"...do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic..."

"For the good of the Air Force, for the good of the armed services and for the good of our country, I urge you to reject convention and careerism..."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Maxwell AFB, April 21, 2008

"You will need to challenge conventional wisdom and call things like you see them to subordinates and superiors alike."
- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, United States Air Force Academy, March 4, 2011

Monday, September 27, 2010

RPA as a Cultural Melting Pot

I haven't posted much lately and I imagine that trend will continue. I've got a lot on my plate after moving to my new assignment. I've been learning to employ a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and I'm extremely happy to be doing so.

I'm also enjoying talking with some of the others in my training, and especially the air-to-air fighter pilots. I have been pleasantly surprised. I have a bias and anybody who knows me is fully aware of it, whether they want to be or not. Thankfully, a small handful from the air superiority business have failed to live up to my stereotype. We've had some great discussions. In one, a peer from the F-15C world took issue with my portrayal and he educated me on some areas that I have perhaps oversimplified. I still need to verify his assertions, but he made a great case that challenged my viewpoint. Even if the picture he paints is valid, my view of the role of airpower and our current challenges remains intact. But, if his view is accurate, then I have been too strong in some of my criticisms of his former community. I'm being vague intentionally.

My recent discussions have strengthened my understanding that we live in a complicated world and have many serious challenges. I'm enjoying this opportunity to have such conversation with people who disagree with me and who may hold a piece of the puzzle I'm unaware of. One source of huge potential value in my new RPA community is the melting pot of two worlds, conventional and non-conventional. While I'm protective of the culture of the non-conventional community from which I come, I'm very happy to see this interface. I love having my views challenged, and I'll gladly eat some crow to walk away with a better picture. The blend of cultures being experienced in the RPA world today has great potential to strengthen our ability to provide airpower in our complicated and dangerous world.

I'm also thankful for the civilian leadership we have enjoyed for the last several years, and I'm nervous about it changing. The 20 September issue of Newsweek has a great cover story on our Secretary of Defense, who isn't expected to stay in the job for more than a year longer. His leadership has been outstanding and the nation is fortunate to have him in office.

Friday, September 24, 2010

T-6 Crashes at Laughlin AFB in Del Rio, TX

Surfing the net today and saw that a T-6A crashed on a routine AETC student pilot training flight with an instructor and student. Thankfully both ejected safely and are apparently doing well according to news stories I have read. I'm very glad that is the case. Having just left Laughlin AFB and this particular squadron, I know several of the instructors and the hard work they put into doing a very demanding job. And the students are known to put in some long days too. I'm glad all involved are safe.

I'll end my post here.

Edit: The Air Force has released the results of the public Accident Investigation Board. The loss of the five million dollar aircraft was the result of the instructor pilot inadvertently shutting the engine off during a formation rejoin. The instructor then incorrectly attempted a procedure to restart the engine which damaged the engine. Read more here: http://www.laughlin.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123245117