I don't know what looks worse:
1. The intellectual rigor of USAF leadership.
2. The complete lack of honesty in USAF leadership.
3. The complete subjugation of all things to a racist mentality that only sees skin color.
4. The inability of seeing that #1-3 are resulting in your best not even bothering.
The rest just writes itself.
Brig. Gen. Christopher M. Short, commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, said in an email last month that of 15 pilot applicants for three openings, 14 are white.Right isn't "best." No, to him "right" is someone that will check a block so he can get the Diversity Bullies off his back and he has a chance to virtue signal his way in to another star.
He asked fighter wing commanders to stir up more candidates who “don’t necessarily look like each of you.” He bemoaned the fact that, not only is there a lack of diversity, but the number of applicants to make the world-famous team has taken a puzzling drop in the past two years.
“I am asking for your help in finding the right pilots for next year’s Thunderbirds team,” is how Gen. Short begins his email.
Yes, I said that.
“While we have several qualified candidates that many of you submitted, I am lacking the depth in talent we’ve seen in previous years and I am lacking in diversity of gender, ethnicity and [aircraft type] background,” Gen. Short wrote.Read that again, and read it as if you were one of those applicants or their peers.
“As you look out at your wings, I’d also ask you to look at those pilots that may have the ability to reach our audiences that don’t necessarily look like each of you,” he said.We should owe Short a bit of thanks. There are still a few holdouts who insist that the DOD diversity initiatives are not about things as superficial as race and ethnicity, that no one is just trying to get the PPT metrics slide right. Well, there is is; red in tooth and claw.
He is willing to endanger the lives of the entire team and that of those who come to watch in order to meet an artificial quota. This isn't changing currency pictures; this is precision flying.
“I don’t expect a huge push of diverse applicants, primarily because our pool isn’t very diverse,” he wrote. “But I need talent on the team as well, and some of the 15 applicants just don’t have the depth of record of our typical competitive applicant. I am hoping you have one or two you can engage and discuss the impact they could have on our Air Force by becoming a Thunderbird pilot.”Wow. Read that again. He is insulting the talent that is offered his way as a way to ham-handedly cover the openly discriminatory policy direction he is going.
He said he does not know why the number of applicants is shrinking.
“If you have insights on why we are not getting the number of traditional applicants, I’d love to hear,” he said. “The challenge cuts across many [aircraft types] on the team, so I think it is a reflection of a slightly tired force — but there may be other factors I’m missing. I would really appreciate your help.”
And he wonders why few people would want to be on his team? The best want to be with the best. When your life relies on the person to the left and right of you being as good as you are, you need to have confidence that they are. If you think that person to the left or right only got where they are in order to meet some guy in a swivel-chair PPT metric, well, screw that. Who would want to take that risk?
Sometimes you have to personalize things, and this is clearly an unforced error. Well, more than that - an act of commission. This only helps Short.
As a result of this action, any non-"white male" on the team will not be looked at as an equal. There will always be a doubt of, "Did they get there because they are the best, but because they met some diversity quota."
Victimized by discrimination, clear as day.
Is that fair? Well, I don't think that is the right question. The right question is, "Is that fact?"
It doesn't have to be this way if you have a simple meritocracy. Of course, Short could also think that his fellow officers are racists and bigots and that is why he isn't getting the right color jelly beans in his jar. Is that it? If so, where is the IG?
BG Short, I would offer that you need to take a fresh look at what you are pushing and why - and look at the second and third order effects.
Via JQP, here is the full text;
Subject: Thunderbird Applicants
I am writing to request your assistance. For some, you are familiar with the request, for others it may be the first time, so please bear with me. I am asking for your help in finding the right pilots for next year’s Thunderbird team. Maj Gen Silveria, USAFWC/CC will also write your NAF/CCs asking similar.
The announcement is out and the suspense has passed for the applications for next year’s team, but we have only received 15 applications for the three demonstration pilot positions (#3,#6, and #8 narrator/advance pilot). While we have several qualified candidates that many of you submitted, I am lacking the depth in talent we’ve seen in previous years and I am lacking in diversity of gender, ethnicity and MDS background. Currently 14 white males have applied and zero applicants from the F-15C or F-22. I understand the Raptors are finally in the fight so many are taking their first chance at combat (ok couldn’t resist) and choosing not to apply.
If you handled this like I did as a FW/CC, I waited for interest and then flew with those who wanted to apply, and then wrote my letter of recommendation. What I didn’t do was actively look through my wing for those pilots that might do a great job representing our AF and benefit from the experience, and then have the conversation about becoming a Thunderbird. With over 200 days a year of TDY and a focus on retaining, recruiting and representing our AF, this has to be a volunteer, but I have found, and learned from others, that the reluctant volunteer often makes the best Thunderbird officer. I’d offer that those chosen for the team, do very well in school and promotion competition–often they come in with the record that supports that–but we have taken very good care of those with excellent records.
As you look out at your wings, I’d also ask you to look at those pilots that may have the ability to reach our audiences that don’t necessarily look like each of you. I have told the story in several audiences, including the ACC commander’s Conference, but it bears repeating: Two years ago, Thunderbird #3, Caroline “Blaze” Jensen had the longest lines post show for autographs. Additionally, I had several AF officers who wrote that their daughters, who had shown no interest in the AF, were now considering after seeing/talking to Blaze–one said she now wanted to be a Thunderbird. Being a female pilot allowed her to make connections none of the other pilots were able to do. While she brought a different gender demographic–she was also a reservist–she earned her position on the team and like each of team members, did an amazing job representing our AF. Currently our #8 is a reservist and he has done an outstanding job as well.
The stories go both ways. The Thunderbird First Sergeant last year was an African American female and would often “stand the line” after shows and talk to airshow attendees. One young African-American girl engaged the shirt and marveled at how she was a member of the team. The shirt asked if she would like to fly airplanes one day, the young girl immediately responded, “I can’t do that, I’m black.” This is 2016 America. The power of seeing someone that looks like you, doing something you want to grow up and do, cannot be overestimated.
Finally, I don’t expect a huge push of diverse applicants, primarily because our pool isn’t very diverse. But I need talent on the team as well, and some of the 15 applicants just don’t have the depth of record of our typical competitive applicant. I am hoping you have one or two you can engage and discuss the impact they could on our Air force by becoming a Thunderbird pilot.
The applicants will be selected on past performance, records, interviews and ability to become part of a team and humbly represent our AF–thus the pool of applicants ideally would represent our CAF.
In order to facilitate this last minute push, I will take a name and a letter of recommendation from the nominating WG/CC by next Wednesday. I’ll need full packages by 26 Feb, but we control the process and am willing to work with you to get the packages submitted in order to find the right applicants for the team.
This is the second time I’ve had to get out for additional applicants. Last year several of the last minute applicants became finalists, so I am hoping that with your help we can increase the size and depth of the pool. Additionally, this may be less a “you” issue and more of a “me” issue. If you have insights on why we are not getting the number of traditional applicants, I’d love to hear. The challenge cuts across many MDS on the team, so I think it is a reflection of a slightly tired force–but there may be other factors I’m missing. I would really appreciate your help, and if you can send this to your TFI partners, I would appreciate it as well (Bluto and Roscoe, request your assist). A similar email will go to those I know, but my contact list is not complete.
Appreciate your time and efforts supporting this mission,
Christopher M. Short
Brig Gen, USAF
57 WG, Nellis AFB
Hat tip P.