Skip to main content

Smoke doesn't always mean fire Part I

I'm not dead or anything




Man, it's been awhile huh?

The last time I published an article was in February. Why the long break? Well, it's complicated.

My last article was posted at about the 1 year anniversary of my retirement. I had moved to my forever home in my forever state and started a new job. The new job was helping low income and first generation [college] veterans enroll in undergraduate programs all across the great State of Maine.

It was the first time in I can't remember how long where my job produced essentially zero stress. More importantly, my entire job was to help veterans reach their goals. Something that I craved since my retirement.

I didn't know what this blog was when I first started it. Really, I just wanted to tell a story I had been holding for a long time. Then it gave me the opportunity to relay some of the lessons I learned through my career.

Eventually the stories seemed a little less relevant and moved into current Air Force and military events with my critique of toxic command climates, unsustainable maintenance readiness goals, and the as yet fully realized crisis with suicide in the service.

I had planned on starting a podcast and even went so far as to record the pilot episode. But, me sitting in a room ranting and raving wasn't an organic experience so I scrapped the solo project. I solicited a few of my military friends but none had the bandwidth to collaborate. So, it has since fallen by the wayside.

As time went on, and the longer I went without publishing the more guilt set in. Between my readiness and suicide pieces I felt I was a voice for the field. That I could elevate actual concerns to leadership. I received messages in support. The most gratifying were the messages where leadership teams actually looked at their processes and norms to make sure they weren't replicating toxic behaviors I had written about elsewhere. When I stopped writing I kind of felt the weight of not speaking on behalf of the field.

Now, I worry I am too removed from the field to be able to speak with accuracy. One of the many curses of being on the outside looking in. Next thing you know I'll be wearing ugly blue mesh hats and calling Senior Airmen Buck Sergeants.

So what's next?

Well, I started law school a few weeks ago. If you've read my long, winding, career ending post you probably aren't surprised. So now that I don't have nearly as much time to write I find myself wanting to do it more. Maybe it's because now writing here seems less stressful than before by comparison to my newfound daily stress in law school. I'll try to keep up.

I've been working on a First Sergeant piece for about 6 months. I really need to finish that or abandon it. I'll try and get it done soon.

Oh, one more thing. To all the Russian bots and trolls that visit my page everyday? Fuck you.

Until next time!






Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Air Force "Deep Dive" on Suicides Lands in the Shallow End

A year ago this week I wrote an article about what I believed was an impending and escalating suicide problem afflicting the Air Force. I was using my own military service, as well as information from my colleagues still serving, to piece together bits of information on suicides. In so doing I noticed a trend. But, before I get started a reminder: I am not an expert on mental health and nothing I say should be interpreted as medical advice.

As I wrote the article, more suicides were happening. I initially believed the issue was local to Holloman Air Force Base. However, as 2019 progressed it was clear this epidemic wasn't the exclusive domain of the 54th Fighter Group.

Prior to the Air Force announcing they had a suicide problem, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act[FOIA] request to the SecAF requesting all suicide metadata, to include Air Force Specialty Codes[AFSCs], or "job" data from 2009 to 2019. Three days after my request, the Air Force announced there was a …

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…

We failed to quantify quality Airmen

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a FOIA request I submitted in July 2019. The intent of the request was to bring clarity to the career fields impacted by the ongoing suicide epidemic in the Air Force. If you remember, the response was flaccid.

I went on to show how the current AF/A1 Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly was dishonest when he gave an interview in 2015 suggesting that critical career fields were somehow shielded from the Force Reduction measures, colloquially called "The Air Force Hunger Games."

But to simply say certain career fields were cut is insufficient to explain how the cuts were determined and, moreover, which discriminators were used. And for that, we need to go back a ways...

In early 2011 the Air Force had transferred many SSgts and TSgts from fighter maintenance to heavy aircraft in an effort to shore up their issues in the heavy world. In effect, robbing Peter to pay Paul. This left us with a slightly lopsided organization: thick in the SNCO ranks, thin in the mi…