Monday, August 09, 2010

USAF NCOs go Salamander?

It has been an ongoing puzzle why the USAF has been so sedate on the Web compared to the Navy and the Army; a cultural thing I guess. With Greyhawk being a big Kahuna and all - you would think otherwise.

That is why
this is so remarkable.
An open letter to Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy:
Posted : Saturday Aug 7, 2010 11:49:24 EDT

As NCOs in the Air Force (Active duty junior NCOs through retired Chiefs), we endeavor to support the decisions of leadership. We do our best to articulate the vision of our superiors and to help our subordinates get the “bigger picture”. We have been patient with the persistent changes in the Air Force, but there are some things that we are still deeply concerned about.

We are very active in the MilitaryTimes.com forums. While we understand that this is not an official publication, site or forum, it is a community of military members, past and present, where a great deal of discussion takes place about current issues. It is an environment that allows anonymity, so the discussions there are candid and often critical. We believe it truly captures the positions and views of a great deal of our enlisted and officer corps. The questions and points to follow are a compilation of forum threads and discussions dedicated to the questions that we have that we would like to bring to your attention.
Read it all. Good stuff. BZ, SH - whatever you Zoomies say to each other on the golf course.

Hat tip InFromTheCold.

14 comments:

LT B said...

"
You might not hear the uproar, but most of us HATE the ABU. It is unduly hot, especially for downrange locations, and it MELTS. We have yet to find a way to get the trousers and blouse in matching shades, it has a “frumpy” appearance, and availability of optional items (such as the APECS) has been a complete debacle. Many of us want our patches back! Beyond that, the uniform smacks of an Army ensemble … at a glance, you can’t immediately see the difference. Why didn’t we just stick with the BDU? When will we get some stability? It is no wonder that people don’t get Air Force legacy when we continue to erase semblances of it and make ourselves indistinguishable and unrecognizable.
The PT Uniform … plainly put, it is goofy, uncomfortable and unflattering. The pants fit poorly and are embarrassing to wear in public because they generate an inordinate amount of friction noise. We complicated what could have been a simple process. We could have contracted a commercial sporting goods manufacturer to put out design and label on exercise gear — it seems to work well for professional athletic organizations, why not the Air Force?"

Because someone needed a bullet on their annual evaluation.  In the absence of actually doing anything, uniforms get changed often. 

ICC said...

A little rewording and this could be sent to the MCPON.  But no, the Navy is more concerned with how many hot dogs you rolled during the year as an eval bullet.  

ICC

Byron said...

You mean like FastPass for base access? Every three years like clockwork, some idiot decides to change base access procedures. Now it's going to be a bar code that will get scanned to let them know if you can come or go. I can see that working real well...

USAF Mike said...

"<span>Because someone needed a bullet on their annual evaluation.  In the absence of actually doing anything, uniforms get changed often."</span>

Bingo.  I wish this wasn't the case, but it is. 

The PT program...the PT program is the way it is because it was designed by a bunch of officers (read: pilots and navs) who have always had the time to PT and who don't understand how you could possibly not because you've got to actually got to do your job...and I say that as an officer myself.  The AF wants our people to work 10-12 hours a day (unless you're in finance or personnel, in which case you work 6 hours and get every Friday off for "training"), work out 1-2 hours a day, and go to school 1-2 hours a day.  You can see the problem.  There's only so many hours in a day. 

I won't get into the rest of it, because they pretty said everything that needed to be said, but to answer the CDR's original question...the AF doesn't have as large of a presence on the internet because we're in a bad place right now as a service.  We've had our senior leadership fired for trying to advocate (admittedly quite ineptly) for the service, not to mention multiple generals that have been asked to retire after speaking out too forcefully for the same types of things.  We've been marginalized as part of the joint fight and we feel like we don't have a mission.  Those of us who are a key part of what used to be the service's core mission (operators and maintainers, generating and employing airpower) feel like we're playing second fiddle to those who are deployed doing Army jobs.

But can any of this be discussed openly?  No.  The AF, for whatever reason, has an institutional culture of secrecy...quick story to illustrate my point.  I used to (emphasis on the "used to") have a blog, until I got smacked around for an (admittedly impolitic) post I made.  After the formal counseling session with the Colonel, there was an informal one with one of the Captains...he explained it as "never taking sides against the family."  Yes, he used an analogy that compared the United States Air Force to the Corleone mob family, a comparison that is more apt that you would think.

Oh, and that formal counseling session?  I got sterner treatment for a blog post than a peer did for getting a DUI...but hey, I'm not bitter about that at all or anything.  I guess saying something bad (and completely true) about the service in public is more deserving of punishment than putting lives at risk through reckless behavior, as long as the reckless behavior can be swept under the rug because you're a female.

USAF Mike said...

Forgot to add, now I'm off to the gym wearing my rainbow colored skull patterned reflective belt.

Byron said...

And I thought the Navy was screwed...

SCPO said...

In short...the military (all Services) is in for a fast, hard, deep, and sweeping cut.  I foresee alot (MORE) of the support billets being converted to civilian billets and the military simply being downsized to a group of conscripts...SECDEF had this vision of jointness a few years ago...CNO went with it...I am sure the bean counters are saying: "Why do we need the USA, USN, USMC, & USAF?  Let's combine them all using a "LEAN SIX SIGMA" business model and save billions (WITH A B) of $?!!!!"  It's coming people maybe not in 5yrs but I foresee it within 20!

Read this presentation from Dod of 22 July 2010 and tell me I am full of BS:  http://dbb.defense.gov/MeetingFiles/presented.pdf<span></span>

LT B said...

They both are, the Navy has become the AF.  The worst of both services is merging into a non-diverse DADT coupling. 

virgil xenophon said...

The above comments about the AF are on tgt....was that way even back in the 60s & 70s when I was in. A legacy of the long-time dominance of SAC, probably. All smooth corporate exterior masking the jumbled mess inside...best kept out of view of prying eyes like those provided by the blogosphere.

XBradTC said...

What kills me is that this is all simple stuff. Any good SGT or PO2 could address these issues in about 10 minutes each. 

We're not talking missions and roles, or coordinating huge campaigns. This is stuff that shouldn't even have to be addressed. If the services can't handle this easy peasy stuff...

Redeye80 said...

<span>Any time Punaro is involved be very scared!  He is in favor of making active component retirement just like the reserves.  You don't get your retired pay until age 60.  How's that for retention.</span>

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Arnie is a political a-hole. 

Shipmate said...

 I would offer that the effectiveness of the senior enlisted of any service has been reduced due to several reasons. I will speak to the Navy, but you can insert your service equivalent. The MCPON position came about due to issues with retention and morale connected to the effects of the Vietnam war and other cultural issues of the 60's (race relations etc). There was no representation for the enlisted force as a whole and the selection of Delbert Black was pure...no agenda, no groomed puppets. There was a lot of good work done by the early MPCONs and many favorable policy changes and program implementations followed. At some point (many will argue during the Jim Herdt era) the focus appears to have shifted from fleet demand based engagement to personal agenda based policy recommendations. Rather than taking time to really pulse the fleet, MCPONs seem to have started to focus on what they thought was good for the Navy. Was the fleet unable to complete it's mission due to uniform requirements? Was the Navy as a whole not able to do it's mission because the CPO did not have a degree or because their Fitrep did not take Navy heritage into account? Of course not, those issues were superficial and did not reflect the real concerns of the fleet. I applaud this group of NCOs for holding their Chief accountable and trying to address issues that reflect the pulse of the force. Unfortunately there is probably very little that will come out of it. Ultimately Chief Roy works for the Chief of the Air Force and his decisions are going to be a influence by the politics that now overrun our FOGO community. Our MCPON could jump up and down on the CNO's desk about major issues (ie why do we continue to support IA's when our service manning faces it's own challenges), but forces well above the MCPONs paygrade will triumph. Ultimately this probably resigns our senior enlisted leadership to engage on the chicken shit issues or to simply fill their tour with road shows and pep talks. The effectiveness of the senior enlisted of any service is directly proportional to the strength of the backbone of the service chief they work for.

Baldy said...

Gosh,

I thought the problems was that Master Chiefs and MCPONS equated themselves with 4 star admirals.  They all carry on so.  the MCPONS with their secretaries, staff support, flight detachment are exactly as indestinguishable from who.  sorry, neededt to use that word, i mean, how often does one see it?