Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby MajorG1000 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:25 pm

I'm sorry if I didn't make myself clear. I didn't mean that any were removed, or eliminated themselves, but that they weren't always crewed with a strong Commander upon arrival. Therefore if they did fail to cut it at the Wing, there was documentation to back up whatever the Wing chose to do with that individual. If you made it through IQT I don't believe the Squadron or the Wing purposely sought to eliminate you, but once identified as a potential problem, they didn't always provide you with a strong Commander to insure that you would succeed.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby silo warrior on Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:30 pm

There was one DMCCC upgrade that eliminated himself at Vandenberg he claimed he could not bring himself to turn keys due to religious beliefs. I do not know what ever happened to him . HE had completed all the training at Sheppard and was about two weeks into training at Vandenberg when this occurred this was in 1978. One other thing I was the squadron OJT NCO had one MFT that could not pass his 5 level upgrade tests. We worked with him and worked with him but no luck . The DOT people and Sq. CC wanted him removed from missiles but SAC said no we were short of MFTs and this guy was going to stay and we were going to get him to pass. Well we finally got him to pass and low and behold I wound up on crew with him. This guy was not stupid he was very smart he just did not want to be there. I think it was the second alert and we were going to go do DSV he said using the checklist took to long and he did not want to do it that way. He was and E3 and I was and E5 at the time . We argued about it for a while and I told him this was not a matter for discussion that we will do it by the checklist. After getting nowhere with him we went back to the Control Center and I told the MCCC what was up the MFT was ordered to complete the DSV by the checklist and he did. The commander wrote him up and he received a LOC. My commander was very upset she wanted him charged with failure to obey the order of and NCO and given and Article 15. The guy was scared to death of the site and everything there. I was on crew with him for about three months we did get a Standboard and it was the only H.Q. he ever got. I heard later he got a below the zone promotion to Senior Airman go figure I lost track of him and do not know where he wound up. He is most likely a Politian somewhere.

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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby FL Transplant on Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:40 pm

MajorG1000--thanks. From your initial comment I thought that prehaps some had gotten themselves removed from crew by deliberately performing poorly, busting checks on purpose, or some other such.

One of the things that surprised me when I was first on crew was that a few of the people were such poor performers and hadn’t been eliminated by the leadership. A few general discharges would have sent a clear message. There were people on crew I wouldn’t have lent my car to or trusted to feed the cat when we were gone on leave.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby FL Transplant on Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:40 pm

MajorG1000--thanks. From your initial comment I thought that prehaps some had gotten themselves removed from crew by deliberately performing poorly, busting checks on purpose, or some other such.

One of the things that surprised me when I was first on crew was that a few of the people were such poor performers and hadn’t been eliminated by the leadership. A few general discharges would have sent a clear message. There were people on crew I wouldn’t have lent my car to or trusted to feed the cat when we were gone on leave.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby MajorG1000 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:29 pm

I agree. I remember having a brand new Deputy on alert just before I went to the Instructor Shop. We finished our inspections and he went looking for the "porn". I don't even know if the site we were at even had any, but he popped open a drawer in the first rack of equipment which was a working equipment drawer...I watched, eyes wide and mouth agape as he figured it wasn't the porn drawer and shoved it back into the rack.
My mind was racing through every scenario from shut down to unsequential startup. Fortunately there were no burps, hiccups or loss of status. We had a long talk about his actions which lasted nearly the entire alert. I say "we" as in the "Royal We", as he didn't get much of a word in except for a few strategic yessirs and nossirs...
I also remember one guy who was unstable and who WAS removed from crew. I was never crewed with him, he was in a different Squadron. He would talk about (and yes, he talked about it to me...) how the mafia was after him, and how he always had all this neat stuff that he had to keep hidden.. I had a Datsun 240Z at the time, and of course he had one also...hidden in some storage warehouse, somewhere.
His time on crew came to an end when he brought a machete on alert and sharpened it during the entire alert in front of his commander. The Commander said nothing at this point, but on a susequent alert, the Commander was sitiing at his console reviewing status when he got a case of the "pricklies". He turned around and the Deputy had his gun pointed at the Commander and said something to the effect of "You know, I could splatter your brains all over the place right now..."
He waited until after the alert and reported it through the chain of command. The Deputy was removed and I don't remember what was done or what happened to him...he was just "gone".
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby FL Transplant on Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:48 pm

I remember “Machete Guy”. If I recall correctly he lasted until he was caught shooting at ground squirrels out of the window of his BOQ room--that was the final straw.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby PASMAN II on Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:00 pm

Coming back from Europe, Vandenberg wasn't my first choice. I was accepted at several Universities to finish my PhD and tried like hell to get a school slot. I even promised to serve 2X the ADSC if they would just send me. Nope, I was told Vandenberg was in my future and to report NLT blah blah blah.

Needless to say, I didn't have the greatest attitude at Vandenberg. I never busted anything, just had an "I-don't-care" attitude. How-some-ever, after about 2 weeks at Vandenberg, my weapon system instructor decided to make me his "pet project". Every once in a while, you get someone in your life who really makes a difference. For me that was Mike Murray. I didn't like his hard core attitude at first, but our after class talks began to change (improve) my attitude. Before that, I was mostly concerned about me and what I wanted. Mike helped me to see the "big picture".

I eventually picked-up the slack and became a true believer in missiles and killing Russians. I was probably one of those guys who was initially identified as a "weak swimmer". After a couple of months of going to the "Church of Mike" I'm sure the reports to the wing changed a lot.

When I got to the wing, I had both strong commanders and weak commanders. I HQ'ed one time as a Deputy. When I upgraded I had both strong deputies and weak deputies. I HQ'ed one time as a Commander. When I went thru ACP upgrade I demanded a strong deputy and got one. We went thru an IG on-site at the SCP and box check with a Q. I never busted a test or a check. Ever. I considered my 2 HQ's to be "the minimum" any Crewdog should have- one in each position. I knew guys that had HQ's in the double digits. I though those guys were insane.

Anyway, I never lost a crew partner (and I had some doozies). I always remembered my own attitude (initially) and tried to find a way to motivate my crew partner to do better. I think I succeeded because they knew I really wanted them to succeed. Nobody got kicked-out or discharged while they were with me.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby MajorG1000 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:40 pm

I hadn't heard about the Squirrels...
I too didn't have the greatest attitude upon reporting to Vandenberg. Having just washed out of UPT, this was not the place I wanted to be. I struggled with EWO at first. My mentor came in the form of Captain Tom Appolonio ( "The Itallian Stallion"). Even so, it was a lot of work and a lot of attitude adjustment which I had to accomplish before I became a real team player and good crew member. I don't think I would have done nearly as well in any other job, inside or outside of the service. Trust me when I tell you, Tom Appolonio was merely the first in a long line of people who molded me into the officer I became, and the person I am today.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby SAC Killer on Mon Feb 17, 2014 10:46 pm

When I was an instructor we had some weak and some strong guys, but the one that really sticks in my mind is the one I washed out. The squadron knew he was weak and gave him to a strong commander. They weren't my upgrade crew, but I got to give them their last training ride before their check ride and EWO cert. The guy could perform in the classroom and passed all his written tests, but he just could not perform in the MPT. Something in his mind just shut down when he was in front of the hardware. So we go into the MPT and it didn't take long for me to see that everything I'd heard about him was true. The MCCC was basically doing everything. So for one very simple sequence, something like simple fault or popped CB (don't remember), I asked the MCCC to stay quiet so I could watch the deputy. And the guy could not do it. The most basic, simple checklist procedure.

I'm thinking, this is a no-pressure trainer ride with a very simple situation. What's he going to do in real life, with something weird going on at an LF? Or EWO? Or something like the notorious battery incident at T-0? I think we finished the ride. But after the ride I called the senior instructor and told him the guy wasn't ready and would likely never by ready, and recommended washing him out. It was no surprise to the senior guy. He called the SQ/CC and that was that. He was by far the weakest MCCM I ever saw. I think the wing was just waiting for someone in the shop to officially state the obvious. IMHO he should never have made it out of 4315 and to this day I don't understand why they let him graduate. It wasn't pleasant telling him his days as a missileer were over, but I've never regretted that decision.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby MajorG1000 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:34 pm

I remember it well. Lt Col Dave Blaylock and I were on crew together at Minot. He is a great guy and I wish we had kept in touch. The Wing Commander should have granted his wishes to be re-assigned. I was once the PRP Officer for Minot and he should have been able to use that as a clause for his personal choice not to pull alert with a female officer. I don't believe he should ever have been given preferential treatment due to his religious affiliations or beliefs, that sends a wrong message to all Missileers. Missiles isn't for everyone. In order to do the job there are things you give up. I am sorry if he had concerns aboout "keeping his pants zipped and his wick dry", but as a professional and the Christian he purported to be, he would have managed. Would he have had objections to being crewed with a Gay person? How about a person of color...or a Jew? In my humble opinion, there is a deeper current to his objections than what has been presented.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby Kris Kross on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:45 pm

This was going on while I was on crew at Malmstrom. What a loser. I would like to offer the following evidence of his complete loserness:

1. A properly-functioning capsule is what, 60 degrees? I would have a difficult time myself, being "properly functioning" without the benefit of my "alert jammies".
2. Who would want to get busy in a capsule? Honestly, that's gross. Picture two people living in a broom closet for 50 years. Imagine the condition of that place. I don't care how well your deputy cleans the chair rails, "capsule funk" is real and my old crew bags STILL smell like it.
3. So, what, his religion prohibits the use of self-control? How does he behave at the grocery store? Or is his wife just really, really sore?
4. I'm Roman Catholic. I can confidently say nothing in my religion says I can't work around women. In fact most of my church's lectors, choir members, eucharistic ministers, Sunday school teachers, etc., etc. are women, and I've had no trouble avoiding placing my manly bits inside them.
5. I want to reillustrate my point with #2. My wife and I were both 341st missileers. If by some accident of wing scheduling we got to pull alert together, I still don't think we'd have been "LIP".

This guy was a POS and a whiner.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby MajorG1000 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:52 pm

Kris...you made me laugh, and I agree with what you wrote 100%. If the military accomadated everyone's particular piccadillos, we would be speaking Russian right now.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby keskiyo on Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:03 am

SAC Killer wrote:IMHO he should never have made it out of 4315 and to this day I don't understand why they let him graduate.


It's never sat well with me that with all the talk about us being the "best of the best" and having the "standard of perfection," we don't wash more people out at Vandenberg.

If you don't have what it takes to be a pilot, you won't make it through UPT. But if you don't have what it takes to be a missileer... you'll still make it through Vandenberg. And the pilots are "only" flying airplanes - we're dealing with launch-ready nuclear weapons every single day.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby MajorG1000 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:13 am

Saying someone doesn't have what it takes to be a pilot is 99% objective unless they have a physical problem that relates to flying (bad eyesight, vertigo, motion sickness, etc.). Very few people washout because they are inherently stupid. There is always the chance that they will wash you back a class to give you time to catch up. Sometimes they have more piot candidates than they need, and any stumble in the academics or flying will get you eliminated. The washout rate for my year group was 20%. It isn't that the men and women cannot learn to fly a military aircraft, they just cannot do it in the time allotted. The schedule is overwhelming and if you aren't mature enough to manage your time, you don't make it through. Washing out of UPT was the first time I had failed at anything in my life.
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Re: Are You Smarter Than a Nuclear Launch Officer?

Postby TerrorOfTucson on Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:35 am

This is the first time I've heard of Lt. Berry. Do you recall Billy Graham, the evangelist? He made a point of never being alone with a woman not his wife, to prevent any hint of scandal. I'm sure plenty of people would have loved for him to be involved in a scandal. So from what little I know, I'm with the Lt.
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