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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…

When appearance matters more than reading comprehension



Last week we examined an email  sent by the 31st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron[AMXS] superintendent to his AMU leadership. Within that email he tried to frame the appearance of personnel on a shaving waiver as some sort of medical disqualifier for military service.

I specifically highlighted the 31st AMXS commander because I wanted him to know what was going on under his nose and in his house. I believed that the squadron Chief CMSgt Ruuti was operating well outside acceptable boundaries and his commander had a right to know.

The good news: The commander addressed the issue with all the personnel in his squadron on shaving waivers.

The bad news: He didn't address the [not-so]veiled threats made by his AMXS Superintendent to kick people out of the Air Force for the sin of having different texture facial hair.

Now it could be my shitty writing, however I thought I was pretty explicit in my commentary that the issue was not 36-2903 compliance it was the fact that Chief Ruuti was threatening to push for medical evaluation boards for anyone that persisted on a shaving waiver.

How the AMXS commander misconstrued what the issue was, is beyond my comprehension.

From what I gather Lt Col Godwin and Chief Ruuti have thoroughly circled their wagons and won't be making any more statements about this subject. It's a pretty typical process and I don't necessarily blame them for doing it.

I would only ask two things:

1. Lt Col Godwin please read the email your superintendent sent and understand exactly what he was threatening to do, under your command [and really in your name].

2. If you are a member of the 31st AMXS please let me know if anyone initiates a MEB due to your appearance, as I will be perfectly happy to open this wound up again.

Next week we will return to our regularly scheduled programming.


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