"...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

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Major Victory - Pardon the Pun

I'm hesitant to bring up such a career oriented post, because I believe the focus on career should be the last thing to go through an officer's mind and should not weigh into the decisions we make. That being said, many younger officers from my previous command have witnessed my leadership style, and have heard the prognostications of careerists. The message is clear, challenging leadership and saying no, when no is the right answer, results in career destruction. These warnings are not without merit.

I made some powerful enemies in my previous assignment. I have previously blogged about a completely fabricated (and provably so) LOR given to me and a two-star insulted by my assessment of Air Force leadership under the fighter mafia. This reprimand was handed to me several months after being charged with "failing to signal a lane change," a charge later dismissed, so that the LOR entered into my Officer Selection Record (OSR) just in time to be considered by my next two promotion boards, including one that would determine if I would be able to continue in the service.

The leadership then cancelled my assignment to fly RPAs, an assignment I had volunteered for many months earlier and had already been matched to. An assignment few volunteer for. I was told by my functional that he was no longer handling my assignment, and that I had to talk to an O-6 in my chain of command. The O-6 told me I had only two choices, both ACC staff jobs including one to Tuscon, Arizona. Very nice location and my wife and I would have loved to have lived there. But it wasn't the mission the Air Force needed, it was not my command, and I insisted on my RPA assignment. I was ultimately given back my RPA assignment and I returned to my command. A command with a vital wartime mission that produces quality leadership as a result of doing things that truly matter.

Thanks to this leadership, my fabricated LOR was removed from my record before the board would decide if I was to be sent packing after more than fifteen years of service, or if I would be able to continue until twenty years and retire. Today I was offered this opportunity, and I accepted it. I will be able to continue to provide airpower to brave Americans who need it and to help shape the culture around me. If and when I retire, I will be able to convert a very generous retirement package into purely pro bono legal work to continue the fight against the unprincipled who are weakening this amazing country. Should I retire, I will never monetarily profit from my future legal career. Money will never factor into my principled decisions and I will take on clients based only on two questions...are they being truthful, and are they right.

I have posted this for the younger guys, who have wondered how it would turn out for me after the warnings from careerists. Factor my experience as you see fit. You can be principled and not only survive, but even prosper. Don't count on it. Don't expect it. Save your money, invest wisely and realize nothing is guaranteed. But know that it is certainly possible, especially when you serve in a superior community, led by superior leaders, that does superior things each and every day.

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