First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby JP2323 on Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:16 pm

so your advocating for a complete diffrent system where some how people leave the wing and still pull alerts and have to deal with the training every month? Most people get through 4 years knowing that its only 4 years and that keeps people going and helps them deal with the job, if they were to extend the testing and training over somebodys whole career where the stress and pain of a failed test and the ewots trying to get people to fail happens monthly you would never have anybody stay nuke tracked.
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby Mandrake on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:29 pm

While this thread has veered completely away from topic, it has provided an interesting avenue for discussion. With regards to leadership and their alert status, I think it merits pointing out that, with a few exceptions, no one at the squadron command level or higher (O-5 +) pulled their initial crew tour with the current configuration. If they did pull REACT alerts, they were not for the majority of their crew time. And the console is not the only system that has changed - new communications racks, new security systems, etc. Frequently, the first real interaction leadership has with REACT is when/if they become CMR at the wings today, which some wings require and some do not. Thus, while our leadership was undoubtedly very technically proficient during their initial crew tour, they are now in a position where they have to learn a new weapons system...to a point.

Yes, many concepts are largely unchanged (how the system reports status, overarching security, TPC, etc), but there are new challenges. This means that they are usually, but not always, sent out with as strong a deputy as can be found to smooth over the differences in system experience (especially with comm faults and the ever changing parade of security regulations/changes). This will undoubtedly change in the next few years as the last of the older-system-experienced missileers progress past the squadron command level. This is not an indictment upon our current leadership in any way, but a critique on a definite factor in maintaining proficiency over a career - when our systems change, those changes can be drastic.

Comparing ICBM leadership to flying leadership and how they should retain proficiency thus can't work a well as one would think, because the basics of flying an aircraft don't change (it's basic physics) while the ICBM weapons system is entirely dependent upon how we interact with our technology through procedures. In other words, there is a lot less of an "art" in a LCC where one would find it in a cockpit. While a B-52 or F-15 may have a new weapons system installed, the idea that thrust and lift = flight doesn't fundamentally change (forgive my crude non-pilot analysis of the equation), so a pilot can keep up easier. It's not a matter of intelligence, but how much change occurs over a weapon system's lifetime vs. a career's length. There is also something to be said of the 10-12 year gap between alerts that a missileer has for staff work vs the flying world's gate system, which dictates a much more frequent immersion into the operational side as was previously said to retain the status and pay.

Is the fact that squadron leadership pulls legitimate (meaning to the same certification/responsibility level as an online crew commander) alerts a good or bad thing? Well, I'll leave that up to further discussion. Some wings do it, some don't, and the debate is ongoing. Just figured I'd add my observation on how a flying world/ICBM comparison doesn't really work.
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby keskiyo on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:40 pm

Mandrake wrote:Just figured I'd add my observation on how a flying world/ICBM comparison doesn't really work.


It rarely does...
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby PASMAN II on Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:15 pm

I'm sure that during my crew time, most senior leadership probably pulled alerts in the Atlas system. The disconnect between the Atlas system and Minuteman III CDB was HUGE. In all honesty, those guys were not "Commander-Leaders" in the truest meaning of the word, but more of "Commander-Managers". BUT, they never showed-up at Pre-D or on-site wearing current Crew Blues, either. We would have laughed our asses-off if the senior leadership dressed like Crewdogs but didn't pull alerts. Now-a-days senior ICBM leadership wears flightsuits and do not pull alerts. How do you not lose all respect for someone like that who is really just a "Commander-Manager"?

Just because the ICBM "game" has always consisted of the "four years on crew and done" ("screw you- I got mine") mentality, doesn't mean it has to remain so unprofessional...
Last edited by PASMAN II on Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby PASMAN II on Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:27 pm

JP2323 wrote:so your advocating for a complete diffrent system where some how people leave the wing and still pull alerts and have to deal with the training every month? Most people get through 4 years knowing that its only 4 years and that keeps people going and helps them deal with the job, if they were to extend the testing and training over somebodys whole career where the stress and pain of a failed test and the ewots trying to get people to fail happens monthly you would never have anybody stay nuke tracked.


I am talking about perspective. How do you really feel when some senior Commander-Manager is telling you that you shouldn't have missed that one EWO question on your last test? Really? That fucker hasn't EWO tested in 10+ years. I would think that the Park Ranger who works at the Minuteman National Historic site knows as much about the weapon system as most senior ICBM leaders. See? It's all about perspective. It real easy to "manage" from a desk on base, it's a whole lot harder to be the guy who sits at the console and has to take s*** for everything.
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby silo warrior on Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:41 pm

In my time in TITAN II the senior leadership were not combat ready. Most of the squadron commanders and sector commanders had been on crew at one time but were not mission ready at that time. The DO had been on crew at one time also. We had wing commanders that had also been on crew, But we did have one that was an SR-71 backseater and I dont think he was ever on crew. We had one other wing commander that had been a weapons controller and had not been on crew. If I remember right I think the highest ranking line officer I ever pulled alert with was an O4. The enlisted crew members were a different story the senior enlisted advisor was mission ready and pulled alerts he was an E9. We had several E8s and E9s that worked in the wing that were mission ready and usually pulled two alerts a month. I dont know the reason for the senior enlisted pulling alerts it was not like a flying wing where you had to pull alerts to get your flight pay. We had no incentive pay ,no hazardous duty pay etc. I remember when I was in Red Horse we had senior enlisted that were explosive qualified and would go to the range once a month to set off a charge so they could get there hazardous duty pay.

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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby PASMAN II on Sat Mar 03, 2012 9:14 pm

silo warrior wrote:...But we did have one that was an SR-71 backseater and I dont think he was ever on crew. We had one other wing commander that had been a weapons controller and had not been on crew...


I hate to say it, but even during my crew time senior ICBM positions went to various "academics" and other fair-haired boys who never spent one minute on alert. It's a shameful practice, I know. But, since you actually have to be "qualified" to command other weapon systems there was nowhere else to get these guys "weapon system" experience for their OERs.

I'll bet this practice continues to this day!
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby SAC Killer on Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:41 pm

Regarding Pasman's post above, I concur with him. When I was a young DMCCC my SQ/CC had done his MCC time in Atlas F. So very different from Minuteman!

And regarding the post about "fair haired boys," yes, we saw them too. The worst DO I ever knew had been an FB-111 right-seater who had been grounded, but the powers that be wanted him to have that DO slot for whatever reason. He knew absolutely nothing about missiles and as far as I could tell, made no attempt to learn. To a man, the crews hated him.

And when I was in maintenance at El Forko Grande, we had a couple of guys from the puzzle palace who got sent to us to get some combat unit time on their records. One was the DCM; the other, his deputy. Surprisingly enough, both knew what they were doing, though the deputy was a complete jerk. I trusted them both to run maintenance in peace and war.

And finally, regarding the difference between aeroplane commanders flying their toys and missile commanders not operating their toys: there are two huge differences. One is the fact that either by law or by USAF policy (I think it is the former), flying commanders are required to fly with their troops. I think this stems from the fact that in the early days, flying units were commanded by Army guys who had never been a pilot; and as a result, they tended to send their people on what amounted to suicide missions simply because they didn't know any better. And second, the flyers often fly into harm's way. It is axiomatic that the local (meaning, squadron & wing) leaders must take their people into combat, not hide behind them. But missiles? We all get nuked together regardless of whether we are in the capsule or at the support base. And in my day, we always thought the crews on alert had the better deal, because in that hard capsule there was at least a chance of surviving, and besides, the guys downstairs had a chance to shoot back!
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby PASMAN II on Mon Mar 05, 2012 4:45 pm

I think it would be funny as hell watching a bunch of non-alert-pulling, non-fully-mission-capable a$$-wipes prancing around in flightsuits and clownshoes. :D
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby SAC Killer on Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:15 pm

PASMAN II wrote:I think it would be funny as hell watching a bunch of non-alert-pulling, non-fully-mission-capable a$$-wipes prancing around in flightsuits and clownshoes. :D


Even funnier would be to have 3901 (or whoever does that these days) walk up to one of them and say, "Colonel, you've been randomly selected to get a check ride. Please report to the MPT at 1300 today."
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby notlaw99 on Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:09 am

I can remember back when I was pulling alerts at Malmstrom June 1970 - May 1974. When ever we had a Giant Fox on Base and wing staff was in the back of the class room as a group during the EWO proficiency test trying to cheat with each other like mad.

The longer you had been on crew force the worse the Bold Print exams were, as every answer choice was at one time a correct answer; it was a matter of what did they change the wording and punctuation to in this revision of the manuals.
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby Piquet on Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:56 pm

When General Looney, F-15 pilot, was the AFSPC/DO in the late 90s, he determined that squadron commanders and ops officers should be combat ready, because he still flew his F-15 when he was a squadron commander. I think this was a big mistake. His F-15 sortie took about an hour out of his day. It takes the squadron commander about 5 days a month out of his schedule. And he's going to get HQs on his checks, he's not going to fail any tests, so it's not like he's really on crew. The guy I replaced as a squadron ops officer was a career space guy--had never pulled missile crew when they determined he had to pull alerts. Instead of sending him to Vandenberg, he got about two weeks of training at the unit. Needless to say, everyone hated pulling alerts with him.
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby PASMAN II on Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:55 pm

Piquet wrote:When General Looney, F-15 pilot, was the AFSPC/DO in the late 90s, he determined that squadron commanders and ops officers should be combat ready, because he still flew his F-15 when he was a squadron commander. I think this was a big mistake. His F-15 sortie took about an hour out of his day. It takes the squadron commander about 5 days a month out of his schedule. And he's going to get HQs on his checks, he's not going to fail any tests, so it's not like he's really on crew. The guy I replaced as a squadron ops officer was a career space guy--had never pulled missile crew when they determined he had to pull alerts. Instead of sending him to Vandenberg, he got about two weeks of training at the unit. Needless to say, everyone hated pulling alerts with him.


My first assignment was as an Exec in an F-15 Fighter Squadron. You guys make it sound like all the flyers do is step to the jet & go. The flyers have a hell of a lot more to do (brief/debrief/training/ewo/etc) then just step-N-fly.

As for the Missile Squadron Commanders- Back in the day, we had a duty called Operations Duty Officer (ODO). For a period of one week (7 days), the ODO gave the Pre-D briefing (I still have a copy of the unclas format if you need it), handled scheduling conflicts, kept track of the crewdogs going out & coming back, played go-fer boy for the DO, assisted Codes & EWO with their daily taskings, and generally hung around the squadron from 0600-1800 each day.

I have personally had a chance to observe several Missile Squadron Commanders during their "work week". IMHO, the Squadron Commanders could afford to devote 5 days a month to stay current... probably twice that!
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby Piquet on Tue Mar 06, 2012 6:51 pm

It's depends on the time frame. In the 80s, the squadrons only had crewmembers and FMs, and the FMs were pretty senior NCOs. When I came back in 99, they added chefs and cops. So now the squadrons had 225 people, 150 of whom were junior enlisted. The commanders were a lot busier. Now I understand they've pulled the cops back out, so maybe they have more time.
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Re: First all-women nuclear alert in Minuteman Squadron

Postby Capt. Bill on Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:00 pm

1969 to 1972 the squadrons were only staff, crew members, FMs and a couple of clerks. Though often one of the clerks was civilian.
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