And the beat goes on...

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And the beat goes on...

Postby FL Transplant on Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:49 am

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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby PASMAN II on Tue Nov 04, 2014 5:25 am

Bob

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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby Batman on Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:54 pm

HuffPo picked up the AP story this morning.

Air Force Fires 2 More Commanders In Nuclear Missile Corps
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/11/0 ... 97478.html

The whining and angst will commence in three... two...
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby MajorG1000 on Tue Nov 04, 2014 3:14 pm

This is good. If you want a premier organization, you only use the best. Guys with short tempers and questionable disciplinary methods shouldn't be in command. The days of Geoge Patton and Curtis LeMay are over, and have been for decades. "when I was on crew" stories of odd discipline and berating individuals are cause for a good chuckle, but not something to be emulated. I cannot think of a Squadron CC I have ever had who would have questioned a crew shutting down a capsule if they felt it was unhealthy. Write a report as to the circumstances which caused the shutdown and evacuation, you bet...but potentially career altering discipline? Never.
The fact is that even "when we were on crew" we had these people, but thay didn't make it past Major, or left missiles altogether...why? Peer pressure and "counselling" before they reached a position where they could do real harm. That doesn't mean they didn't slip through the cracks...I remember a Wing CC who was fired for being drunk and throwing his "brick" through the windshield of his staff vehicle after being pulled over for DUI on base. I am sure there are countless stories like this.
I have been off crew for thirty years. Things were changing even then, but the changes happening today are happening at a pace that I cannot even begin to grasp.
Could we do the job required of the missileers of today? I have no doubt we could. Could we also be effective and outstanding leaders required in the ever chaning landscape of what the Air Force, and Missiles in particular have become....I wonder.
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby rkfoos on Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:12 pm

I am sitting here this morning after hearing this (and reading about it) just shaking my head. Can someone out there tell me how these three individuals and the ones before them became leaders within the nuclear arm of our Air Force? Did we just go find some warm body with rank? Did we find some buddy of a general that filled the right squares or had his nose up the general's a$$? Just how are these embarrasing individuals put into these positions? I am at a complete loss to explain to folks today how our nuclear force can continue to get itself into these situations. What am I missing?
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby TerrorOfTucson on Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:18 pm

Comments at the PuffHo are pretty much what I'd expect. The three Col.s, though, not good.
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby MMIIICDB on Tue Nov 04, 2014 9:17 pm

Of course you are all assuming these "substantiated charges" are true. I'm here to tell you that this generation of military officers (regardless of AFSC) are prone to gross exaggeration and flat out lies. I've seen quite a few statements from these folks over the last few years that I know to be, at best, embellishments and, at worst lies. Just Google "Commander Fired" and "Randolph Air Force Base" for the best case to date of a SQ/CC fired because a few malcontents in his squadron got together and hung him. Never mind the rest of his squadron stated he was an excellent leader, the vast minority made sure he was done! I've seen it personally with a subordinate of mine who was denied an end-of-tour MSM (yeah, not comparable but similar situation) because 3 guys in his squadron made up fanciful tales about his, supposed, abusive behavior. The vast majority of those interviewed stated he was tough but fair and a good leader. We are in the Twilight Zone where O-3s and O-4s are believed over O-5s and O-6s. I don't know the facts of these latest two cases but I've read enough BS the last year to make me doubt these stories of abusive commanders.

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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby MyManifester on Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:52 am

rkfoos wrote:I am sitting here this morning after hearing this (and reading about it) just shaking my head. Can someone out there tell me how these three individuals and the ones before them became leaders within the nuclear arm of our Air Force? Did we just go find some warm body with rank? Did we find some buddy of a general that filled the right squares or had his nose up the general's a$$? Just how are these embarrasing individuals put into these positions? I am at a complete loss to explain to folks today how our nuclear force can continue to get itself into these situations. What am I missing?


rkfoos: I have ZERO inside knowledge of these events, but I do know one of these officers and, as a matter of fact, I have worked with several of the senior officers swept up in the recent ICBM purges. I knew them to be good officers and good men. I accept that they made mistakes and are paying a heavy price, but unless you have WAY more information on these events then is public knowledge, maybe you could take it down a notch. I know the web isn't exactly the home of reasonable, professional, dialogue, but what do you think?
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby Batman on Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:58 pm

rkfoos, I think what we're seeing is three instances of the Peter Principle being discovered and self-corrected. I for one am glad that these "leaders" are gone before they could damage any more people. And I'm relieved that the fleet is able to catch and correct mistakes instead of covering them up in the "Frozen North."

MajorG, I don't know if any of us would have the grit and stamina to pull alert any more. I for one look back on my time with pride for a job well done under trying circumstances. I doubt I could do it again at my age.
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby JP2323 on Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:41 am

as someone who served under the OG CC when he was a Sq CC, I can tell you this should have happened years ago
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby Kris Kross on Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:37 am

You could say I "grew up" in these guys' year group, and may or may not have pulled crew with some individuals involved, so I understand the environment in which they can flourish. Please, however, do not misinterpret the following rant as an indictment of these individuals or knowledge of them now, 10-15 years later. I merely write this to describe the atmosphere we shared as CGOs at the time.

You guys know the missile environment - you cannot succeed, you can only "not fail".

Some people went out and wanted to do the job. They wanted to pull alert and do it right. I hope that maybe some of my peers would characterize me as one of those guys. I fought against shop hires (was offered but never accepted, until my crew tour was up - and even that I extended), and had to be told in no uncertain terms that I would be an assistant flight commander and that I would not pull more than four alerts a month (this did not last long).

Then there are other guys who check the boxes and punch their tickets. They start shaking hands and kissing babies. They work their way into shop jobs as a deputy (a policy that started when I was there and which I strongly protested) and fill all the right billets, while not shirking their duty, certainly not pulling any more alerts than needed and hence minimizing their opportunity to "fail". They end a 4-year crew tour with less than 120 alerts.

I want to make one thing very clear: not everyone who took shop jobs was a careerist, or looking to get out of alerts. The vast majority were highly competent and deserved what they got. But then again...

But I bring this up to provide a counterpoint to the "how can this person get to this level?" argument. It's very, very easy. I was lucky to have a few truly outstanding SQ/CCs, genuine leaders among men. I was also unfortunate to have a few truly horrible DOs (not sure why it worked out that the CCs were great and the DOs sucked, but it did, and the DOs did eventually become CCs so it's not a weeding-out process). My wife, in a different SQ, had far more incompetent leadership than I was blessed with. I would say based on observations of the four squadrons at the time, her experiences were more the norm and I was fortunate, as my great officers were an anomaly.

The bottom line, the keys to succeeding in missiles in my year group are:

1. Hang around.
2. Get your master's. This, and safety, are all the AF cares about anymore. Not leadership, or competency. Just safety and your master's.
3. Avoid failure.

Note number 3's phrasing: I didn't say "don't fail". I mean for this to be interpreted as not placing yourself in situations where you could fail, and thus avoiding the only thing that gains recognition in the missile world - mistakes.

That's all it took, hopefully until the events of the past year. Looking at the officers I know who were installed in the wake of the Malmstrom firings, and these recent cullings, it looks to me like after all of the surveys, and investigations, the missile community is starting to right the ship. To a man (and one woman), the officers I know who were installed at Malmstrom in the wake of the cheating scandal are outstanding leaders. I think they are waking up.

This is why it bothers me when I hear of people outside our community bitching "they cheat on a test and get a bonus?" "They cheat on a test and everyone comes around asking what's the matter, does your tummy hurt?" BS. In hindsight, that terrible cheating scandal has the potential to be the best thing that happened to the missile world. Someone woke up and said, "something's wrong here". It took a mostly forgotten group of people and forced leadership to look at them, to pay attention, to recognize the dysfunction under which we operated for so long. Now that I'm in the flying community and receive flight pay, I find it incomprehensible that there's no (or at least wasn't until recently) alert pay. We operated under must stricter rules (PRP etc) than the flyers, had more responsibility, had a far worse working schedule, and had NOTHING else to show for it. Hell, even an enlisted guy on flight orders can find a damn good civilian job on the outside for the airlines. Maybe this is a round of scrutiny to weed out the poor leaders we had to labor under for so long, those people who got where they were by avoiding failure and simply checking their boxes. Maybe now they are going to evaluate leadership abilities, and in doing so change the missile community for the better, permanently.

In conclusion, I do want to say that most of my SQ/CCs were great and DOs terrible, there's no causation there. It was random those people landed in those positions. However, OG/DOs, OG/CCs, and WG/CCs during my tenure were entirely horrible and genuinely turned missiles from a great job when I started out into a complete nightmare of micromanagement and banality by the time I left. That may not be a coincidence.

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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby Batman on Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:44 pm

Well said, IMO. Thank you.
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby TerrorOfTucson on Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:20 pm

I entered missile training as a Captain, and was a MCCC when selected for DOV (nobody told me why, specifically). I found there are opportunities to fail (SMES and IG evals, especially); even an alert can go bad. The only ops officer I remember is The Marvelous Maurice, who held D-M's record for crits and majors on one check (crew took him DOWN)--he retired as a major. Anyway, I didn't see what Kris saw, but I retired in '86, and that's a long time ago. Things change.
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby rkfoos on Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:04 pm

MyManifester wrote:
rkfoos wrote:I am sitting here this morning after hearing this (and reading about it) just shaking my head. Can someone out there tell me how these three individuals and the ones before them became leaders within the nuclear arm of our Air Force? Did we just go find some warm body with rank? Did we find some buddy of a general that filled the right squares or had his nose up the general's a$$? Just how are these embarrasing individuals put into these positions? I am at a complete loss to explain to folks today how our nuclear force can continue to get itself into these situations. What am I missing?


rkfoos: I have ZERO inside knowledge of these events, but I do know one of these officers and, as a matter of fact, I have worked with several of the senior officers swept up in the recent ICBM purges. I knew them to be good officers and good men. I accept that they made mistakes and are paying a heavy price, but unless you have WAY more information on these events then is public knowledge, maybe you could take it down a notch. I know the web isn't exactly the home of reasonable, professional, dialogue, but what do you think?


MyManifester -

You want ME to take it down a notch? No way! Its time to crank it up even more. These "good" officers (as you refer to them) were picked to be in the positions of power and influence and then they "made mistakes" (as you so lightly describe thier actions). My point is that they never should have been in those positions in the first place. My issue is with the way that the ICBM leaders are chosen; it's broken and needs overhauled. We are way to willing to overlook this kind of behavior and chalk it up to a mistake; we are talking about the nuclear force here - mistakes cannot be tolerated.
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Re: And the beat goes on...

Postby MyManifester on Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:52 pm

1. Just to be clear, I said I "knew" some of these guys to be good officers. It is, of course, evident that they were found wanting and are paying the price.
2. In no way did I intend to suggest these lapses should be overlooked.
BL#1: It seems we agree that finding leaders who are up to the challenge of getting the nuclear enterprise back on it's feet is going to be tough. Do you have any suggestions?
BL#2: I guess I'm just less inclined to go high-order on people I don't know and situations I don't have much info on.
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