"...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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Patriotism, Moral Courage & Loyalty - Edward Snowden

I think Daniel Ellsberg got it exactly right when he said recently of Edward Snowden:

Either way, nothing excuses Kerry's slanderous and despicable characterizations of a young man who, in my opinion, has done more than anyone in or out of government in this century to demonstrate his patriotism, moral courage and loyalty to the oath of office the three of us swore: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

The truth becomes treason in an empire of lies, it is said.  And such an empire does not like those who speak the truth, in order to expose the lies.

Fortunately, many Americans are not buying the peddled nonsense.

Edward Snowden is a hero and a great American.

Friday, May 30, 2014

JQP is Right - It's an AFPC Bait & Switch

I've seen it in the trenches.  It's a little too common a story.  VSP applicants, encouraged to "take one for the team" and get out of service early for a little bit of money, have been (in my experience) getting orders to deploy not long after their applications.

Despite my very serious reservations about John Q. Public, when he is right, he is right.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Finally, a One on One Debate with Tony Carr


It started with a post over on the Martial Matters facebook page about Tony's choice to use a picture of Colonel John Boyd as his facebook avatar.  Tony responded and with some serious vigor.

I want to thank Tony Carr for the John Q. Public discussion, which he chose not to engage in previously after promising we would have such a public debate.  The insults and the barbs are not a problem, I am quite secure in my position and in my character, and what matters to me is a dialogue.

Having a thick skin is actually very important in my book, and not simply by claiming you have one.  Much like supporting and defending the Constitution is not achieved simply by mumbling some words.

It was interesting to be called a traitor to my nation by retired Lt Col Carr, even if his definition of traitor resembled nothing of the actual meaning of treason and was simply an insult in a rubber-gluck-stick-to-you kind of way.  He knows better than to the lob that description at me.  He knows better than most, but he doesn't let that stop his attempts to insult.

It was an interesting conversation where Tony said he did not know whether or not it would be illegal for Congress to pass a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion, a theme he has championed previously as he remarked that our Constitution contains no rights that are "inviolate."  Still, he seems to be either coming around in an awkward clunky kind of way, or he's just throwing out differing and inconsistent opinions.

At any rate, communication and dialogue (rather than censoring and banning and avoiding conversation) is the most important part of the discussion of ideas.  It does require a thick skin.  Just like in a crew aircraft, the important thing is that crewmembers get the message out.  It doesn't have to be polished, or polite although that is a useful skill.  It has to get out and in a timely fashion.  It's up to the aircraft commander, the decision maker, to evaluate the comments for truth while allowing the venom not to sting (saving it for the debrief), to find and utilize what truth might be there for the sake of mission accomplishment while above terra firma.  That takes security and an openness for disagreement.

I'm glad to see Tony Carr engage on my public Facebook page.

The Air Power Dam Has Burst

Good for the many aviators wanting to get out, but a bad day for air power projection.  News of Voluntary Separation Pay (VSP) approvals is sweeping across squadrons as a great many pilots are being paid to leave the Air Force early.  I'm happy for these guys, but this is going to take a very real toll on our service as hundreds of millions of dollars in training floods out of our Air Force.

I feel bad for the commanders who will have to try to pick up the pieces.  Interesting times we live in.

Monday, May 19, 2014

United States of Secrets

The new PBS Frontline documentary, United States of Secrets, is available in two parts for free online.  It should be required viewing for every military officer.  It is an excellent look at the unconstitutional law breaking that a military officer may very well be ordered to engage in.  General Michael Hayden provides a perfect example of a politician who wears a uniform but is the antithesis of a military officer or public servant, who is more than willing to violate his oath of office and hurt the American people solely to please his boss and serve his own ambitions.

This documentary provides an excellent look into what oath breaking politicians masquerading as military officers look like.  Every military officer should watch this outstanding documentary.

Monday, May 12, 2014

POTUS Nominates Traitor to the First Circuit

Senator Rand Paul wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times yesterday, where he expressed concerns over "David J. Barron, a Harvard law professor and a former acting assistant attorney general," who apparently wrote legal memos while working for the DOJ in support of assassinating Americans without charge or trial away from a battlefield.

Senator Paul brings up the most important topic in American history, and yet a topic that nobody really wants to discuss.

I think it is important to note that David J. Barron is, quite literally, a traitor to the United States if he did in fact support the assassination of American citizens using drones.

Our Constitution in Article III defines treason as:
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."
What are American citizens, but those who created the States, the people of those States.  Levying war against the States means levying war against the People.  Is it war on the People when you target and kill just one?  How about a couple?  What about just Americans in one town, or State?  Or just Americans of a certain viewpoint?

Signing a legal memo to justify using a weapon of warfare...let me repeat that, a weapon of war employing air to ground missiles and laser guided bombs, against the People, one or many, is a textbook definition of treason.

David J. Barron is an enemy of the American people.

It is amazing how far this nation has fallen, where the most paradigmatic anti-American act of treason is shrugged off by the populace.  But it is what it is.  I read the other day that those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, while those who do are doomed to watch those around them repeat it.  And so it goes.

And we will most certainly repeat it.  We are 1930s Germany at this very moment in time, and once our judiciary gets filled with the likes of Ernest Janning, and our benches are populated with traitors the likes of Barron, who cheerlead for unchecked and unconstitutional government power at every turn (including the most frightening fascist example, as in the case of assassination), then there will be no hope left for the American people.

The experiment will have run its course.  This isn't hyperbole.  This is our reality.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Reflections & Gratitude

Recently an enlisted troop wrote a letter to the Air Force Times, Why I Won't Re-enlist.  It kicked off some discussion, and it was well written and valuable.  A retired Command CMSgt then wrote an article in response to the Air Force Times, Why He Can't Re-enlist.  That kicked off further discussion.  The Chief's article had some merit to it, but took some real liberties in its negative characterization of the first writer in order to make its points.  Straw man or not, he did bring up a good point about service and benefits.  Got me thinking about the ability to serve, and collecting benefits, and I realized how incredibly fortunate I have been in my career on both accounts.

Today as I was flying 300 miles an hour across a sea of cotton ball clouds that extended as far as the eye could see, I thought to myself, "Damn, life is good."  I know that's not the case for every airman who serves, and I certainly know it hasn't always been rainbows and gummy bears even for me.  I bear the scars to prove it.  But like any hard fought and survived episode, even the scars are highly rewarding.  They are scars of service and they come with some pretty awesome bar stories.  Real service is very rewarding, but it often comes with a price.

After I landed earlier today from my sortie, I started to ponder how wonderful life is for me even after eighteen years in the military.  It's still damn fun!  Last week I flew a low level over some terrain and then popped into an airfield where I screamed up initial in my aircraft, broke at the approach end of the runway, threw out the speed brake, gear down, flaps, and made a nice tight tactical three hundred and sixty degree turn to a beautiful touch and go.  Then off I went, after no doubt making some civilian kids and pilots at the airfield think, "cool!"  My career has mostly been fun and rewarding.  There is only one assignment I have had that suffered from horrible leadership, that wasn't salvaged by jumping in a flying machine.  Even that assignment was highly rewarding, though, because I took it upon myself to serve.  Scars.  Bar stories.

When I look back upon my entire life, the reality is that the Air Force has been amazing to me from day one.  The taxpayer has been generous to me.  I've had more than my share of fist fights and a few knife fights, but it has been a glorious ride all the same.  I am reminded of my old man voicing gratitude for everything the military had provided him; the opportunity to work hard and be rewarded for it.  But his hard work didn't benefit him alone, it also benefited me.  As a kid I received a world class real-life education as a dependent, lived around the world, and I had the benefit of an education that many kids aren't fortunate enough to get.  I also had the benefit of role models as I interacted with the military people in my world.  Our attitudes don't just shape those around us, they also shape the next generation of potential airmen.

That is something for us all to remember, regardless of where we are at in this organization, and regardless of what we think about the importance or insanity of mustache regulations.

The Air Force later funded much of a quality college education and then, of course, allowed me to commission and to fly phenomenal aircraft.  It allowed me to achieve a dream, and did so while paying me well.  I was able to visit many countries, and I was even able to kill quite a few who needed killing while visiting some of them.  And I was able to save American lives.  All very rewarding work.  I got to fly a variety of aircraft from nimble jets with ejection seats, to larger crew aircraft made for globe hopping.

The Air Force also introduced me to my wife, the most exceptional person I have ever met.  When I say that, please note that I don't mean that in the typical "my wife is so amazing" way most people say it.  I mean that she is truly amazing.  After ten years of marriage we have shared combat together overseas, and we have shared other battles for America here at home.  And we both continue to serve while wearing the Air Force uniform.

But there are also the benefits, including those the Chief asserts the first article writer was solely interested in.  The Air Force has been great in that arena, too, but of course as an officer I am much better paid than most of our enlisted folks.  The Air Force has allowed me to live cheaply, and comfortably, and to invest wisely.  Now, with two years left before collecting a generous pension for life, and with no debt, and with multiple paid off properties and other assets, my wife and and I get to spend those final two years on the beaches of Florida where we first met.  Me spending my days flying bad ass machines over the beach, and her working on her high powered corporate litigation.

The chance to serve, and the benefits received, have been very rewarding.  And now we are so very close to realizing an incredible life that most in this world will sadly never get to experience.

All made possible by the taxpayer funded United States Air Force.

But, in order to ensure our service continues to invoke such positive memories and gratitude from its airmen, we must ensure that it does not fail as an institution, and we must ensure that our leadership cares about service and people.  Mission and people. All of us in the trenches must call the baby ugly and take service oriented risks that may put our careers on the line, just as combat requires we put our lives on the line.  Service is important.  But if those below don't see those above actually serving... there is little chance they will do anything but look out for themselves and cast service aside.

Or perhaps they will serve anyway, despite those from above.  That causes friction.  It causes scarring.  Scars are evidence of service.