Crew Scheduling Question

For general discussion with your fellow Minuteman III crewdogs, maintainers and cops. Currently based at Minot AFB, ND, Malmstrom AFB, MT, and F. E. Warren AFB, WY. Formerly based at Grand Forks AFB, ND. Operational from 17 Apr 1970 to present. Share your stories and meet up with an old friend.

Crew Scheduling Question

Postby PASMAN II on Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:42 am

Here's a question for all the Wing Schedulers out there:

What type(s) of Crew scheduling program(s) were used for the following timeframes?:

1970s?

1980s?

1990s?

Currently?

Thanx!
Bob

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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby SAC Killer on Sat Jun 16, 2007 12:35 pm

At 341 SMW in the early 70s, crews pulled a "40 hour alert." The basis of the rule was that in those days, both people in the capsule had to remain awake (WSSR). Pre-dep time varied somewhat but was normally in the late morning. You drove out to the site and took over the alert whenever you got there. Around midnight the crew upstairs would come down you would go upstairs and sleep. Sometime in the morning you would go back down and take over the day shift. The morning changeover time varied by site and was based on the time the crew had to either leave the site or get picked up by another crew. The day shift would end when the next crew arrived, and you would go topside and try to sleep on the evening shift, going down again around midnight for the graveyard. Topside around dawn, and back to base. Total time off base, about two and a half days.

Trust me, the rest of the text below is relevant to the schedule above:

One year there were more wrecked trucks than usual. Every year the cops and maintenance would trash a couple. Typically they would deposit the remains by the main gate with some sort of safety-related admonition. That year, with Ralph Scott as the wing CC, eventually there were three vehicle carcasses on static display by the gate. We started referring to them as "Ralph's Used Cars." None of them had been wrecked by a crew.

And then one day, the Oscar crew was heading out to alert. It was late in the year and past sunset. In the dark, a deer came up a fill, jumped over a guard rail, and hit the side of the carryall. Put a scratch in the door. This was enough for the DO, Jumpin' Joe (aka Buckethead), of whom is spoken elsewhere in the Forum, to issue an edict that henceforth crews had to remain on site in the morning until the sun had risen before they could return to base. Originally the wing stated an arbitrary time, which resulted in the crews at the easternmost sites having to sit on the sites until the sun was quite high. So the 490 SMS spoke up about this and pointed out that not all sites had sunrise at the same time, and that 490th crews should get to depart as soon as the sun was up for them. (For those unfamiliar with the Malmstrom complex, 490 SMS is the easternmost squadron.) This caused considerable debate. The 490th Ops Officer, Maj. O.C. Gregg, bet Jumpin' Joe that there was at least a 10 minute difference between actual sunrise at the easternmost and westernmost sites. They asked the wing meteorologist to issue a ruling on this; surely one of the strangest tasks ever given to a SAC meteorologist. O.C. won in a walk, and as a result the poor meteorologist had to build this huge table that showed official sunrise time for each month. I can't recall if the table was site by site or by squadron. Being anxious to get back, the crew would depart the site at the time specified, right down to the minute.

Note that all of this happened because a deer hit the truck, not the other way around, but it had been dark at the time. Such was the state of leadership at Malmstrom in those days.

That's right. We were the only strategic nuclear force in the world that was officially afraid of the dark. It was embarrassing.
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby rkfoos on Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:42 pm

PAS -

I did my time at Minot from Oct '79 'til May '84. During this entire time we were the only "dual qualified" wing. We did 2-man, 24 hour alerts with one crew member awake at all times in the capsule (both awake with visitors). The line crew did 8 alerts a month; instructors and evaluators did 2 plus 1 standby. Squadron and wing staff did not pull alerts back then. The scheduling of the entire crew force, minus evaluators, was done by one poor sap in the wing DO scheduling office. This guy scheduled the alerts, the classroom weapon system and EWO training, trainer rides, and anything else minus evaluations. The DOV scheduler (me during '83 and '84) scheduled the DOV alerts as well as all of the recurring evaluations. The dual qualified status really impacted us in the shops - everyone in either shop was a qualified crew commander and as such could pull alert in either position, deputy or commander. This meant that shop alerts were a mixed bag and while we had designated crews, we rarely pulled alert with our designated crew partner.

Hope this is what you were looking for.

RK
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby SAC Killer on Mon Jun 18, 2007 8:49 pm

PASMAN wrote:Here's a question for all the Wing Schedulers out there:

What type(s) of Crew scheduling program(s) were used for the following timeframes?


PASMAN,
Looking back at your question, I observe that you use the word "program." In the 70s, there were no desktop computers. The "program" was a large plexiglas panel (the size of a wall) that had all the crews on it vertically, and three months of time horizontally. The schedulers used multicolored grease pencils and a step ladder to build the schedule. When they were finished, they rendered it to a template (hand written), xeroxed it (black and white), and distributed. MCCCs were entitled to a hard copy of the monthly schedule. MCCCs and DMCCCs would also get a hard copy of the weekly schedule. There were no soft copies. In fact, the term "soft copy" did not exist.

At 341SMW there was a notebook that crews could use to submit scheduling requests such as particular days off. My recollection is that the schedulers were pretty good about honoring those requests.

Most of the time there was only the current month in final form on the wall, with the next month in some state of completion. But whenever the IG landed, the third month would also miraculously get filled in to some extent. The third month disappeared again as soon as the IG's airplane went wheels up.
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby PASMAN II on Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:01 pm

Now you're getting closer, SAC Killer. During my crew time, Schedulers went from the Plexi-glass Board to a computer program (85-86). I never knew which computer program (although I could guess)....
Bob

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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby rkfoos on Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:12 pm

PAS -

OK, now I understand what you're looking for. During my time at Minot, it was the plexiglass walls. In early '84, there was a move to try and computerize the scheduling and it failed miserably. Back then, we were just getting computers into the wing and this one used the CPM programming language and flat didn't work. Even when the scheduler did manage to force the info into the computer, he ended up doing it on the wall anyhow. I understand now that they are actually using Outlook.

Take Care,
RK
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby Rebbratt on Wed Aug 22, 2007 5:29 pm

I was in MMI and MMIII-CDB, 1972-1976, F.E. Warren AFB. We were given a monthly hardcopy that looked a lot like a calendar but not quite. It listed days, LCF to deploy to, and Crew numbers along with a lot of backup material. The long range schedule was posted on a big board in the scheduling office and looked out about 3-6 months in advance. In MMI, this was pretty simple because we only had one 24 hour shift. When we Transitioned to MMIII-CDB, the sheet became much more complicated and several pages long. We sometimes had 36 hour shifts (12 down, 12 up, 12 down and home) as well as 40 hour shifts (8 down, 8up, 8 down, 8 up, 8 down, then home). Because you had to have two crews at overlapping times, the schedule had to reflect different deployment times or 0700 and 1900, as well as different days. Interspersed in between alerts, were designations (symbols) for training periods, backup alert member, MPTs, codes standby, physical exams, etc. These things became a "road map" for our lives, with "family time" squeezed in where we could.

Thanks for bringing back the memories from long ago!
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby qxcvr on Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:08 pm

So how about currently? What are the current schedules like for crews on different bases? I graduate from ROTC in December and I am curious what lifestyle I can expect. I guess It will probably depend on where I am stationed and how things are ran at that unit, but any info would be great. Thanks
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby Kris Kross on Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:24 am

I was in Wg Sched in 2003-2004 at malm. We had a program called SMARTS (ironically) which provided a printout. While I was there they were working on a replacement because SMARTS was horrifically (even for the Air Force) unreliable. Not sure if it ever got implemented or not.

About your future schedule: You will never have more time off than you will as an 8-0 deputy. Savor it. And don't expect to ever have any time off as an 8-0 deputy.

KK
286 MMIII alerts - 10MS 1998-2003, 341 OSS, Wing Scheduling 2003-4.
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby PASMAN II on Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:18 pm

qxcvr-

During my Crewtime, an 8-0 Deputy was expected to safely & proficiently learn his job. It was always a bonus if you didn't kill your Commander, the Cops, or any Maintenance personnel. Free time was scarce. You want free-time? Retrain as a shoe-clerk or take leave.
Bob

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321 SMW - 446 SMS - 1983-1987
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby qxcvr on Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:56 am

Yeah I guess I wasn't very specific with my question... I guess what I am asking is what will my usual week look like? Should I expect to work 14 hour days 6 days a week? Should I expect a schedule similar to my old flightline schedule (when I was an enlisted hh-60 crew chief at Kirtland AFB(1997-2003) When I was there I worked monday-friday and every other saturday from 10:00 pm until 7:00 am (Mid Shift)? Will I be one some sort of "72 hours on", " 48 hours off" shift? You guys have a computer system for scheduling??? I know that if I want to take a week off I will have to take leave, thats a given. On the topic of leave... are there common situations where people cannot take use or loose leave regularly and loose it? I had this happen to a few friends (mostly security forces) shortly after Sept 11 2001. Anyway thanks a lot for your responses!
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby Crewdog on Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:19 am

I was at FEW from '78 - '82. In '78 - '79 we did eight and a back-up on a 24 hour rotation, each squadron manned it's own capsules. Around '80 they went to what they called a ripple schedule, we still did 8 and a back-up, but one squadron manned the whole wing. In our "free" time we did MPT rides, classroom, codes, and EWO training; if we were real unlucky we had to do courrier duty.
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby Capt. Bill on Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:53 pm

SAC Killer, I noticed that about "programs" for scheduling in the 70s. The key to the whole system was how good the scheduling officer was. We had a great one at Minot. If you asked for a certain day free and he said he would try you knew he had done the best he could. Everyone was always nice to the scheduling officer and everyone wanted to be on alert when a parade was scheduled. We got a Weekly Operations Plan on half sheet paper.
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby Capt. Bill on Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:53 pm

SAC Killer, I noticed that about "programs" for scheduling in the 70s. The key to the whole system was how good the scheduling officer was. We had a great one at Minot. If you asked for a certain day free and he said he would try you knew he had done the best he could. Everyone was always nice to the scheduling officer and everyone wanted to be on alert when a parade was scheduled. We got a Weekly Operations Plan on half sheet paper.
MM I, DMCCC 741st, 742nd SMS Oct 69 - Oct 71 3 HQs and a Select Crew rating
MM III DMCCC, 742nd SMS Oct 71 - Feb 72
MM III MCCC, 742nd SMS Feb 72 - Aug 72
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Re: Crew Scheduling Question

Postby SAC Killer on Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:58 pm

The scheduler at 341 also took requests. He kept a notebook near the wall with the schedules. You had to write your request in there. Once while an instructor, I requested an alert at F-01, because that was the only Mod LCC where I hadn't pulled an alert. He accommodated; and for the rest of my time on crew, every few months I would get sent back to Fox. Was never sure why, but didn't complain. The drive isn't too bad, the scenery is good, and it had the best water in the complex.
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