Skip to main content

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.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The crisis in aircraft maintenance

Recently the Secretary of Defense James Mattis sent a memorandum to the service secretaries
directing certain fighter airframes meet a readiness standard of 80%. It's a good goal to set and I think it's achievable. However Mattis went on to direct this goal to be achieved by the end of FY19 [Oct 2019]. To reach this goal in a year will have catastrophic effects on the aircraft maintenance community.

First, fighter MC rates have been declining for more than a decade. There is a natural, inevitable decline as a fleet gets older.  On top of fleet age,
avionics upgrades increase system complexity in 4th generation airframes. Those upgrades, while useful for combat capability, also increase time spent in maintenance. Additionally, sequestration and the 'across the board' cuts to all budgets created a ripple effect manifested as a shortage of parts, experience, personnel and sorties.

It seems fairly evident that as operational funds dried up, money for parts went with it.…

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…

So what's with the 7 levels?

I recently asked in a Facebook post what are some subjects you the readers wanted me to write about. I received quite a few great suggestions, but one stood out as a topic that I haven't quite addressed and I believe its time is due: inexperienced 7 levels. [I will apologize in advance, this one has quite a bit of acronyms.]

Before I dive into the topic I think it's important to explain my own journey to a 7 level, and it goes all the way back to MEPS. You see, like many aspiring Airmen I didn't know what job I would get when I joined the Air Force; I came in open mechanical. Which to me seemed strange, because mechanical was my lowest ASVAB score. My recruiter assured me that my score would allow me many mechanical jobs to pick from. I tried to explain that the ASVAB was an aptitude test, and I should be selected for a job that matched my highest category. He seemed apathetic, obviously meeting his quota was his motivator, not me aligning my career to my aptitude.

To say…