11 November 2007 – The Chuck

The Allied powers signed a cease-fire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France on November 11, 1918, thus bringing World War I to a close. Between the wars, November 11 was remembered as Armistice Day in the United States, Great Britain, and France. After World War II, the holiday was recognized as a day of tribute to veterans of both world wars. Beginning in 1954, the United States designated November 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars.   So happy Veterans Day, ya’ll.

 Here’s a link to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs:

http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1411

Gordon Mansfield, the acting secretary of the VA urges all veterans to wear their decorations on this day.  It is a one-year old tradition of wearing the decorations on Veterans Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and “other patriotic holidays and events.” 

 Ironic that the Air Force culturally discourages officers from wearing their decorations . . . I have to admit that somewhere after 25 or so years of service, the decorations became more of a chore . . . and the VA encourages us to wear them after we retire.  I haven’t decided if I’ll do it or not . . . it might clash with my tweed herringbone jacket with the leather elbow pads.

 Speaking of the VA, I’m in the process of a congressional inquire into my status with the rating board.  They got tired of answering my emails, so I asked a congressman and couple of senators to see if they could find out something for me.  Today commemorates the 453rd day since the VA first apologized in writing to me for the delay.  At least it makes for interesting musing, I’ve written a short story for a contest, but I’m afraid that nobody will believe the plot is realistic . . . the VA can’t really take that long to review a claim.  First prize is $3000.  Writers write.

 Speaking of writing.  The Air Force Times has told me that my article, critical of General Newton’s report, will be in Monday’s edition.  Read it if you have a chance.  I have a problem believing that I’m the only person that noticed this.  I suspect the article will generate some discussion.

I’ve had a little trouble with the base hospital, the good part is that I’ve been referred to a specialist downtown.  The bad part is that she’s the only endocrinologist that takes Tricare and she’s booked until May.  I’m hoping she gets a cancellations before then, or at least can undo some of the trouble with the base provisions . . . at least I don’t have to worry about being DNIF . . .

 The Mist comes out on 21 November.  If you see me in the movie, you get a free post on this blog . . . or you can just post on the Blog either way.  It’s a Frank Durabont film based on the Steven King’s 1981 novella.  Folks are trapped in a small New England town when something wierd happens and a thick mist settles in over everything . . . the spooky part is that something is in the mist, and it’s not nice.  Here’s a link to more information about the making of the movie . . .

http://www.myspace.com:80/themistextras

My prayer for each of you is that you are encouraged by the celebrations and compliments you hear today.  I lift up each of you today my fellow veterans, my band of brothers.

 The Chuck

2 Responses to “11 November 2007 – The Chuck”

  1. Moe says:

    Good luck with the VA. I noticed when I was a young AF captain that the VA was on the verge of not living up to the expectations I had ‘post-military’ when I signed up in ’79.

    The Air Force Times (or AF Lies as I’ve come to know it) has become one of the trashy rags the likes of the other periodicals next to it at the BX checkout counter. Not sure how you are of Gen Newton, but the AFT has lowered itself on too many occaisions to provide one-sided sensationalism in spite of the truth to be considered a serious source of information. Not that I’m picky, I feel the same about every piece of print out there that resorts to sound bites because no one wants to take the time to read. I’m sure they’re biting at the bit to get a chance to publish comments derogatory to a standing general officer (who failed to identify that the lack of attention to detail by airmen was because of additional responsibilities supporting the war in Iraq) by a respected veteran.

    All being said, I think Gen Newton did a good job of protecting airmen involved, save the senior leadership. He referred to DOD policy and didn’t give terrorists any ideas regarding security ‘had this been a transfer of real weapons’, and ensured the situation is an isolated incident. Too many times under similar situation there are knee-jerk reactions where the whole command is punished. Head-rolling should be expected (to err is human, but to forgive is not SAC policy). It’s a bummer that the nav was called out, but that is not to say that he was the only culprit in the chain of events.

    I’m looking forward to seeing your comments. You may enlighten me to some negative aspects I overlooked regarding Gen Newton’s comments. Us ‘zoomies’ need to stick together 😉

  2. The Chuck says:

    I often feel as if the AF Times is running cover for the military, strange how people can read the same thing and have a different take on it. Of course, my columns tend to be critical of a system that could be better, and I usually place credit for failure on the folks in charge.

    It’s easy to give the Air Force a “by” when a Colonel or a General does something that is stupid, immoral, or illegal — and just blame the person. However that ‘person’ was promoted by a system where they were sponsored, groomed, and pulled up and into by senior leadership in order to replicate themselves.

    Even an OG/CC, when he talks and makes decisions he is speaking for not only the Wing/CC but also the Numbered AF/CC, the MAJCOM/CC, and the CSAF. The first senior leadership position you find above a Squadron CC that is not part of the network/beast is the SECAF. That person is up against a colony of like-minded senior officers, because they’ve all been groomed by the same system.

    When you say that Gen Newton did a good job of protecting the airmen involved, your spin on the situation is completely different from mine.

    The priorities of the Bent Spear investigation should never be to “protect” anyone. At least not in the top four, which are:

    1. Ensure all nuclear weapons in the inventory are safe, secure, and ready for immediate employment against the enemies of America when the NCA so decides to use them.

    2. Ensure the forces entrusted with them are organized, trained, and equipped to make priority 1 a reality.

    3. Convince our enemies that priorities 1 and 2 are reality, thus deterring them from attempting behavior that is unacceptable to our NCA.

    4. Restore/ensure the trust of the American people that priorities 1, 2, and 3 are a reality.

    The excuse that a ‘respected veteran’ failed to secure nuclear weapons because they were distracted by a war elsewhere is a charge of incompetence in fulfilling priority number 2.

    The search for who is responsibile for the incompetence must travel upwards to a level of command where something was possible to be done to prevent the errosion in the first place.

    Firing Col Emig et al in this case is like a metaphor of an aircraft carrier running aground while the Skipper is fast asleep, then firing the mid-shift watch office and few of his subordinates.

    The ‘aircraft carrier’ analogy was used to the troops at Barksdale to explain why their OG and his deputy was being fired. It is metaphorically immoral to used such reasoning when the ‘aircraft carrier’ that ran aground was not Minot AFB, it was something bigger.

    What that ’something’ is, is something for the SECAF or the DOD to discover. I suspect most, if not all, of the BOB Blog writers have an opinion on this.

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