Firstly, let us observe that UAVs do not leave the man out of the loop. A man is always in the loop—he’s just in Nevada, not in the cockpit.
Meanwhile, Secretary Wynne also announced the retirement of the Air Force’s stealthy, nuclear-tipped cruise missiles [“Washington Watch: You Cruise, You Lose,” May, p. 12] on the grounds they are too costly, they have a very low probability of use, and there are other alternatives like the B-2 and ICBMs. Since we have these alternatives, and nuclear missions are very rare, tell me again why the new bomber must be nuclear-capable? Why not just keep the cruise missiles instead of going to great trouble and expense to put a cockpit in the future “optionally manned” bomber for the nuclear mission?
Happy HooligansThank you very much for your quick response to the concerns we had regarding the May 2007 issue of Air Force Magazine, which serves as the USAF Almanac. In this issue, there is only one mention of the 119th Fighter Wing of the North Dakota Air National Guard—and that is in the ANG installations section. Having very recently retired our F-16 aircraft and its associated missions, I can understand how the almanac couldn’t be updated in time for publication. I’d like to provide you with a synopsis of where the 119th is today.
As you can see, the BRAC and Total Force initiatives have had a dramatic impact on our unit and it has been, and is, a very dynamic period for us. But the Happy Hooligans of the North Dakota Air National Guard are proud to excel in these new missions, despite the radical cultural change we are enduring after 60 years of flying fighter aircraft so successfully for this nation.
Not Rocket ScienceAm I the only one whose head was spinning after reading your April 2007 issue? First, “Washington Watch” starts out with a background interview stating that USAF needs $20 billion per year for 20 years to “get well” for budgetary shortcomings dating back to the early 1990s [“Washington Watch: USAF Readiness: Going, Going ...,” p. 10]. This was immediately followed by an article where Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) (of all people!) is begging for a list of needs so they can be funded [“Murtha Demands, ‘Give Us a Number!’ ” p. 10]. Then you had not one, but two articles (“For the Air Force, the Bill Comes Due,” p. 28, and “The Risk Goes Up,” p. 34) whining—for lack of a better term—about how the force is being underfunded.
Precursor to Constant Peg In late 1969, Lt. Col. Joseph J. Maisch and I, members of the 175th Tactical Fighter Group, Maryland ANG, were given orders to proceed to Nellis AFB, Nev., to participate in a classified flying program. The project, code-named “Have Drill,” lasted three days and involved a series of canned maneuvers between our aircraft, the F-86H, and a captured MiG-15 or -17 (my memory is not that good). One of the things I observed was that while the MiG had us beat all to hell in turning radius, it had a rather slow rate of roll. It was obvious that a rapidly reversing scissors would create problems for the MiG. In almost all other categories—turn radius, acceleration, deceleration—it was more than a handful. I particularly remember the Marine Corps major running the project for the US Navy. He was a good fighter pilot and could really fly that MiG. I must admit it was a most enlightening experience (and quite a few years before the “Constant Peg” missions) [“Constant Peg,” April, p. 86].
Tanker Voices[I wish to elaborate on a reader’s comments in] “Letters: Tanker Voices,” April, p. 6. I was maintenance supervisor in the 421st Refueling Squadron at Yokota AB, Japan, during the fall of 1964 and want to add to, and clarify, several points relating to the tanker crashes.
Inspections later revealed heavy inner granular corrosion of the rear wing spar on several aircraft, plus pitting corrosion on all large fuel lines in the flap well of most of our KBs, which was the real reason for premature retirement of all KB-50Js. Our TDYs at Wake Island were regular, where the salt and spray took its toll, even with continuous wash jobs. I was disappointed that the article made no mention of SAC KC-97s. Thanks for articles about KB-50s.
VerbatimIn reference to “Tin Ear Revisionists” (“Verbatim,” May, p. 27): I heartily agree with Mr. Thompson. What exactly do “sovereign options” have to do with the Air Force mission statement? When Gen. John Ryan was Chief of Staff, he had a wooden hand-carved plaque hanging in his office that read: “Our mission is to fly and fight and don’t you ever forget it!”
Almanac CorrectionThe May 2007 Air Force Almanac, on p. 107, lists Maj. Gen. Scott Mayes as commander of 1st Air Force. General Mayes has retired and Maj. Gen. Hank Morrow has been assigned as commander.
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