NG/AF Rivalry in Ohio

| December 18, 2013 | 16 Comments

Since we’re hating on Big Air Force this week for rationalizing dumping the A-10, let’s hate on them a little longer for more stupid shit from the Washington Post;

After spending almost $600 million to buy a tiny fleet of the planes over the past six years, stationing them in Mansfield and at two other National Guard bases, the Air Force flew all of them to a junkyard earlier this year. Five more planes, which the Pentagon already has paid for, will be mothballed as soon as they are built.

To Air Force leaders, it was all about economics. They deemed the small planes less efficient than larger, more commonly used transport aircraft.

To National Guard leaders in Ohio, how­ever, it was all about politics. The decision to get rid of perfectly good planes, they argue, was driven by a desire among active-duty Air Force leaders to shift the burden of budget cuts onto the National Guard.

With no planes at the Mansfield base, the Pentagon would no longer pay for it — or the jobs there. Local leaders howled, and the state’s congressional delegation confronted the Air Force. The ensuing battle, which escalated into an intense political dogfight in Washington, was an opening skirmish in what many federal and state officials predict will be the next big clash over defense spending.

Haven’t we been hearing about how the National Guard and the Reserves are going to play a bigger role in the near future as the Pentagon draws down the active force? And, in the meantime, they’re spending money on aircraft that will be mothballed as it rolls off the assembly line. Yeah, I understand that contracts must be filled, but still, someone should have seen this coming six years ago and maybe not ordered the planes that they don’t really want.

As shrinking budgets force the military to thin its ranks, many active-duty leaders, seeking to protect their ilk, want the pain to fall disproportionately on National Guard and reserve forces.

I’m starting to get the feeling that someone in Washington doesn’t know what they’re doing. It looks like by the time the active force gets drawn down, there will be no National Guard or Reserve units left to fill their gaps.

Category: Air Force, National Guard, Reserve Issues

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  1. O-4E says:

    This is none of many reasons the Guard fought for and got a seat on the JCS. To help mitigate this sort of BS.

  2. Sparks says:

    Makes perfect sense to me! Perfect Washington DC, POTUS, DoD, Congressional sense that is. Let’s draw down active forces AND at the same time draw down reserves and the national guard. That ought to leave us in a good position for the next Afghanistan or Iraq. Hell I see the movie, “Red Dawn”, coming for real. Of course the next war, in Washington thinking, will be the all high tech drones and no boots kind. Just like it is in Afghanistan now, right. If this weren’t so detrimental to our nation’s current and future ability to defend itself, I would think it was just laughable politics. Unfortunately, it is just the opposite, it is a seriously deadly condition to put us in.

  3. Pave Low John says:

    As a guy who flew helicopters in the AF for 20 years, I defy anyone to hate Big Blue more than I do these days. If they disbanded the USAF and had a yard sale for the other three branches of the DoD, I’d probably show up with a keg and a lawn chair so I could watch and laugh.

    If you think the AF hates A-10s, you ought to see how they’ve treated their rotary-wing units the last three decades. I had three units closed right underneath me and watched my last unit get rid of its rotary-wing mission after listening to every general in AFSOC lie like a rug for 6 years about how crucial we were to national security.

    Seriously, just close the Air Force, it lost its way a long time ago and it just gets worse every passing year….

  4. “I’m starting to get the feeling that someone in Washington doesn’t know what they’re doing.”
    Only just starting?
    I became old enough to vote in 1961, and at that time began trying to learn all I could about the workings of Local, State, and Federal government. It is worse today, but by no means new to find this kind of idiocy. 30 years ago it was cutting some essentials but leaving the funding in that paid to study the sexlife of the seagull.

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    ‘I’m starting to get the feeling that someone in Washington doesn’t know what they’re doing.’ – JL

    Starting? OH, gee, with all the boondoggles and silly, stupid things that keep cropping up, truth is stranger than fiction – always has been – and I’m just waiting for someone to say ‘we no longer need a military of any kind’.

    I’m as serious as cancer about that. If I weren’t, I wouldn’t satirize it.

  6. O-4E says:

    @3 Pave Low

    Funny story. I was out at Kirtland on TDY (I’m Army) back in probably 2004 or so. Anyways I was at the O’club one evening when in walks two AF Colonels in flight suits.

    Started talking and they, as it turned out, were the two most senior rotary wing pilots in the USAF (or so they told me)

    One was the Commander of the AFSOC rotary wing unit there at Kirtland and the other was his buddy who had just taken command of the VIP Squadron in DC. He was there to get “re-certified” to operate the UH-1.

    They laughed when I asked, seeing as how he was a Colonel, hadn’t he flown the UH-1 before? Of course he had it had just been a while.

    So I asked them how they, as rotary wing pilots, stacked up in the USAF. Once again they laughed…

    “Captain..it is something like this…

    At the very top sits the fighter jocks, then the bomber guys, then the transport guys, then the UAV guys, then the guys that fly weather balloons, then a kid with paper airplanes and at the bottom of that pile we sit.”

    Your story brought that memory back to me. Sorry if I murdered any USAF terminology.

  7. Pave Low John says:

    @6 O-4E

    You must have just missed me, I was an instructor at Kirtland 2000-2004. That O-6 was probably Col. Walls, he was (and still is, far as I know) a fine officer and a great pilot. And he was absolutely dead-on with that rank ordering of who is important in the Air Force. A-10 pilots only think they have it bad, they never had to deal with the bullshit helo guys had to put up with (by the way, AFSOC got rid of all their helicopters, I was one of the last AFSOC rotary wing guys before they shut us down for good in 2012.)

    Back when I was a brand-new butter-bar, getting ready to pick what aircraft I wanted to fly, the Air Force announced that, because they had a pilot shortage, all pilots would be offered an extra 125 grand if they stayed on active duty for twenty years following initial pilot training….all except for helicopter pilots, that is, they got zero extra if they stayed that long. I figured that any group of aviators that didn’t need to be bribed to stay in the fight were my kind of people, so I picked a Huey (and eventually, an MH-53J) and never looked back.

    P.S. They did finally relent and offer helicopter pilots a bonus about 5 years after I became one…for about 25 grand. And you still had to pay taxes on it, so it was a good down-payment on an F-250.

  8. I’m starting to get the feeling that someone in Washington doesn’t know what they’re doing.

    Perhaps I’m not the first to note the er, um, ironic nature of that statement, BUT I would like be the first to nominate it for the Understatement of the Day award.

  9. A Proud Infidel says:

    We Vets don’t blindly vote demo-rat en masse like the welfare flunkies and illegal aliens do, so thus B. Hussein 0bama 7 Company are going to punish us as hard as they can with their Chicago politics!!

  10. Sounds about right. The CA Army guard has moved units around so the commanders who were going to take over didn’t have to drive so far.

  11. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “I’m starting to get the feeling that someone in Washington doesn’t know what they’re doing.”

    Sucks, don’t it? Reminds me of when I first learned that yellow snow isn’t really lemon or banana flavored and those things next to it aren’t really tootsie rolls.

  12. GDContractor says:

    Pssst…. wanna buy some health insurance? It’s affordable! Hey take that aircraft and put it in the bone yard…. no not that one, the brand new one you idiot.

    Somebody explain it to me again…. at what point would our ancestors have started shooting?

  13. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    @12. I got that. Our ancestors WERE shooting by now.

  14. crewchief guy says:

    This infuriates me to no end. I just lost my (temp tech fulltime) job in the Iowa ANG for this very reason. I was an f-16guy and big blue got rid of them so i was shown the door. now im working elsewhere twiddling my thumbs waiting to go back to tech school.

    screw big blue. screw big DoD for that matter.
    i’ve said it before, put the E-7’s in charge

  15. JD11B says:

    Seems I have heard this story before. Air force tells army ‘we fly planes you shouldn’t.’ take over the program and then drops it later. I am thinking C-7 caribous, C-23 Sherpa and now the C-27 Spartan. Maybe like the former two the Army Guard can pick up this intratheater transport asset. (maybe also the A-10? fingers crossed.)

    The story just brought back a memory of flying in one of the last caribous in service to Fort McCoy with army guard pilots in the mid-80s.

  16. PapaMAS says:

    Guys, the AF never wanted the Spartan and repeatedly told Congress so. The answer back was, “Thank you for your input, General, now go buy them.” We are in the midst of cutting back 25,000 Airmen and 550 aircraft – that might suck for OH ANG but it is no surprise AF would put the Spartan on the chopping block first.

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