John T. Correll, 1939-2021
With obvious poignancy, but infinite fond memories, I read John A. Tirpak’s memorial tribute to John T. Correll in [“Air Force World,” May, p. 32]. Permit me a brief historical sojourn down memory lane. Back in the 1990s-early 2000s I never visited AFA without making a stop to visit John in his office. I was what is now called a Region President, a Board member, and then National Secretary over a period of about seven to eight years and visited four to five times a year. My motivation(s) for visiting Correll varied from being a fellow North Carolinian and catching up on “home” to becoming more knowledgeable on Air Force/DOD issues, and finally to finding out what was really going on at the apex of AFA operations. I wasn’t looking for “dirt”—and John sure as hell wasn’t sharing any. But as a field leader, and then an elected National officer, I did want to hear all sides of issues so I could make more informed decisions/share all sides of the equation with those out of my AOR—Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region, at that time. I knew John had his finger on the pulse of all things DOD, Air Force, and AFA, and could put forth perspectives far above my pay grade. It occasionally made me look smarter; I liked that.
John’s drive for truth and accuracy, and his ability to invoke “situational awareness” to his staff that sometimes earned them the “Literary Purple Heart” (with OLCs) are legendary.
My favorite Correll memory was his campaign against the Air and Space Museum and its misguided, politically correct wanna-be director (Martin Hewitt) regarding Enola Gay. It was a thing of beauty—perhaps could even be a textbook case history in journalism schools—to watch as John meticulously used factual, historical research to prepare a “battle plan” and then gathered and prepared his “army” of like-minded allies from the Military Coalition to overwhelm a basically defenseless enemy. “Defenseless” simply because they were way off-base from the git-go—and for all the wrong reasons.
The second recollection was [whenever] someone would point out that the magazine didn’t “have enough articles about the field” and demand that John fix that. I made that mistake myself once, but only once! The color would creep above John’s collar and he would politely, but VERY pointedly, inform the perpetrator that as soon as they produced the written information/photos, AND the $2,500.00 for each page, he would add it to the very next edition. I was often sitting close enough to John to hear what he said under his breath.
John Correll’s passing is a huge loss to airpower in general, the Air Force, AFA, and to those of us who enjoyed/learned from his writings. I knew and respected him tremendously. He was brilliant; more importantly he had uncommon common sense. I am proud to say he was my friend. We all will miss him.
I certainly will miss John Correll. He really knew aviation and wrote so well about the importance of airpower. He was a superb writer and very thorough researcher. I was lucky enough to exchange some emails with him. I give quite a few lectures on a variety of subjects and one lecture is on the hunt and sinking of the battleship Bismarck. John gave me some sources on the air search and naval search that I didn’t even know existed. That was just an example of his vast knowledge. About the only thing I knew that he wasn’t aware of was the Vinh wiretap operation and that was only because I had a friend in Air America. Air Force Magazine will have a difficult time replacing John Correll.
There you go again [“Editorial: Rocking the Joint,” May, p. 2.] The fight over control of intercontinental ballistic missiles was originally fought years ago when Gen. John Medaris commanded the Army’s Redstone Arsenal with Wernher von Braun, of German V-1 fame, as his technical genius, vs. Gen. Bernard A. Schriever, the Air Force’s ICBM guru. A political decision was made to give the plum to the Air Force.
Now, according to your editorial, the fight has been resurrected and the antagonist misses the whole point. The Department of Defense is in dire need of a total reorganization based upon mission, instead of individual uniformed military services, i.e. Strategic Forces, Tactical Forces, Service Forces, etc. Once the military [services] stop arguing about who gets the biggest piece of the pie and concentrate on doing the job, the safety of the country will be enhanced and the people’s money more wisely spent.
Lt. Col. Bill Getz,
The U.S. Army has developed a hypersonic long-range missile to challenge traditional long-range targeting capabilities of the U.S. Air Force and Navy, in “Claiming Itself an ‘All-Domain’ Force, Army Targets Long-Range Strike,” May [p. 20].
Needless to say, Air Force leaders and strategists are not too agreeable with the Army’s proposed techniques, tactics, and procedures.
As a former Air Force targets officer at the fighter wing, AOC/TACC, NAF, PACAF, PACOM and various joint and AF agencies, I continuously had to work with many overenthusiastic Army, SOF, and Navy operators and planners to get them to understand and work through the (Joint) Air Operations Center coordination system. I’m sure most services’ targets officers now understand that in any given theater of operations, all forces must be dedicated to accomplish the theater commander’s objectives. No single service can do their own thing without coordination with the other services. Whether it is deep strike or defense suppression—without coordination the Army could be striking targets that other services could be targeting, as well.
As I recall, it was difficult to convince an ally that they should consolidate their target list with the U.S. target list so we did not try to destroy the same targets at the same time, or at the wrong time such as when the U.S. counteroffensive needed to use their potential targets. In the joint arena, it was extremely difficult to convince the special ops people to coordinate their targets with the AOC, until I showed them I had produced exactly the same targeting materials for Air Force units that they wanted for their own target planning. I had numerous similar experiences over a 20-year period on Active duty and another 24.5 years as an AF civilian targets, HUMINT, MASINT, imagery, and geospatial intelligence officer and other capacities.
I have no problem with the Army developing a hypersonic missile capability, particularly for the the Indo-Pacific area, which covers one-third of the earth’s surface, including thousands of miles of distances. Short of depending solely on nuclear weapons, it could be an effective strategic deterrent to adversaries like China and North Korea. US Indo-PACOM would control the weapon, of course.
Under tactical conditions, the hypersonic missile could be used to target high-value national leadership and command and control targets deep in the country where tactical operations and support are not practical. Coordination with the theater AOC would still be required.
Lt. Col. Russel A. Noguchi,
Pearl City, Hawaii
Honor the Code
My congratulations and thanks to Lieutenant Colonel Piowaty for his succinct and spot-on letter in the May 2020 issue regarding the Honor Code at the Air Force Academy [p. 5]. When I first read about the latest honor scandal and how it was being handled, I was appalled. Why have an Honor Code if you aren’t going to enforce it? His letter described perfectly the many negative ramifications introduced by abandoning the Honor Code. Count me among the very disappointed.
James D. Mahoney
On Race, Unrest, and USAF
Following many years in senior or command positions, I can honestly tell you that with very few exceptions I cannot remember the race of any of the members of any of my organizations. It didn’t keep track of what you were, all that mattered was who you were. This included your character and willingness to work. We focused on the mission, and we worked as a team and every individual was measured by their contributions to the team not by the color of their skin. Some had one strength and some had another. As a team, every person contributed to the best of their ability toward the good of the whole and the mission. We didn’t believe that being red or yellow or Black or White made any difference.
What is happening to the United States military? If senior leadership lets CRT [critical race theory], race, or woke philosophy become determining factors you will gut the soul of the military’s long-standing tradition of teams. Leadership, It will be on your watch and on your head if the military loses focus on defending the country. Creating division does not serve well for a cohesive military.
Remember, you are only as good as the legacy you leave. Don’t let gutting the military team effort be your lasting legacy.
Col. Quentin M. Thomas,
Lt. Col. Allen Parmet is entitled to his opinion, but he’s not entitled to his own facts. So, let’s look at some facts[“Letters: No Hero,” May, p. 7].
Lindberg was publicly chastised immediately when he accepted the Service Cross of the German Eagle from the Nazi government in 1938. For a brief period, he considered locating his family in Berlin. The events of Kristallnacht a month after receiving the decoration changed Lindberg’s views entirely. He quickly canceled previous plans to move with his family. His inspection of the Luftwaffe, first in 1936 and again in 1938, were at the personal request of U.S. Chief of the Air Corps Henry H. “Hap” Arnold. Arnold’s orders to Lindberg included detailed inspection of the state of readiness of the U.S. Army Air Corps, plus overseas evaluation of foreign air forces. Most historians agree, Lindberg was essentially an Air Attache working for the United States, engaged in official espionage of the Luftwaffe. He reported all he saw directly to General Arnold, who used the information to help improve the Air Corps.
The German decoration was presented at a dinner hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Hugh Wilson. For his part, Wilson wrote of the controversy of accepting the medal, “Neither you, nor I, nor any other American present had any previous hint that the presentation would be made. I have always felt that if you refused the decoration, presented under those circumstances, you would have been guilty of a breach of good taste. It would have been an act offensive to a guest of the ambassador of your country, in the house of the ambassador.”
Lindberg did what he did in an official capacity, not because of any personal affinity.
Maj. Ken Stallings,
As someone who devoted years to the C-17 program while on the Air Staff and AMC staff during the most troubled years of the program, it was rewarding to read the story “Master of the Globe” [May, p. 34], but I was troubled by several aspects. The article said AMC was exploring ways to extend C-17s’ life through rotations between high- and low-tempo units and corrosion environments.
I would have expected this to be a given in the management of any aircraft fleet. The article goes on to say that reconstituting the C-17 production line would be cost-prohibitive. Hopefully, some consideration was given to preserving tooling and design documents when the initial buy was complete. If not, steps should be taken now to salvage what can be saved. Surely using a proven design as the basis would be less costly than a full clean-sheet design even if both required a complete production facility starting from scratch.
The article ended with what I would call “magical thinking” about roles and missions that might require an entirely new design using stealth technology and soliciting Army and USMC input for future lift—a sure way to enable mission creep. It is past time to tell our sister services that if you want your equipment to move by air, it needs to fit the cargo box of a C-17. It is also time to recognize the lesson provided by the C-130. First flown in 1954, the basic design has been refined through countless variations and remains in production today, nearly seven decades later.
Any future replacement of the C-17 should consider a updated version with more fuel efficient engines, current avionics, and increased range.
Col. Michael R. Gallagher,
It seems the C-17 is a “balls to the wall” carrier of logistical ‘stuff’ from Point A to Points B, C, D, and beyond. I like that! What concerns me, however, is the statement that McDonnell Douglas closed the Long Beach production line in 2015, and then “AMC is beginning to think about what a C-17 replacement might look like 20 to 40 years down the road.”
Really?! Why close the production line on such a magnificent aircraft knowing it would be another 20 to 40 years before another one could take its place!! Seems to border on the ridiculous to me.
Maj. Dean Hayes,
I just read the article “Master of the Globe.” I was disappointed to not see recognition of Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish who was the C-17 program director from October 1993-August 1996 when the program was under heavy threat of cancellation. In my opinion, his leadership was the force that turned the program around.
Lt. Col. Richard Simpson,
The image of a Globemaster III on pages 36 & 37 of the May 2021 issue had me scratching my head, as most markings such as the tail flash, Majcom, serial number, wing of assignment, etc., were all gone except for “USAF” on top of the right wing, the subdued USAF roundel on the empennage, and the U.S. Flag on the tail.
But, then I noticed someone made sure to include … the ANG Minuteman patch!
Col. John Bradley,
Not So Secret
The the beginning of the article, “The Battle for the Soul of JADC2” in your May issue [p. 44] greatly oversimplifies why the Battle of Britain turned out the way it did.
Yes, data from radar sites and ground observers, used in a way described many decades later as “The Dowding System,” was a significant factor in the battle’s outcome, but far from the only one.
The opening page photo caption refers to radar as a British “secret weapon,” but the Luftwaffe was very aware of the radar stations and attacked them a few times in mid-August 1940. They were difficult to hit and considered not that important so the raids on them were stopped.
Another of the factors in the battle’s outcome was Britain’s superior production of new aircraft during that time, and Germany’s consistent underestimation of how many serviceable aircraft the RAF had left as the battle went on.
One of the fighter aircraft, the Spitfire, in the hands of a skilled pilot, was equal to, or in some cases, better than the Luftwaffe’s legendary M-109. After returning from another round of combat with the RAF, one of the Luftwaffe’s best fighter pilots was asked in debriefing what he would like. He replied “a squadron of Spitfires.”
Lt. Col. Larry Griswold,
I would like to pass along my sincere appreciation to Douglas Birkey who authored the May Air Force Magazine article entitled, “The Battle for the Soul of JADC2.” I thought the article was written exceptionally well and the historical examples provided are very relevant to the contemporary national security challenges we face today.
Richard M. Toney
I look forward to flying on an electric- powered commercial passenger plane at 35,000 ft doing 500-600 knots (or better) on a trans-Pacific flight. Right now, I could fly on a battery powered plane doing 150 knots for a 30-minute flight at maybe 3,000 ft. When the power plant and battery (or other) technology allows us to create commercial and military aircraft powered by electric motors, then we will have a need to generate electricity and charge batteries at much greater than our current capacity.
With today’s wind generators, water- generated electricity and solar power, the needed power is just not going to be there. Nuclear power stations could make it happen, but they are not acceptable as Green energy and they produce that nasty radioactive waste. The answer is fossil-fueled power stations, at least for the present.
Someday, we will develop a way to produce power on a much greater scale than today with little or no carbon emissions. That day is not today or 10 years from now, or maybe even 100 years from now. Until we develop something like fusion-powered plants to give us “unlimited” electricity, we must not go down the road to eliminating carbon fuels.
Lt. Col. James Beach,
When I turned to the Heroes and Leaders page of your May edition [p.56] and read the Red Tail Commander piece, I was brought back to one of those memories that just stick with you, It was spring 1968 and I was closing in on departing Vietnam after an extended combat tour in F-100s and O-1Es. I had volunteered to extend my tour six months and was now at Phan Rang sitting alert in the F-100.
The alert shack was a popular place for generals and other dignitaries to visit. These visits were mostly a perfunctory event with the visitor going down the line of pilots quickly shaking hands and then out the end of the alert trailer. But this day was different. We all formed our line, I was first, and in walked a three-star general. Being a very young lieutenant I didn’t know who he was, but responded with the appropriate “sirs” as our wing commander led him down the line. Normally there was a quick exit but this time the general stopped, turned and said: “Sexton, when are you going home?” I was startled. This general not only had remembered my name, but a little something about me. I stood a little taller and blurted out something like soon or next month.
At that time, I knew very little about Tuskegee and the Red Tails but later learned their history and about the man who led them. It is clear now Gen. Benjamin O. Davis was an outstanding leader. But I learned that in 1968.
Col. Michael E. Sexton,
Regarding the statement that Benjamin O. Davis Jr., became the second Black officer in the Army [and] “The other was his father Benjamin O. Davis Sr., promoted from the ranks in 1940 on sheer merit,” is historically incorrect.
Fact: The first Black officer was Henry Ossian Flipper who graduated from West Point (Cullum #2690) with the class of 1877—not “the other” B. O. Davis, as implied. As a new second lieutenant, Henry O. Flipper was assigned to the 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment at Fort Concho in West Texas. He became the first Black officer to command regular troops in the U.S. Army.
Dr. R. Gary Mucho,
Los Alamitos, Calif.
Hold My Beer
What? Combat? Performance? Where? Hogwash! The F-35 is disqualified from any and all assignments for one reason: single engine! I screamed for one issue when Wright-Patterson [Air Force Base, Ohio] was awarded the contract: single engine! It’s best that we should chomp all F-35’s up for beer cans. Do it now [“Make-or-Break Time for the F-35,” May, p. 40]!
Capt. Michael W. Rea,
More Collateral Damage
In your April issue, you printed a letter by Maj. (Ret.) Ken Stallings [“Collateral Damage,” p. 6], in which he (1) claimed I advocated “the right of the Army to immediately launch a counter-fire mission within seconds of detection of incoming missile attacks,” and (2) defamed my competence. As a matter of simple fairness, I wish to make a reply.
As to point one, I will simply state that the alleged advocacy appears nowhere in my letter.
As to point two, let me elaborate on the analysis we performed. It was conducted with the talents and collective expertise of the Boeing Company’s then-operations analysis organization, consisting of many ex-service operators. We also had access to recent military veterans of Gulf War 1 who were familiar with the planning cycles of the Air Operations Center (AOC). Our results were briefed internally to Thomas K. Jones, who was formerly the deputy undersecretary of defense for strategic and theater nuclear forces in the Reagan administration, and a technical adviser to the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks (SALT). Jones was favorably impressed. This was likely occasioned from the coincidence that he had previously produced a Combined Arms Study to consider the scenario of a resurgent Iran on the heels of Gulf War 1.
On June 29, 1993, Boeing Defense & Space Group hosted an all-day “Precision Strike Meeting” for Steve Head, Precision Strike Architect for the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Architecture. The lead Boeing presentation was Jones’ study. That was followed immediately by our “Precision Strike Architecture Study.” Our method was to model the architecture functional flows, sequences, execution times, and probability of function execution. By concatenating probabilities and normalizing by the integral of execution times, we were able to construct a unitary figure of merit with units of mission success probability/unit time.
The baseline architecture we modeled came out at 0.00034 target negations/hour (one target kill in 122.5 days). This was distressingly at par with operational experience. The sensitivity studies showed great sensitivity to target mobility (worse), reconnaissance planning time (less was better), reconnaissance search capability (more was better), strike mission planning time (less was better), and strike search rate (more was better—up to a point). We then shifted to a conceptual architecture with existing assets that was independent of the AOC planning cycle, greatly reduced the planning times, and incorporated search capability in the weapon (a hunter-killer ALCM). With these improvements, the system productivity was estimated at 0.3089 negations/hour. Head was greatly interested in both the study methodology and its results and requested to receive a copy for his department. (As part of the day-long event, among other topics, Boeing also briefed a Rapid Response Missile study that concentrated on a series of Mach 3, 4, and 4.5 designs. Unfortunately, without improvements in the mission planning cycle, such a weapon would largely have arrived quickly at the wrong destination.)
This was not the last of the subject. In 1999 to 2000, Boeing Phantom Works embarked on the Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement (AMSTE) Weapon System Trade Study (WSTS) for DARPA’s Sensor Technology Office under Bruce L. Johnson (subsequently Dr. Tim Grayson), Stephen Welby, and Tom Darner, with support from the Air Force Material Command and the Air Force Research Laboratory. I was the System Architect, reporting to the AMSTE Chief Engineer, who reported to the AMSTE Program Manager. We were teamed with Northrop Grumman, Orincon, and Motorola. The AMSTE contract objective, in short, was to determine ways and means of engaging moving surface targets with weapons guided externally by a networked surveillance architecture. We successfully applied the Precision Strike functional analysis methodology in great detail—I recall at least six levels of functional structure—to enable complete traceability of the engagement probability to the architecture parameters. Again, our DARPA managers were appalled (to say the least) when we initially reviewed with them the dismal result of the Precision Strike study but were heartened by the fact that we knew what the problems were, where to find them, and how to arrive at a satisfactory result. Which we did.
So, I think it is fair to say that having been vetted by a professional operations analysis staff, two former defense department officials, and a knowledgeable DARPA management team, our results were well-grounded and well-formulated.
Michael J. Dunn
Federal Way, Wash.