A Bigger Fix Needed
As a retired marine who was a military lawyer in the Regular Marine Corps from 1981 to 1992 and in the Reserve Marine Corps from 1993 to 2009, I have the following comments about Adam Hebert’s “Do the Right Thing” editorial [July, p. 4].
He is of course correct that we should not have to tell military members not to mistreat each other, including by sexual or other harassment, just as we should not have to tell them not to point loaded weapons at each other. Human nature being as it is, however, the message about proper treatment among the ranks must be “transmitted in the clear” repeatedly just as we constantly emphasize firearms and aviation safety.
But having been both a prosecutor and a defense counsel, I noted that the editorial’s focus was almost exclusively on the crime—sexual harassment—while minimizing discussion of fairness of process for those accused of such a crime. (Readers should understand that by advocating fairness of process for an accused I am NOT endorsing sexual harassment or any crime.)
When we lose sight of and ignore fairness in investigation and adjudication processes, we have “show trials,” and we all know various countries where those were practiced, and some where they still are. In short, the mere accusation of sexual harassment—or any crime—is not proof that a crime was committed.
The other problem that must be addressed is command influence: a commander unlawfully influencing the finding or sentence of a judicial or nonjudicial disciplinary proceeding. The Uniform Code of Military Justice forbids command influence; the highest military court referred to command influence as the mortal enemy of military justice, or words to that effect.
In the end, we must judge our disciplinary system by fairness of process, not by result. How, given the same facts, can we on the one hand rejoice if we like the finding, yet on the other hand, condemn if we do not like the finding
We may not like a Red Sox win over the Yankees, but we are fairly certain that the game was played with officials and teams acting as fairly as humanly possible.
Col. Charles A. Jones,
I did something with the latest issue of Air Force Magazine I don’t often do: I read the editorial by Adam J. Hebert.
You bet there is something wrong with the culture of USAF, and as Hebert points out, “Sexual assault is a national issue, and the Air Force draws its airmen from the general population.”
Oh. Really? I am old enough to remember World War II. I was a small child, but I clearly recall some of the major events back then. I grew up in a culture different from the one that exists today; that culture is nearly dead as people like me come to the end of life. The culture had changed somewhat during my 25 years in USAF, but it was still recognizable.
All of that has been replaced by the politically correct culture that now pervades American society. And everybody wonders what went wrong. Well, a few things went wrong. Adopting the notion that everybody could “have it all” is one problem. The notion that there is no functional differences between the sexes is another. Even the USMC has lost on that issue. Standards are relaxed all over the place; the unfortunate series of events involving nuclear weapons is but one example. Creating a culture of managers rather than leaders is yet another.
The problems the current generation face were created by the deliberate destruction of a culture that worked better (but not perfectly) than what exists now. It will take more time to develop a viable culture than it took to get where we are today.
Gerald P. Hanner
I submit the following: Mr. Hebert is right. Airmen shouldn’t need to be told any of this, but it is a fact that people entering our great Air Force come from all walks of life and bring with them what they learned in their individual environments. Some of these environments allow behaviors that are unacceptable in the Air Force or anywhere for that matter. Their cultural change starts with basic (or OTS, etc.). So we need to train them correctly.
Mr. Hebert is also correct that sexual assault is a despicable crime, but what is happening all too often is commanders are not taking appropriate action. It’s not the easiest thing for one human to discipline another human, but that’s what commanders get paid to do. If commanders shirk this important responsibility, their commanders should take the right action and discipline them. Accountability is key to proper discipline.
With respect to changing the UCMJ, again, I agree with Mr. Hebert. We absolutely must not lessen the authority of our commanders. The UCMJ was and is well-written and has stood the test of time. There are provisions for everything needed to prosecute those who break the code; we just need to responsibly apply them. Those politicians who would change the UCMJ to make themselves feel they did something about the problem are extremely shortsighted.
And when an airman (read: officer or enlisted) is convicted of sexual assault, that airman should be fined, jailed, and dishonorably discharged and certainly not allowed to retire. There couldn’t be a much better deterrent if everyone knew this is the punishment for such a despicable crime.
Another point I would make—after sitting through our SAPR training, which was presented by a male and in which a video of another male was shown—I think we have missed a critical point with our female colleagues. I spoke to one afterwards and she pointed this out to me and also revealed there were three women in our session who cried—and nobody noticed!!! What does that tell us? Perhaps we should be more considerate with how this information is presented. How about some female speakers or at least female guidance for these training sessions?
And finally, how about some leaders who actually do something about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace
Col. Frank Alfter,
In the interest of accuracy, I need to correct a couple of inaccuracies in John Tirpak’s article “Fighting for Access” [July, p. 22].
In referring to my Mitchell Institute presentation on China’s air and space revolutions, Mr. Tirpak garbled two systems into one when he referred to “very high frequency passive radars” (p. 24). What my presentation actually referred to was passive systems the Chinese have acquired and a new generation of VHF radars they are developing. Also, I never said they are deploying a nationwide network of such systems, although in the long term that’s a reasonable conclusion.
Also, in quoting me regarding the US Navy’s reaction to the DF-21 (more precisely the DF-21D), “I think they’re scared to death of it,” he removed the nuance from my remark. I had actually said that was the case on a bad day, and on a good day the Navy says it is a complicated system and there are a variety of potential counters to it.
The ultimate thrust of my presentation and the Mitchell paper from which it was derived was that China’s air and space revolutions were only partially completed, and there is ample opportunity for the situation to get worse. That should be more than bad enough.
Lt. Col. Thomas R. McCabe,
Get Real About Weapons
I enjoyed reading the article in the July edition [“Rethinking Air Dominance,” p. 36], but the subtitle, “… USAF rethinks its most basic mission,” caused me to read it with a critical eye. I always thought the “basic” mission of USAF was to use advances in aerospace technologies to deter wars or help win them—NOT to just shoot down enemy airplanes one at a time. But USAF has for decades spent (in my opinion) an inordinate amount of its resources to do just that. Why? While the threat was real during the Cold War, when the Soviets had thousands of attack aircraft to threaten our forces on the ground across the globe, I am at a loss to see the threat in today’s world.
Since the 1990s USAF has used the tired old propaganda line (originally to justify the F-22) that “the last time US ground forces were killed by enemy airplanes was in 1953,” the argument being that our robust air-to-air capability has “saved” our ground forces from harm since then and we should not waste that capability. However, one could just as easily ask, “How many times since 1953 has the US been in a conflict where the enemy even had an air force that posed a threat to our ground forces?”
Vietnam? Name an instance where the VC or North Vietnam attempted an air attack on the marines or Army. Grenada? Panama? The Balkans? Iraq? Afghanistan? With the sole exception of but five to 10 days during the Gulf War of January 1991, I can’t think of any potential threats to ground forces. Tragically, the real threat in that conflict was from IRBMs—NOT aircraft. And what weapon system did we turn to in the face of that threat—the F-15? Hardly. It was the Army’s Patriot SAM system.
I think it is about time USAF starts to admit there are other systems that have protected our ground forces over the years—and not just the air-to-air dogfighter. As far as the offensive counterair goes: Spend the effort on systems that will kill SAMs and take out airfields. Now THAT would enhance air dominance!
Lt. Col. Tim Trusk,
Kansas City, Mo.
Remembering Old Shakey
Ahh, Old Shakey [“C-124 and the Tragedy at Tachikawa,” p. 70]. I still vividly remember my tour at McChord AFB, Wash., in the 7th MAS as a young copilot from ’67 to ’69. One particular trip I recall was truly representative of life in that old hauler. We had a full load of Hueys from Travis AFB, Calif., to Hickam AFB, Hawaii. The winds were bad and lower was better, so 6,000 feet was it, followed by losing an engine shortly after ETP! The sun went down and the sun came up as we churned our way west. The rescue C-130 came out from Hawaii to see if we were still there. 15.6 hours later, we kissed the ground at Hickam—just another day in Old Shakey!
Another memory of life on Old Shakey from the Pacific theater during Vietnam: I was assigned to a trip through Mactan in the southern Philippines. The aircraft commander was a Hughes Air West DC-9 captain called to Active Duty because of the Pueblo crisis. On takeoff, one engine coughed, on downwind for departure we lost a different engine, and on final for a quick return a third engine experienced a generator overheat!
The commander cooly told the flight engineer that we were landing and to disregard the overheat! We were extremely pleased to be on the ground so quickly.
Note: You studied the emergency procedures because you were going to get to do them!
Lt. Col. Bob Estus,
To know what flying the C-124 Globemaster II (“Old Shakey”) was really like, one quote from my favorite Globemaster pilot Capt. Joe Bailey sums it all up. Every time we lined up for takeoff, he would say, “If this thing gets airborne, we will treat it as an emergency.”
We always laughed, but we knew that disaster in the Globemaster was never far away. Take the Globemaster flying from McChord AFB, Wash., down the Aleutian chain to Shemya on a supply run. It literally lost an engine. It didn’t just quit—it fell from the wing, leaving a 15-foot-diameter firewall. With drag like that disaster was just minutes away. The crew jettisoned everything. After all the movable items were jettisoned, they began cutting up the flooring with crash axes. The pilots brought it into Adak, and as one of them told me later, they sat there with tears running down their cheeks. They’d seen death and cheated it.
The copilot on that flight eventually went on to be become an aircraft commander in the C-141. He died in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, when his spoilers deployed on takeoff.
“Old Shakey” had more tricks than you could learn in a long time as a crew member. I spent four years in it as a navigator in the 50th ATS at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.
Many times we came out of Tachikawa, Japan, in winter weather when ice began to coat the plane. The aircraft commander would tell the navigator and load master to tap dance on the clamshell doors, which would accumulate a lot of ice. At first, I thought that was dumb but then I realized that the ice buildup could put us in the ocean. At that point, I tap danced like James Cagney.
All Globemaster missions were not fraught with danger. Take the one from McChord that flew north to supply a DEW Line station on an ice island. They carried a bulldozer so that the people on the ice island could plow out a runway. The blade of the dozer was detached and each unit was fitted with a parachute. Unfortunately, the dozer got the lightweight chute while the blade got the heavyweight chute. The dozer shot right through the ice island and into the Arctic ocean. The blade may still be orbiting the North Pole.
To be a Globemaster II crew member was to belong to a very rare breed of flier. We flew low and slow but we carried America’s military strength all over the world.
Maj. Vern. J. Pall,
[The incident described in] Walter Boyne’s article was not the only time Old Shakey had engine fires on takeoff from Tachi. It was a dozen years later when I had both outboard engines catch fire via the alternators, causing us to come as close to crashing as we would ever care to come. We had full fuel tanks for the next planned 13-hour leg to Elmendorf, Alaska. Communist sympathizers had erected several bamboo poles 85 feet to 100 feet tall right outside the fence at the end of the 5,000-foot runway, meaning at our weight we would require cooler temperature than in daytime. I was fully aware that “get home-itis” had killed many MATS crews when I decided to take off with Yokota as departure alternate.
We had just passed “go” speed when I lost my attitude indicator. I thought, “no problem,” since we practiced partial panel flying in the simulator, but this was quickly followed by the engineer reporting both alternators overheating followed by fire indicated on No. 1 engine and the scanner reporting flames visible. All I could say was to let it burn until we cleared those bamboo poles and got the gear up, but the engineer reported fire indicated on No. 4, followed quickly with scanner confirming flames also on No. 4.
With takeoff roll being somewhat less than a minute, it meant all this was happening in the approximate 30 seconds after we had passed safe abort speed. With my mind running faster than we were flying, I flipped a mental coin and told the engineer to feather No. 1 engine, as the scanner called flames still showing on No. 4. I could only say to the crew that we were having trouble staying airborne on three engines so we darned sure couldn’t fly on two, so just let it burn, at least until we reached pattern altitude. After what seemed like an eternity the scanner reported no more flame showing on No. 4 as we turned away from the city, and the engineer reported alternator temperature coming down. From my own experience when my squadron from Dover AFB, Del., had four airplanes at Tehran, Iran, at one time with blown engines from having to hold high power so long over the hump, I was concerned about blowing one of our remaining good engines and instructed the engineer to alternately reduce power a bit on each engine to relieve stress. About the only difference that made was to make it more difficult for me to trim the aircraft to hold a heading.
Yokota approach control took over and sent us way south to get around the city of Tachikawa because we were unable to reach pattern altitude, causing us to fly about 30 miles to get on final to Yokota. My erratic heading control had not been critical in the pattern, but I had to ask for a “Gyro Out PAR” as approach reported fog moving in rapidly. First it was MATS minimums of 200 feet, half-mile about the time we were able to start our descent followed closely with the call of USAF mins of 100 feet, one-quarter. All I could reply was we were committed so keep talking. Somewhere about a half-mile out a wx special observation was officially zero-zero. We barely saw a glow from the strobes, and neither tower nor crash rescue knew we had landed. Once I got the airplane stopped, fortunately on the runway, my adrenaline was suddenly all used up and I was shaking so hard I could not taxi but had to set the parking brake. I had just flown the most precise precision approach of my entire career at zero-zero, and I found it unbelievable we had made it. We sat there several minutes without any crew member saying a word since we all knew how close we had come to crashing. Ground control finally located us and sent a follow-me to lead us to parking.
Post Flight Analysis: Attitude indicator was merely a blown fuse, cause undetermined. With that being the only fuse I had blow in over 4,000 hours in Old Shakey, perhaps I could be forgiven for not knowing the exact fuse location, and we were a bit busy to go searching around in the dark.
Alternator fires had not been an accident. Knowing we were flying in to north country on the next leg, we had written up windshield heat as inop. Maintenance had changed both alternator voltage regulators but had wired them both hot and backwards, meaning they would always be on, and the approximate minute at takeoff RPM meant fires were inevitable. I had feathered No.1 and the hot wire had burned in two on No. 4 before anything else, such as magnesium, caught fire. If my choice had been reversed would the No. 1 engine fire have gone out? We will never know. I was never made aware of what, if anything, happened to the maintenance crew that changed the voltage regulators.
Lt. Col. R. W. Hudson,
I quite enjoyed your article on the old “slab-sided” C-124. I had an experience with “Old Shakey” I will never forget—nor the skilled pilot flying it at the time. I was returning from emergency leave to Hahn AB, West Germany, and caught a ride in the C-124 from Dover to Rhein-Main. Things were fine until we passed the halfway point and were advised that all of Europe was fogged in and there was nowhere our fuel would take us. The pilot elected to head to Lajes, Azores, the closest base with a nice long runway. After an hour’s worth of white-knuckle let down, we finally touched down (really!—touched down) and rolled to a stop. We couldn’t even see the runway from the flight deck. When we climbed down the ladder, we saw that the pilot had split the centerline with the front wheels! The follow-me truck could barely find its way to base ops. I never did learn that pilot’s name but if he reads this, thank God for you, sir.
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Yay! Boo! and Additions
John Correll is clearly one of the best writers to regularly appear in Air Force Magazine. I eagerly wait to read his articles every month.
In “The Halt on the Elbe,” July [p. 64], John takes the reader inside the decision-making process and makes World War II come alive in ways not often found in dry historical accounts. I have come to rely on his meticulous research to produce little-known facts and set tones that will draw the reader into his stories. This was no exception.
I doubt many Air Force Magazine readers had any idea how strained the relationship was between our Allied leaders. Who knew the rationale for General Eisenhower passing up Berlin for Dresden or that Churchill regularly communicated directly with Eisenhower?
No matter how badly it was received, it appears Eisenhower’s decision was ultimately vindicated. “The Halt on the Elbe” was at once a history lesson, a fascinating peek at the rationale for shifting the military focus from Europe to the Pacific, and a strong character study of Eisenhower, Churchill, and Stalin.
Lt. Col. Donald L. Gilleland,
Why do you keep publishing John Correll’s puerile anti-British diatribes? They have nothing to do with airpower history and discredit your magazine. His July article on the decision to halt at the Elbe, like his January article on D-Day and last September’s article on Yalta, is biased, historically inaccurate, and illogical.
Correll insists that Eisenhower was only concerned with destroying the German armed forces, but also contends that Eisenhower did not want to take Berlin and thus suffer heavy casualties. The contradiction is obvious—he would have taken casualties attacking Berlin because the German armed forces were defending it. If Eisenhower wanted to destroy the German armed forces, he should have gone straight for Berlin. Yet his troops veered away from this German force towards the bombed-out, ruined cities of Saxony that were militarily irrelevant and largely undefended. Clearly, “purely military considerations” did not dictate this decision.
Correll makes precisely the same mistake regarding Prague. First he notes that German forces in Czechoslovakia were still fighting; then he claims that Prague had no military significance. Nonsense! Prague, like Berlin, had military importance, not least because the Germans were defending it. Yet Eisenhower sent his troops away from the German forces in Czechoslovakia, advancing instead into the undefended Danube valley. This was again unjustifiable on “purely military” grounds.
The decisions to halt rather than take Berlin and Prague were primarily political, not military. They were the culmination of Roosevelt’s policy of appeasing Stalin.
Incidentally, Montgomery’s “slow, plodding” British Army advanced 40 miles per day when exploiting breakthroughs in Africa, France, and Germany—about the same rate as the supposedly more bold and dashing Patton.
One large omission to his story of the concerns of US-Soviet forces meeting in Germany in a drive on Berlin is the high probability that US ground forces would have been deprived of close air support and certainly of any bombing support by B-17s and B-24s. The Soviets had by this time shot down several US Army Air Forces planes in the Balkans and could reasonably be expected to do the same in the Berlin area as their forces advanced west. The thought of Soviet fighters going after US planes over Berlin or in the area is not fantastic.
This is seldom addressed in writings about this period, but must have figured into Eisenhower’s and Bradley’s thinking about this subject. By this point, the role of close air support, interdiction, and strategic bombing in the success of their drive east from Normandy would have been very clear indeed.
Just finished reading “Ascendent Eagle” in the July issue [p. 40] and was disappointed that the F-4G Wild Weasel was not mentioned anywhere in the section about Desert Storm. I watched as fully loaded Weasels departed George AFB, Calif., for the long flight to Bahrain, where they were joined by Weasels from Spangdahlem AB, Germany.
The night of Jan. 17, 1991, had the Weasels out in front of the strike packages, ready to take out Iraq’s radars and SAM systems. Desert Storm was pretty much the final appearance of the F-4 in combat for the US: It deserved a mention in the article.
CMSgt. Jerome T. Czeikus,
I found Rebecca Grant’s “Ascendent Eagle” interesting, generally accurate, and timely for the Eagle’s 41st anniversary of first flight this month. Having been assigned to ASD’s AX-FX SPO cadre in July 1967 and remaining on the program in various engineering and project management capacities through July 1975, I’m quite familiar with the program’s early history and key players.
I find the absence of any mention of John Boyd’s Energy-Maneuverability Theory and the role it played in the definition of the F-15 to be a most glaring omission. It was truly the key to refining the fundamental F-15 requirements.
Not to nitpick, but the first two production F-15s were delivered to TAC at Luke AFB, Ariz., on Nov. 14 1974, and IOC declared in June 1976. I think the Eagle’s overall combat record now stands at 106 kills to zero combat losses, a testament to the many men and women contributing to the most successful fighter aircraft program in history. Thanks for the great article.
Col. Fred DeGroot,
I was stationed in Thailand in 1966 with the 555th Triple Nickel Squadron of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing. We were equipped with F-4Cs. I agree with Ms. Grant’s description of the reasons our air-to-air ratio was not that great.
For example, the training requirements from TAC did not include any air-to-air fighter vs. fighter training in order to attain mission ready status in the ’64 to ’65 time frame. It did include air defense training, which is of little value when you are fighting MiGs over Hanoi. Now, I must admit that some of our pilots did have dogfighting training as they went through the Tiger program during their training in the ’50s.
The commander of TAC in this time frame was a SAC general, so he was very interested in his safety record. One of the TAC commanders came down to MacDill and at a dining-in he said, “Now that we have two pilots in the F-4, we shouldn’t have any more accidents.” Of course this atmosphere cooled the ardor of anyone with any thought pursuing max performance fighter vs. fighter air-to-air training.
Early on we trained with Navy F-4s until the production line at McDonnell could start the Air Force version of the F-4 down the line.
Of course the Air Force did not have any procurement of AIM-7 missiles under contract, so we were using Navy missiles until Raytheon could start up the Air Force production line. The Navy missiles they sent us were not the cream of the crop and we had a lot of missile maintenance problems to deal with early on.
In closing, I would like to praise our maintenance personnel. They worked night and day to keep those F-4s operational and loaded with weapons. I had not seen such devotion to duty as those gentlemen demonstrated and with, unfortunately, not too much official praise. Thanks, guys, I will never forget you.
Col. Ross Peeler,
Fort Myers, Fla.
Just Teach ’Em To Salute
Retired Lt. Col. Charles Frazier’s letter, [“Education, Shmeducation,” July, p. 9], is disturbing. It appears that he believes that military service is an occupation, simply another job, rather than a profession. Our enemies over the centuries have learned the folly of that perspective in defeat after defeat.
Does Frazier really believe that we can take a college graduate, give him/her some excellent technical training, and magically he/she develops leadership and management skills? Or officers are somehow infused without effort with a thorough understanding of why we serve, who we serve, and how we serve?
We guard and pass on our ethical standards, the traditions and history of our profession, the unique requirements of the profession, leadership and management requirements that are special to the calling, and we ensure that the shared social and moral aspects of the profession are clear and enduring. All this is accomplished by the tiered PME experiences that build, remind, and reinforce over the years. We break that chain at the risk to our professionalism and our operational success because we build leaders the old-fashioned way: one step at a time. If Frazier does not believe that we are indeed members of a profession, he should take a quick read of Huntington’s The Soldier and the State. Chapter One explains it all.
Squadron Officer School, for example, brings officers of all specialties together to hone their skills and to participate in the leadership laboratory that SOS offers using a variety of situations that allow every student to lead and learn in ways not possible at their home stations and assignments. One survey of commanders of SOS graduates overwhelmingly reported that those graduates’ performance after attending SOS was significantly improved. Not to mention the lifelong acquaintances and common core of experience that are developed in all PME courses.
ACSC does many of the same things, albeit at a higher level and with more emphasis on the staff function and decision-making at the midgrade officer and above level. The professional associations and relationships made at ACSC continue to grow and benefit the officers and their organizations for years to come.
The idea that operational effectiveness is not improved by training/educating our officers as they proceed through their careers is simply wrong. We train them to be better leaders and decision-makers, the very essence of operational effectiveness. We are fortunate that Frazier’s views did not exist when the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS), the forerunner of Air University, helped develop not only the great Air Corps leaders of World War II, such as Chennault, but also helped develop the war plans and doctrines that guided the operational effectiveness of our great air forces that helped win that war.
To carry Frazier’s views to their illogical conclusion, we could also eliminate the service academies and just commission college graduates, teach them how to salute, and all would be fine. While we are at it, toss out ROTC and OTS as well. Naturally, we would also have to wipe out one of our finest programs: NCO PME. Never mind that former Air Force NCOs are widely considered a great catch by civilian industry because they are so professional in all respects. Just giving a young airman a tool or specialty is only the start. We then begin a tiered professional training sequence similar to officer PME. What we get for that investment in time and money is the best NCO corps in history, a direct result of NCO PME.
Col. David L. Peebles,
and Lt. Col. Frank Howe,
Professional military education is integral to the development of well-rounded airmen. If only technical training was provided, we would have nerds with no communications and management skills.
Having taken both correspondence and in-residence PME, I know resident training is better because it is more intensive and personal. Of course many people are in remote locations, so correspondence is the alternative.
As for duplication (some people do both), I always understand better after a second reading. It is not redundant to do it again but rather reinforces the original training.
There are many ways to economize, but elimination of PME is a false saving.
James A. Bailey
Excellent approach to the history of flight [“Firsts in Flight,” July, p. 56]. A follow-on in the spirit of “first controlled, sustained, powered, human heavier-than-air” might add level surface, wheeled machine, launched by another machine, or other features taken for granted today. Any history of early flight should bring Santos-Dumont and Langley into the discussion.
Universal City, Tex.
The F-100 Beat It
Just wanted to inform you of an error on p. 80 of the July 2013 issue regarding the MiG-19 and your reference to the F-100 in the article as well [“Airpower Classics”]. According to the overview the MiG-19 was the Soviets first operational supersonic jet that first flew in 1954. It was powered by two turbojet engines with afterburners. This may be true but it was not the first operational supersonic jet in the world as so stated in the opening paragraph.
Clearly by official USAF records, the F-100 was the first operational fighter to rotate wheels up and achieve supersonic speeds. I kindly ask for a correction to include so stated facts above in the August 2013 issue.