Posted by Lex, on July 18, 2008
We used to joke back in the day about the difference between the Navy and the Air Force. It’s the little things that give it away. The oak paneled flight planning rooms that were decorated better than Navy officer’s clubs. The “step van” that would pick you up at transient alert and carry you all 50 yards to flight planning. The 36-hole golf courses that were completed before the airstrip got laid in. The “inadequate quarters” stamps that the USAF guys insisted on for their TAD orders that excused them from Army quarters to put them out in the Hilton in town.
The USAF pilots of my acquaintance would laugh and say, well: you guys have to buy ships. Like that was a vice or something. Like we had $6 billion burning a hole in our pockets after a three-day bender in Vegas and decided to burn it on an aircraft carrier.
It was easy to say that back in the day. Back before the junior service mangled acquisition programs left, right and center. Back before the Thunderbirds skipped all those inconvenient regulations. Back before they let nukes fly around the country uaccounted for. Back before they heard SecDef say, “More UAVs please” * and answered, “Meh.”
Back before the service’s secretary and chief of staff were sacked and asked in no uncertain terms to make room for the next pair.
Because, not for nothing? But talk about a service that – at least at the top levels – just doesn’t get it?
The boys in (lighter) blue just can’t be beat:
The Air Force’s top leadership sought for three years to spend counterterrorism funds on “comfort capsules” to be installed on military planes that ferry senior officers and civilian leaders around the world, with at least four top generals involved in design details such as the color of the capsules’ carpet and leather chairs, according to internal e-mails and budget documents.
Make no mistake, there are hard core warriors flying in fighter, bomber and support cockpits all throughout the US Air Force. They’re second to none in combat, hard men and women that I’d want on my team in a scrape and shudder to stand against if it came to it. But there’s a cool corporate culture that grows stronger and more self-absorbed the further you get from the flight line.
Color it “Enron Entitlement” in air force blue.
** New link added 03/18/18 – Ed.