Wednesday, June 29, 2005

BRAC 2005

Whether by design or ignorance, this BRAC closure is start of the elimination of the Air National Guard.

The Air Force has long been uncomfortable with the ANG.

They do not like that the ANG has resources they cannot deploy at will without regard to political consequences. They do not like the well known fact that the Air Force did not win a Fighter Weapons meet known as Gunsmoke for over 15 years. The ANG had at least the top 3 places until they no longer had current generation aircraft. The Air Force is uncomfortable with the fact that ANG units consistently have better aircraft availability due to better maintenance. They do not like the fact that ANG units normally lead missions in both real like and exercises because of their far greater depth of experience.

They wish to ignore the fact that ANG units operate on roughly 38% of the budget of an active duty unit.

They did not like the ANG to be the cutting edge of the sword. Thus, the push a few years ago to change ANG fighter squadrons over to close air support, tankers and transports, missions long looked down on by Air Force leadership.

The 163 Air Refueling Wing at March Field is slated for stand down. This unit was the Air Force Fighter Mobility Squadron for five years while flying F-4C and F-4E aircraft. That means it was the first unit to leave the states in an emergency. For several years it was the only precision guided munitions capability the Air Force had. The Air Force brought the F-117 out of the black world to drop precision guided munitions in Panama for the invasion rather than use the 163 TFW. They missed by the way.

When the 163rd switched to KC-135 Air Refueling Tankers, they continued to lead the way. They re-wrote the Air Force’s Tanker Formation Flying Procedures in their first year. Their aircraft configuration standard was adopted Air Force wide. They commanded and flew more missions than any other tanker unit in the recent Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. They had the highest mission capable rate in the entire Air Force structure, flying 45 year old aircraft. They have consistently had the highest Operational Readiness Inspection ratings of any Air Forces unit, Active, Reserve or Air Guard.

This unit is being stood down in favor of an Air Force Reserve unit whose performance is near bottom.


The Air Force has far greater control over Reserve units.

The fact is the ANG is the Air Force their recruiter promised them and they just don’t like that at all.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Extremist Fringe

If one listens to the senior Senator from Massachusetts, Edward “Bridge” Kennedy, President Bush’s judicial appointments are from the extreme right wing religious fringe of American society.

After all, unlike the judges Bridge would see appointed, they can and do read the Constitution of the United States; they believe judges are to judge cases based on the law, in conformity to the Constitution of the United States; they believe in the freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion; they are practicing Christians or Jews, like 85 percent of America.

They are not homosexual activists, internationalist or anti-religious atheists.

One asks, “Who is the fringe?”

The answer is clear, the left wing of the Democratic party.

One might point out, a party like an airplane has two wings. It is bad form to put the cockpit on the left wingtip.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bush Lied!

The Democratic mantra, repeated over and over.

While it may or may not be true there were WMDs in Iraq before the Coalition invasion, our intelligence services thought they were. President Clinton is on record as having thought WMDs were there. In fact, President Clinton was the author of the Regime Change Executive Order. The CIA, run by Clinton appointee George Tennant, believed they were there. In fact, they were so certain they pushed WMD as the lead reason for going to war. Politicians across the spectrum are on record as believing the WMDs were there and must be gotten rid of. Clearly they were there, Hussein had used them in the past. He appeared to think they were there, otherwise why would he have kept the inspectors out?

When we got to Iraq, we found little or nothing. Does that mean they were not there before? No. Well then, what does it mean? It means they weren’t there when we got there, nothing more, nothing less.

Did President Bush lie? It does not appear he lied. Was what he said correct, given the benefit of the customary 20/20 hindsight? Maybe not, maybe so. So far no one seems to know where the WMD went. President Bush clearly believed his intelligence people who told them the WMDs were there. If he knew they were not there, he would have also known they would not find any upon invasion and he would have a big public relations problem.

Why do we continually hear “Bush lied!”?

The reason is simple, those repeating their mantra have no idea what words mean. The last president is still trying to clarify the meaning of the word “IS”. They are trying desperately to gain traction on something, anything. Never get near a drowning person.

Friday, June 03, 2005

4 June 1942 - The Battle of Midway - Turning Point in the Pacific

4 June 1942
In the Pacific near Midway Island, the western most island in the Hawaiian chain.

Two carrier forces meet in the pivotal battle of the war in the Pacific.

Four Japanese Fleet Carriers and three American Carriers. The fate of the near term, perhaps long term, war in the Pacific lies in the outcome of this battle.

"I feel we are all ready . . . . I actually believe that under these conditions we are the best in the world. My greatest hope I that we encounter a favorable tactical situation, but if we don't and the worst comes to the worst, I want each of us to do his utmost to destroy our enemies. If there is only one plane left to make a final run-in, I want that man to go in and get a hit. May God be with us all."

-- LCDR John C. Waldron, USN, Commanding Officer of USS HORNET's Torpedo Squadron 8, killed during Battle of Midway. Waldron's attack plan before the Battle of Midway, June 4, 1942. Morison, Vol. IV, p. 117.

CV- 8 USS Hornet
VF-8 (12 lost)
VB-8 (5 lost)
VS-8 (5 lost)
VT-8 -- 15 TBD, Lt. Cdr. John C. Waldron (Killed) (All lost)
Torpedo Eight lost all of her aircraft and only a single pilot survives.

CV-6 USS Enterprise
VF-6 (1 lost)
VB6 (11 lost)
VS-6 (9 lost)
VT-6 (11 lost)
Torpedo Six lost all but three aircraft and lost her commander.

CV-5 USS Yorktown (Sunk)
VF-3 (10 lost)
VB-3 (12 lost)
VS-3 (12 lost)
VT-3 (12 lost)
Torpedo Three lost all but one aircraft and lost her commander.

Marine Aircraft Group 22
VMF-221 (15 lost)
VMSB-241 (13 lost) including two commanders in one day
Detachment of 7th Army Air Force
B-26s, lost 2 or 4
B-17s lost 4 of 19

Experience is a quick, but brutal teacher.

The torpedo squadrons, first in, flying obsolescent TBDs using faulty tactics were decimated and did almost no damage. All three commanders lost their lives in the initial attack. While they did no significant damage to the Japanese force, they did tie up the Japanese and got them low while the dive bombers sank the four carriers.

We lost only Yorktown.

This was the turning point in the war. We had a plan to learn from each battle and fight a war of attrition, if needed. The Japanese did not. After our steep learning curve at Midway, we accelerated to Victory in the Pacific.

Our victory came at a tremendous cost, men like Waldron, Massey, Lindsey, Henderson and Norris gave their lives so we might be free, not safe.