Skip to main content

Smoke doesn't always mean fire Part I

This is the first post in the long final story that I will tell from my career in the Air Force. All the other stories up to this point were told so you, the reader, could understand how I was guided in my career to be prepared for the moment in this story.

The main character in this story has had his name changed to protect his identity as he is still active duty. He has given me permission [read:excitedly asked when I will write this] to tell this story.

In the summer of 2015 I was the specialist section chief in the 311th AMU at Holloman AFB. We had a few new arrivals to the section. Most of them were new avionics airmen, which we desperately needed. However, we did have an E&E SrA arrive who had a line number for Staff Sergeant. His name was SrA Tyler Perkie. He was respectful, polite and hard working. It was rare to not see him covered in aircraft filth, which is quite the compliment for the working sector of the Air Force. He was tireless at the job and his positive attitud…

Why this blog?


Last Saturday I posted a factual account of an incident that I believed was unethical treatment by a commander against personnel I was responsible for.

I removed the blog because I was concerned the information would pile onto someone who could be already stressed the their limits. I  wasn't willing to kick someone while they are down. I might re-post it in the future, but some names might be removed or changed. I haven't decided yet.

However, that decision led me to a greater discussion with my significant other about what exactly is the purpose of this blog.

So let me start by explaining what it is, and why I am doing it. I'd also like to address things I don't want this blog to be. More on that later.

This blog is a weekly [so far, I might run out of stories] event where I tell a story from my career. I try to explain it as objectively as possible but I might include some humor or take a shot and people here or there [assume I'll take a shot at Fraley whenever I can]. In these stories I will explain my reasoning or moral dilemma and what I did to resolve it.

My hope is that decisions I've made that were difficult will provide someone else a frame of reference if they find themselves in a similar situation. It may be 'he really screwed that up' or 'he should've handled it more low-key', or it could be 'I understand why this is important, and I've seen what will happen if I stick to my guns.'

The reason these stories couldn't be told until now is that I lacked the freedom to tell them candidly. Being under the scrutiny of the military precluded me from being forthright.

My career has been rocky over the years. But never worse than my last 3 spent at Holloman. I imagine many wondered what happened? I see this blog as a chance to fill-in the gaps for those that saw my chaotic duty title changes, especially in the last 2 years.

It's not going to be all doom and gloom or shit talking. I plan to write about the positive influences I've experienced.

If anything this will give my kids an idea of what I was going through when I was at work or in another state. A poor man's shitty memoir as it were.

What I don't want is a virtue signalling ego stroke. It's difficult to articulate how I came to decisions in these moral scenarios without virtue signalling. The best I can do is objectively explain why I chose a path and hope I'm not too full of myself.

I've allowed anonymous comments on all of my blogs. If you would like to discuss or counter any points I've made in the blog absolutely feel free. I've never been afraid of a good discussion.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Suicide is the symptom.

I want to preface this article by saying 'I am just an F-16 crew chief.' I do not have any medical training and all of these opinions are just that, opinions. I believe we have a suicide problem in the Air Force, and in aircraft maintenance in particular. Part of the problem is data is very hard to come by.  There is some data, and it even goes so far as to break down the determined method. However, the data is meta-data at best and doesn't explain all the nuances of each situation.

But the data to the right here is quite alarming. Almost half of all deaths [69 of 151] in the Air Force from August 2016 to August 2017 was caused by a self-inflicted injury. [Raise your hand if you just learned that half of the people that die in the Air Force committed suicide]

What prompted me to write about this subject now is that there have been two suicides in the same Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base in the last month. I don't have any details on the motiva…

What we are doing about the crisis in aircraft maintenance

A few months ago I took a slight detour from my normal blog posts to address a mandate from the Secretary of Defense[SECDEF], James Mattis.

In that mandate, SECDEF directed F-16, F-35, F-22 and F-18s to achieve a ready state of 80%. Translated for aviators and maintainers, that's an 80% MC rate. No easy feat, however an attainable and pragmatic goal given proper resources and time. SECDEF directed compliance with the readiness standard by the end of FY19 [October 2019]. Like many, I believed that timeline would translate to an unbearable work environment for the average aircraft maintainer.

I was wrong... and right.

What I learned from countless conversations and interviews from front line supervisors in the field was surprising.

I discovered that in a small amount of units, leadership was largely ignoring the mandate. Weekend duty and long shifts were still driven by the same schedule demand as before the mandate. However, there didn't appear to be any stat chasing. I believ…

When you meet a good leader you know it Part VI

In the beginning of this blog I tried to balance between stories of toxic leaders and stories of leaders that had made a positive impact on my career. Recently I've moved away from that balance to tell the long story that ended my career, and to address topics that were bothering me about the maintenance community or that I thought would have a catastrophic impact on maintenance. But it's time to bring some balance back to the blog.

In 2013 I was working in the 308th Aircraft Maintenance Unit at Luke Air Force Base. We had just climbed out of a maintenance death spiral and were moving in a good direction. I had a fantastic AMU Chief and a smart and hardworking AMU OIC.

Our Lead Production Superintendent was retiring, and they were bringing in a SMSgt I had never heard of before. Like our Chief, he was a PCS transplant, not a manning move from within MXG.

Most of the Lead Pro Supers I had known in my career were in varying states of stress. The jets were never cooperating, the…