Category Archives: USAF

Fighting the last war

By lex, on August 31st, 2007

The 60′s era USAF “fighter mafia” is apparently in a lather over the F-22, and being enabled in their anger by the kinds of people who tend to think that any new military acquisition program is inherently wasteful *:

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“High tech gear”

By lex, on April 26th, 2006

Jut-jawed USAF pilot plays cameo role in “Pimp my ride” *

High Tech Gear

A fire crew had to cut open the canopy of a US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor fighter with chainsaws on 10 April to free the pilot, who had been trapped inside for 5h.

The Raptor stealth fighter, heralded as the most technologically-advanced fighter in the world, entered service in January after 19 years of development. Each jet costs around $134 million per unit.

The canopy became stuck in the down and locked position and could not be opened manually after the pilot cycled the mechanism several times, following a pre-flight warning that the canopy was unlocked.

Bummer, I guess. But probably less embarrassing than the poor guy who got to star in this movie.


(And thanks to alert reader Jason for the tip).

Similar thing happened to the visiting XO of an adversary squadron when I was down in Key West – he and his baggage were stuck in a two-seat TF-16N in the broiling summer sun for a cuppla, before he threatened to blow the lid off. We towed him into the hangar, where – it being in the shade – it was only 90 degrees. A bad day to be them.

We eventually had to cut them out too, but managed to do so through the skin of the jet, reaching a failed lock-down mechanism. Turned out to be much cheaper than blowing the canopy. Even on a jet that only cost $9mil

* 07-13-2018 Links Gone; no replacements found – Ed.

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By lex, on Mon – August 23, 2004


Just when you think that the well has run dry, when you’ve told your last sea story, something comes along to remind you:

There is no end to tales of the sea.

Jonboy, an occasional correspondent from the bidness, sent along this tale, which I share with you free of charge! And grateful for the inspiration. It has unlocked a trove of tales that I will parcel out in due time.

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Posted by lex, on February 15th, 2012

bit of a twist on the usual relationship between USAF and Navy, when it comes to UASs:

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What The Panel Wants

Posted by lex, on March 18th, 2011

A congressional commission wants a US military that “looks like America“:

Just as the U.S. military is indoctrinating troops to accept open gays in their ranks, a federal commission is pressing the Pentagon to make the force more diverse by, among other ideas, opening infantry and armor units to women…

The commission says it wants the military to resemble the ethnic makeup of America. It is urging the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force to “validate” the standards – such as education, test scores, criminal records and drug use – that disqualify large numbers of blacks and Hispanics.

“Racial/ethnic minorities are less likely to meet eligibility requirements than are non-Hispanic whites, and that gap is widening,” the report says.

The commission said women should be allowed into male-only land combat units to “create a level playing field” in promotions “for all service members who meet the qualifications.”

I’m sort of confused which comes first: Do we eliminate the qualification standards before we promote by  grievance group, quota, or vice versa?

Because if our first priority is to be a federal jobs program rather than fight and win the nation’s wars, it’s terribly important that we get the sequencing right.

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Four Years in a Silo

Posted by Lex, on January 16, 2011


Noonan writes in Wired about his time as a missileer:

During a typical four-year tour, missileers spend more than a year separated from their families and work an average of 25 days a month on alert or in training. In the good old days, the oncoming alert force would show up at 0800 for a five-minute pre-deployment briefing. Thanks to Microsoft’s growing influence in the U.S. military, that five-minute weather and maintenance brief has ballooned into an hour-long PowerPoint extravaganza.

“Alerts” are something of a misnomer, another cultural handle better suited the Cold War. Two officers seal themselves behind a 4-ton blast door, in a small capsule similar in size to an 18-wheeler’s freight rig, for a 24-hour period. Remaining alert is the real challenge.

I’ve spent long, quiet hours with lights dimmed — reading, monitoring the status of the missiles, watching DVDs (Lost and Entourage were favorites), and fighting a growing sense of boredom, containment and isolation.

As I recall, the two on-duty missileers are each armed with a government issue sidearm. Since there’s nobody down there but the two man crew, safely protected by a blast hatch, the weapon could only be intended for the other watchstander.

You’ve got to wonder what that did for team-building.


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The Magnificent Seven

Posted By lex, on January 5th, 2011

Danger Room charts the rocks and shoals of some spectacular career-enders:

Commit this to memory, you valiant souls who put yourselves in harm’s way for your country: Do not film yourself making lewd remarks. Do not mouth off about your superiors with reporters present. Do not rage against the bureaucracy, do not humiliate the men and women under your command, and above all else, do not have sex with people you work with.

Navy Capt. Owen Honors was the latest military officer to learn these lessons, after his amateur blue-comedy vids cost him his command of the U.S.S. Enterprise yesterday. But chances are he won’t be the last. In the new issue of Proceedings, retired Capt. Kevin Eyer writes about the rise of a post-Cold War “zero-defects mentality” that strips officers of their commands for infractions unrelated to the accomplishment of their missions. He’s talking specifically about the Navy — which is more strict than other services about relieving officers — but that doesn’t mean officers from the Army, Marines or Air Force are safe from the phenomenon. The important thing is not to sabotage yourself…

Here’s our guide to seven of the stupidest, most boneheaded, most defeat-from-the-jaws-of-victory unforced errors that have cost officers their jobs.

See the whole list at the link.

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