[[ Picture above: George Byers, Jr. – Top Gun before there were Top Guns ]]
It took a FoxNews story for the Department of the Navy to check into grave safety issues encountered by pilots, you know, because it’s not about pilot safety, nor about military readiness, but about image, perception, looking good even while purposely (=intransigently ignoring problems) running our military literally into the ground with crash after crash. It’s not the first time.
But let’s go back some decades when my dad, after his illustrious career as commander of the famed Checkerboard squadron, after ten years of fighter attack sorties in Guam, Philippines, Japan, China and Korea, after many years more at Andrews AFB training the guys while doing his law studies at Georgetown, went to train the guys with the new jets at Chicago’s civil-military airport freshly named after another commander-pilot, Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare, all this under the larger umbrella of the Department of the Navy.
My dad up and quit in protest against protracted government intransigence regarding, as always, lack of funding for the training programs. He told me he went ahead and took a cut in rank and pay and then joined the National Guard (unable to cut himself away from the military), because he couldn’t take so many of his trainee pilots dying while he was training them in. The problem in this case, he said, was that funding to conduct training flights was cut out from under them, enabling them to do only sporadic flights, and this just as the new jets were getting quicker. This is always the problem. He said that his guys were smashing their planes right into the ground because they couldn’t handle flying by the instinct gained only with a high frequency of training flights. Instead of instinct, they thought their way through a maneuver, thinking themselves right into the grave. He said that staging this protest was the honorable thing to do as he brought me as a tiny little kid into the NG Armory in Saint Cloud, MN., or up to Camp Ripley. Just before that he would be taking the shingles off the roof with his Corsair, making my heart thrill, often still going down to Chicago, but more frequently to the Twin Cities at the airport named after World War I pilots Ernest Wold and Cyrus Chamberlain.
If we don’t learn from history, we’re bound to repeat it. And here we go again. The top brass are full of tender snowflake “fluff speak” when speaking in public even while “discussions” and “conversations” with the pilots are extremely heated behind closed doors. This is insanity. You either have a military at the ready or you surrender to whoever wants the country. We need to drain the swamp as a first step, and then fund the military with those interested spending the money on readiness.
I’ll tell you this, the tender snowflake “fluff speak” about “discussions” and “conversations” of our top brass in our military and the top brass in our intel services is sickening. I’m getting to think it is tantamount to treason, purposely subverting the readiness of the military while arrogantly upholding their “honor” and “integrity.” As soon as you are complacent with honor and integrity or are only concerned with the perception of those things, you not only don’t have them anymore, but try to punish those who are honorable and full of integrity.
We need to drain the swamp as a first step, and then fund the military with those interested spending the money on readiness.