Tuesday, April 06, 2010

One of these things .....

This is a difficult post. I have sat on it for almost two months - but here you go. I still don't like doing it, as none of these people have done anything wrong.

I want you to review the five RDML/RADM outline biographies for a few minutes. You will notice that each number is hyperlinked, but don’t click any of them until you read all five - that will tell you who is who. My commentary follows.

I did not cherry-pick these bios. I started with one, and then for comparison I decided to grab at random four other serving or recent Carrier Strike Group Commanders.

All bios stop the tour before they were to assume the position of Commander Carrier Strike Group XX.

What stands out to you?

At sea:
- Naval aviator; VAL-15 and 37; USS Forrestal (CV 59), and VFA-37.
- XO/CO of VFA-37.
- XO CVN-74.
- CO AGF-11.
- CO CVN-68. During those tours, Branch deployed with both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets and has logged combat time in A7’s and F18’s over Grenada, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iraq. He participated in Operations Urgent Fury, Ernest Will, Southern Watch, Deliberate Force, and Iraqi Freedom.

- FRS Instructor at both A-7 and F-18 Fleet Replacement Squadrons.
- Joint Staff in Washington.
- Navy Nuclear Power Training.
- Executive Assistant COMPACFLT.
- Director of CNO Operations and Plans (N31).

At sea:
- LPD-12, FFG-15, and AO-180.
- Flag LT to C2F.
- XO CG-55.
- CO DDG-71.

- SWO JO Assignment Branch at BUPERS.
- Personnel Plans and Policy Division of the Joint Staff.
- Flag Secretary to COMSURFLANT.
- CNO Staff as executive officer to the director of the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review.
- Executive Assistant to CNO Operations, Plans, and Policy (N3/N5).
- COS, C2F.
- DCOS for Global Force Management and Joint Operations, CFFC.
- Commander, Joint Task Force, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

At sea:
- VF-84 and VF-154.
- XO/CO VF-11 embarked aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
- Commander, Carrier Air Wing 3.

- Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 4 in Point Mugu, Calif.
- Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Fallon, Nev.
- U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colo.
- Air OPS for C2F.
- COS for C5F.
- Deputy and then Acting Director of Deep Blue.
- Associate Director, Assessment Division (N81D).

At Sea:
- VFA-131, VFA-37.
- XO/CO VFA-131.
- XO CVN 73.
- CO AGF-11.
- CO CVN-70.

- Director of CNO Strategy and Policy Division on the Navy Staff.
- Test pilot.
- Aide/administrative assistant to the Deputy CNO for Plans, Policy and Operations.
- Flag LT to Commander, Allied Forces Southern Europe in Naples, Italy.
- NATO liaison officer to UNPROFOR.

At Sea:
- Assistant OPS Officer, AVT-16.
- Navigator CVN-65.
- CO LHD-5

- 2 tours in VQ-4.
- XO/CO VQ-4.
- Airborne Communications Officer Course instructor.
- OIC Naval Air Maintenance Training Depot 1079.
- Political-military planner in the Asia-Pacific Division of the Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate on the Joint Staff.
- Executive Assistant for the Assistant to the CJCS.
- DOS for C6F.
- Executive Assistant for the Chief of Naval Operations.
- CTF-73, Commander, Logistics Group, Western Pacific, in Singapore.


Every one of these RDML/RADM are fine officers and great professionals --- but ....

First of all, I want to be perfectly clear that nothing here is meant to make any negative comment toward RDML Tyson in any way shape or form. I know her professional reputation, and she took the hand she was dealt and played it for every bit she could. She was only limited by the time he entered service - and that is what it is. No, this is about something else - something very clear that most will only whisper in the ear of those they trust.

I also feel the need to note that as my regular readers know, I am a firm supporter of women serving where they are physically capable of doing so and as all are, evaluated objectively on superior performance in areas that historically indicate success in the positions they are assigned – and that, my friends, is where I am bothered.

By any objective criteria, RDML Tyson does not have the background that indicates success in Command of a Carrier Strike Group. In the end, she may be the best Commander of a CSG we have ever had and be a CNO in a few years time. But, that is hope and conjecture; that isn’t founded on what we have established as primary indicators for success as a CSG Commander.

If she has all the background needed to Command a CSG – then for the last few decades the ranks of those who Commanded Carrier Battle Groups now CSG would be speckled with P-3, EP-3, and EC-130/E-6 bubbas - in addition to the odd non-pointy nose folks. It isn't. No, prime mover here is the fact that she is a female who had what was decided to be the new normal, for her, of the minimum background. It is as clear as the nose on your face. Please, prove me wrong. I want to be wrong. But I'm not.

Sad. This is a classic case of feelgoodism in the selection process may make those who gave her the nod feel all warm and fuzzy inside and lets them hold her up to those who they need to curry favor with – but this is a patronizing insult to all those women in the Fleet from younger generations who are building up the professional background the same as those male officers who came before them to be Commanders of Carrier Strike Groups.

These generations of female officers still need time to work their way through the system – but they are there. I know, I have served with them. We could have waited and do it right, but no.

Unfortunately, the first female CSG Commander cannot stand on her record as benchmarked by those who went before – not her fault – and as a result, those who follow her will have another barrier thrown in front of them by the foolish acts of those looking for something to brag about. The next female CSG will have to say, “Yea, but look at my record – I’m not like the first. I am like everyone else - no one made a special case out of me. Really - look!

It didn't have to be this way. Big Navy, -1.

Sad thing is - out there is a SWO or TACAIR guy who did everything - benchmarked the path perfectly - who got passed over by the board. He will look at his record and that of others - and he will say, "WTF!"

Sure, he will have someone tell him what happened - and he will get a nice consolation prize - but he will know that the game was fixed.

RDML Tyson, I do congratulate you and wish you the best success. You have worked exceptionally hard and have done very well. Perhaps I am reading this wrong and we are changing what pedigree we want in CSG Commanders.

I look forward to the next CSG Commander list coming out having a P-3/EP-3 bubba in there. Maybe a guy/gal with a HC background. Perhaps VR? VC? SEAL? EOD?

Why not? Land based VQ made it. The door is wide open. One day - maybe an Information Dominance Professional!


kris (fmr QM1) said...

Call me thick, but I've read your post 3x and am still not clear as to what you consider to be the job validated requirements of the position. You've said she doesn't have "it" - but you have not clearly and precisely described what "it" is. Humor this silly former enlisted and spell it out sos even I can understand.

Forgive me as I only did one tour at sea, but aren't skills at that level largely transferable? Perhaps you are also overlooking the formidable skill of her navigating a career as a naval aviator during the "tailhook" years. 

Look, I don't know if she's the best. The only chappie I know is the start of "Carrier". Great guy, but he struck me as being more of a great manager than leader.

The point is - I think you doth protest too much. Besides, you have previous. 

cdrsalamander said...

Perhaps it is a bit too much inside baseball, but .... if you had done tours on a Carrier and/or a Strike Group Staff along with spending plenty of time around those who discuss what you need to do to set your self up professionally to be a CSG Commander, it is clear.

I'm not protesting anything - I am simply pointing out what is there in plain sight.

MR T's Haircut said...

I HAVE NEVER met an Officer from the VQ community that was worth a shit.  Period. 

I wouldnt let them lead people out of a burning Wal-mart...

LT Andrew said...

Sir, it's OK. CSG Admirals don't have to have tactical experience. They don't make actual decisions that matter. That's what FLEET/COCOM is for!


Few tours at sea, all shore based operational commands otherwise... hmmm?  Sal, I do wonder about the qualifications and do agree with Mr T that VQ is not the "cream of the crop" for aviation.  However, there are a few good VQ types out there that are great officers, and many good commanders didn't kiss the detailers butt and "check the boxes" to obtain "it".  I agree action speaks more that word so we should give her a chance, but be ready to call a spade a spade if she falls (I know - fat chance as the diversity natzis will prevent that from ever happening - what was I thinking).

G-man said...

Quit looking under rocks - you'll find things that are not moist bodied reptiles.  things that everybody knows is under there, but they don't want to acknowledge.  Kind of like the White House has roaches.  She'll do well because those above won't let her fail - they will sweeten her staff with the best they can find and promise them something later for making her 'look good".

Barry said...

Strong points.  I think what you will hear most will be from future females who are NOT selected to CSG command.  "What do you mean I am not qualified, I am just as qualified as the Tyson!!!!".  The selection board may have painted itself into corner because that will hard to defend.  You might want to be on the lookout for a bunch more marginally qualified CSG commander selectees.  It has happened in the Civ world.  Promote based on minority status the first time and them you are open to legal action for not promoting the same underqualified in the future.  Also if she has never served on a Carrier on even in a CSG could the Navy be looking at another Shenendoah incident in the future?
Just saying.

Theodore said...

Well, compared to the latest Dutch navy idea, sending a transport ship  to hunt pirates (left port yesterday), it sounds reasonable,...

Permduins said...

I'm interested in why this post was difficult.
Perhaps her professional capability supercedes the "engineering".
If you think she is a good officer, celebrate her success and use it as proof that the M/F checkbox should not be a relevant factor.
If you hold her in the same esteem that MTH does, then rail against leadership that would select incompetent anyone, M or F.
Also, recommend that you not fall into the trap of "in one's own image" promotion. If they all think the same (I don't care how they look), then some different approaches might be useful.

MR T's Haircut said...

I do not have anything against RADM Tyson personally, my beef is the lack of qualifications and my personal observation of the performance of VQ Officers (Pilots and NFO) at Sea and Ashore.    I have no use for them.   None.</span>

AW1 Tim said...

Like you, CDR, I wish her the very best because the performance and safety of everyone in her command will depend upon her decisions. She's had command at sea, and speaks the airdale laguage and Navalese. Still, as you say, one has to wonder about how the selection(s) went down.

This is, to my mind, an example of how the cancer of mandated diversity has planted seeds of doubt in otherwise wonderful people that give them pause to consider why someone got to the position they are in. Was it truly merit and personal accomplishment, or something more sinister.

 Again, I'm not saying this to disparage the good admiral in any way. She is, to all accounts, a fine officer and I congratulate her on her appointment, and as said before, wish her every success in her new command.

 The Navy, however, needs to have every confidence that those placed in positions of authority are there because of their skills and accomplishments, and not because some box needed to be checked to further some agenda.

Skippy-san said...

There should be nothing difficult about this post at all-this decision makes a mockery of the Navy statements, that it simply wants to treat men and women the same. There is no way in hell that a male VQ NFO would be getting a Carrier Battle Group command. Period, end of statement. For that matter-I am still at a loss how being a VQ person makes you a candidate for commanding a task force that is centered on managing the Navy's MSC fleet in the Western Pacific. Her predecessors there had been all 1110's.

But hey, this is nothing new. They already had a female TAR (FTS) command an ESG in the FDNF-and hey, don't even mention the Cowpens.

It is not so good to be in a hurry. The Navy has bright, female pilots who are earning their qualifications as carrier aviation pilots and one or two of whom will make flag one day. They will have gotten their promotions the same way their male counterparts did-the old fashioned away. The same way-the exact same way-their male predecessors did.
And they will have earned the same respect their male counterparts did. Isn’t that worth waiting for?

cdrsalamander said...

You need to re-read my post.  My position is clear.

Byron said...

Hope she doesn't get seasick...

John said...

Good post with valid questions and concerns.

I share your support and best wishes for RDML Tyson.  I also share your concerns about the apparent set of double standards triggered by diverswity factors.

The best qualified should always be selected, regardless of gender, race, and any other diversity bonus points.  Victory, and the lives of our warriors and the safety of our few ships are at stake and we should not risk less than the best.

Skippy-san said...

You might also point out that two of the men on your list, did not pick up flag on first look. They had to go work their asses off in really hard jobs to gain stature before the board met again.

Grandpa Bluewater said...


Some things you must be content to describe rather than prescribe (though the latter is more fun).

She is checking a box, so she will get up the next step, because that is what higher, higher want her to do. Because higher higher pick their own heirs.

After one makes LCDR, the ability to command warships is a necessary but not sufficient criteria. Political acumen increases in importance thereafter and eclipses the capable mariner/aviator thing the day the Captains list goes up.  Operational skill is assumed, other abilities are sought from there on.

Flag officers have their own agendas which have little to do with ships at sea. The more FO's there are, the more agendas compete.

Which is pretty much how we got into this mess. 

I can see why it's a burr under your saddle, but it's nothing new.  Wasn't new to the Carthagenians.

T's Haircut: I believe the lady in question made sure the mission got done, rather than merely driving the bus. I don't hold it against her that the airplane had many seats and no bombs or guns.  The mission was low profile, and vital.  She was good at it, I hope.  As for the rest, well let's watch the last three innings and see how it turns out.

"Fair" is not part of navy life.

YNSN said...

I kinda look at this as being the Navy version of Obama's Peace Prize.  Great honor, probably good enough for it.  But, earned it?  No.
You're right Sir, this is not the Admirals fault.  I just feel bad for her when she needs to give some mentoring to her junior officers and has NO expierence to fall back on like their own. 

Steeljaw said...

ob. #5, I would note that the CV/CVN navigator *used* to be a post-command O-5 TACAIR billet that occasionally saw a VP bubba fill (in this case I'm counting HS bubbas as TACAIR because they were fellow air wingers) -- but by and large was reserved for someone coming from a carrier-based squadron. 
That policy was changed in the '97-98 timeframe to make it one that was available to non-TACAIR types.  I know because I was the last TACAIR guy so assigned.  My relief came from the VP/VC community... 
Kind of a shame, really, because of the other two post-TACAIR command billets, Air Boss/mini and Ops, navigator really puts you in the best position to understand a lot about command of a deep draft and honing your seamanship skills, something most aviators miss out on (absent a disassociated sea tour). Good things for one who aspires to command of a ship at sea and followon for command of a battle group (personal disclaimer: no one, and I mean *no one* should be CNO without having had command of a ship.  Period.  But then I'm a well known dinosaur in that regard).
w/r, SJS

virgil xenophon said...

Other valid points aside, I think everyone here misunderestimates Barry's point about laying down a base-line for future legal action. Such things weren't such a major concern in the case of blacks--because as males all assignment cat. were open to them. With women, clearly extraordinary measures have had to have been taken to pipeline them to the top--thereby creating "new normals" that, as is pointed out, subsequent females will use to parade in front of a legal system--both civilian and military--which has increasingly shown itself susceptible to PC pressures and all too willing to intrude into what heretofore were sacrosanct operational matters.

And were not even BEGINNING to talk about the legal problems promotion quotas for "open," "legal" homosexuals and standards for justification thereof will bring..

C-dore 14 said...

Stuff like this used to upset me (a lot) but, as several folks mention below, there's nothing new here.  Having seen this happen before with several male officers who were preordained for greatness, I predict that she'll report to the CSG just prior to the pre-deployment certification exercise, deploy, and move on to bigger and better things immediately after the post deployment briefings.  In between there will be a great deal of tension.  Hopefully her COS is up to the task and her warfare commanders know their jobs.

As for a CNO who has never commanded a ship, well, that's already happened.

ShawnP said...

I wish the lady luck but the Navy is not setting her up for success. Putting her in such stressful and highly demanding job without the proper seasoning is a recipe for disaster. Shame on the Navy for doing itself and her a disservice.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

How about the sailors and Officers of the Carrier Strike Group?  Aren't THEY the ones who should be the first consaideration?    Just sayin'...

MrSwo said...

Since she did a LHD CO tour with embarked Marines, I'm certain she understands the Navy's role in the current fight a lot better than a TACAIR bubba, as well as the ability to understand kinetic versus non-kinetic options.  But since she doesnt have a penis and wouldnt be a lead character in a Tom clancy novel I guess she isnt cut out for the real he man stuff.

claudio said...

YGBSM.  Obviously you don't know much about TACAIR guys or gals.  Didn't see any smileys so assuming you're actually being serious.  In that case, please return to eating the SWO young.

I served with two out of the list, Donegan and Vance while they were skippers of their squadrons on JCSs maiden deployment.  Extreme professionals in all aspects of the job.  Both worked hard at their craft and earned their way to their present spots.  Don't know RDML Tyson but looking at her bio, there are a lot of other post Amphib COs with similar bios who retire as CAPTs.   The other bios reflect current 1/2 stars.  Then again, maybe they just want to broaden the pool for the job.  You know, in case we start building up the number of carriers to 20 or so....

Wharf Rat said...

Mr. T - as I'm but a simple man, sitting on a wharf, the most I've been to see is on a cruise ship, what does the 'VQ community' mean?

Wharf Rat said...

'been to sea' (not 'see')

MR T's Haircut said...

Wharf Rat,

THe "VQ community"  is the people that are in the TACAMO mission.  They fly the E-6B and they think they are the cream of the crop.  They fill a mostly communication backstop role incase of nuclear war, they were supposed to be able to communicate with our strategic assets to cooridinate a nuclear response. 

The problem is this mission was one of the first that allowed females to excel and they did, and the male pilots and NFO's when looking for their disassociated sea tour, usually went to Carriers to serve as TAO's...  but they have about as much common sense and tactical sense as a freaking nail.. so they usually fail miserably get the stamp of a qual and go on back to the Chair Force base in Tinker...

I had the pleasure... of having SIX of them as pilots in my last command.. they suck.. they cant lead.. they cant write a fitrep... they have no issue with skirting the rules and they think as a community that frat rules do not apply to them... I would not employ them to fly a circus...

After they finish they disassociated.. most opt into FTS... so that is how they continue to serve and bag flight time until they get an airline to hire them...


FCC said...

Maybe I didn't get the memo  -- which CSG is she taking over?

I served with RDML Tyson during CARAT 08.  Though I'm no expert in International Relations, I thought that she did quite a good job in relationship building with host-nation leaders throughout the AOR -- many, if not most of which, were at least partly Muslim countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore, et alli).  I was proud to be serving under her TACON at the various receptions and opening/closing ceremonies -- she's graceful and accessible. 

I did wonder, at the time, why the heck they'd pulled a logistics admiral to lead up US forces during CARAT (and, in the middle of which, she jaunted over to USNS Mercy, forget the Op Name... Continuing Promise?).  But now I think there might have been a method to the madness.

Is she by chance taking over CCSG5?

Anthony Mirvish said...

Why is this either painful or a surprise?  It seems par for the course.  For the last 40 years the armed forces (with the exception - mostly - of the Marines) have not held to their historic standards when it came to women.  If you did as the CDR suggests and limit roles to only those physically qualified, on a task-based (not general fitness) standard, you'd be at around 2% women in the Navy, maybe twice that in the Air Force and near zero in the Army and Marines, not 15-20% overall.  Rather than face that honestly, the senior leadership runs, hides and denies the issue.  So, even if RADM Tyson proves to be a great officer and does well in her new command, she'll not only carry the baggage associated with all of those policies, she'll reinforce them, whether she wants to or not.  This will only contribute to the on-going culture of dishonesty that accompanies all PC and diversity agendas, in all institutions, not just the military.  How is that good?

MrSwo said...

Anthony, time to get your head out of your ass and see how invaluable female Marines are IN THE FIELD in Afghanistan, providing a capability to interact with locals that men dont have.  They are doing stuff that frankly 2 years ago the Marines would have resisted tooth and nail, but fortunately for us some good commanders decided to give them a chance and they have proven themselves over and over again.  But why let the reality of war, and of women serving in war, get in the way of your rants?

And honestly, women not being able to physically perform?  You really have to cite some proof.  Ive seen women serve in JSOTFs and they were just as capable in their jobs as men were, physically and professionally.

MrSwo said...

Im sorry man . . . LHD command is as decent a ticket to move up to flag as anything else these days.  Your post shows you dont know too much outside of your community.

UltimaRatioRegis said...


"<span>They are doing stuff that frankly 2 years ago the Marines would have resisted tooth and nail"</span>

Where do you come by your facts and opinions?  I served with female Marines in Iraq six years ago doing the same things.  Nobody resisted tooth and nail.  You have a gender axe to grind, apparently, and aren't particularly constrained by the facts. 

Yes, female Marines are in some cases just as physically capable of their "jobs" as males.  But that does not apply to being infantrymen.  Female Marines who have had a close up look will be the first to tell you that, if you know any.

gorilspi said...

wow.  you're pretty pis**d. Tell us how you REALLY feel.  :)

Brodie said...

<span>I did the eisenhower tour with RDML Tidd as an AG.  When I told him there was a SIGMETover us he said "We must be playing stump the dummy, because I don't know what the hell you are talking about."  Any aviator would have known, and they said so after the brief.   
Overall he did a great job.  I think that if the leadership has confidence in her (Tyson's) abilities, and she has the support of the Capt's she is working with, then she will do fine.  She does not have as weak of a record as some I have seen.</span>

Anthony Mirvish said...


That sort of civic action is a useful capability and I have no problem with that.  It can be provided through units dedicated to that sort of task and maybe for COIN or nation-building activities, that's a good idea.  It proves there's a role, but it does not prove broader capability.

But there is no data to suggest that any specific number of women can perform as infantrymen.  For example, in 2002, the Brits tried a series of field tests specifically with that in mind, and even after some tasks were left out, all of the women failed.  Their study found that at most 0.1% of women could qualify on the same basis as men.  There are numerous US studies for each service that support my conclusion.  If otherwise, then why all the separate standards in our own military's training.  I don't mean different standards for physical fitness.  I mean different heights for walls on obstacle courses, different criteria for throwing grenades.  The NY Fire Department has never had a woman pass its basic carry task, not in 30 years of trying.  That is something likely to be required on a damaged ship.  Have you ever seen any woman carry an average-size man? Do you think it makes a difference if 20% of a ship's crew can't assist virtually any of the remaining 80% in that scenario?  Why did West Point's director of institutional research testify in court that WP had had to lower or eliminate procedures just because they "adversely affected women."  How do you explain the views of soldiers who, like you serve in the coed force, and take a less positive view of it?

I don't make this stuff up.  Nor am I indifferent to facts.  Nor do I dispute the intelligence or courage of military women.  There is, however, a disconnect between what is claimed for their performance, and the results of these various independent tests and what is known about each sex's physical capabilities.  There are also dissenting voices in the armed force about how effective these policies have been.  And, there are costs associated with them.

With respect to the realities of war, my only observation is that the ones being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq are not the same as the ones that would be fought China or even Iran/North Korea.  For the last 30 years, we've been careful to engage only 3rd rate states, and enjoyed total air and space superiority, no disruption of our communications, computer or GPS systems, and no meaningful, sustained attack on our rear areas.  How realistic do you think the lessons from those conflicts - many of which have not been well executed at the strategic level, really teach us?

GBS said...


I can't recall any CSG COSs who weren't impressive guys.  I'm sure her's will be no different.  However, CSG Commanders typically show up strong in SOME CSG warfare area.  Her bio suggests she knows how to get a large ship from point A to B, but it says nothing about fighting a CSG.  She might need TWO COSs...one each with CVW and DESRON backgrounds.  I think her success will hinge on her willingness to listen to those carrier aviation and CRUDES people who know this business.  If she does, she'll muddle through.  If she shows up with a "I know it all" attitude, we're in for some interesting future reading.

GBS said...

There's not a single problem here that a burning carrier hulk won't cure. 

Too bad that's the point where we fully realize the mistake of not putting the best qualified people into important jobs.

jscam87 said...

Heck I was a GREAT officer, but I never had the background of others who held this position, and never would/should/could be considered for the job.  Re-read the good CDR's post.

Jay Mixon said...

Damn Sal, you nailed it!  Everything happens for a reason, some people just aren't quick enough to know it when it happens.

Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining," Col. Fletcher, Quantrill's Raiders

Old NFO said...

At the beginning of WWII the military fired most of it's flag rank officers and promoted new ones who could actually fight the war.  If, God forbid, we ever get in a fair fight again I just hope we have the time to weed out the careerists and politicians and put the warriors in charge.  

UltimaRatioRegis said...

There are sometimes dire consequences for such politics of preference long before a CVN is sunk....

C-dore 14 said...

GBS, Agree that her approach to her command will have a lot to do with her success and that her background hasn't really prepared her for the job.  However, I don't see this situation as being much different from several male officers that I've seen over the years commanding CSGs.  You know, the guys who spent the minimum amount of time in O-5 and O-6 command and didn't deploy in either.  They may have had the "tickets" but they lacked warfare expertise necessary to effectively "fight a CSG".

As for CSG COS', the ones I've dealt with have ranged from impressive to mediocre.  The biggest shortcoming in my time was few, if any, of the aviators assigned to the job had been a warfare commander in their major command. 

C-dore 14 said...

MrSWO, Agree that LHD command is a decent ticket to move up to command an ESG, not a CSG.  Her lack of experience as a warfare commander in a CSG could lead to difficulties when deployment rolls around.  A male officer with such a background would face similar difficulties as well.

DM05 said...

Great post, great questions, tough answers, and nothing against female Sailors. By comparison with her male peers is she as qualified? Nope. Does the Navy care about fair with respect to gender/diversity issues? Double nope. By dumbing down, and not going with the absolute best in the zero sum promotion game, will platforms of the line and Sailors die? Regrettably.

And it's not just CSG Commanders Shipmates...

Old NFO said...

VQ is also the designation for the guys doing the electronic stuff off the ship. In my day they flew the A-3 Whale on dets out of Rota and Guam. 

Old NFO said...

Tailhook is probably what MADE her career.  Those with external plumbing took the heat.  Not the women.  Female 13XX's could do no wrong.

sid said...

<span>VQ is also the designation for the guys doing the electronic stuff off the ship</span>

I s'pose that the term "Queer Birds" has long left the lexicon... 8-)

(and before the paroxysms burble up...its meaning predated the days before "queer" and "gay" were expropriated into  their current connotations)

MrSwo said...

But she has fixed wing jet expereince . . . how many other LHD skippers do you know with that?

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Sorry, Skippy.  I already mentioned Cowpens

cdrsalamander said...

A military 707 as a non-pilot backseater?  Not many.....

Old NFO said...

Actually the Queer birds were the EA-6Bs that were in VAQ squadrons, jammers rather the electronic intel gatherers.  VQ  flew EA-3's and E-P3's.  That was in the 70's, 80's and 90's and "Queer" very much had it's current meaning

sid said...

Old NFO..gotta call you on this one.

I remember the term from as early as 1960...Those were not A-3B's in the background in Sanford...but were designated as A3D-2's

(the bombers never were called "Whales" at least on the east coast BTW)

The change over to the joint aircraft nomenclature ordered by McNamara was still two years away.

Back then "ECM" (EW wasn't in the lexicon until more than a decade later) were -Q.

And given the highly classified nature of ECM in those days, the term "queer" stuck for their secretive oddness.

sid said...

Oh..and forgot to add, some of the very first designated NFOs were there in Sanford.

This gent was one of them....

Old NFO said...

I didn't get to my first fleet squadron until 1978 and deployed in 1979.  By that time they were designated EA-3's.  Also there were none of the attack A-3's in carrier service by then.

I've heard the A-3D designation but was told it stood for "All 3 Dead" in the case the crew had to egress the aircraft since seats fired downward.  :-D   Typical aviation gallows humor.  

Those of us in the S-3 squadron were told the 'Queer" appellation for the EA-6B was due to the "Q" in the designation and as shorthand to distinguish them from the A-6E, or "straight" A-6.  The word was never applied to the Whale that I heard.  Is there an official reason for the designation change or the use of the word "Queer?"  I have no idea.  I know only what I was told by the guys who flew them. 

MR T's Haircut said...

Old NFO, nothing against the carrier VQ guys from the past.   The current Air Force VQ couldnt carry a helmet bag for a VC squadron LTJG....

sid said...

<span>I didn't get to my first fleet squadron until 1978 and deployed in 1979.  By that time they were designated EA-3's.</span>

Originally they were A3D-2Q's...

But the term predated them (and me) by a number of years, as it apparently came into use when the first "Q" aircraft made their way into the fleet around the end of WWII, like this TBM-3Q.

And, as can be seen by the vintage pics, the "Queer Birds" were very much a part of TACAIR until the demise of the ES-3....

But hey, LtB says it best. War fighting acumen isn't what mattewrs in this Navy. Thats old fashioned. Either you gotta be one of the "protected castes", abd.or sport the correct genetalia... or be good at football -even while stoned- to be a rising star these days...

sid said...

Oh, and here is  a"Queer Bird" tale  worthy of an FbF....

Permduins said...


Your position IS clear.  Mine was not (my apologies).  Let me adjust fire. 

I understand (and agree) with the idea that if one is merely marginally qualified, but promoted via "diversity" considerations over one far more qualified, this is a solid "other".  In this aspect you are right to be concerned with second and third order effects.

I continue to maintain, though, that it is worth spending some time on what constitutes "qualified", especially at this level.  If it's better to separate these issues, so be it, but I don't want to look at her career assignments and simply decided she doesn't have the right checks in the blocks.  The second and third order effects in the current system are also problematic--extreme inward/community focus, micro-management (because he's done this before and knows best) and "anointing by billet".  Her bio suggests to me that she has experience and competence leading large organizations, navigating complex alliance relationships, preparing and deploying fighting forces and understanding how the Navy works.   

cdrsalamander said...

Your comments are well thought out, but I noticed one glaring omission.  Carrier STRIKE Groups used to be called Carrier BATTLE Groups.  They conduct war at sea using surface ships, submarines, and TACAIR/Helos onboard the CVN and escort ships.

Redeye80 said...

I guess I miss the point. 

The good old boy system for years put friends & family ahead of the well qualified before.  You guys are sounding a little sexist. 

Over my 30 year career in Corps, I saw several examples of the well qualified being passed over for someone's favorite child or butt kisser.  I seem to remember in the Navy the Ring Knockers had the Flag ranks marketed for years with no complaints. Or least none that were heard.

For those who had the WTF moment, is it really that a big of a surprise?  You do your best, hope for the best but at some point, who you know, who is on the board will override or validate your life's work.  No one said this was fair.

Just saying.

Anonymous said...

It agree, rather useful idea

Anonymous said...

You are mistaken. I can defend the position.