

How does the Air Force compete with an organization that will pay you twice as much for less than half the work, while dropping out 95% of the shitty parts?

How are rated promotion rates and retention even connected?

If you were punching as an O-4, who would change their mind based on a promotion to O-5?

Bendy


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I get the impression that "being good in the jet" is just an assumption. You should just do that, and the difference is how much more you can handle. How much time does that really command?

I'm sure it's based on airframe...how much time does that take for an F-22? An A-10? What about a C-130J?

How "good" is good enough? Is there a limit? If I just let a guy have time to do nothing but, would s/he excel? Or would they just go home to the wife/hooker? I find it hard to believe people aren't "good in the jet" based off anything other than their personal lack of give a fvck.

Commanding a support squadron is pure, 100%, unadulterated queep. It's exactly like commanding a flying squadron without the flying. How many CE commanders are out patching holes? How many CONS commanders are writing contracts? None. Zero.

It is also not even remotely required to understand what your people do to lead them. It certainly helps, but a good leader with half a brain can listen to the right people and sail the ship in the right direction.

Things might be a lot better around this part of the woods if Bossman didn't think he fvcking knew better than the people actually doing the work, but believe people when they said things need to be done differently without concern that it was going to make him look bad to his boss.

This can of worms is literally so messed, all one can do about it is laugh. The only ones not laughing are trying to straighten their shit due to non-promotion, or 1/2 BTZ school selects riding the wave of "it's all good in the hood". I can guarantee you a IPZ O-5 select is under no illusion of the disaster that abounds.

Bendy

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Why would I want any pilot to be put in charge of any support function? I told a previous CC he sucked ass dealing with the E's. His valid excuse was never being around enlisted. This is a dumb ass concept to think you can do better at another officers job just because you are a pilot. Get over yourselves.

People who think they can do any officers job in the AF and be 100% effective is WRONG. I never needed a SNCO to tell me what to do as an officer. As a prior, I know what an enlisted airman needs. It's hard to lead someone if you never walked a mile in their shoes.

I'm that guy that told the shirt no you are not taking "A1C Need for Speed" driving privileges away on base because he got a ticket off base. Then he got another ticket on base for a stop sign or something. The kid was about to deploy and I told the shirt that's a dumb ass punishment. I went old school on the A1C and needless to say, the problem was resolved. I don't need a SNCO telling me how to handle the enlisted. If you need a seeing eye dog as an officer, you shouldn't be a CC or put in charge of E's period. 

Some of you think airmen should spend a day in ops. Airmen should never have to spend a day learning about ops or supporting it. They selected the jobs they have for a reason. I give 2 craps about how you fuel your plane. I chose intel as my enlisted job to be indoors so I don't have to be on a hot ass aircraft parking spot pumping fuel. My focus should be on our adversaries, not how to launch an F-22. Don't piss in my Cheerios and I won't piss in your Wheaties.

Edited by hatedont
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51 minutes ago, hatedont said:

Why would I want any pilot to be put in charge of any support function? I told a previous CC he sucked ass dealing with the E's. His valid excuse was never being around enlisted. This is a dumb ass concept to think you can do better at another officers job just because you are a pilot. Get over yourselves.

People who think they can do any officers job in the AF and be 100% effective is WRONG. I never needed a SNCO to tell me what to do as an officer. As a prior, I know what an enlisted airman needs. It's hard to lead someone if you never walked a mile in their shoes.

I'm that guy that told the shirt no you are not taking "A1C Need for Speed" driving privileges away on base because he got a ticket off base. Then he got another ticket on base for a stop sign or something. The kid was about to deploy and I told the shirt that's a dumb ass punishment. I went old school on the A1C and needless to say, the problem was resolved. I don't need a SNCO telling me how to handle the enlisted. If you need a seeing eye dog as an officer, you shouldn't be a CC or put in charge of E's period. 

Some of you think airmen should spend a day in ops. Airmen should never have to spend a day learning about ops or supporting it. They selected the jobs they have for a reason. I give 2 craps about how you fuel your plane. I chose intel to be indoors so I don't have to be on a hot ass aircraft parking spot pumping fuel.  My focus should be on our adversaries. Don't piss in my Cheerios and I won't piss in your Wheaties.

I'm throwing the bullshit flag; first, because your points are contradictory, and secondly because they're incoherent.  If you think pilots aren't good leaders because they aren't around enlisted people, you should be 100% for putting them there.  It's not going to get any better unless you expose them to it sts earlier on so they can figure it out.

And this has already been mentioned, but what specially qualified a finance officer to lead his section?  A 4 week tech school? No, being put in charge of the people and finding a good SNCO to mentor him, which takes time.  Which is, again, why we probably ought to put fliers in that position sts as well if we expect them to ever grow in the same manner.

 

Lastly, people in support functions should absofuckinglutely be exposed to what it is they support and where it fits sts in the big picture.  Half the problems we have getting comm to respond, for example, might be resolved more quickly if they understood what a screeching halt our squadron grinds to when our mission planning system is tits up.  Well, that and the base comm to have the appropriate authorities etc, but I digress.  It is the same concept as this: when a young flier makes a stupid decision in the grand scheme of an LFE because he was only thinking about his jet and not the whole strike package, we debrief him on it and then teach the larger group the lesson learned so hopefully the other LTs don't make the same mistake. 

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